Historic Yosemite Railroad Boasts Excellent Access

I’ve visited a wide variety of rail attractions over the past 20 years on my accessible travel beat, and I have to say that the folks at the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (www.YMSPRR.com) really wowed me the other day. Continue reading

Access Plusses Abound in Sequoia National Park

After spending the past three weeks exploring Sequoia National Park for my next book, Barrier-Free Travel; Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.barrierfreeyosemite.com) I’ve come away with some observations about access in this often overlooked national treasure. Of course, as with any research trip there was good and bad, but on the plus side I have to say that the good far outweighed the bad on this Sequoia visit. With that in mind here are my top three “access plusses” – access features that totally wowed me – in the land of the giant sequoias. Continue reading

New Yosemite Property Gets A+ For Access

Accessible pool area at Ruch Creek Lodge

Accessible pool area at Rush Creek Lodge

Although I travel the world in search of cool accessible travel finds, I’m just as excited to discover one right in my own backyard. Such was the case last week, when I went over to check out the new Rush Creek Lodge, just outside the Big Oak Flat entrance to Yosemite National Park. Continue reading

My Letter to Mr. Jones

Every now and then I read something that just can’t go without comment. Today it was an article on Penn Live by David Jones. Apparently Mr. Jones is vehemently against private development in Pennsylvania’s state parks, but he tries to make his case by saying that if the parks were developed then “people who don’t belong there”  (aka disabled people) would flock to these parks. He also uses some very derogatory language to describe the habits and abilities of wheelchair- and scooter-users.   Continue reading

Birmingham Guidebook Highlights Accessible Walks

FiveStar_Hikes_BirminghamWhen I was researching our visit to De Soto State Park in Northern Alabama, I happened across the guidebook, Five-Star Trails Birmingham. Even though I wasn’t visiting the city proper, the subtitle of the book – Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes – definitely caught my attention. And I was even more pleased after I cracked the cover and discovered that “wheelchair-access” was noted on each and every hike. Granted it didn’t include  the level of access details that I usually  note in my publications, but it’s certainly enough to decide if each walk will or won’t work for you. Continue reading

Beware the Everglades Vultures — Or Not?

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Black Vultures can pose problems for unsuspecting visitors in the Everglades

When I first began to plan this road trip I actually laughed out loud when I read reports about the vultures that were eating the rubber off of cars in the Everglades. I thought that someone was pranking me, even though there was a huge warning about the mischievous birds on the official National Park Service website. So I did what I usually do when I need the most accurate information – I went local. And indeed several of my Florida hiker friends indicated that this was a big problem, and more than a few folks shared their tales of woe with me about having to replace their windshield wiper blades after an Everglades day trip. Continue reading

Florida State Parks Offers Great Deal for Veterans

Charles with his Florida StatePar Pass

Charles with his Florida StatePar Pass

If a trip to Florida is in your future and you are an honorably discharged veteran, then the good folks at Florida State Parks have a money-saving deal for you. All veterans – no matter when they served – get a 25% discount on a Florida State Parks Individual Annual Pass or a Family Annual Pass; while veterans with a service-connected disability are eligible to receive a free lifetime Military Entrance Pass (which offers the same benefits as the Family Annual Pass). Continue reading

Power Beach Wheelchairs Available on Alabama Beaches

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Power Beach Wheelchair Available for Rent in Gulf Shores, AL

I first discovered power beach wheelchairs in my home state of California, and immediately I thought they were super cool. These motorized chairs with balloon tires allow wheelchair-users independent access to the beach, and independence is a very good thing if you’re a wheelchair-user. After all wouldn’t you rather navigate the coastline on your own, instead of being pushed around by somebody else? Suffice it to say I was very impressed with the whole concept. Continue reading