Saturday, August 17, 2019

Manito Park Gardens

   Manito Park is a Spokane city park with five small themed gardens, two playgrounds, a conservatory, and a small pond. The roads do not have sidewalks and the trails are hilly and rough. Most people just walk along the roads since there’s little traffic.

   The gardens are located fairly far apart from each other so visitors with mobility issues may chose to drive to each one. Each garden has a small parking lot where shorter RVs will fit. Most have an accessible entry path. The Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, Duncan Garden, conservatory, and pond all have paved or gravel accessible paths with a few minor obstacles such as short steps or hills. The Lilac Garden and the Perennial Garden do not have paved paths but can be viewed from the road.

     RVs will fit in the lot by the Japanese Garden and the lot to the east of the Duncan Garden. There’s also on-the-street parking along 18th Ave and Tekoa St. Park  47.63614, -117.41496

Northern Quest Casino

    We parked in the far end of the southern lot where other RVs were parked. Security stopped and marked down our license number but did not talk with us or leave any flyers.

    From the parking lot follow the crosswalks to the right side of the casino complex to get to the casino entrance. The casino is accessible with fairly easy to move chairs and easy to reach money and card slots.  Casino  47.65618, -117.56358

Friday, August 16, 2019

Ankeny #1 Campground - WDFW

   We’ve camped at several Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife fishing areas and they’ve all been very primitive -  just a spot to park near a lake – but this one has a vault toilet, graveled parking pads, and, something we never expected, an accessible, paved parking pad with a paved path to the toilet.
   We chose to park on the gravel instead to get a nice view of the lake. Very quiet and almost empty on a Friday in August.
   The camping area is large enough for any RV. Campground  47.63967, -119.32206

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center

    The museum is housed in two buildings with a second story, covered walkway joining them. The first floor of the building where the entrance is located has temporary exhibits - a display about the 100th year of the Apple Blossom Festival when we visited. The second floors include exhibits on the Great Northern Railway, Native Americans, and short biographies of notable early settlers and residents. The first floor of the second building has exhibits about the apple industry.

   A wheelchair ramp is located between the buildings. Visitors must past through a hallway with offices to get to the main entrance desk. An elevator accesses the second floors. The first floor of the second building is accessed by a small lift. It wasn’t working correctly when we visited plus we ran out of time so I didn’t visit that floor.

   The small parking lot is for museum officials only. RVs may be parked on the street. We parked in the alleyway behind the buildings next to a little park. There’s also a free public lot a block south where RVs will fit if parked across the spaces. The sidewalks and curb cuts are in good condition but there’s a bit of a hill to climb. Museum  47.42225, -120.31022

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Aplets & Cotlets Factory Tour and Country Store

   Aplets & Cotlets are soft candies made with apples or apricots and walnuts. In 1918 Armen Tertsagian and Mark Balaban, who owned an apple orchard in Cashmere, Washington, had excess fruit so they created a candy based on a treat from their native country of Armenia. The company is still family owned and has expanded its products to include fruit bars and an assortment of chocolates.

    Tours are given every day April through December and on week days the rest of the year. The tour is short because there are only three rooms, the mixing and cooking room, the cooler where the candy sits in flat trays to jell, and the main area where everything else is done – cutting it into little blocks, tumbling it in powered sugar and corn starch, and carefully fitting each piece, one at a time, into a box. Several million pounds of candy are produced every year and the room is bustling with activity.

   Free samples of the candy and fruit bars are available at the store.  All of the other products can be purchased and there are specials every week. We tried everything and, even though both of us never pass up a sweet treat, we found them much too sweet. They seems to be an acquired taste and most of the candy is bought by Washingtonians.
   The tour and store are accessible.

   The parking lot is large enough for any RV. If it’s full there’s parking across the street in a public lot. Store  47.52147, -120.46974

Monday, August 12, 2019

Leavenworth, WA & Waterfront Park Trail

  Leavenworth was founded in the 1890s as a lumber town highly dependent of the Great Northern Railroad. In the 1920s the railroad was rerouted away from the town to a safer less avalanche prone path and the lumber mills closed, The depression years of the 1930s added another blow to the town’s economy.

   Local business owners and civic groups started working together in the 1960s to come up with a plan to revitalize the town. The deep valley and steep mountain scenery resembles the alps in Germany so the idea of remodeling the town to resemble a Bavarian village made sense. Today every building in the main section of town follows the Bavarian theme to some degree and tourists flock to the town to enjoy the ambiance and eat, drink, and shop.
   We walked/rolled around town but since we’re not shoppers we just admired the work that went into transforming a turn of the century logging town into a Bavarian village before heading to the Waterfront Park. The Waterfront Park Trail is about 1 mile long, one way, and travels through the woods and along the Wenatchee River.
    Wheelchair access in town is spotty. The sidewalk along US-2, the main route through town, has steep slopes at the cut outs for entry to hotels and other businesses. About a third of the businesses have steps at the entry. The Waterfront Trail is hardpacked dirt for easy rolling but the bridge ends are not flush to the ground and wheelchairs users may need assistance. The trail is on the flood plain and located down a steep hill from the town so drive to Enchantment Park where there’s a lot large enough for RVs.

   Oversized vehicles parking is not allowed in most lots and street parking is at a premium however the city has designated a lot at the west end of town for RV parking. It’s free and overnight parking is permitted for one night every seven days. It’s an easy walk into town. Leavenworth  47.5914, -120.67049

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bygone Byways Trailhead

   Maybe, as the website states, when this trail was made it was wheelchair accessible, but it no longer is. It’s also a little hard to find. The trail can be accessed from westbound US-2 only. If coming from US-2 eastbound, a short amount of backtracking is required. Look for the road signs and then look for the start of the trail behind the official forest service sign.

   The trail is a loop. Go clockwise and up the short hill for the easier access. This leads to an overlook with a partial view of the Nason Creek tumbling over rocks. The trail stays wide but goes downhill and wheelchair access become impossible due to washed out areas and the overgrowth of berry bushes. The map and text on the website do not accurately portray the mileage. It’s only about 1/3 mile for the loop, not 1 mile.
   The parking area, which is a pull off on the side of US-2, is large enough for any RV. Trail  47.78381, -121.02898

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Old Gold Bar- Index Road

  Just a wide pull off along Old Gold Bar-Index Road where 14 days of  free camping is allowed. It’s managed by the national forest service and has trash cans and a portable toilet.
   Don’t expect to be alone. It gets pretty crowded so your neighbors will be mere feet away. Most of the vehicles the night that we stayed were vans and small RVs but there’s plenty of room for larger RVs. Tent campers can find nice spots in the forest or on the riverbank.

    People camp here for several reasons. Some, like us, want a quiet spot for the night; others want to play in the Skyomish River; and others want the challenge of climbing the sheer granite walls of the cliffs near the little town of Index.

   River access is not accessible. The short Crescent Trail is surfaced with rough gravel and is not accessible. Camp  47.81625, -121.56705


Friday, August 9, 2019

Fort Worden State Park

  Around the turn of the 20th century three forts, designed to guard the entrance of Puget Sound, were built on opposing outcrops of land. Over 100 artillery pieces formed a "Triangle of Fire" ready to thwart any invasion from sea. The forts never saw any action but were manned through WWII.

    Fort Worden was an active military base until 1953 - a few years longer than the other two. It was sold to the State of Washington in 1957 and used as a  juvenile detention facility until 1971 when it was transferred to the Washington State Parks Commission. Because the property was always in use most of the historic wooden structures built for housing and administration purposes are still in good condition. Many can be rented for vacation stays. Others house restaurants, museums, performance venues, and oddly enough, college class rooms.
   The park is not very accessible. The road to the lighthouse (the lighthouse is not opened to tour) has a painted line a few feet from the curb designating it as a walking trail but essentially you’re walking on the road. This is marked on the map as an ADA accessible path. The sidewalks in the area where the buildings are located do not have good curb cuts. The paved walking and biking roads that circle around the gun emplacements are very hilly. The Coast Artillery Museum has a ramp at the rear but no sign at the front (where there are steps) indicating where to go. The Commanding Officer’s Quarters Museum has steps and no ramp.
    Both buildings of the Marine Science Center are accessible. The main display in the museum is a orca whale skeleton. The whale was found beached on the Olympic Peninsula in 2002. Examination and analysis of her body found very high concentrations of DDT and PCBs. Interactive displays and videos explore the impact people make on the ocean ecosystem.  The aquarium has tanks filled with a beautiful variety of local fish and invertebrate species plus several touch tanks with starfish, anemones, and other sea creatures. Definitely worth a visit!
  There’s a beach campground and a forest campground – both very popular so reservations are necessary. We did not stay at either campground.
   There are numerous parking lots where RVs will fit. Even though everything is within walking distance, I recommend that visitors with mobility issues park at one of the beach lots to see the Marine Science Center and moved to one of the lots in the housing area to visit the Coast Artillery Museum. The sidewalks are not in the best condition and there’s a steep hill between the two locations. Science Center  48.1362, -122.76187   Park  48.13451, -122.77042