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Escalante Pueblo

We visited the Anasazi Heritage Center yesterday which is just a few miles up the road from us and near Dolores, Colorado.  While wheeling Susan up the ramp towards the Center we passed a sign that said “Escalante Pueblo 1/2 Mile” with an arrow pointing to the left. Sounded interesting and there was a concrete pathway so how hard could it be?

A lot harder than I expected.  The path was uphill all the way and we’re at about 6400 feet in altitude.  At least that’s my excuse.  I huffed and puffed all the way up and had to stop several times to rest and get my breath back before being able to continue.

Susan at one of the path’s switchbacks

Escalente Pueblo sits on top of the hill.  It was named for the Franciscan leader of an expedition to the area in 1776 and and it had long since been abandoned when they found it.  It has since been dated to about 1120 AD.  The Pueblo has been “stabilized” since (many of the stones have been re-set and re-mortared) and there was a group of people at the top learning how to take archaeological photographs.  It wasn’t overly large but it still probably took a great deal of work to build it.  The craftsmanship (which hopefully reflects the early builders and not the later restorers) was better than we expected.

Looking west across Escalente Pueblo
Looking south across Escalente Pueblo

Going back down was, of course, a lot easier than going up.  It was a sunny, hot day and we’re glad we brought along water.  We each still got a bit of a sunburn and Susan needs to remember to bring a hat any time we’re going to be outdoors for any length of time.

Getting up and down was a bit of work.  Given that there were no handrails I’d say it would be difficult for anybody in a wheelchair to make the trip by themselves.  There were many benches and wheelchair cutouts along the way though (even though none of them were in shade when we were there) so for a handicap accessible outdoor path going uphill it was about as well constructed as it could be.   We’re glad we made the effort since it was an interesting site and there were numerous placards along the way highlighting the local vegetation and its uses.

Carnegie Museum of Art and Architecture, the architecture part

When we came to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History we didn’t know that it shared a building (buildings?) withe the Carnegie Museum of Art and Architecture.  We had already gone through the Natural History museum by the time the fire alarm sounded and we had to evacuate so afterwards we went through at least part of the Museum of Art and Architecture.

The arrangement is a little odd, since the Museum of Architecture is mostly on the same floor as the Museum of Natural History.  It also isn’t so much about architecture but about architectural elements across the ages.

Medieval Frieze from a church

There was some attempt to place the exhibits in chronological order but there were also several doors you can enter from so where you start in history is somewhat left to chance.

Medieval Balcony from a church

Continue reading Carnegie Museum of Art and Architecture, the architecture part

American Antique Car Association (AACA) Museum

The American Antique Car Association museum is located on the way into Hershey, Pennsylvania, just off of Route 39.  We visited it today and wandered around for a couple of hours.  There are three floors but the largest and most complete exhibits are on the first floor.  The 2nd floor had a lot less space devoted to exhibits and was almost entirely motorcycles.  The ground (basement?) floor was mostly buses and motorcycles but had been partially cleared out for an upcoming weekend event.

1908 Zimmerman Surrey

The layout of exhibits was a little strange in that it was only partly chronological.   In a couple of instances there was a theme, like the iconic cars from the 1960’s.

But in other instances there were 1970’s muscle cars next to 1920’s runabouts.  Most eras were well represented however, with many of the cars that embodied the times.

1924 Stevens-Duryea Runabout

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Super Moon in Benson

There was a lot of hype about the super moon.  All it is however, is a full moon that was occurring at the closest point of the moon’s orbit to earth so it was going to be the largest full moon (by angular diameter) for the next decade or so.  By sheer coincidence (not planned, really!) I happened to be out just around the time the moon was supposed to rise. There was a bunch of people out at the top of the main street in the RV park and I stopped to talk to a couple I knew and they said they were out to watch the super-moon rise, which it started to do about a minute later.  I almost always carry a camera so I took a couple of quick photos (if I’d planned ahead I would have brought the camera tripod).


The moon rose over the northern end of the Dragoon Mountains which are about 20 miles east of the RV Park.


I’ve never timed a moonrise before, but from the moment the top edge of the moon peeked over the Dragoons to the time it was fully up was less than three minutes which seemed quite fast.  To be honest the Moon always looks big when it’s near the horizon so I couldn’t say whether it was really any bigger than it usually is but it was a fun impromptu get-together with our neighbors.

Susan’s new grab bars

It’s been a year since Susan first starting getting vertigo and although it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, her balance is still poor.  To make it easier for her to get around inside the motor home I decided to install a couple more grab bars.

The problem is that the kind of grab bars you can buy at Home Depot have wide bases, usually 4 inches or so across.  The interior cabinetry and walls of the motor home don’t have 2 x 4 studs to screw things into.  In fact, in order to keep weight down the structural elements are only at the corners and in between is very thin veneer plywood. Two years ago I made grab bars out of 1″ x 3″ oak that got around this problem by being narrow enough to install at the edge of the cabinets over and beside the bed.

This time I started with two pieces of 1″ x 3″ x 24″ oak and used a jig saw to round the outer corners and a bandsaw to cut out the interior space, leaving a handle shape.  I used my router to round the edges and a belt sander in the RV park’s workshop to smooth everything.  I then drilled and countersunk holes for screws using the workshop’s drill press.  I then gave them two coats of polyurethane and stain (sanding lightly in between coats).  Finally I used 4″ brass wood screws (that I had to order on-line because nobody carries brass screws that long locally) to fasten one just inside the doorway to the bedroom and one just inside the hallway.

Grab bar to the left of the doorway in the bedroom.
Grab bar to the left of the doorway in the bedroom.
Grab bar in the hallway (other side of the doorway to the bedroom).

I am pleased to say that they’re very sturdy.  I’ve put my full weight on them and they don’t budge.  Susan has used them several times already and says they are a real help so I think it was worth the time I put into them.

Fort Huachuca Aerostat

Fort Huachuca is a US Army base in Sierra Vista, about 25 mile south of us.  The base regularly flies a tethered aerostat (blimp) that contains a radar system and is used to look at the US-Mexican border airspace.  I first saw it a couple of years ago from our RV site in Benson.  We go to Sierra Vista somewhat regularly and see it flying every so often.  I’ve tried to get pictures of it several times and most of the time the photos haven’t come out very well which is usually because the lighting has been bad.  This time I got a reasonably good photo of it.


A half hour later a thunderstorm suddenly came off the mountains that form a backdrop southwest of Sierra Vista and they quickly reeled it down.

Not something you expect to see every day

We were on our way to Tucson for (another) doctor’s appointment and got stuck in traffic near the Empirita Road exit around mile 292 on Interstate 10 because of road work.  I noticed something odd in the sky to our left.


When it got closer I was able to see it was a blimp and specifically, the Hendrick’s Gin blimp.


It was flying due East a couple hundred feet off the ground and was porpoising (steadily rising and falling) as it went by.  Whether that was to get our attention or because that’s the way it flies, I don’t know.  I later learned that its nickname is the “flying pickle” and had left San Diego a couple days before.  It was on a nationwide tour for National Pickle Day (May 15).

Not something you see every day while driving to Tucson.

Scenic Park Cabins

We stayed at the Scenic Park Campground in South Sioux City, NE, which is on the Missouri River.  It is a city park that is immaculately maintained and was a pleasure to stay in.  The park has four “cabins” for rent.

Three of the four cabins

The cabins are several years old and we were told that they were art projects from the Architectural Schools at the University of Iowa in Sioux City.  They were located just across from our camping site and looked very interesting.

Cabin 4

They were all made from either found materials or what you would be able to find in a Home Depot or Lowes.

Cabin 2

There was nothing earth-shattering about them but they were all fun-looking projects.

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Garden of the Gods

We had been told about the Garden of the Gods by a friend who suggested we stop by and take a look as long as we were traveling nearby.  For that reason we are camped at the Garden of the Gods RV resort in Colorado Springs and yesterday we took a short drive to see them.

View of the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center
View of the Garden of the Gods from the Visitor Center

The Garden of the Gods is an outcropping of ancient sandstone that had originally been laid down around 300 million years ago.  The rise of the Rocky mountains (that’s Pike’s Peak covered by clouds in the background) turned the sandstone layers on their side and weathering and erosion have done the rest.

Sandstone leaves
Sandstone leaves or fingers

They reminded us strongly of Arches National Park in Utah which had similar layers of sandstone also turned on its side.  Like Arches, there were several fingers or leaves of sandstone.

More layered sandstone standing on edge

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Saguaro SKP 25th Anniversary Parade

This is our second winter at the Saguaro SKP Park in Benson, Arizona.  The park was established by a group of Escapee’s and the first dirt was moved in 1989.  Much of the work was done by the first leaseholders who established a strong volunteer ethic that has been the hallmark of the park ever since.

This week has been the 25th anniversary of the official opening of the park and there have been a number of events and celebrations.  Yesterday was the park’s first parade and Susan was a participant.


There were over two dozen vehicles in the parade.


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