Thursday, April 28, 2016

Saguaro Man

We’re camped out in a field at Saguaro Man. People were busy yesterday getting set up but extreme wind today is battering many of the creations. Hopefully tomorrow wouldn’t be as bad. Very, very slow internet so I won’t be posting any more until Monday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tonto National Monument

  We stopped at Tonto National Monument knowing that both the lower and the upper cliff dwellings are not wheelchair accessible but we wanted to see the parts of the site that are accessible. The trail to the lower cliff dwelling is paved and only 1/2 mile long but steep with some steps. The more challenging trail to the upper cliff dwelling is 3 miles round trip and visitors must sign up for a guided tour. The visitor center parking lot has a nice view point which overlooks Theodore Roosevelt Lake. The visitor center has a few exhibits and is accessible.
We walked/rolled up the paved trail (going in the exit to avoid steps) for a little way. It’s very steep so we didn’t go far but the cacti were in bloom so it was a pretty walk.

  The parking lot has three RV spaces for vehicles 30’ and under. Larger vehicles must stop at the picnic area which is about 1/2 mile before the visitor center lot. There isn’t a sidewalk or trail from the picnic area to the visitor center.
Park   33.64461, -111.11263

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin

  This is a nicely done little museum covering the history of the area around Payson, AZ. An additional building, the Zane Grey Cabin, is a replica of the cabin where Grey stayed for a few weeks every year  while working on his novels and hunting with friends. Grey abandoned the original cabin in 1930 after a dispute over hunting licenses. It was restored in 1966 but burned in the 1990 Dude forest fire. I’ve never read any of Zane Grey’s books but I found a free download on Amazon for “Riders of the Purple Sage” so I’m going to give it a try.
  Visitors can choose to visit one or both buildings. They’re shown by guided tour only but if you wish to spend more time a volunteer will be happy to accommodate you.

The museum is located in a pretty little park which has a 1/2 mile paved walking trail circling a small lake. The lake is filled with treated waste water and stocked with fish. Sounds appetizing. :- D

   The cabin is accessible and the first floor of the museum are accessible. The second floor is accessed by a stair lift which I don’t like so we skipped it. The trail around the lake is accessible and there’s an accessible fishing dock.

  RVs can be parked lengthwise across the parking spaces.
Museum    34.23265, -111.34436 
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Mazatzal Casino

  Eight long spaces are located next to the tribal police station. We stayed in this spot for one night then moved across the street to the main lot for two additional nights. The lot is sloped but the section along the road is fairly level. Either area is fine for overnight RV parking. We moved because of a very noisy tractor trailer. Signs indicate parking is limited to 72 hours.

  It’s an uphill run to the casino entrance. The casino is fairly small but has a lot of room between the aisles. The chairs are easy to move and the ticket  and card slots are easy to reach.
Casino   34.21906, -111.32957

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Montezuma Well

  The well is a large sink hole created when a limestone cave collapsed. A spring pumps out 1,500,000 gallons of water a day which eventually escapes through a natural outlet. Almost 3,000 years ago the Sinagua people began building canals from the outlet to their fields and some of that original canal is still in use today.

  Due to steep grades and steps the site is not wheelchair accessible. We walked/rolled along the paved path starting at the end marked with an exit sign. The first section is fairly level. The path is very steep after the outlet location. With the help of a strong pusher it’s possible to reach the rim of the sink hole. We did not go farther because the trail becomes very rough and uneven before looping back to the parking lot. Able bodied visitors can walk to the bottom of the sinkhole. A small cliff dwelling is visible near the top.
  The parking lot is small. RVs will fit  parked across the spaces or by backing in.
Well    34.64893, -111.75438
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Montezuma Castle National Monument

  The protection of a deep alcove has preserved Montezuma Castle as one of the most intact cliff dwellings in North America. Between 1100 and 1425 AD about 150 members of the Sinagua culture lived in the cliff dwelling and in a pueblo along the base of the cliff. The dwelling was long abandoned by the time settlers discovered it in the 1860s and mistakenly thought it was part of Montezuma’s empire.

  The only way up to the cliff dwelling is by step ladder. Due to safety concerns and a desire to preserve the dwelling public tours were discontinued in 1951 but the site is easily viewed by a 1/3 mile paved trail. The visitor center has exhibits about the park and the Sinagua culture.
   The visitor center and the trail are accessible.

   The parking lot has long bus/RV spaces.
Monument     34.61081, -111.83811

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tuzigoot National Monument

  The Verde River provided a year round water source for the Sinagua culture and 100 miles of fertile valley supported over 50 major pueblos and numerous smaller ones. Most were abandoned in the early 1400s after being continuously occupied for 300 years. Tuzigoot was one of the largest with about 100 rooms. The ruins were excavated and stabilized in the 1930s as part of a WPA project.

   The visitor center has very good exhibits and many original artifacts. A short paved trail circles the ruins. Another paved trail leads to an overlook of the valley.

  The visitor center and overlook trail are accessible. The trail circling the ruins is very steep so wheelchair users will need a strong helper to access it. The very top is not accessible due to steps.

  The parking lot has long bus/RV spaces.
Tuzigoot    34.77278, -112.02896
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Audrey Headframe Park

  The headframe is located west of Jerome State Park and is not part of the park so there isn’t an admission charge. The headframe was used to lift copper ore from the 1900’ deep shaft of the Little Daisy Mine. The shaft is covered with a thick piece of glass so it’s possible to stand on the glass and look down the shaft. A man cage and other mining equipment is also on display.

  Large, loose gravel makes rolling around very difficult. A short steep ramp provides access to the glass covering the shaft.

The parking lot is large enough for RVs.
Park    34.75395, -112.11285
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Jerome State Historic Park

    In 1916 James S. Douglas, owner of the Little Daisy Mine in Jerome, built this mansion which was designed to house visiting mining officials as well as his family. It’s an austere building with some unusual features. The floors are concrete, the walls are adobe brick and it had steam heat, electricity and a central vacuum system. The mansion is now a museum with displays that include information about the Douglas family, the town of Jerome, copper mining artifacts, a mineral collection and a 3-D model of the underground mines. An interesting 30 minute video runs continuously.

  The first floor of the museum is accessible. The double doors at the entrance are narrow so both may need to be opened to provide  wheelchair  access. The grounds where mining equipment is located are surfaced with loose gravel so rolling is a little difficult.

  The parking lot has two RV spaces long enough for a 30’ RV.

  Jerome is a popular tourist town with art galleries, shops and restaurants. The road to Jerome from either direction is narrow and winding so you may not want to drive your RV but if you do, a RV parking lot is located at the north end of Main Street. A sidewalk leads to the center of town. Many of the shops at the north end have accessible entrances.
         Museum   34.75368, -112.11043
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Sedona Wetlands Preserve

   The wetlands are a series of six small ponds with different depths to provide a wide range of habitat. They’re filled with treated water from the nearby waste water reclamation plant. A large variety of birds visit the wetlands. We’re not birders so we weren’t looking closely but the ones that we did see were common red winged black birds and several different species of ducks.

  The trail around the first pond is hard packed, finely crushed stone and is easy to roll along. The other trails are surfaced with large, loose gravel so wheelchair users will probably need to have help.
  The entrance road is single lane with a couple of pull offs to allow passing of oncoming traffic. The parking lot is large enough for RVs.

  Sedona is surrounded by national forest but there are some restrictions on camping due to the large amount of visitors. Check here for more information. We boondocked at a well used spot along 89B on top of the hill with nice views of the red buttes. This spot is large enough for any RV. We didn’t go farther down the road but reports indicate that it gets narrow and rough.

Wetlands  34.83005, -111.89446   Camp   34.81179, -111.89416
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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sedona Heritage Museum

   Galleries and restaurants line the streets of Sedona today, catering to the thousands of tourists who come to hike the trails and marvel at the red sandstone buttes, but even into the 1970s Sedona was just a small ranching and fruit growing community. The Yavapai and Apache tribes hunted and farmed in the region until they were forcibly removed in 1876, opening the land to settlers and homesteaders.

  The land where the museum is located is a small portion of a 65 acre apple and peach orchard planted by Walter and Ruth Jordan in the 1930s. Their home, now housing the museum exhibits, started as a one room cabin with additional rooms added as needed. Exhibits are also housed in the fruit packing shed, the tractor shed, the tenthouse, and the telegraph office.
  An accessible entrance to the museum and gift shop is located in the rear of the house. The rooms are all accessible and a very narrow hallway can be avoided by backtracking.The outbuildings are accessible but large gravel covering the grounds makes rolling difficult.

  Do NOT drive your RV into the museum grounds. There is very little parking and the road dead ends without a turn around. Drop passengers off at the loop road near the entrance to the property and continue on the main road to the large parking lot on the left. A trail leads up to the museum. Wheelchair users taking the trail will find it easier to use the road once they reach the drop off loop because the trail becomes rough after that point. The interpretive trail at the lower parking lot is not accessible.
Museum   34.87806, -111.7614
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Friday, April 15, 2016

Museum of Northern Arizona

   Northern Arizona is part of the Colorado Plateau which extends over parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. The museum, housed in a beautifully designed stone building, covers the natural and human history of the area.  Included is a large collection of very fine examples of ancient Native American pottery. Another gallery showcases silver and turquoise jewelry created by artists from Rio Grande, Hopi, Navajo, and Zuni pueblos. A brief history of each tribe, the geology of the region, and  dinosaur bones fill other galleries.
   The museum is accessible.

   The parking lot is large enough for RVs.

  An easy to access boondocking spot is located a few miles north at the Fort Valley Trailhead in the Coconino National Forest. A long gravel pulloff with room for any size RV runs parallel to a short paved road. More secluded spots may be located along the forest road.
Museum     35.2345, -111.66491    Camp   35.24971, -111.68849
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Grand Canyon National Park

   This is our forth visit and we’re still in awe. Each viewpoint looks different and the scenery constantly changes with the weather and time of day. This early in the season the park isn’t overly crowded but expect cool temperatures and sporadic showers.

  Accessibility along the rim has improved a lot since we visited six years ago. The trail from South Kaibab Trailhead to Bright Angel Lodge, a distance of about 7 miles, is wide and completely paved. There are a few steeps spots so wheelchair users may need to have help. The trail has a gradual downhill slope from east to west. The shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible (scooters may be too large) so it’s possible to do a section of the trail and take a shuttle back to your vehicle. The park website has very good information about accessibility and brochures are available at the park entrance stations.

  The roads to Yaki Point and Hermits Rest are restricted to shuttles but a Scenic Drive Permit allows visitors with mobility issues vehicle access. The first viewpoint parking lots along the road to Hermits Rest are small with little room for RVs. The canyon is viewable from parking areas at most of the viewpoints. Most of the trail along this section of road is not accessible due to narrow pavement or dirt paths however the last mile is accessible and has great viewpoints. The building at Hermits Rest is supposed to be accessible but we didn’t find the right entrance.
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  Desert View Drive does not have shuttle service. Most of the lots have RV parking spots. Most have curb cuts from the lot  to the viewpoint pathways. The Desert Watch Tower is accessible on the first level. The Tusayan Museum and the short, paved, interpretive trail are accessible.
   The historic section of Grand Canyon is known as the Village. Most of the buildings are from the early 1900s and are not totally accessible. Verkamp’s Visitor center is accessible but the entrance door is very heavy. The first floor of the Hopi House is accessible. The first floor of the El Tovar Hotel is accessible. Bright Angle Lodge is accessible. The gift shop section of Lookout Studio is accessible. Kolb Studio is not accessible. The train Depot is accessible.
  The Geology Museum and the main visitor center located east of the Village are both accessible.
  There are three campgrounds on the south rim, Mather Campground which gets booked up fast (but check for cancellations),Trailer Village, a full hookup concession operated RV park, and Desert View Campground which is not reservable and closed in the winter. The accessible sites at Mather Campground, where we stayed for two nights, did not fill even over the weekend. The accessible sites are close to the restrooms and have slightly wider parking pads than the other sites. The campground roads and most of the sites are tight. RVs are limited to 30’ at both Mather and Desert View. In addition to the campgrounds very nice boondocking opportunities are located close to the park. We stayed two nights  just a mile off of the main park road in the Arizona Kaibab National Forest. (This is one of those free campsites that is so nice you kind of hate to tell anyone about it. :-) ) Boondocking is also available near the south entrance of the park along Fire Road 688.

  Visitors with RVs will be given a parking and restriction guide upon entering the park. We didn’t have any problems driving or parking but RV parking is very limited during busy times.
Park  36.05856, -112.10636   Boondocking   35.95961, -111.9583
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