Service Animal or Pet? How to Ferret Out The Truth

Legitimate service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers

Legitimate service animals are trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers

Although I generally direct my tips to consumers, I’m going to change things up a bit and reach out to folks in customer service today. Lately there has been a lot of buzz about “fake” service animals, otherwise known as pets. And to be honest, the fakers really do a huge disservice to people who have legitimate service animals. Continue reading

Great Grand Canyon Winter Deals

You can get the best price on a hotel room in the winter at the Grand Canyon

You can get the best price on a hotel room in the winter at the Grand Canyon

A few years back when I was researching my Grand Canyon book, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with the front desk supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel. Not only did she accompany me on all my room inspections, but she also shared loads of insider information about the different types of accessible rooms in the park. Continue reading

A Slice of Russia in Northern California


Located on the Northern California Coast, Fort Ross offers good access for wheelchair-users and slow walkers

Located on scenic Highway 1, Fort Ross was once the site of the southernmost Russian settlement in America. Over the years it transitioned from a fort to a ranch, until the state of California purchased the abandoned site in 1903. Today, the refurbished fort is open to the public; and although access is somewhat marginal at many historic attractions, I’m happy to report that thanks to some substantial access upgrades, Fort Ross is now accessible to everyone.

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Accessible & Artsy Downtown Las Vegas Venue

This Mantis sculpture marks the entrance to the Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas

The folks from the Las Vegas Downtown Project have definitely taken the phrase “re-purpose, reuse and renew” to heart, with the implementation and design of the Downtown Container Park. Located on Fremont Street, just a stone’s throw from the Fremont Experience, this sustainable attraction is built entirely from used shipping containers. Yes, I said shipping containers. Continue reading

Don’t Get Left at the Gate!

Learn the law, so you don’t get left at the gate!

Sometimes knowing the finer points of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) can make the difference between having a trouble-free flight, and literally being left at the gate. Such was the case for Jerremy Lorch, a wheelchair-user who was recently denied boarding on an Air Canada flight to Toronto from the Greater Rochester International Airport. Continue reading

Rail-Trails Guides Highlight Accessible Trails

Rail-Trails Washington & Oregon, from Wilderness Press

I’m a big fan of Rail-Trails, as a large number of these former rail beds have been converted to wheelchair-accessible trails. I was thrilled to discover that Wilderness Press has a whole series of official Rails-to-Trails Conservancy guidebooks; and since I travel through the Pacific Northwest a lot I decided to check out their “Rail-Trails Washington & Oregon” title.

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A Kitschy Baker Attraction

The Baker Thermometer -- an icon along Interstate 15

On our way back from Las Vegas, I mentioned to Charles that I’d like to stop at the Baker thermometer to get some photos. Granted we did stop there on the way out for gas, but I was recovering from a painful dental visit and I had forgotten about the needed photos. Charles of course remembered that and promptly replied, “We were just there last week in the heat of the afternoon when the thermometer read an impressive 103. That would have been the good shot. It’s only 10 in the morning and it’s not even going to be 100 degrees when we get there.” Continue reading

National Park Etiquette

Grand Canyon National Park

After spending several weeks in our national parks doing some final research for my next book, I’ve encountered what can only be called some “less than stewardly behavior “ by my fellow national park visitors. Although this isn’t the be-all-and-end-all list on national park etiquette, it’s a good starting point. And since today is National Public Lands Day, I thought it’d be a good time to share it with the world. Continue reading

Five Survival Strategies for Visiting Zion on Holiday Weekends

A two-hour wait for the Zion Canyon shuttle bus on Labor Day weekend

Summer weekends mark peak season in Zion National Park, but Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends bring even more crowds into this Southwestern Utah national park. Although nothing kills the natural experience like standing in a shuttle bus line for two hours, there are ways to make the most of your visit if you absolutely must come on a holiday weekend. Continue reading

Five Fun Accessible National Park Finds

Accessible trail to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls

OK, I admit it, I’m a national park junkie. I love visiting them and writing about them; in fact, I’m currently working on my third national park title. One of the great things about our national parks is that even though many of them are rugged, they still offer accessible options for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. And so with the 99th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) coming up on August 25, I thought I’d share some of my favorite accessible sites in America’s national parks Continue reading