Oxygen — Don’t Leave Home Without It

As I was watching my Facebook feed this morning, a post by one of my travel writer friends caught my eye. Apparently her flight was being diverted for a medical emergency. She made a series of posts about what was happening and then took a video of a woman being helped off the airplane. She was hooked up to emergency oxygen, and although the sounds was fuzzy there was some discussion as to if she normally uses therapeutic oxygen. Continue reading

A Better Way to Build an Aisle Chair

Although access to the friendly skies has greatly improved over the past 25 years, it still has a way to go. Take the lowly aisle chair, for example. Some travelers call it a torture device, while others describe the on board transfer process as “beyond humiliating”. Either way, the whole system could use a facelift. Continue reading

Raptor Free Flight Show Returns to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Barn Owl

Those of you who know me really well, know that I have a particular fondness for raptors. So much so, that I even spent some time working with a falconer near my mountain home in my younger years. Thinking back, I would do any volunteer job I could, just to be near those beautiful birds. Which is why I was thrilled when I found out that I was visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on the opening day of their Raptor Free Flight show. And I wasn’t disappointed one bit!  Continue reading

The Breaking Bad Driving Tour

Hank and Marie's House

It’s hard to visit Albuquerque and not think about Breaking Bad. After all this hit TV series about a chemistry teacher turned meth cook was filmed here. Breaking Bad is big business in Albuquerque these days, as I’ve seen everything from a postcard with Walter’s drivers license on it, to the incredibly popular Breaking Bad Balloon Fiesta pin here. The latter sold out in 15 minutes, but you can still order one online from the Plano Pin Company. With all this Breaking Bad hoopla it would seem a sin not to indulge just a bit; which why I decided to do a little research and create my own Breaking Bad Driving Tour. In the end I was very pleased, as not only is the tour free, but it’s also wheelchair-accessible. Best of all, you can do it at your own pace. Continue reading

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Offers Excellent Access

If the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is on your bucket list, but you’re concerend about wheelchair access, then worry no more, because I’m happy to report that this annual event boasts excellent access for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. Continue reading

When a Roll-in Shower Really Isn’t…

Sometimes I’m a stickler for terminology, and I know that infuriates no small percentage of my friends. But as a writer, I feel that words – the correct words – are very important. Case and point is an incident that happened at a chain hotel yesterday. Continue reading

Crested Butte Gears Up for Ski Season

Cherrie is ready for ski season!

As the fall colors dot the hillsides surrounding Crested Butte, the folks at the Adaptive Sports Center are gearing up for what they will hope will be a very busy ski season. Says Mike Neustedter, Marketing Director of the Adaptive Sports Center, “We’re all set for the ski season, which will open the day before Thanksgiving; and we have skis and snowboards that will meet just about every need.” And from looking at the mountain of equipment in the gear room, he’s not exaggerating one bit. “Granted”, he adds, “Sometimes it takes a bit of personalized adaptation, because every disability is different, but we do whatever we can to make it work.” Continue reading

A Tale of Two Museums

Accessible pathways at Ute Museum

Since the government shut down, I’ve been scrambling to find accessible non-National Park things to do in a land filled with National Parks. Such was the case yesterday, when we visited Montrose, Colorado. In normal times, the big attraction in the area is Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, but since ever square inch of its hiking trails and overlooks are littered with those attractive orange cones, I decided to check out what the local museums had to offer. And although it was an interesting day, one museum rose head-and-shoulders above the other as far as access is concerned. Continue reading

Hitting the Road

As we wind down to the departure date for our Fall Road Trip (Wed. Oct. 2) I’m busy tying up loose ends and finalizing our itinerary. Even though we’ve traveled through the Southwest a lot, I’m really looking forward to seeing some new (for me) things, and to visiting a whole slew of accessible properties. Continue reading

Access Board Extends Public Comment Deadline on Passenger Vessels

Just when I thought there was actually some glimmer of hope to actually getting some cruise ship access regulations on the books in my lifetime, I got this fateful e-mail from the Access Board.

“The Access Board is extending the deadline for public comments on accessibility guidelines it has proposed for passenger vessels an additional 120 days. Comments on the guidelines, which were released in June, are now due on January 24, 2014, instead of September 23, 2013, as indicated in a published notice. The extension will more than double the allotted time for comments and is responsive to concerns raised by interested parties on the need for additional time to review the rule and prepare feedback, including responses to questions posed by the Board.”

So of course I decided to check out the comments that have been received. There were only a handful, and besides mine there were a few from consumers, as well as three from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The consumer letters all addressed access issues. Can you guess what the CLIA letters addressed? Well…drumroll… they all asked for a 120 day extension to fully evaluate the proposed regulations. So here we are back at square one.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with CLIA, it is the world´s largest cruise association and it focuses on the “promotion and growth of the cruise industry.” I’m sure they will come up with lengthy comments and encourage the Access Board to adopt less restrictive regulations. After all, the cruise lines are CLIA members.

In all fairness, I think the Access Board should hear both sides. And since “disabled passengers” don’t have an association to speak for them, it’s up to each and every one of you. That’s right – you!

So if you’ve even taken a cruise and had a problem, or are thinking about taking one but can’t because of an access issue, then it’s time to let the Access Board know. As long as the regulations are going to be delayed, you may as well have a voice in the outcome.