What do you think about when you book a hotel room? Location? Price? Choosing between different room sizes and layouts? Choices, choices, choices! And how do you pay? Do you use Airmiles or other rewards? Clickety click! All done!
Have you ever thought what it’s like to stay in a hotel when you’re in a wheelchair and have a chronic disease? Here’s how it goes for me. I look at the website and usually I can’t find the information I want. If my speech is working, I ring the hotel, and if not, I search for an email address. I ask one question – do you have wheelchair accessible rooms in your hotel? If the answer is no, move on to the next hotel, and repeat. There’s no choice. One room, one layout. And it might not be in the cheapest price range either.
Want to pay with Airmiles? Contact the hotel, ask if their wheelchair accessible room is available on the nights you want it (because often there’s one room in the whole hotel). Book online with Airmiles, but you have to book an ordinary room because it’s not possible to book a wheelchair accessible one through their system. Contact the hotel and ask them switch your reservation to the wheelchair accessible room – but wait! It’s not on their system!!! Wait for “an hour” for it to show up. The last “hour” I waited for lasted for 5 days and the whole time you’re hoping that someone else doesn’t book the room ahead of you, because if they do, you’ve lost your Airmiles, there’s no way to get them back.
Then you get to the hotel, check in, get to the room. First thing I check out is the bathroom, because the layout of the “wheelchair accessible bathroom” will mean if I’m able to shower while we are there. Some of them I can’t get into the bathroom and shut the door. Some of them I can’t get close to things around the sink – and one memorable one had the sink in the bedroom because they couldn’t fit it in the bathroom! The bars could be anywhere, any size, any strength. One bathroom, the bars were only attached to the flimsiest plywood and not to any of the wall studs. The whole wall moved when I tried to use it.
And if I could get into this shower, I don’t think I would be in a wheelchair!
And then I’m in bed all afternoon. How quiet is the hotel? Can I sleep? Can I set the AC?
It goes on and on and on and on… The stories I have…
Twice a year, on average, we seem to go to the neurologist and various other medical appointments in Vancouver. Our granddaughters live in Vancouver. And we would love to be able to pop away for the odd night.
We have two dogs, you may have noticed. Every time we go away they have to go into the kennel.
Enough of this craziness! There must be a better way!
Let me introduce you to our winter project – Winnie the Bago!
We have bought a Winnebago that has the same floor plan as the ones that Winnebago set up as wheelchair accessible themselves. We have also bought a wheelchair lift from a school bus. Over the winter months, it will be transformed and we will hit the road in the spring!
The dogs will travel with us. The bathroom and bedroom will be set up to meet my requirements. No more having to eat out if I don’t feel like it. Food wherever we want it. Freedom!
I love camping. It’s not the easiest thing to do with my combination of disabilities! In our basement we have all manner of camping equipment and 4 or 5 tents. I haven’t been able to get into the basement for 6 years, nevermind go camping. Perhaps now I can finally bring myself to let them go… maybe…
Here’s some photos – the insides are already being ripped out! Stay tuned for more updates as the transformation takes place!
Stage two: Start altering the bathroom. Pipes to be moved first, then decisions to be made…