Friday, November 30, 2018

Belen Harvey House Museum


  Before 1878, when Fred Harvey entered an agreement with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to manage restaurants at railroad depots, passengers packed their own food or bought it from vendors. The agreement called for buildings to be designed and built by the railroad - Fred Harvey did the rest which included high standards for quality food preparation and first class service. The waitress, who were young and unmarried, wore long black dresses and white aprons and were expected to follow a strict code of conduct.

  Eventually there were 84 Harvey Houses. Some closed during the 1930s depression. More closed as train travel declined. Most of the buildings were demolished but a few have been restored and still operate as restaurants and hotels. Others have been restored and serve other purposes.

  The Belen Harvey House is now a museum with exhibits about the Belen House and Harvey Houses around the country. Donated artifacts are arranged in displays that cover local history. A special Christmas exhibit with a hundred decorated trees runs from Thanksgiving until December 30th.


   The first floor where most of the exhibits are located is accessible. The second  floor is accessed by stairs only.

   RVs must be parked on the street as the entry road to the parking lot is steep and has a sharp dip. Visitors in wheelchairs will need assistance to get up to the entry road.  Museum  34.66031, -106.7683

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Isleta Resort & Casino


   All trucks and RVs must  be parked in the southern most lot. The lot slopes in two directions so it’s almost impossible to get level. We managed to find a fairly level space in the northwest corner but visitors with larger RVs will have a hard time with the slopes.

   It’s a bit of an uphill hike to the casino. The shuttle buses are wheelchair accessible but you may have to flag down a security car or call the casino because they don’t make regular runs to the truck lot. The casino is accessible with easy to reach money and card slots.  Casino  34.93531, -106.66451

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

National Hispanic Cultural Center


   The cultural center complex includes a performing arts center, a research library, workshops, and an art museum. We visited the art museum which features permanent and changing exhibits. The artwork is colorful, interesting, and often intensely personal. We really enjoyed our visit.

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  The museum is accessible.

  The cultural center sits pretty far back from Bridge Blvd with a large parking lot in front of it. It’s hard to see the center from the street. We drove past the parking lot and had to turn around so watch for the signs on the corners of the property.  RVs will fit in the lot if parked across the spaces.  Center  35.06966, -106.65524

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Echo Amphitheater Campground


   Very easy access from US 84 and scenic surroundings makes this an excellent overnight stop. Amenities include picnic tables, potable water, and restrooms. The campground has one loop and 10 sites with varying degrees or levelness . The sites are narrow and the loop road has a tight bend. Many of the sites are pull through and we fit fine but it may be difficult to navigate through the campground with a large RV.


  The sites are not accessible. The trail to the bottom of the cliff that forms the amphitheater is paved and accessible until the last section which has steps.  Campground   36.35998, -106.52323

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Northern Edge Navajo Casino


  This is a small casino that closes at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. We stayed overnight with no problem. The lot doesn’t look like it ever gets filled so there’s plenty of room for RVs.

  The casino is roomy with fairy easy to move chairs and easy to reach card and money slots. Casino  36.71756, -108.25384

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Monday, November 26, 2018

The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian


  The Wheelwright Museum is small with several gallery featuring changing exhibits of thought-provoking contemporary artwork by local Native American artists. Jewelry, mainly silversmithing and other forms of metalwork, is displayed in the permanent collection gallery. The exhibits trace Native American jewelry making from the 1870s to the present with a focus on specific areas and artists from the Navajo and Pueblo reservations.

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  The museum is accessible. The entry doors are huge but well balanced so they open fairly easily.

Small RVs will fit in the upper lot. The lower lot is large enough for RVs but it’s surfaced with large gravel which making rolling difficult. Museum  35.66284, -105.92783

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Friday, November 23, 2018

Christmas Lights in Santa Fe Plaza

  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Our wonderful friend Laura invited us to share the holiday with her so we stuffed ourselves with a delicious turkey dinner yesterday and joined in the festivities of Christmas light-up night in Santa Fe today. Children sang carols on the plaza stage and Santa arrived on a vintage fire engine. We got a little cold so we wandered away from the crowded plaza to eat pizza and warm up.
   Then back to the plaza where it was worth the wait to see the dazzling display of hundreds of lights strung along the branches of the plaza trees.  Christmas Lights  35.68741, -105.93858
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Monday, November 19, 2018

Teec Nos Pos Trading Post


  Teec Nos Pos Trading Post is a traditional trading post, one of few still in existence.  Local people depend on it for daily supplies so the store is stocked with fresh and frozen groceries, canned goods, tools, pots and pans, and everything else that can be found in a larger store plus tee shirts, snacks, and dream catchers for the tourists. Beautiful Navaho handmade rugs and flat coiled baskets, silver and turquoise jewelry, and Hopi kachinas are located in two rooms on the right side of the store. They also sell gas, propane, coal, and hay. This is an interesting article -azcentral - about the store which has been in business since 1905 and in this location since 1958.

  The store is accessible.

   The parking lot is large enough for any RV. The trading post is a Harvest Hosts site so members can stay overnight. We parked at the far end of the wall in front of the store but I think that the preferred spot is to the right of the hay storage area. Teec Nos Pos   36.91947, -109.08369


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Zion National Park


   Our last visit to Zion, almost 5 years ago, was very short because we did not have campground reservations so we had to drive straight through. This time was different. :-)  I really recommend visiting the park in November. The crowds are gone, fall leaves glow  in the sunshine, and sites are available in South Campground. There are two campgrounds in Zion – South and Watchman. Reservation can be made at Watchman 6 months in advance while at South reservations can be made only two weeks in advance –  nice for all us non-planners. During the winter season from late November to March all campsites are first come/first serve.

  The park has three paved roads - Zion- Mount Carmel Highway travels west/east, Zion Canyon Drive travels north and dead ends at the start of the Narrows Trail, and Kolob Canyon Road, accessed from I-15, is a 5 mile dead end in the northern section of the park.


   Zion- Mount Carmel Highway has a narrow tunnel and all oversized vehicles must get a pass which can be purchased at the entrance stations. Traffic is blocked so that the tunnel become one way and the driving route is down the middle of the road.


   Zion Canyon Drive is closed to personal vehicles until after the Thanksgiving weekend. Visitors with severe medical conditions that require special equipment may use their personal vehicles. Free, accessible shuttle buses run continuously. I usually don’t like shuttles because of the long delays caused by the wheelchair lifts and safety straps but the park employees are fast and efficient.

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  Kolob Canyon Road is closed for road construction work. I’m not sure if RVs are permitted on it.

  Most of the trails are steep and narrow. Two are considered accessible. Pa’rus is 3.5 miles round trip and paved. It travels along the river and is very scenic. It goes south to the visitor center and north to the start of Zion Canyon Drive. Wheelchair users may need assistance due to a few hills. Pa’rus Trail can be accessed across from site 83 in South campground. Riverside Walk goes to the start of the Narrows Trail. The last section is very steep and sand covers the pavement so can be slippery. The entire trail can be accessed with a strong helper. Lower Emerald Pool is paved but not designated as accessible. It has steep sections and drop offs but it can be done with a strong helper.

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  The visitor center (no exhibits) is accessible. The History Museum is accessible.


   Watchman Campground has two accessible sites.  South campground has three sites that are designated as wheelchair accessible but really they are just large and fairly flat. The ground is rocky making rolling difficult. The restrooms are close but they are not accessible. The gorgeous view makes up for a lot!


  RV parking at trailheads and pull offs is very limited so it’s best to park in the RV lot  at the visitor center or stay at the campground and take the shuttle buses. The parking lot at the museum fills but small RVs will fit in the accessible spots. The tunnel limits are 13’1” in height and 50’ in length. Zion  37.19874, -112.98764