Thursday, March 30, 2006

By water or land

The Rockford, Illinois Park District's Forest City Queen and trolley are fully wheelchair accessible.

Bon voyage

"Two programs of Ontario March of Dimes are partnering to take consumers on a fully-accessible cruise, with the assistance of James Glasbergen, director of accessible travel for Frederick Travel," this press release says.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Go explore!

If you're nearby enough, you might want to attend the "Traveling with a Disability: Explore Your World" travel show in Salem Hew Hampshire this Saturday (April 1). The show will be at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital, 70 Butler St., Salem, N.H., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. Call (603) 893-2900 for more information. Lots more info here.

It's a muddy creek, but an accessible path

Swallow Falls State Park is no Yellowstone, but if you do visit it be assured it has some accessibility. The path to Muddy Creek Falls, Maryland's largest, is accessible and there is disabled parking.

Reasonable disability

Check out this passage from a QandA (from one of my favorite newspaper websites) with cruise expert Douglas Ward:

"Q. How should vacationers prepare for a cruise health-wise?
A. You should be in good health, although cruise lines will take passengers in wheelchairs or those who are otherwise disabled (within reason) ..."

So remember, if you ever plan to take a cruise, keep your disabilities "within reason."

Who's responsible for a comment like that? Ward? The cruise lines?

Monday, March 27, 2006

10 to consider

What do the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, Wolf Park in Indiana and the Big Island of Hawaii have in common? All made this list of top accessible travel destinations.

You can do it in Wisconsin

When Sheila Bissen started Another Choice, her travel agency serving the disabled, in 1984, it was one of two such agencies in the country. Now there are several just in Wisconsin (thataway Wisconsin).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Action time

Allan Appel of Scripps Howard News Service makes a plea to contact your congressmen on the proposed changes to the Air Carrier Access Act regarding service animals. Thanks Allan.

The RVing life

Longhorn Conversions of Memphis, Missouri is getting into accessible RVs in a big way. Or they expect to down the road. The company estimates annual demand for their disability RV as high as 7,500 units per year.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Nicely done article here about cruising and the visually impaired.

Not free from fees

Ryanair has found a way to recoup the oh so heavy cost of having wheelchairs for it passengers that might need one. They levy everyone a stealthy fee. From

"Airlines have been able to get away with advertising airfares until now that excluded taxes and fees but the new airline proposal is that they be able to make airfares even less transparent by not advertising additional airline-related costs like fuel surcharges. What this means to consumers, especially those that use airfare comparison websites to make purchasing decisions, is that it will become even harder to work out exactly how much your ticket will cost and which airline is offering the better deal. And with growing fuel surcharges, especially on certain international sectors, these hidden extra costs could come as a bit of shock when the final price is revealed. This practice is already in place in certain European countries, especially among the low cost carriers, like Ryanair which supplements the miniscule airfares it advertises with extra taxes, fees, credit card and passenger service charges. They are even cheeky enough to impose a wheelchair levy (to cover the cost of the possibility that someone on your flight may require a wheelchair)."

Yeah, they're cheeky all right.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Smaller but accessible.

It seems like smaller inns and such often lack accessibility. According to this article, this is not the case for the Kensington Riverside Inn, a19-room boutique inn in Calgary. The Riverside is wheelchair accessible and has an elevator and front-door ramped access.

Part of the future tells of a contest in France for industrial design students "to develop futuristic designs for the Citadis tram, which could serve the people of Melbourne in the year 2020." Students are required to include improved access for elderly and disabled travelers.

It's good to see that access is considered part of the future.

It's not necessarily the money ...

This article includes a mention that Jamaica is positioning itself as an accessible destination. "There are disabled persons internationally, who have significant disposable income and want to travel, but because of restrictions in the physical environment, they are unable to venture out from their particular country of abode," Senator Floyd Morris told Jamaica Information Service. If but more places felt this commitment.

See the butterflies

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan offers a synergy of art both and nature. And it's fully accessible -- even the bus.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Charting New Directions

This article from the Goleta Valley Voice tells the story of Dee Duncan, who believes "there is really no reason people with developmental disabilities shouldn’t have the same experiences. Duncan is the founder and executive director of Goleta-based New Directions, a travel business devoted to making sure those with mental, emotional, and physical impairments don’t miss out on surf sessions in Hawaii, outback adventures in Australia, Japanese food in Japan or the nightlife in Las Vegas." Dipping into her retirement savings to get started, Duncan acknowledges that her venture had its detractors. “At first, very frankly, people thought I was nuts.” she said. “People would say, ‘You're taking them where? Why are you taking them? Do they know where they're going?’ They didn't think [the travelers] would get anything out of it.” But they do, Duncan asserts. “Their whole world opens up,” she said, “and new information comes in where it wasn’t possible before.” (Photos above of New Directions trips and used with permission)

Puting a number to it.

Disablist Britain, a report written by the Demos think-tank for the charities Scope and Disability Awareness in Action, found 40 percent of disabled people have difficulty with travel. I sure could have imagined that figure being higher -- which is not to say this figure is good. The report notes that public transport is showing improvement in accessibility, though "massive barriers remain." The report drew upon statistical data from a number of sources including government statistics, census figures and not-for-profit and think-tank polling. “Measuring the extent of institutional and cultural prejudice against disabled people is the first step to making disablism history," said Sarah Gillinson, researcher at Demos and one of the report’s authors. "Empowering individual disabled people to use measures of discrimination to highlight and begin tackling the daily injustices they face, is the crucial next step.”

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Accessible Germany

The Web site for German tourism includes a section of info for travelers with disabilities. Nice work!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hop the bus

The Original London Sightseeing Tour claims to be the only sightseeing tour operator in London to offer wheelchair accessible buses in its fleet, thanks to some new vehicles.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Scott Rains of the excellent travel and the disabled blog invited me to participate in the Barrierfreiheit Meme. Looks like fun and here's my answers.

Four Jobs in My Life
8 golf caddy
8 dish washer
8 machine operator in a can factory
8 journalist

Four Films I Could Watch Over and Over
I'm not much of a movie person. But here goes:
8 Walk the Line. First non-kid movie (other than Star Wars flicks) that I have seen in about 10 years.
8 Moonstruck
8 Ragtime
8 Casablanca

Four Places I Have Lived
8 Berwyn, Illinois
8 Carbondale, Illinois
8 Streator, Illinois
8 Baraboo, Wisconsin

Four TV Series I Like.
This is going to be even harder than films.
8 Gilmore Girls. I know, I know this is a girls show, but my wife and oldest daughter got me watching and I admit I enjoy it.
8 American Experience
8 Iron Chef America
That's all I've got.

Four Places I've Been on Vacation
8 Niagara Falls
8 Myrtle Beach, SC
8 Washington DC
8 Outer Banks, NC

Four Foods I Love
8 Whatever my wife makes for dinner -- she's a very good cook.
8 Pizza
8 A good mushroom and swiss burger
8 Almost any cheese (from WI of course!)

Four Websites I Visit Daily

Four places I'd rather be now
8 Outer Banks, NC
8 Downtown Chicago, pleasure only no business allowed
8 On a road trip
8 Planning a road trip

Four bloggers who should play this game
8 smallddemocrat
8 ziggi at wheelchairdiffusion
8outer banks native at outerbanksjournal
8 uncle jack at

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Turin twirler

Were you inspired by the elegant and dramatic twirl of the Olympic flag by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics? Here's a little more about him.

Need scooter while traveling?

The Clarence Vincent Foundation provides mobility scooters to people who might otherwise have a hard time getting one. The foundation is a project of Scootaround, a company specializing in renting scooters to travelers.

DASHing around Alexandria

DASH, the city-owned bus transit service for Alexandria, Va., has a stated goal of "providing mass transit that will allow tourists staying in hotels and residents to forego driving." Fortunately, already all DASH buses have wheelchair lifts. But at a recent meeting, it came to light that illegally parked cars too often hamper bus drivers from properly aligning their vehicles to lower the lifts correctly.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Bus lines probed; access violations found

A fedral investigation into interstate bus carriers in the northeast US suggests many carriers regularly disregard laws about access for the disabled to their vehicles. The Washington Post reports "in a recent sweep of 14 bus companies that operate in the busy Washington-New York-Boston corridor, investigators found that 11 carriers had violated the federal law that guarantees interstate service to disabled passengers, according to government officials." "There have been some pretty horrendous stories" about disabled passengers being denied bus service, Annette M. Sandberg, who heads the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told the Post.

Nambian proving grounds

How do some "people, with all manner of disabilities and medical disorders between them, showing the world that they are simply no different, and given the opportunity, just as capable as anyone else?" Some people travel across Nambia, and be filmed while doing it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The modern royal treatment

Hampton Court palace in the UK was a favorite of monarchs past, including Henry the VIII and WIlliam and Mary. This article suggest that you will still see many interesting sights even if you cannot do the stairs and reveals that the palace does have a hidden elevator to some parts of the building.

Going camping?

Carrie Barrepski learned at a camping trade show that many travel trailers can be adapted for the needs of those with disabilities. I figured this was possible, but didn't realize it was so common that one would come across it at a general public event like this. I'm not much of a camper myself, but this is good news for those who here the call of the camp ground.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Hail to the chief

If you ever get a chance to travel with a US president, be reassured you'll have accessible restroom facilities in flight if necessary.