Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home NHS

Date of Visit: November 5, 2016

Since we had visited the Jimmy Carter national park unit earlier this trip, it seemed natural to stop by the Clinton one when we were driving through Arkansas. At first it was confusing if it was accessible because the parking signs are only on the street by the railroad tracks, which has steps up to the Visitor Center. Mom went in and asked if it was accessible and discovered there is a parking lot behind the house. There are no actual handicap spots, but it's a decent size parking lot and we were pretty much the only ones there.

We got there right as it was the time for them to give a house tour, so we started with  the tour. The first floor is mostly accessible. Mik particularly liked that unlike most historic homes this one had no barriers keeping you from areas. Thus, it really seemed more like people had actually lived here. The second floor isn't accessible, but the ranger gave Mom and I the quick tour of it separately while the other one of us  waited with Mik downstairs.

Overall Mik enjoyed the stop because it was a really quick one. However, it is a little disappointing in that it seems a little too limited. They do have a small exhibit about Clinton and his family members, but it's kind of odd the only artifacts were basically campaign buttons.

Destination Info:
President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home NHS

Saturday, November 5, 2016

American Airlines Center: Portland Trail Blazers @ Dallas Mavericks

Date of Visit: November 4, 2016

Mik and Mom talk about going to a basketball game at a new arena every season to make progress towards having seen a game at every one, but in the past 5 years they still have only been to the Phoenix Suns and the Washington Wizards (this one at least was before it was our local team). As part of our current plan as we go road trip, we decided to finally try to see a game.

We originally tried to see the Memphis Grizzlies, but we couldn't get accessible seats. This has frequently been an issue and actually the biggest reason why their plans to get to more arenas haven't happened. We know in the case of the Suns it was often about getting to the right department that sold them and the Wizards we just have always bought the tickets at the box office. Thus, we considered just going to the Memphis box office to ensure they really didn't have any accessible tickets available. Then I realized we were near Dallas and was able to actually buy tickets on Ticketmaster.

Since Mom isn't exactly allowed to take the truck into parking garages (and Mom had Hyatt points for a free night), we walked to the American Airlines Center from the nearby Hyatt House. This ended up working out okay, but there is a lot of construction going on making it difficult to find an accessible route. There is a point we had to cross and the other side doesn't have a ramp, but at least this road is set up for entering the parking garage around game time making the traffic not an issue. The people directing parking were also willing to stop the traffic to let us just walk in the street until we got to the ramp at the next block.

We sat in Section 101. I had purchased two tickets for the wheelchair row and one in the row in front, but since they have a chair for each spot and plenty of room behind the row of chairs the usher said I could just sit behind Mik if I wanted. Mik liked that it was the level we entered and we didn't have to find an elevator. He also like the view of the game from this level.

Overall Mik enjoyed watching the game at American Airlines Center. However, it was a little loud for his liking. Also, it failed the cup holder test. The rows in front have them. Even the folding chairs in the wheelchair row have them, but when you move it out of the way for a wheelchair to roll into the spot the cup holder goes away.

Destination Info:
American Airlines Center 
2500 Victory Ave
Dallas, Texas

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fort Smith National Historic Site

Date of Visit: November 3, 2016

I had already been to Fort Smith, but I wanted to the Centennial stamp since we were pretty much driving right by it. I remember the museum being worthwhile, but let Mik decide what we do. He just wanted to visit the bookstore and walk around the outside exhibits (mainly to get the Poke Stops).

There are several parking areas around the Fort. The one closest to the building is just a few spots right off the road. Since the one handicap spot was already taken, we parked in the biggest one, which is on the other side of the Gallows. The handicap spots here are the furthest away and mostly work except they are currently doing work on the gazebo and blocking the sidewalk meaning it's confusing to find a path to the Visitor Center with a ramp up to the sidewalk (it's near the street).

Mik enjoyed walking around the fort, although the gazebo project also blocked the path down to the Trail of Tears overlook, so we couldn't quite fully explore the grounds.

Mik also liked that the Visitor Center entrance has buttons to open the doors. There was also a family restroom.

Destination Info:
Fort Smith NHS
301 Parker Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Burke's Book Store

 Date of Visit: November 2, 2016

After a disappointing search for books in Savannah with two out of the three bookstores being entirely inaccessible due to stairs and none having 1940s books, we both enjoyed visiting Burke's Book Store in Memphis. There were very few areas that Mik couldn't get to, but for the most part he could easily roll around and browsed his favorite genres.

The fact that they had a parking lot was also something that made this one of our favorite used bookstores we've visited because most of the time they end up only have on street parking, which often makes it difficult to get Mik out of the truck.

Destination Info:

Burke's Book Store
936 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104

Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

Date of Visit: November 1, 2016

I was close to having visited 100 National Park units, so I wanted to do it this year while it was the Centennial. I also wanted my 100th to be something cool. Thus, I chose Jimmy Carter National Historic Site because we have the same birthday and he is also Mom's favorite president.

We started our visit at the Plains High School Museum and Visitor Center. There are parking lots in front of and behind the building. We liked that it clearly pointed to the back parking lot for the accessible spots as the ramp entrance to the building is the back entrance. However, we did not like the parking spots because neither one had an access aisle. Since there weren't many other visitors no parked next to us anyways, but we still were blocking the vehicle next to us if they needed the wide access like we do.

The museum has several rooms set up as the school would have been, a movie showing in the auditorium, and a timeline style exhibit on Jimmy Carter. Mik enjoyed the movies about the school that included students talking about their time there.

Our favorite part of the museum was the Resolute desk replica.

After the museum, we walked over to the Plains Depot, which was the 1976 Campaign Headquarters. It was worth walking over there for us as we battled the two Pokemon gyms that were between the museum and the depot. We had Mom drive the truck over rather than walk back to the museum, though because there was a better handicap spot by the depot, though, and we didn't want to have to cross the railroad tracks and the highway again.

The Plains Depot has a good exhibit about its history as the campaign headquarters. The main part of the exhibit is up on the platform level, which has ramp access by the parking lot. The other part is not accessible from inside the building due to steps, but there is a door to it at street level.

Destination Info:
Jimmy Carter NHS
300 North Bond Street
Plains, GA 31780

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Black Swan Books

Date of Visit: October 29, 2016

For the past few years I've been seeking out 1940s books at used bookstores when traveling. Mik enjoys browsing bookstores, but often he quickly gets bored because they aren't very accessible and he can't explore that much of the stores. While he didn't end up finding anything he wanted at Black Swan Books, he was actually the one we had to wait for to be done browsing because he could easily roll around the whole store.

Destination Info:
Black Swan Books
2601 W. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23220

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

 Date of Visit: October 29, 2016

We started our visit of the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site by watching the movie at the visitor center. The movie is very well done and definitely a must see. However, Mik was then ready to go and found the house tour not that interesting because he thought it was just then repetitive information. Thus, he thinks in hindsight it would have been better to see the house and then watch the movie (or really he probably thinks the movie is all you need to do here AND it is worth visiting just for it).

Mom and I both really did enjoy the house tour, but agree that the movie is the best part of an everyday visit here. The best part for our visit, though, was that one of Maggie Walker's relatives was filming an interview at the house and we got to talk to her and learn about how Maggie Walker's legacy continues to carry on today.

Not sure if the tour always begins from the back, but there is a ramp to the enter through the back, so that's how the tour began for us. The tour does also include the second floor, but it is not accessible nowadays, so we broke off and left the way we came in when they got to that part of the tour. Interestingly, Maggie Walker was in a wheelchair towards the end of her life due to diabetes and they had an elevator that used pulleys for her to get between the floors.

Overall accessibility was surprisingly good here, especially considering it is an old home and a smaller National Park unit. We did find the handicap stall in the bathroom almost too small, though. Also, it is just neighborhood street parking and some of the sidewalks are quite a mess from tree trunks pushing them up, but growing up in a historic neighborhood ourselves the fact it even has sidewalks the whole block is something.

Destination Info:
Maggie L. Walker NHS
600 N. 2nd St.
Richmond, VA 23219