An Informal Study on Pool Accessibility

As I make my way across the country on this two-month road trip, I just can’t help checking out the swimming pools at the properties I stay at along the way. Not only do I really enjoy the water, but I’m also interested in seeing how many properties are taking steps to be in compliance with the new ADA accessibility regulations for pools and spas. Granted, the regulations don’t go into effect until January 2013, but I’m just curious about how we are doing right now. And although it’s far from a scientific study, here’s what I found out about pool accessibility – or lack thereof – in a wide range of properties across America. Continue reading

Road Trip Fun

There are plenty of fun things to do — for the young and the not-so-young — at Wall Drug.

Road trips are more than just going from Point A to Point B in a car. Although that’s certainly part of it, the other part is stopping at fun and quirky roadside attractions along the way. And that’s exactly what we did on our drive through South Dakota and Minnesota. Continue reading

Colorado Detour

Escalante Overlook at Dinosaur National Monument

It goes without saying that you need to do a lot of planning for a road trip, especially if access s a concern. That said, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you just have deal with it. Usually it requires thinking on your feet, but on the plus side, sometimes detours can reveal some cool sights that you wouldn’t have found on your original route. Such was the case yesterday, when we had to deviate from our route from Utah to Colorado.

Originally we had planned to go through Wyoming and see a property on the border, and then drop back into Colorado and spend the night at an accessible yurt. Unfortunately our site visit in Wyoming was cancelled, so I just figured it was best to head straight through Utah on Highway 40, since our yurt was located close to it.

The good news was that the new route cut don on our driving time considerably, so I started looking at the map to see what we could do along the way. And all of a sudden it popped out at me – Dinosaur National Monument.

To be fair, this monument spans two states. The Utah side boasts dinosaur bones in situ, while the Colorado side has some gorgeous canyon views. Since we only had a few extra hour we opted for the Colorado side – and we weren’t disappointed.

We started out visit at the Dinosaur National Monument Visitors Center, just east of Dinosaur, Colorado. There was plenty of accessible parking there, with barrier free access to the Visitors Center. Inside we watched a 12 minute move, which really gave us the lay of the land. Then after having a nice picnic lunch at the wonderfully shady accessible picnic tables, we headed on our way to do the scenic drive to the top of the canyon.

Our first stop was the Escalante Overlook, where we got a view of Grand Staircase – Escalente National Monument. We’ve visited the park before and even driven down the Burr Trail, but you really get the best view of this natural wonder from afar. The overlook was deserted, and even if you didn’t want to get our of your car, you could still get a great windshield view.

The view from Canyon Overlook at Dinosaur National Monument

The drive up to the Canyon Overlook was equally scenic, and the view from the top was stellar. We went all the way to the top overlook at first, but then found a lower overlook on the way back, which was equally impressive. The lower overlook is also a great place to picnic, as there is one accessible picnic table with a great view of the canyon. And if was kind of fun to see the same canyon that we saw in Canyonlands National Park – only from a different perspective.

All in all it was a fun detour. And since there was no admission charge it was easy on the wallet too. So next time you are tooling through Western Colorado on Highway 40, be sure to stop at Dinosaur National Monument. You won’t be disappointed!!

Cherrie Visits Old Iron Town

Cherrie was able to wheel around to many parts of Iron Town, located just west of Cedar City, utah.

Located just a short drive from Cedar City Utah, Old Iron Town is definitely worth a side trip when you’re in the area.

Cherry enjoyed wheeling around the ruins of this one-time iron works, which was abandoned by the Mormons in 1876. Continue reading

See How Furniture is Made in Floyd, Virginia — And Get a Free Cutting Board!

Handcrafted barstool from Phoenix Hardwoods.

If your travels take you to Floyd, Virginia this weekend, then be sure and stop in and say hello to my friends at Phoenix Hardwoods Woodworking Shop. Of course Bill and Corrine regularly have their showroom open during the week, but this weekend – from Friday June 22 to Monday June 25 – they will have some extra demonstrations and special weekend hours. And a special giveaway for Barrier Free Travels Blog readers. Continue reading

Will Cruise Lines Follow Suit on Pool Access?

As you probably are quite aware, cruise ships are technically covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, however since there are no specific access regulations – known as the ADAAG – it’s still rather a moot point. The ADAAG for cruise ships has been a work in progress by the US Access Board for many, many years; and quite frankly I’m stymied by the delay. But that’s another issue. Continue reading

Breaking News — DOJ Extends Deadline for Pool Compliance

Well, the Department of Justice (DOJ) once again surprised me when they announced their decision to extend the compliance date for access to pools and hot tubs in places of public accommodation. While I had hoped that pools would be open for business this summer, that’s the case at all. In fact the DOJ extended the compliance date to January 31, 2013.

Yep, you read that one right. Continue reading

Crossing the Line

Last week I discussed how sometimes some basic common sense can help things go a little smoother access-wise, as it pertains to privacy. As you recall, travel and tourism providers can’t ask you the details of your disability, but they can ask what accommodations you require. It’s really a fine line, one that often leads to some miscommunication because hospitality folks are afraid to ask too much, for fear they’ll break the law. So sometimes you have to volunteer a bit, just so they have a full understanding of your disability.

Then we have the other side of the coin. What do you do when they ask too much? Continue reading

Should Everything Be Accessible?

A typical old building in the ghost town of Hornitos, California.

Should everything in the world be wheelchair-accessible?

At first glance, the answer to this query would appear to be yes; however it’s prudent to be wary of questions or statements that include sweeping generalities like “everything”. Most things, yes; but everything? Maybe not so much. Continue reading