Friday, August 31, 2018

National Air and Space Museum


  Many of the museums in Washington DC are so large and cover so many topics that it’s hard to take in everything on a single trip. To make visits a little more meaningful check the websites and plan which exhibits will be the most interesting to you. Since we didn’t do that for the Air and Space Museum, we just wandered around, stopping at anything that caught our eyes. Highlights were the 1909 Wright Brother’s Military Flyer, the world's first military airplane, and Amelia Earhart’s bright red 1927 Vega that she flew solo nonstop on a transatlantic flight and a U.S. transcontinental flight – the first female pilot to do so.

IMG_3968IMG_3961IMG_3958Model of starship Enterprise used from Sept.1966 until June 1969.


  The museum exhibits are accessible. Simulator rides and planes that can be boarded are not accessible.

  We parked on Jefferson Drive fairly close to the museum. DC has recently implemented fee parking along all of the streets where parking was previously free. On most streets the fee is $2.00 an hour payable by credit card or phone app. The spaces are not marked with lines so RVs fees are the same as car fees. The maximum time is 3 hours, the same as it was previously. In the past this was not enforced but now it’s necessary to pay attention to the time which puts a crimp in long walks or long museum visits. A benefit of the parking fees is that spaces are easy to find. Spaces that would have filled by 9:30 in the morning are still available at 12:00.  Museum  38.88836, -77.0199


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Burke Lake Park


  A nicely maintained 4.7 mile trail winds through the forest and circles the lake. The trees provide plenty of shade but allow just a few glimpses of the lake.

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  A short section that can be accessed from picnic shelter A is paved and fairly accessible. The rest of the trail is gravel, very rough in some areas with a few short but steep hills, and may be accessible with assistance.


  The park has a campground but we did not check it out.

  The parking lots are large enough for any RV if parked across the spaces. Park  38.75816, -77.30395


Monday, August 27, 2018

Renwick Gallery


  The Renwick Gallery, part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, reopened in 2015 after an extensive renovation. The second floor, which previously displayed American artwork in a formal setting, now houses temporary exhibits including site- specific art. The current exhibit, filling both floors of the museum, features huge sculptures created for Burning Man and a temple built on site – very cool stuff! A few creations are located on the sidewalks outside so pick up a map before leaving the museum.


  The accessible ramp is on the west side of the museum near the main entrance, Exhibits that aren’t accessible have an alternate viewing location. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition.


                                       Bear made of pennies!


  Parking is on the street – $.25 for 6-7 minutes and limited to 2 hours. This a business section of the city so visit on the weekend when more spaces are available. Museum  38.89889, -77.039


Friday, August 24, 2018

Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art


  The museum which encompasses three buildings got it start in 1975. The main building, formerly a Stearns and Foster mattress warehouse built in 1900, is the location of the admission desk and should be your first stop. The art installations are site-specific so galleries may be closed during the creation process.


  The artwork is very unusual so go with an open mind. The Greer Lankton exhibit may not be suitable for young children. Lankton, a a transgender woman, explored gender identity, fashion, drug addiction, and anorexia through her drawings, paintings, and dolls.


  The main building is accessible. The first floor of the building at 516 Sampsonia Way is partially accessible. The building at 1414 Monterey Street has a step at the entrance and no elevator. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in fair condition. Walk/roll east along Sampsonia Way (an alley without a sidewalk) to see the murals painted on the sides of buildings.


  A small parking lot where short RVs will fit is located at the main building. Larger vehicles can be parked on the street but parking is limited.  Museum  40.45715, -80.01216


Tuesday, August 21, 2018



  Randyland is an explosion of color, intricate designs, and found objects all contained in a small courtyard between the narrow 19th century houses that line the neighborhood streets. Randy Gibson, self described as learning disabled and attention deficient, bought the property in 1995 and keeps it meticulously maintained. If he’s not working at his evening job as a waiter he’ll probably be in his courtyard garden greeting visitors, pointing out the best places to stand for photographs, and talking non-stop. Randy is as colorful as his beautiful creations. :-)

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   The neighborhood sidewalks are in very bad condition. There’s a good curb cut on the corner of Arch and Jacksonia at Randyland. The main courtyard is accessible but the upper deck is not.


  Parking is on the street but you may have to park a few blocks away.  Randyland  40.45788, -80.00983


Friday, August 17, 2018

Three Rivers Heritage Trail & Three Rivers Regatta


    Over 20 miles of trails follow along the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers, the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio. We parked near the John Heinz History Center and walked/rolled west for about a mile, then crossed over the Allegheny on the Duquesne Bridge to the north shore. From there we went east and crossed the river again at the Andy Warhol Bridge to complete the loop back to our RV. 


  The trail is in good shape except for a few rough spots. Long ADA compliant ramps allow bridge access but not all of the bridges have ramps so plan your route with that in mind.

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   We visited the weekend of the 41st Three Rivers Regatta which features boat races, bands, a kid’s zone, food booths, and fireworks. Despite living it Pittsburgh for years this was our first time to attend the regatta which we found smaller than we expected. It was very easy to get around and to get a good viewing area because there weren’t any crowds. We missed the speed races but we did catch the Anything That Floats race, checked out the sand sculpture, and attempted to find non-artery clogging food. :-D  The best choice were Greek spinach pockets - yum.


   We parked near the history center on three separate days. It’s best to visit downtown Pittsburgh on the weekends when the lots are almost empty however we found the situation different on each day. The first day we parked in the history center lot – $5.00. Signs stated no buses, trucks, or trailers. The second day we were directed to a lease only lot behind the history center lot. The third day the history center had “ no RVs” added to the prohibited sign so we parked in the PPG  lot at 1301 Smallman St. – $10.00 if we could fit in one space.  Trail  Regatta  40.44703, -79.99524