Saturday, March 20, 2010

To A Blog Near You

Joe and I are vacation planning. We are thinking of taking a whole week, maybe two, off and heading out on the open road. We really rarely vacation. We get enough travel from the lecturing but this time we are a little more excited about the idea because we are 'thinking disabled' as we make our plans.

Since I became a wheelchair user vacations just seemed too difficult This is because we kept thinking about 'old vacations' the ones that we used to take when I was upright and Joe's bladder had some elasticity. But our old favourites just don't work any more, New York City is hell in a wheelchair. They cut corners when they cut curbs and man trying to make it along on a sidewalk when your eyes are elbow level is a frightening experience. We still love to go to NYC to work, but it's not a place to 'hang' for a few days. San Francisco? Yeah, all Joe'd have to do to collect the insurance is lose grip of my chair on one of those hills. Not exactly what we'd want to do.

I mentioned the idea of a bit of a vacation because we took a really successful trip down to Disney land last year and thought maybe we could do something again. I'm not up for another trip to the Mouse House so what to do. So we made a list of the things we like to do that are also wheelchair accessible. Let's see. We like the theatres and museums, we like art galleries and shopping centers. Next, we got out a map and looked at the cities around us.

I've always wanted to go to the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Well, not always, but since Madonna was inducted. She and I could chat now, one hall of famer to another. And then we looked at a few other cities that had attractions that we'd knew about but never seen. We've been to all these cities, lectured there, but never had time there. In all from Toronto to the outermost city, 16 hours. The longest drive between cities, 7. We could hop from city to city and then drive back. Easy peasy.

Since I became disabled I have really tried to let my disability inform me but not restrict me. Well, in fact, it kinda does - but only if I do that 'old me' thinking that we keep teaching people to eschew. It's time for 'new me' and maybe a 'new me' vacation.

Cripples Take To The Road: A Series of Blog Posts Coming Soon


Kristin said...

Good for you. Dave, you do so much to help others deal with their disability. I'm glad you've decided to do something for yourself (and Joe, of course).

Shan said...

Really good idea.

Susan said...

The very best part of vacations is the planning part. Dreaming is free!

Looking forward to seeing the photos...

Moose said...

Isn't it funny [and I don't mean in the ha-ha way] how being in a wheelchair changes how you see things?

I use rental powerchairs when I attend conferences [so rare for me now, but still] and it's absolutely amazing. People think things are "accessible" but they sometimes don't really see the little things that grind the world to a halt.

I attended a conference at a Big Name University south of San Francisco last year and it was a struggle. I missed the first part of a class I was teaching [thankfully, co-teaching] because it took them 3 tries to get a bus on the route that could handle the chair -- the first two had a broken lift. There was a spate of the usual - ramps often frighteningly steep, aisles in stores or between tables sometimes too narrow, signs to accessible paths were sometimes scarce, meaning I'd have to "go back around and try again." On my last day I ran into another person with a chair, who was a student, and asked her how she managed. For her it had become a matter of being known on the routes she used, in the buildings she went into, etc.

6 months before I'd been in San Diego. Having a power chair let me get around the area to places I'd been unable to get for many years. The trolley/tram was fully accessible [with extending ramps on the cars!] but some of cuts to the sidewalks were so bad that I sometimes wound up in the street [my friends in fear that some driver was gonna plow into me].

These days, though I don't use a chair in day to day life [though I sure wish I did :/] I still see things for their accessibility. Good luck and have a WONDERFUL time! I look forward to hearing about what you find and do.

Scoobyschu said...

I have a friend that interned for an organization that specialized in helping people with disabilities find accessible vacations. I think it was based near Eugene, Oregon, but I am sorry I don't remember the name. Have a wonderful trip where ever you decide to go!

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