Thursday, April 30, 2015

California Museum

  California has a very interesting human and geological history plus beautiful and unusual National Parks. The California Museum falls short of telling even a small portion of this story. The exhibits do not flow in a coherent order and although some are very well done so much has been left out that visitors do not get the full scope of California’s colorful history and the natural wonders that are unique to the state.
  The museum is all accessible.

  Visiting on the weekend makes it easier to find a parking space. The turn into the museum lot is too tight for large vehicles but parking on the street is fine. Check the signs because each street, each side of a street and each section of a street may have different limits and restrictions. Some have free parking on Saturday and some are free on both Saturday and Sunday. It may be necessary to park a block or two away. All of the curb cuts and sidewalks in Sacramento are in excellent condition.  Museum
38.5746, -121.49546

California State Capitol Museum and Park

  The Capitol building, built in 1874, was completely restored in 1982 to it’s 1906 grandeur. There are a few historic displays but the real reason to visit the capitol is see the beautiful restoration and take a stroll through the gardens of the capitol mall. Free tours are given daily, weekends included.
    The building and the park are completely accessible. Visitors must go through a security check so all the doors are not opened. We entered at the south entrance.

   Visiting on the weekend makes it easier to find a parking space. Check the signs because each street, each side of a street and each section of a street may have different limits and restrictions. Some have free parking on Saturday and some are free on both Saturday and Sunday. It may be necessary to park a block or two away. All of the curb cuts and sidewalks in Sacramento are in excellent condition.  Capitol
38.57604, -121.49346

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sierra College Natural History Museum

       (photo from the museum website - forgot to take my camera)

  This is a very small museum located in the center hall of the Sewell Hall building on the college campus. Displays include dozens of mounted animals and many fossils. Admission is free.

   The museum is accessible. The paths and roads on the campus are accessible.

  Park along Rocklin Road in Lot E, F or G. The parking fee is $3.00 during the week, payable at ticket dispensing machines. The machine where Tony paid was not accessible because of it’s location on a small raised platform that could not be reached from a wheelchair but I didn’t check any of the other machines.  Museum
38.79063, -121.21405

Dave Moore Nature Area

  Dave Moore, an avid outdoorsman who worked as a BLM ranger, was stricken with multiple sclerosis at age 35. His coworkers developed this area and built a one mile loop trail so that Dave and other people with physical challenges could enjoy nature. Unfortunately either the trail has deteriorated over the years or it wasn’t built to any standard in the first place because it is not accessible. We started on the trail at the far end of the parking lot and made it to where we could get a little peek at the river through the trees. The trail runs slightly down hill. We encountered washed out sections, roots, and small rocks. We also tried going in the opposite direction by taking the trail from the other end of the parking lot. From that direction we came to some very steep sections with large rocks in the middle of the trail. It’s a nice little trail with good access to the American River but only if you’re able-bodied.
   The parking lot is large enough for any RV.  Trail
38.81429, -120.92155

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Blogging Friends on the Way to Alaska!


  It’s always a pleasure to meet fellow travelers and especially nice  to have a face to face meeting with travelers whom we’ve become friends with online. However there’s always a tiny bit of trepidation – do we really have anything in common, will we even like each other, are they nefarious criminals planning dastardly deeds? :-D   Not to fear – our meet ups have ranged from interesting to very enjoyable, with most at the later end of the spectrum. So when blogger friend, Dave and his wife Marcia, and Tony and I happened to be in the same place at the same time we were looking forward to finally meeting them. Little attention was paid to the food (although it was very good) as we sat around a restaurant table for over four hours  but we got a lot of talking and laughing in. We were having so much fun that I forgot to take any pictures so I had to steal a couple from Dave’s blog. :-)

Dave and Marcia are on their way to Alaska, a trip that was planned for last spring but unfortunately the storage area where they kept their RV caught on fire. By the time they found a replacement motorhome it was too late to go all the way to Alaska so the trip had to be postponed but they’re on their way this year! I think the trip officially starts at the end of May. Follow along on their blog -

  Have a great trip Dave and Marcia! See you down the road!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

  In January of 1848 James Marshall, along with a workforce of local Indians and members of the US Army Mormon Battalion, was just finishing a water raceway for a newly constructed mill that would supply lumber for his partner, John Sutter, who had a thriving settlement with a fort, workshops, and stores 45 miles west where the city of Sacramento would soon spring up. While inspecting the raceway one morning Marshall noticed some shiny flecks. Gold! The discovery of those tiny pieces changed California and the United States forever.  80,000 people, dreaming of easy money, poured into California during 1849. San Francisco’s population boomed as gold seekers from all over the world flooded into the port. Over 125 million ounces of gold were pulled from the ground over the next 50 years.
  The mill site soon became a town with about 300 buildings. Most were destroyed by fire or scavenged for materials when the gold boom died and people moved on. The dozen or so buildings that still stand are part of the park. A few have displays inside and many have interpretive signs outside. The park also has a small museum and a theater. Unpaved trails lead to historic and reconstructed buildings, mining equipment displays, and an Indian bedrock mortar site.
The museum and theater are accessible. The trails in the main part of the park are hard packed dirt and fairly accessible. The mining exhibit in the Man Lee building is accessible but the mining tunnel mockup is not. One entryway has a short step up. The Wah Hop Store exhibit is accessible. The interpretive signs in front of the buildings and empty lots along Main Street are easy to view.
The parking lot on the east side of the road, slightly north of the park headquarters, has several lot RV spaces. Cross the street at the crosswalk and follow the dirt trail to the museum.   Park
38.80009, -120.89199

Red Hawk Casino

  Follow the signs for oversized parking. There are about a dozen  back-in spaces alongside the parking garage that are long enough for buses. If these are filled continue down the hill to the large lot.

  To get to the casino go in the parking garage entrance and follow the painted sidewalk to the elevator. The chairs in the casino are fairly easy to move and the card and money slots are easy to reach. Casino
38.69629, -120.90733

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

 The Native American tribe of Sierra Miwoks lived in the foothills of the mountains in small villages of two dozen to several hundred people. Their houses were made of layers of bark slabs leaning against each other to form a teepee shape. Along with deer and gathered plants the mainstay of their diet was acorns. The acorns were shelled, dried and pounded into meal which could be stored and used throughout the year.

  The park preserves the site of a large collection of bedrock mortar holes used in making acorn flour - 1,185 of them! A short paved trail leads to a platform overlooking the grinding rock and continues to a ceremonial roundhouse. The roundhouse is in the process of being rebuilt. Examples of bark houses, acorn granaries and ramadas have been built on the grounds. Trails loop through the woods. A small museum has artifacts and historic displays.
 The museum is accessible. The paved trail has a slight downhill grade. Wheelchair users may need help to get back uphill. An unpaved trail that starts at the museum and travels through the woods is marked as accessible. It has a slight uphill grade and wheelchair users will probably need to have some help. We went about 1/3 mile before turning around.
  The parking lot is large enough for RVs if parked across the spaces or backed up over the grass.  Park
38.42504, -120.64094

Friday, April 24, 2015

Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park

  All aspects of gold mining are harmful to the environment but this fact was largely ignored in the 1880s as individual men and big corporations rushed to dig the metal from the ground. Kennedy Mine, which operated from 1886 until 1942, was one of the deepest mines along the 120 miles of hard-rock gold deposits in the quartz vein of the Sierra Nevada. The Kennedy mill, running to full 100-stamp capacity, produced approximately 850 tons of tailing waste every twenty-four hours. After farmers and ranchers complained about the runoff from the tailings polluting their streams and fields the company was required to build an impoundment dam. Huge wheels and flumes were constructed to carry slurry from the mill to the large impoundment located at the top of a hill.
The park includes a interpretive kiosk with a mural depicting the mill and wheels in operation. A steep road with parking spots allows visitors to view a deteriorated wheel, a restored wheel and the impoundment pound. Another wheel is located across the street at the amphitheater lot.

The main parking lot is large enough for any RV. The kiosk can be accessed by a short walk up the hill. Do not drive your RV up to the impoundment. The road is extremely steep and the lot at the top is small. The amphitheater lot is large enough for any RV. Walk around the closed gate to view the wheel. This wheel is easier to see and much more accessible because it’s not in a glass shelter or on a steep hill like the one in the park.  Park
38.36338, -120.7756

Vista Point Overlook

   Located on the west side of Hwy 49, just north of Jackson, CA., this overlook features interpretive signs covering the history of the area, memorials to 47 miners who died in 1922 after a fire trapped them in Argonaut Mine, and a view of the headframe of the Kennedy Mine.
  Everything is accessible.

  The overlook lot is large enough for any RV but traffic flows one way, from north to south, and it can not be entered if you are driving northbound.  Vista Point
38.36482, -120.78735

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Angel Camp Museum

  The gold rush town of Angel Camp, founded in 1848, was the setting for Mark Twain’s short story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". The story launched Twain’s writing career and the city celebrates this little piece of history every year in May with the Jumping Frog Jubilee.
  The museum is housed in three buildings. The first floor of the first building is dedicated to Twain. The second building has carriages and wagons and the last has gold mining and farming equipment. The museum buildings are completely accessible except for the gold mining building which has a paved path down the middle and loose gravel on the sides which is impossible to push a wheelchair through so some of the exhibits can not be viewed. The gold panning is not accessible and the dirt path to view large mining equipment is not accessible.
This is a nicely done little museum but unfortunately parking is very limited. We barely fit our little 25’ motorhome into the lot of the first building. Also even though all of the buildings are accessible they are located on a steep hill. All three buildings have a small lot so if you’re driving a car or van you can park at each building to avoid going down and then climbing back up the hill but anything larger should be parked at the first building at the top of the hill.  Museum
38.07609, -120.54513

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tuttletown Recreation Area–Manzanita Campground

   Manzanita Campground should be on the shoreline of New Melones Lake but, like all the lakes in California, Melones is showing the effects of the drought and the water level is very low. At the time of our visit most of the campgrounds in Tuttletown Recreation Area were still closed for the season and, except for the host and one other RV, Manzanita Campground was empty. None of the sites have electricity and the dump station is not free for campers.

  The campground is built on a steep hill and many of the sites are just a parking area along the road with the table and camp area accessed by steps.  The accessible sites have a paved parking pad and fine gravel for the camp area which includes a table with an extended top and a fire ring with high sides. Most are close to a restroom. The site pictured above (# 92) has a paved path to the restroom and is next to the sign-in board and dumpsters.  The parking area is fairly level but since the road is one way the entry door of your RV will open to the road instead of the camp area.  Campground
37.97665, -120.50498

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Columbia State Historic Park

  After gold was discovered in 1850 Columbia grew rapidly becoming one of the largest cities in California with a population of over 25,000. The boom lasted for less than 20 years. As the town settled into a decline, miners tore down vacant buildings and began digging up the town lots creating depressions with limestone outcroppings which are now grassy parks.
   Like most early towns in the US, Columbia experienced several fires. Main Street was rebuilt after the fire of 1854 using locally produced red brick. These buildings are still standing forming the nucleus of the state park, and the state’s largest collection of gold rush era structures, which includes over 50 buildings and exhibits. About half of the buildings house restaurants and shops, the rest have exhibits depicting the gold rush era.

  Main Street is closed to traffic so it’s possible to walk/roll down the middle of the street. The sidewalks are elevated boardwalk. Most of the entrances to the buildings are level with the boardwalk. Ramps from the street to the boardwalk provide access but the boardwalk has steps at places so backtracking is sometimes necessary. The Columbia Museum and most of the buildings on Main Street that have exhibits inside are accessible.
The parking lot on the south end of town at the intersection of Parrotts Ferry Road and Columbia Street is large enough for RVs if parked across the spaces. Getting to town from this lot requires climbing a steep hill so anyone with physical limitations should continue driving up the hill and park in one of the lots on the top of the hill or along a side street.   Park
38.0348, -120.40146