Monday, December 31, 2012

Trip Planning


  One of the benefits of fulltiming is our ability to travel whenever and wherever we desire or are needed with the added convenience and comfort of staying in our own little house. Most of the time the occasions are happy ones –weddings, parties, vacations or even lending a hand with remodeling projects, but we are also thankful to be able to spend extra time during sad events like my mom’s illness and passing.

  After almost a month of being stationary , we’re making plans to get back on the road which means that I’ve been studying our maps and looking at routes. We’re planning on heading west and visiting Quartzsite through Jan. and Feb. then driving along Route 66 from California to Chicago. If we meander along as slowly as we usually do, we’ll probably be in Chicago by September.

  One of my main resources, the state maps, are a work in progress but I’ve completed one for every state or province except Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and eastern Canada. I’ve also added a new link under the heading titled “More Maps” which includes links to other maps that help immensely with trip planning.

  So, whether you’re on the road now or are just dreaming of summer vacation, have a good time planning your trip!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bound for Texas

My mom has been having some health problems over the last few months and what seemed to be minor is actually serious so we’re heading to San Antonio and I won’t be posting very much for awhile.

California State Railroad Museum

  The first piece of track of the western section of the transcontinental railway was laid almost at the door step of this museum. The museum has wonderful exhibits with fully restored locomotives and train cars plus detailed descriptions of the hardships of building the route across the Sierra Nevadas. Working and traveling on the railroad through the years is also very well covered.

  Both the Railroad Museum and the Sacramento History Museum are located in Old Town Sacramento which is a pretty typical old town made over into a tourist shopping area. The buildings are in excellent condition with most of their original architectural features intact so it’s interesting to wander around the streets.

The museum is mostly accessible but a few of the train cars that are opened to the public can not be fully accessed or have lifts which must be operated by museum personnel. We were very pleased to discover that the boardwalk sidewalks all had new ramps down to the street at all crosswalks and level entrances to the stores and restaurants.

   Old Town Sacramento is cut off from the rest of the city because of the freeway but following the signs will get you there. It’s a little crowded but buses travel through Old Town so RVs can do it too. Several long spaces for RVs are located at the north end of Second Street close to the Railroad Museum – $9.00 a day. Free handicapped spaces, that are long enough for a small RV, are also located there.  Museum
38.58442, -121.50394

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sacramento History Museum

025  Two floors of  displays trace the history of Sacramento concentrating on the gold rush era but also covering the highlights of later years.

  The museum is accessible but the front door and the door to the vestibule where the elevator is located are a little heavy.

   Old Town Sacramento is cut off from the rest of the city because of the freeway but following the signs will get you there. It’s a little crowded but buses travel through Old Town so RVs can do it too. Several long spaces for RVs are located at the north end of Second Street close to the Railroad Museum – $9.00 a day. Free handicapped spaces, that are long enough for a small RV ,are also located there.  Museum
38.5848, -121.50488

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maidu Museum & Historic Site

  Acorns along with nuts, berries, roots, fish and game provided all the necessities of life for the Maidu who lived in this area for thousands of years until the coming of white men. A 1/2 mile loop trail with interpretive signs passes by significant  features.The petroglyphs have been worn down through the years so most are not easy to see but many acorn grinding holes are visible.  The small museum does a good job of explaining the culture of the Maidu and related tribes.

  The museum is all accessible. The trail is hard packed dirt and sand and fairly easy to push along. Some of the spurs leading to the petroglyphs are uneven and hilly. Most wheelchair users will need to have some help.

  Parking is limited to a short span along the street. The handicapped space is long enough for most RVs.  Museum
38.73818, -121.24689

Thunder Valley Casino

   RV parking is in the huge lot across the street from the casino. It looks like this lot was used as a general parking lot before the parking garage was built. The first section is blocked off so it’s a bit of a hike to the casino entrance especially since shuttles do not service the lot. A security car makes regular rounds. Trucks and buses use the lot but it’s so big that it’s possible to park far away from any that leave their engines running. Update 2021 - 72 hour limit enforced. Check in with roaming security.

  We visited on a Saturday night when the casino was very busy so we didn’t check it out very well. The chairs are a little oversized and awkward to move. The newer machines have money and card slots that are easy to reach. A sidewalk with good curb cuts runs from the parking lot to the casino entrance.  Casino
38.83939, -121.31087

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bernhard Museum Complex

  Bernhard Bernhard bought the former Traveler's Rest Hotel and surrounding property in 1868 and made it his family’s home. He also added to the vineyard and built a winery and processing building. The house has been restored and furnished to a period in the 1890s.

  The first floor of the house is accessible. Follow the sand path to the ramp at the back entrance. The path also leads to the processing building which has a step at the entrance. The artifacts within can be viewed from the doorway. The carriage house can only be accessed by a path covered in loose wood chips or from the parking lot which is surfaced with large gravel. Either is very difficult to push through.

  Wheelchair users should drive through the gate and park in the paved handicapped site to avoid trying to push through the gravel lot. This lot is large enough for most RVs but there is more parking in the fairgrounds lot at the top of the hill if necessary.  Museum
38.89116, -121.0755

Gold Country Museum

039  This small but well done museum has displays about different gold mining methods, a theater, a glimpse into the lives of early settlers and, for a few dollars, a chance to try your hand at gold panning.

The road from the parking lot to the museum is very long and steep, almost impossible for a wheelchair user to manage on their own. The museum itself is completely accessible.

The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  The museum has moved so the information above is no longer accurate.
38.90279, -121.06601


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chinese Temple & Museum Complex

  Oroville had a sizable Chinese population during the 1800s.  Most of the Chinese left the city after a flood in 1907 destroyed many of their homes and ruined their property. The Emperor and Empress of China provided the money to build this structure which houses three temples.

  The site is partly accessible. Three of the temple rooms have a threshold with a step up and back down. Wheelchair visitors can view the these rooms from the doorways. One temple can only be accessed by a flight of stairs. The gift shop/admissions building, garden, museum rooms and  Fong Lee Company Building reconstruction are all accessible.

  Parking is available across the street from the museum. Large RVs may have to be parked on the side streets. Museum
39.51354, -121.56205

Bedrock Park Trail

  About two miles round trip , this trail follows the Feather River along the levee. There are a few steep paths providing access to the city streets where several museums are located.

  Park in the lower level lot at Bedrock Park. Plenty of room for RVs. Trail
39.51211, -121.56842

Bolt's Antique Tool Museum

  If you are really, really fascinated with hand tools this museum may be interesting, otherwise it’s kind of dull. Thousands of tools from stone age to the 1900s are mounted on the display panels with documentation on each.

The museum is accessible.

  Parking is available across the street from the museum. Large RVs may have to be parked on the side streets.  Museum
39.51398, -121.56

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rolling Hills Casino

  We spent three nights in the casino lot while visiting new friends and enjoying home cooked Thanksgiving dinner. (thanks Wanda and Jim!) There’s also a nicely landscaped RV park next to the lot. This lot is used as a truck stop too. It’s very large so it’s possible to park away from the trucks but expect some noise even if you stay in the RV park. We were able to use the casino WiFi.

  The casino is pretty accessible with very easy to move chairs and low card and money slots. The first set of doors at the entrance closest to the RV parking  open automatically but the second set does not and they’re a little heavy. Casino
39.87179, -122.20358

Win-River Casino RV Park

    Many Walmarts in California do not allow overnight RV parking so all of the casinos are handy. This one no longer offers free dry camping. RVers must use the RV park which is just a parking lot but it has full hookups,  fairly wide spaces and a nice grassy area with barbeques and picnic tables for $24.00 a night. With the current promotions Tony received $15.00 credit on his club card and a nifty collapsing windshield shade.

  About half of the machines are easy to use. The other half have high money and card slots. The chairs are pretty easy to move. Casino
40.5069, -122.38484

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

  It’s too late in the season for flowering plants but the many shades of green in the arboretum are still around to enjoy. The garden is fairly small consisting of one broad pathway with smaller paths on either side that wind through different themed plantings. A path also winds through a restored wetlands at the north side of the garden.

  The paths are composed of finely crushed , hard packed stone and are pretty easy to push along.
   The parking lot is large enough for RVs parked lengthwise across the spaces. Follow the signs for the Turtle Bay MuseumGarden
40.59018, -122.37851

Brandy Creek RV Campground

  Whiskeytown National Recreation area has two small campgrounds near the lake. Both are tent only. RVers may camp but are relegated to spaces in parking lots –not very nice. It must get crowded and noisy in the summer with generators going all day.

   Only self contained RVs may camp at Brandy Creek because it doesn’t even have a restroom. There is dump station and water, although the water has been shut off for the season. Campground
40.61506, -122.57491

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shasta State Historic Park

   Shasta had its start as a gold rush town but soon settled into a major supply center for other mining towns. When the railroad bypassed it in the 1880s it lost most of its population. Some of the buildings were dismantled so that the bricks could be reused in Redding. A line of commercial buildings along Route 299 are just hollow facades but a few buildings are still standing. The old court house is now a museum with historical displays about the town, artifacts from early families, an art collection and a jail in the basement. A general store, which operated for 100 years, is stocked with 1880s merchandise. A bakery has also been restored.

  The museum has a ramp and a double door at the entrance. Both sections may have to be opened for wide wheelchairs. The threshold has a drop down to the museum floor. The first floor of the museum is all accessible. The basement jail display can be accessed from the rear of the building, which requires navigating down a steep slope and over grass and gravel. Wheelchair users will need to have help.

   A boardwalk runs along the brick building facades. Interpretive signs explain the history of the town. All of this is accessible. The boardwalk does not extend to the general store or the bakery. A short steep slope, which would be very difficult to negotiate without help, leads up to the porch of these two buildings.

    Parking is available in front of the museum. Large RVs may have to be parked on the side streets. Park
40.59926, -122.49202

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turtle Bay Museum and Exploration Park

  Turtle Bay has a lot of different areas. The museum features changing exhibits , a cave recreation, an aquarium ,hands-on displays , natural history and historic recreations. A boardwalk leads to a playground and a logging camp house where more hands-on exhibits explore the forest ecosystem. Located in the same area is a wild animal show pavilion featuring rescued animals and a lorikeet cage where you can feed the birds nectar.

  Parking is a fair distance away. Follow the signs for museum parking.The sidewalks and curb cuts are good plus there is a drop off area close to the entrance.The museum is fairly accessible although some of the displays are too high to see easily.The outdoor area has sections that aren’t paved but most of it is accessible. It was raining when we visited so we went through pretty fast and may have missed some things.

  The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Museum
  40.59007, -122.37819

Friday, November 16, 2012

Living Memorial Sculpture Garden

Sculpture        014
   We stumbled upon this place years ago and make it a point to always stop when we’re in the area. Miles from any large city and surround by trees, it’s a very peaceful. The sculptures are expressive and haunting, a tribute to soldiers without glorifying war.

  There are ten sculptures. Four can be seen without leaving your vehicle. The others are located at the ends of short paths which are very bumpy and uneven. Most wheelchair users will need to have some help.

  The parking lot is very large. Trees with branches that overhang the road make it impossible to drive a large vehicle to the sculpture site but it’s not a long walk. The road is paved but it’s pretty rough. Sculpture
41.54297, -122.23063

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Siskiyou County Museum

   Native Americans, trappers, gold miners, loggers, and pioneers – this small museum has very good displays covering the human history of the area. A little village of relocated and recreated buildings in included in the admission price.

  The parking lot is large enough for RVs if parked across the spaces.

  The museum is accessible. A stair climber lift, which requires a transfer, accesses the second floor. The village is closed for the season but we peeked through the fence and could see a least one ramp and a wide paved path.  Museum
41.72384, -122.63853