The Last Straw

1200px-Eight_drinking_straws_(4273846588)With so many regulations popping up across the country limiting or outright banning the use of plastic straws, I’m getting a lot of questions from folks about why this is even an issue to some disabled people. And to be honest, some of the questions are well meaning, but many folks just don’t get the point – or points – that banning the use of plastic straws in restaurants puts yet another undue burden on our disabled citizens. Maybe some people just never thought about it before, or maybe they don’t understand the technicalities behind it all. Whatever the reason, here are some of the questions I’ve fielded in the past month, along with the answers I’ve given. Feel free to pass them along. Continue reading

Traveling Cherrie is Retiring

Cherrie just kicking back and enjoying Noble View.

Cherrie just kicking back and enjoying Noble View.

I’ve been traveling on and off with Cherrie for about nine years now; although as of late is has been more “off” than “on”. Cherrie was part of the Traveling Teddies program of SATW (a professional organization that I belong to). The idea was simple –members adopt a grade-school class and then they go and talk to them about their travels, take some photos of their teddy on the road, and maybe send a postcard or two along the way. Well, I didn’t have a class – I had a blog. And since I cover accessible travel I got a bear in a wheelchair. Continue reading

Remembering Fallen Friends on this ADA Anniversary

Betsy Volk and Trooper

Betsy Volk and Trooper

Today marks 28 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. And although some folks lament that we still have access problems, I prefer to look at how far we have come on this day. Although accessible travel certainly wasn’t a priority back in the beginning, it has gained momentum over the years. And that’s not just because we don’t institutionalize folks who are disabled any more — it’s also because some hearty souls paved the way “back in the day.” And because they were my friends, I’d like to give credit where credit is due on this ADA anniversary. Continue reading

Yosemite Fire Update – Should You Cancel Your Visit?

yosemite-falls-2

UPDATE – August 12, 2018 – The Mariposa Grove and Wawona are expected to reopen on Monday August 13. Yosemite Valley is expected to reopen on Tuesday August 14. Highway 140 (through Arch Rock) and Highway 120 (through Big Oak Flats) will be the only roads that lead to the valley. There will be no access to Yosemite Valley from the South Entrance due to firefighting activity just west of Tunnel View. Conversely, the only way to access Wawona and the Mariposa Grove is from the South Entrance. Services in the park will be limited, and it’s still smoky.

UPDATE 8-7-18 –  Yosemite Valley is still closed and there is no date set for it to reopen. Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Crane Flat, Big Oak Flat and Hetch Hetchy are also closed When these areas of park do reopen it’s expected that visitor services will be extremely limited there. The main objective now is firefighter safety.

The only park entrance that is open is the East Entrance. There is no access to the park from the west

Highway 140 to the Arch Rock entrance is now open (the entrance is closed).

Highway 120 from Groveland to Crane Flat should be open soon (they are doing a safety check and hope for it to open by noon today) but there will be no access to Yosemite Valley; however there will be access to Tioga Road.

The South Entrance will most likely be the last entrance to open.

UPDATE – 8/3/18: The ONLY park entrance open now is the East entrance off of Highway 395, north of Mammoth Lakes. I have had e-mails from many folks who had alternatively planned to stay on the west side near the park and then were going to try to enter the park at Big Oak Flats. THIS IS NO LONGER POSSIBLE. I strongly suggest basing yourself on the east side, (Mammoth Lakes) and enjoy Mono Lake, Bodie & Devils Postpile, and then check out Tenaya Lake (inside the park) on Tioga Pass Road. 

 

UPDATE – 7/24/18: Highway 41, Wawona and Yosemite Valley will be closed as of 8-25-18 at noon. Visitors will be asked to leave the park. This is being done in hopes of setting up a firebreak to stop the spread of the Ferguson Fire.

Since I live near Yosemite and write about the park often, I’ve gotten a lot of inquires lately about the Ferguson Fire, which is burning nearby. And the main question seems to be – “Should I cancel my Yosemite visit”? Continue reading

Airline Organization Urges DOT to Redefine “Service Animal”

 

New Service Animal FAQs from the DOJ

Airlines for America (AIA) — an airline industry group — recently announced that it had submitted a 222-page document to the Department of Transportation (DOT), in response to a call for input on possible revisions to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The group’s response included the suggestion that the DOT narrow the definition of “service animal” to “trained dogs that perform a task or work for an individual with a disability.” The document also included the recommendation that airlines should not be required to allow emotional support animals (ESOs) on board. Continue reading

Delta Airlines Nixes Pit Bulls as Service Animals

airplane_landing_199029Delta Airlines recently announced that it will no longer accept pit bull type dogs as service dogs or emotional support animals, beginning July 10, 2018. Additionally there will be a limit of one emotional support animal per passenger. Apparently this new policy is the direct result of several employees being bitten by service dogs or emotional support animals. Continue reading

ADA Lawsuit Filed Against Atlanta

depositphotos_3995516-stock-photo-cracked-urban-sidewalkThe accessibility of Atlanta’s sidewalks have been brought to task in a recent lawsuit filed in Federal Court. Among other things the lawsuit holds that obstructions include, “uneven sidewalks, sidewalks obstructed by trees or utility poles, sidewalks obstructed by ongoing construction, intersections with missing curb ramps, curb ramps that are broken or otherwise unusable, and other impediments”. Continue reading

Have You Ever Heard of a Watermelon Roll?

Mercury watermelonAs I was touring Keepers of the Wild the other day, Linda my guide turned to me and asked, “Have you heard about our Memorial Day watermelon roll?  As visions of people rolling giant watermelons towards the finish line at a Memorial Day picnic danced through my head, I stammered, “Um, no, not really.” And that’s when she filled me in on the finer details of “Watermelon Roll Keepers of the Wild Style”.  Continue reading