An ongoing adventure of travel and living while using a wheelchair. Tim has been disabled from birth. Darryl is his father and caregiver who travels with him.
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All content, images, and video copyright 2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 - Darryl, Letty, and Tim Musick
There's nobody better in digging out the details of accessible travel than Candy Harrington. Along with husband Charles Pannell, She turns out books on accessible travel at a furious pace (she writes, he takes the pictures). Her latest, Resting Easy In The U.S. looks into a facet of accessible lodging that has always fascinated me...unique, non-cookie cutter accommodations that are wheelchair accessible. Candy excels in the nuts and bolts of travel, uncovering useful details most people would never think of but are essential to mobility challenged tourists. Beyond details like roll-in showers, we get things like how high the edge of the bed is; will there be room for your Hoyer lift and what piece of furniture you might need to move out of the way; can you roll under the kitchen counter; how many (and how high) steps there are that you might need to navigate...this book is a detailer's masterpiece. The them of this tome, of course, is uniqueness. We can go to the Hiltons, Marriotts, and Sheratons all day long and find decent accessible rooms but they're pretty much all the same (I defy anyone to be able to tell one Springhill Suites from another on their travels).
Peabody Hotel Duckmaster and his Charges
Here, each of the 90 plus properties has a spin on it that you won't find anywhere else. Want to go to an early 20th century, summer camp-like lodge on the edge of the Monterey Peninsula? Asilomar will fit that bill. A cushy and luxe hotel where you can walk to Beale Street and get an up-close-and-personal parade of ducks each day? The Peabody in Memphis is the ticket for you. How about a spectacular view room where you can watch the sun play over the beauty of Monument Valley from your room? The View Hotel in Utah is for you. There is an extensive variety of lodgings described here. Quaint bed and breakfasts, national park lodges, housekeeping cabins, yurt tents, and boutique hotels are among those listed here. If you're really adventurous, you can even sleep in an accessible lean-to in an accessible wilderness park in upstate New York.
In addition, Candy's attention to details gives you little tips along the way. You might need a roll-in shower, she will tell you if you might want to skip a particular property because it only has tubs or the property in Cambria has a couple of steps into the office but she'll let you know that the owner will come out to your vehicle to check you in so you won't have to negotiate them. Even to the point of letting you know how far you'll need to go and that you'll need to pay for the shower in certain campgrounds. There's a wealth of information here and it covers a good deal of the United States. You'll be sure to find something here to make a great trip. I know I'll be referring to it often. Resting Easy In The US is available at Amazon.com and at restingez.com. Darryl Copyright 2015 - Darryl Musick All Rights Reserved
We're working our way through the American Southwest. This week, it's Yuma as we work our way over into Arizona. Yuma is at the convergence of California, Arizona, and Mexico...
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In the old days, cowboys would come here looking for a good saloon, a bath, and maybe someone to spend the night with. Today, we’re looking for a full breakfast, a big room with a comfortable bed, and a good wifi connection.
Near the western end of town, reminders of the old days sit across the freeway from each other. The Territorial Prison on a bluff looking over the Colorado River held the area's ne'er do wells within its thick, rock walls. Those who were more upstanding…or maybe just lucky at not being caught…would have a cold beer while playing cards across the way at Lute's Casino.
For this trip, our hotel would be the Springhill Suites, just off of Interstate 8 at the 16th Street exit. Our room would be a large, semi-suite with a living room and a separate bedroom area with a king-size bed. There is also a full-size sofabed in the living room. The bathroom is large. You have your choice of a tub and bath chair, or a roll-in shower.
We don't need a roll-in so we opt for the tub.
The $81 rate includes a full, hot breakfast. No one would mistake it for gourmet, but the eggs, sausage, toast, and waffles are good and wholesome.
Nearby is another alternative, the La Fuente Inn and Suites where the price is nearly the same, the suites are really big rooms, it's not quite as accessible (no roll-in showers), but they do offer a great hot breakfast, have a really fun happy hour each night, and a beautiful pool area.
Seven miles to the west, back in California, we start the trip by walking over the border to Mexico in Los Algodones. A medical tourism hotspot catering to snowbirds, today we're just making a fast shopping trip to get some great, cheap premium tequila and some medicines to stock up our medicine cabinet with. Letty also gets some big bottles of vanilla for cooking.
Back in Yuma, a trip to the old territorial prison is in order. At a cost of $8, it's not cheap, but what a step back in time. Walking through the sally port, you see the massive, iron reinforced adobe walls. Other parts of the prison use solid rock walls five feet thick.
Small cells with chamber pots line the corridors. Some have rings embedded into the ground to chain the prisoners in place. The dark cell, used for punishment, is indeed a scary place. An iron grid on the floor outlines the spot where the former cage was. It is imperative to watch your step in this dark room.
The entire complex, save for one cell, is accessible to wheelchairs but some parts may be bumpy.
For dinner, we go over the freeway to Lute's where we sit among the memorabilia hanging throughout the room. Dinner tonight is the Lute's special, which is a cheeseburger topped with a sliced hot dog. It's good, cheap, and kind of a gutbuster.
The sun comes up late here in the winter…Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time. At 7:15 in the morning, the first rays pop up over the eastern mountains. We have a final breakfast at the hotel before packing it up and heading back on the road.