Tagged with: accessible disability family kids life wheelchair
After my last blog I thought that summer meant things would slow down but as I type this I am on a plane headed to work at a military camp for a week after just getting back last night from Junior Nationals all week. Apparently there’s no rest for the weary but it hasn’t been all work and no play ALL summer. In fact, we kicked off summer with family vacation at my favorite place on earth – no, not Disney world – that’s the happiest place on earth – this is small town North Carolina. Population 25!
My grandparents got a house off a dirt road in the middle of nowhere back when my dad was in high school. Since then the house hasn’t changed much- it’s gotten a little bigger and we have a few more neighbors but it’s still off a dirt road with no cell phone service. There’s a creek in the back overlooked by a screened in back porch filled with rocking chairs. There is no better place on earth to drink a cup of coffee. But back to family vaca. We met my brother and his family there and spent the week in pure country bliss. Day 1 we had everyone go around and say what they wanted to do while there and then we set to marking off the list. Now as I said we were in small town N.C. so the list wasn’t too extensive. First up was fishing. The girls slept in and let the boys handle that one. They actually have a great little lake up there with accessible piers so the hubs has a great time with the nephew who’s greatest joy in life just happens to be fishing- Grandpa might have had some influence on that one. On the way back from fishing my brother’s transmission went out which meant we had to spend the rest of vaca with 6 people in our 4 maybe 5 seater sport truck. Now we like to” people watch” whenever we go up to the cabin and being the ‘city folk’ we are, we enjoy the ‘country folk’ we see up there. But when we drove up to the flea market to check another event off our list and 6 people and a dog climbed out as if it were one of those clown cars I am pretty sure the tides had changed and all those country folk were staring at US.
The next check on the list was paddling. We have a favorite little rafting company out on the Tuck. that we have gone to for years. Through the years I think it has changed owners once or twice but this year when we drove up we were met with a great surprise. The awesome folks at Smokey Mountain River Adventures had made their outfitter ACCESSIBLE. Now, we are talking a small outfitter on an even smaller river and nothing in small town N.C. is ever accessible. They not only made an accessible ramp so that the hubs could get in the building for the first time EVER but they also made completely ADA accessible bathrooms!!!! TOTAL props to the Smokey Mountain River Adventures. If you are ever in the area check them out here: http://www.smokymountainriveradventures.com/
They have always been really cool about the hubs paddling and taking his chair back for us and helping him get out of the water (which just happens to be a pretty steep bank) but this new ramp and bathroom was just icing on the cake to our perfect day. And to make them even more cool they let us take our puppy down the river with us and had a life jacket for him too. This was our puppy’s first rafting experience and we were a little nervous if he would enjoy the ride- turns out he loved it! He couldn’t sniff enough when we first got started down the river; he wanted to be everywhere at once. He got so close to the edge one time he even took a little unexpected dip in the water. But thanks to his life jacket we just scooped him right back up. By the end of the trip he was so worn out from all the excitement he laid down and took a nap right in the boat.
The next check on our list was horseback riding. – my niece’s request and favorite thing in life. So as all activities chair- related go, I called ahead just to see if they were ADA. While they didn’t have any accessible facilities they were totally open to letting us ride and use whatever means we could for the hubs to get on the horse. (and really that’s what matters to me. We realize that not all places are going to be accessible but if you have a good attitude about it and are willing to work with us than that’s all good, I hate when places tell me no! ) When we got to the stables – which happened to be called ‘Chunky Gal’s’ http://www.chunkygalstables.com/ – we realized they had the perfect set up for the hubs – or any other chair user- to get on the horse. We were prepared to open the bed of the truck and the hubs was going to transfer to the tailgate then bring his chair up and get back in it. Then transfer to the horse from there. But it ended up not being necessary at all. They actually had a retaining wall right next to the stables that just happened to be the perfect height for him to push up to and transfer right onto ‘Buddy.’ Everything worked like a charm until the ranch hand informed us how to get the horses to go. He said all you have to do is squeeze your legs together! Well, easier said than done when you don’t have leg muscles. But Buddy just happened to be the ranch owner’s personal horse and knew the trails perfectly and didn’t require any prodding. My horse was deemed lazy which suit me just fine. We had a great ride through the mountains over a little creek to a waterfall. It was the perfect ride for the husband’s first time back on a horse since he was injured. On the way back to the stables my horse decided he had had enough and started trotting towards home which made all the horses behind me think it was time to trot towards home. So the hubs got to practice his core and grip strength a little more than he had bargained for.
The rest of family’ vaca’ included lazy mornings, delicious meals and taking walks around the lake at night. Oh’ and our annual cramming of six bodies into one photo booth to get the family ‘vaca ‘photo. It really doesn’t get any better than that. Especially when it includes quality time with family we don’t get to see often enough.
The rest of the summer has just seemed to FLY by. The day after we got back from family ‘vaca’ we left for a track meet in St. Louis… Then a few weeks later another one in Chicago – btw that’s always a fun bus ride – NOPE! And then just two weekends after that we headed to Ames, Iowa (by plane this time) to go to Nationals. And just two days post that trip I find myself on base in South Georgia leading a rockwall camp for injured military. Somewhere in there we planted a garden and for the first time ever we have corn growing in our back yard! We also have pumpkins, tomatoes, banana peppers, green peppers, jalapeños, rosemary, thyme and sage. This city girl isn’t in Miami any more. And I can’t wait to enjoy the fruits of our harvest- and take a nap… A nap sounds really good!