Sunday, October 30, 2011

McKinley Presidential Library and Museum

   We’ve visited many of the thirteen presidential libraries that are overseen by the federal government in the archives and records department. The McKinley Library is not one of those thirteen and doesn’t meet the same standards. Only one room is dedicated to McKinley. It contains many items owned by  McKinley but is lacking in information about his policies as president. Little information is given about his assassination.

  The museum is actually much more than a presidential library but McKinley was a local boy which must have been the reasoning behind the name. Besides the McKinley room there’s a small science center, a planetarium, a changing exhibits gallery, a nicely done city street, a working model train layout, and a large gallery about Stark County. Also on the grounds is a little park with a large monument on a hill where McKinley, his wife, and two daughters are buried.

  Most of the museum is accessible. A few of the buildings on the city street have rooms on the second floor –steps only. Access to the planetarium or to the elevator to the monument requires a special key which can be obtained at the admissions desk.

  There are a few spaces for buses and RVs at the rear of the museum. Museum
40.80648, -81.39359

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Toledo Zoo

   This is a well done zoo with good exhibits, informative signs, and lots of room for the animals. Some of the buildings are WPA era (1930’s work projects) and are put to good use for the smaller animals-reptiles, bird, and fish. We only had two hours to wander around and didn’t get to see everything.

  Everything is fairly accessible and most of the animals are easily viewed. The ramp at the aquarium entrance is very steep. The main parking lots and the newest part of the zoo are separated from the rest of the zoo by a busy four lane highway.  A staircase or a long set of ramps crosses the highway. The ramps are ADA compliant but they are very long. Resting at the flat areas or help pushing will probably be necessary.There’s an additional lot at the old entrance but the zoo website doesn’t have any information about it.

  The parking lot is huge. RVs that take up more than one space are charged a $10.00 parking fee. Cars are $6.00.  Zoo
41.62184, -83.58186

Thursday, October 27, 2011

RV-MH Hall of Fame

    Elkhart, Indiana is know as the “RV Capital of the World” so it’s a fitting place for David Woodworth’s collection of early RVs which includes many unique one of a kind models. Elkhart is also a good place to buy RV parts and furniture. Factory tours are available although many manufactures have gone out of business.

   The museum is accessible. Some of the unrestored RVs are opened to walk through if you are able.

   The parking lot is large enough for any size RV. Museum
    41.72912, -85.87896

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wisconsin Historical Museum

  This is Wisconsin’s state museum. There are three floors of exhibits covering the human history of the state including Native Americans, fur traders,  immigrants, farmers, loggers, politicians, inventors, and union organizers.

  Everything is accessible.

There’s ample on-the-street metered parking within a few blocks but most spaces are limited to one or two hours.  Museum
43.07441, -89.38654

Monday, October 24, 2011

International Crane Foundation

    One benefit of reciprocal memberships is that we often visit places such as the Crane Foundation that we wouldn’t have noticed without the membership list. The foundation studies and breeds captive cranes and releases the young ones back into their native countries. All fifteen species are endangered to some extent, mostly due to lack of habitat.  The cranes are on display in roomy outdoor enclosures. There’s also a museum with short movies and trails through the restored wetlands and prairie.

  The gift shop, museum, and paved trails through the enclosures are handicapped accessible. The restoration overlook has a fixed set of binoculars that are too high to use from a seated position.  The nature trails are packed dirt and mowed grass with a few rocky sections. Taking these trails may be possible with an energetic helper.

  The parking area is small but can accommodate RVs parked lengthwise.  Foundation
43.54708, -89.75344

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells

    Very quiet and lots of room-perfect for an overnight stop.

   The casino decor is a bit of Vegas-fake cliffs and waterfalls in the lobby.  It’s fairly accessible - low pile carpets,easy to move chairs, and most of the machines have easy to reach ticket and card slots. Casino
43.53061, -89.77647

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Circus World

  The Ringling Brother’s Circus wintered in Baraboo,Wisconsin for 34 years before they moved to Florida in 1918. During the winter equipment was repaired, new pieces were constructed, and new acts were practiced. Circus World is on the site of the wintering grounds which includes four of the original buildings, a new museum, and two new warehouses filled with beautifully restored circus wagons. There is a lot to see so give yourself plenty of time especially if you visit during the summer when shows run throughout the day.

  The museum is accessible. The theater doors are heavy – seating for wheelchairs is in the back with chairs alongside for family members. The two warehouses are accessible but the wheelchair users may need some help pushing up the ramp. Three of the older buildings were opened the day that we visited – one has a fairly good ramp, one has an extremely steep ramp, and the other has a few steps and no ramp. The older buildings all house minor exhibits.

  Parking is limited. There’s a small gravel lot across the street where RVs can be parked lengthwise. The curb cuts are not good. There’s parking along the street on both sides with handicapped spaces on the same side as the museum. The ground next to the curb is a grassy hill so transferring to a wheelchair or deploying a lift would be difficult. Museum
43.46694, -89.73511

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wisconsin Concrete Park

   We almost missed this one!  I spotted all the concrete figures as we went speeding along and knew that it was too good to pass by – time to turn around! There are over 200 life size and larger concrete sculptures that were built by Fred Smith, a retired lumberjack. He worked on them for 16 years from 1948 until 1964.

  The sculptures are in a park like setting so getting around is a little hard. Most can be seen from the paved parking lot but getting closer involves pushing through the grass. A brochure with explanations about all of the figures can be found on the informative bulletin boards. The box holding the brochures is mounted a little too high to be easily reached. The gift shop has a ramp to the entrance.

   There’s a larger parking lot for RVs just past the first one which is pretty small. Concrete Park
45.6713, -90.39069

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center

    Richard Bong was a local farm boy who became a flying ace in WWII shooting down over forty Japanese planes, more than any other pilot. He was deemed too valuable of an asset to risk in combat and was sent home to do public relations tours promoting the sale of war bonds. He also started working at Wright Field as a test pilot and in a strange twist of fate, was killed when his plane malfunctioned at takeoff.  The museum tells his story along with those of other local soldiers and civilians including the women who worked in the busy wartime ship and train yards.

   Everything is accessible starting with push button entrance doors. There are several short movies in different sections of the museum. All have movable chairs and low push buttons to start them.

  The parking lot is large enough for any size RV.  Museum
46.72311, -92.06921

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

    The center has displays about the Great Lakes and the busy port city of Duluth.  A popular activity is watching the huge 1,000 ‘ freighter ships pass through the canal. Most are “lakers”, hauling iron ore, coal, and stone between ports on four of the Great Lakes.

  Both floors of the museum are accessible. Entering on the second floor by using the exterior ramp is best because the ground level entrance way has a steep ramp down to the first level. An elevator is available to access both floors.

   A parking lot which allows RVs is located at Canal Park just a short distance from the museum. The entrance to the lot is narrow and an immediate turn is required so large RVs might not be able to use it.  Museum
46.77976, -92.09235

Duluth Lakewalk

   There are two paths along the lake for about half of the total four miles. The boardwalk is for pedestrians, the paved path is for bicyclers and roller-skaters plus pedestrian where there isn’t boardwalk.

   Both surfaces are fairly level and in good condition. There’s a very steep section leading to the Viking ship and the rose garden.  The ship is currently covered in shrink wrap until enough money has been raised to build a protective structure.

  A parking lot which allows RVs is located at Canal Park. The entrance is narrow and an immediate turn is required so large RVs might not be able to use it.  Other lots are located along the walk. We went as far as the rose garden. The lot there has spaces where RVs will fit.  Walk   Viking Ship
46.78184, -92.09202

Black Bear Casino

    This casino is right off of the interstate, about twenty miles south of Duluth. The parking lot isn’t  large but unless the casino is really busy there’s plenty of room for RVs. Update 2022 - all information is still good.

    The casino is accessible with easily moved chairs, low pile carpe,t and roomy aisles. It has a huge variety of machines including a small number of older ones which have card and ticket slots that are a little too high. Casino
46.6646, -92.47996

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big Bog State Recreation Area Campground

    The Tamarac River flows alongside the campground so half of the sites are waterfront. There are fishing docks and a boat ramp. Most of the sites are large enough for any size of RV although the non-electric ones have low hanging branches and are better suited for tents or vans.

  There are two handicapped sites that don’t differ from the regular sites except for being convenient to the restroom/shower building which is all accessible. The tables have a short overhang. The ground is hard parked dirt and short grass so rolling is fairly easy.

  The recreation area has several trails including an accessible boardwalk which we didn’t check out because the weather has been cold and windy. Campground
48.17384, -94.5113

Monday, October 17, 2011

Oseredok, the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre

   The day that we visited only one gallery was opened with a display of traditional folk costumes and weavings from different regions of the Ukraine. It doesn’t take long to see it all but it’s free and just across the parking lots from the Manitoba Museum so it’s easy to pop in for a few minutes.

  Unfortunately there are steps to the entrance and no ramp.  Once inside there is an elevator to access the different floors. Museum
49.9012, -97.13584

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Manitoba Museum

  Free ebook from Gutenberg- A Lady's Life on a Farm in Manitoba

 One of the galleries of this museum has a recreation of an English seaport with a full size replica of the Nonsuch. The original Nonsuch set sail from in England in 1668 to prove that it was possible to use the Hudson Bay water route in the fur trade. The success of the mission marked the beginning of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The replica was built in England in 1968 to celebrate the 300 year anniversary of the HBC. After sailing across the Atlantic, the boat was lifted in place and the building constructed around it.

  The museum’s other galleries lead visitors through the history of Manitoba from the formation of the earth to the arrival of large groups of European immigrants in the late 1800s. The building also houses a planetarium, a science gallery, and a special exhibits gallery all of which require an additional entrance fee.

  The museum is accessible expect for the Nonsuch which has a narrow gang plank and steps. The street of the seaport is very steep but there is a detour around it.

  Parking is available in the sandy lot across the street from the museum – $1.00 an hour. The lot isn’t marked with lines and is large enough for RVs if it’s not busy. Driving a large RV in the city is difficult so if possible use public transportation. Museum
49.90034, -97.13639

McPhillips Station Casino

   This casino is a good overnight spot because it has a huge parking lot plus it’s close to the center of Winnipeg. It’s located next to the railroad’s engine shop so there’s a little noise from that but not bad.

  It’s bit of a roll to the casino entrance and as there aren’t any cutouts wheelchair users have to go through the parking lot rather than using the sidewalks. The casino itself is fairly accessible – push button doors, easily moved chairs, easily reached ticket slots, and low pile carpet. Casino
49.92206, -97.17319

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lakeview Park Campground,Shoal Lake

   Many small towns across the Canadian plains have small community campgrounds usually signified by a trailer symbol on the town information sign. This is a little campground located on a lake. Most of the sites aren’t suitable for large RVs but there are a few that should work. If you have a larger RV turn right at the pay station. Turning left leads to tight turns and narrow sections of road.  None of the sites are very handicapped accessible because of uneven ground and thick grass.  Campground
50.43293, -100.59461

Gold Eagle Casino

   RV and truck parking is located in a large sandy lot located behind the casino. The casino is very small, fine for an overnight stop but really not large enough for an extended stay. No trucks used the lot while we were there so we had a  quiet overnight stay.

  The casino is accessible – pushbutton doors and very easily moved chairs. Some of the older style machines have club card slots that are a little too high. Casino
52.75641, -108.26753

Barr Colony Heritage Cultural Centre

    This museum has four galleries with some unusual collections. One gallery houses a large taxidermy exhibit, the work of Nicholas Fuchs. Most of the animals are very unrealistic probably because the collection is so old. Another gallery has over 250 paintings by Count Berthold von Imhoff ,a large mural painter who mainly worked in churches. The heavy oil gallery is sponsored by Husky Oil so it comes with a large dose of company hype. The forth gallery is a tiny area with historic artifacts from the area.

  The museum is all accessible.

  The parking lot is shared with the visitor center and is large enough for all RVs. Museum

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

 We're zipping across the Canadian plains,past tiny towns and miles of harvested fields. We really don't like to bypass huge areas like this but many places are closed for the season and others are closed for the holiday so there's little to see at this time of the year.    

  I do have a few short posts to put on the blog but we're WiFi-less until we get to a big city ,hopefully tomorrow. I'm playing with the internet access that came with the Kindle that we bought a few months ago to see what all I can do with it-no pictures but it will allow me to post text!  
(had to clean this post up a little on real internet) 

Friday, October 7, 2011

The World's Largest Pysanka (Easter Egg)


  The amazing thing about this giant egg is that it rotates in the wind! The story behind it’s creation starts with the 1974 centennial celebrations of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Communities were given money to build monuments and the Ukrainian town of Vegreville chose their traditional egg, symbolizing the peace and security the Mounties had offered the area’s pioneers and their descendants.  Egg
53.49171, -112.0366

  The egg is located in the Elks/Kinsmen Park which also has a little campground and a pretty park with a small lake. The parking area is large enough for RVs.  Campground

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Royal Alberta Museum


  The museum has three permanent exhibit galleries covering the history of Alberta’s First Nations people, the animals and natural history of Alberta, and a wonderful collection of minerals from all over the world. Everything is very well done. The bead work and embroidered pieces in the First Nation’s gallery are beautiful.

   Everything is accessible except for a few booklets that are fixed in place and a little too high to see easily.

  The parking lot has long spaces specially marked for buses and RVs. Museum
52.96051, -113.39364