Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Museum of the Americas

 Anyone with an interest in indigenous art or folk art should visit this museum! Thousands of pieces fill cases and cover the walls. There are over 115 folk art nativity scenes. Everything has been personally collected by Elizabeth and Harold Lawrence while traveling in North America, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Most of the items are of recent vintage but there are a few 1000 year old Native American pots, arrowheads, and grinding stones.

The entrance to the museum is not accessible. The sidewalk slopes up to the door where there's a short step up to a narrow strip of concrete. Entry is possible with assistance but it's awkward. The interior rooms are small and seem a bit crowded but there's plenty of room to maneuver and see everything. 

 The parking lot on is on the left side of the museum. It's too small for RVs and the sidewalk is blocked by a fire hydrant, an electric pole, and several road signs. We parked a block west on North Elm Street. The curb cuts are in fair condition. Museum  32.75876, -97.7949


Monday, April 29, 2024

Clark Gardens

 Clark Gardens is the result of years of work by Max and Bobbi Clack who owned a company that specialized in burying fiber optic cables. Max also designed a rock saw that could cut trenches for the cables. The saw is on display at the far west end of the gardens.

The gardens cover 50 acres and includes roses, azaleas, lilies, irises, wildflowers, fountains, lakes, streams, and many paths.  Model trains run through a miniature garden and into a little town. A Historic Tree Trail features 86 trees grown from seeds or cutting from trees located at places of historic importance. This sycamore tree doesn't look very impressive but it was grown from a cutting of a tree that was grown from a cutting of the tree that Hippocrates sat under in Greece when he taught his students. 

Many areas of the gardens have facilities that can be rented. Chairs and tables were set up for an evening wedding when we visited. This was near the entrance of the gardens and was much more manicured than the rest of the gardens. Other areas looked slightly neglected with weeds growing in the flowerbeds and paths that needed repairs. This was especially noticeable at the Rose Garden and the Historic Tree Trail which look like they don't get many visitors perhaps because they're at the far end of the gardens. 

The gardens are large so most wheelchair users will need assistance. Paths vary - hard packed dirt, rough flagstone, broken paver brick, rough gravel, and lumpy grass. Obstacles include steps and uneven transitions between surfaces. 

The parking lot is large enough for any vehicle. Gardens  32.80376, -98.02306


Sunday, April 28, 2024

W. K. Gordon Center for Industrial History of Texas

 In 1888 the Texas and Pacific Coal Company bought a small coal mining operation in north Texas. Robert Hunter, president of the company, had an agreement to supply all the coal for the Texas and Pacific Railroad. Realizing that the railroad would be growing as more people moved west, Hunter recruited miners from other states and overseas and built a town named Thurber after H. K. Thurber, an investor in the company. 

The town had over 200 hundred houses plus stores, a boarding house, schools, and churches. Its perimeter was fenced and  patrolled by guards to keep union organizers, peddlers, and other unwelcome visitors out. Despite the fence and a language barrier which slowed union organizing, in1903 Thurber became the first 100 percent unionized closed-shop city in the nation. It was still a wholly company owned town with payment in scrip that could only be used at company stores but rents and utilities were cheap. The houses had plumbing and an electric plant built in 1895 supplied power to all the houses for lights, small appliances, and refrigerators. 

Thurber's demise came when trains began using oil as fuel instead of coal. The last mine closed in 1921 and many families moved to other locations in the US or even back to their home countries. A brick plant stayed in operation until 1930 but by the late 1930s the town was gone. The only hint that thousands of people once lived and worked in Thurber are the old mercantile building, now a restaurant, and the 128' power plant smokestack.

The small museum tells the story of Thurber through photographs and personal accounts. A short video is shown in the theater. 

 The museum and theater are accessible.

The parking lot is large enough for any vehicle.  Museum  32.50443, -98.41389

Friday, April 26, 2024

Hunter Park Camping

 The Brazos River Authority has established five parks along Lake Granbury's shoreline. Hunter Park, along with three others, has free camping with a limit to ten days during a 30-consecutive-day period which includes all of Lake Granbury's camping areas.

Hunter Park has about a dozen picnic tables strung out along the south edge of the park. RVs may be parked along the fence which has openings to access the picnic tables. Tents may be set up on the grass. The park has a boat launch, fishing piers, grills, and restrooms. 

The picnic tables aren't accessible because they're mounted on concrete slabs that aren't flush to the ground. The openings in the fence are wide enough for wheelchair access. One of the fishing piers is accessible. The restrooms are supposed to be accessible but I didn't check them. Camping 32.47884, -97.79231

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Airport Park Campground

Another Corp of Engineers campground with great view of the lake! This is one of four COE campgrounds located on the shores of Lake Waco. We were in site 57 which is considered an accessible site but it's pretty much the same as the rest of the sites - a paved parking pad and hard packed gravel around the table which is on a concrete pad. 

 Amenities include tables under shelters, electric and water hookups, restrooms, showers, and a dump station.

This is a great site for anybody has kids or wants to launch a small boat because it has its own little beach. The beach is down a steep hill so it's not accessible. Campground  31.59367, -97.23275

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Waco Riverwalk

The riverwalk runs along both sides of the Brazos River. In total it's about five miles long but there's a missing section on the south side of the river near the Waco Suspension Bridge. We walked/rolled along the north side for about 3 miles round trip with a side trip across the suspension bridge. Several sculptures and a mural are located along the walk. 

The walkway is wide, smooth concrete with a few gentle hills. 

We parked in lot at the Bledsoe Miller Center and Park which is large enough for any vehicle. Riverwalk 31.56385, -97.13011