Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Arts District in Richmond, VA. Photo ops on W Broad Street.

Calfee Park, home of the Appalachian League, Pulaski Mariners. A sweet ballpark in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Opened in 1935, Calfee Park has housed several baseball teams over the years, including the Rangers, Phillies, Braves, Cubs and Blue Jays.

Impromptu fiddling session at campsite in Galax, Virginia. The best music happens away from the grandstand at the surrounding trailer campsites.

Our quest for the tastiest fried chicken led us to the Southern Kitchen in New Market, VA. Note the lovely crisp skin on the dark meat.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Traveling with Disability

It has been an interesting experience traveling with my husband, who shattered his leg in January. The end of July was our first big trip since the accident. After his fourth surgery in June, he still cannot put weight on his foot; hence, he used crutches to get around. We also purchased a shower stool and walker and had them shipped to his sister's home in New Jersey (our first stop). We rented a car from Enterprise at Newark, NJ with a drop-off at Dulles. We stayed in six Marriott properties ranging from Residence Inns, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn to TownePlace Suites. Overall, we managed the trip quite well, with many helpful people along the way. At SFO, United Airlines provided a wheelchair from the airport entrance to our gate and we got pre-boarded onto the plane. At Newark, they provided a wheelchair and attendant, who took us from the gate to the Airtrain and all the way to Enterprise Rent-a-car. A kindly Enterprise employee gave my husband another wheelchair ride to our car.
We had booked handicap rooms with roll-in showers at every hotel. All but one got it right. One hotel gave us a handicap room with a tub. When my husband pointed out that he could not hop in and out of the tub, they gave us a shower room, sans handrails. We requested that they move to another hotel at the same price. It paid to have them confirm guaranteed rooms with roll-in showers.
The biggest challenge for us were the bathrooms. None were engineered particularly well for taking showers without flooding the entire room. Issues included shower curtains the weren't long enough, immobile shower heads, too little water pressure, too much water pressure, not enough slope on the floor to move the water into the drain, shower heads pointed in the wrong direction, and no shampoo/soap ledge. I wish I could get Toto, the Japanese toilet manufacturer to re-engineer each room more effectively. It wasn't pleasant to stand in a pool of dirty water while brushing one's teeth at the sink.
Still, we got into the rhythm of packing, unpacking, and putting all of our suitcases back into the car as efficiently as possible. At one hotel parking lot, a woman and her daughter appeared from nowhere and offered to pray for us. That was sweet. Because my husband could not walk places, this was a trip that consisted of driving, visiting friends at their homes, and dining. We did include a brief stop at the Galax Fiddler's Convention and visits to two minor league ballparks. In all cases, we got great handicap parking and seats. On our last day, we donated the shower stool and walker to Goodwill.
The flight home from Dulles seemed daunting. But Enterprise employees arranged to drive us to the airport after we paid for the rental and again, the airport attendant took my husband on a wheelchair all the way to the gate (a vast distance!). Back at SFO, an attendant was waiting for us at the gate and took us to baggage claim. After I had retrieved our suitcases, I took the Park n Fly shuttle to pick up the car. I drove back to the airport to get my husband luggage and we were home about an hour after we landed. Not bad!

Fixed shower head and too short curtains contributed to drainage issue but overall, an acceptable bathroom.

Curtains too short but hand held shower was great!

Fixed shower head facing forward meant major flooding after shower. Handheld shower could not be adjusted.