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

A Fun Way to Support National Parks

Get your National Parks pop-up book today!

If you’re looking for a unique way to support our national parks, then consider buying a copy of America’s National Parks — A Pop-Up Book. Billed as a pop-up book for adults, this nostalgic work features a journey through 18 of our most popular national parks, including six done as pop-ups in the style of 1930s WPA posters. Even better, it’s a fund raiser for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) — in fact they hope to raise $100,000 with the project. Continue reading

Objects of Belief from the Vatican — Opening This Weekend

Mbulu-ngulu, (Reliquary Figure) Gabon, Kota people, (Obamba or Mindumu group) Late 19th-early 20th century Copper, brass, iron, wood, 101060. Photo © Vatican Museums

If you happen to be traveling to San Francisco between now and September 8, 2013, be sure and check out the excellent Objects of Belief from the Vatican exhibition at the de Young Museum.  Although there are only 39 objects in this well-curated collection, they each tell a unique story. And since none of the artifacts have ever been out of the Vatican Ethnological Museum, this special exhibition is even more intriguing. Continue reading

A Denied Boarding with a Tragic Twist

There’s certainly no shortage of denied airline boardings involving wheelchair-users who travel unaccompanied. And for the most part these incidents usually involve passengers who are unable to evacuate the airplane on their own, in the event of an emergency.

But here’s a new twist on it all. What if the airlines are unable to physically accommodate a disabled passenger? And what if this happens, not once, not twice, but three times? And what if the passenger dies as a result of that denied boarding? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Vilma Soltesz last month; and now attorney Holly Ostrov Ronai is seeking $6 million in damages from the airlines, claiming that they violated the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Continue reading

Indianapolis Cultural Trail

The Indianapolis Cultural Trail gets a thumbs-up for access.

The last time I visited Indianapolis, Washington Street was filled with construction workers, the JW Marriott had just broken ground, and the Indianapolis Cultural Trail was still a work in progress. This time around things were different. I stayed in the JW Marriott, the Washington Street construction is moving along, and I had a great time exploring the very accessible Indianapolis Cultural Trail. 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

Cherrie Goes Yurting

Cherrie at the accessible Red Fox yurt at Snow Mountain Ranch, near Granby Colorado.

I first discovered yurts about 12 years ago, when I was doing a story on the Oregon Coast. I accidentally stumbled into a campground and saw this domed tent and wondered what it was. Come to find out it was a yurt, and at that time they were all the rage at Oregon state parks. 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!!

Best Western Damage Control

In these days of social media, what once could have been an overlooked complaint, can go viral in a matter of days. Such is the case an incident that happened to Mr. Chad Staples at his recent stay at the Best Western in Monahans, TX. Continue reading