Everything about mobility, traveling, fixing, and using the One Sexy Scooter and its companion products that make the list. Plus background material on how being handicapped or having a disability may change how you do something, but it doesn't stop you from doing it.
Originally published on April 18, 2018
Traveling to historic Charleston, SC with a Triad scooter was absolutely doable. For those of you who don't know, Charleston has very strict preservation laws that apply to the historic district. If it is older than 75 years, then it can't be torn down, and that even goes for trees! There are many free standing brick walls that will remain there, for example. Many restaurants don't have the normal handicapped accessible doors that new restaurants have, simply because many of the buildings are hundreds of years old. Historic Charleston has managed to add curb cuts though, even to cobblestoned streets.
The Triad has a large front tire and fat back tires so the cobblestones could be navigated. The Triad also has suspension in the front wheels but not the back wheels. For the type of traveling we do, my husband would pay for an upgraded model with rear suspension.
We had brunch at Magnolias. They had to actually set up a ramp for us over steps. The incline was steep so we walked the scooter up the ramp and then my husband went up the steps. They were so nice though, and the meal was SO fantastic, that we would happily do this again. They stored the scooter in a room for us while we ate. Make sure you get the fried green tomatoes! They were so good!
Fried Green Tomatoes
white cheddar grits, country ham, caramelized onion chutney, tomato butter
Everything we had there was good. My husband had
BEEF SHORT RIBS FRITTATA
asparagus, mushrooms, white cheddar cheese, red wine jus
The mimosas were first rate as well.
Here is the view of the alley where they put out the ramp:
We traveled to Waterfront Park with no troubles:
And rode a carriage ride with Palmetto Carriage rides. If you have a scooter, use them. They have a ramp in their "big red barn" that you can ride up. They also hold your scooter for you and will bring it back when the ride is done. Even better, they have a place to sit with big fans while you are waiting! Plus restrooms!
We also ate at Coast. While not apparent, one of their doors does have little clearance and you can get in with a scooter. My husband and I each had the steak, salmon, and scallops wrapped in bacon dish. It was very good. We had their fried green tomatoes but they didn't hold a candle to Magnolia's fried green tomatoes! Magnolias were far better. I had a dark and stormy at Coast, now that was good.
Originally published April 18, 2018
The Triad made all the difference in the world in my husband's trip to Disney. My husband never wanted to go back after he rented a regular four-wheel low scooter two years ago. With the Triad, he actually looked forward to returning. And boy, did we do everything.
My early 20's kids, my husband, and I all "drank" around Epcot. This is something that you only do once. I read lots of blogs about it, but the actual drinks in Epcot didn't live up to the hype for us. We would buy one or maybe two and then split the drinks.
The funniest part of the whole thing is that SOOO many people came up to my husband to talk about the scooter, we figured everybody else was drinking around the world too so they had no inhibition to approach. (Coming up and talking about the scooter is fine at any time, he LOVES talking about it. But, I think some people might wonder if it is OK to do.)
My husband also compares his ride to a Chinese or Japanese steed. I can't remember which one. Of course, hubby doesn't have armor.
Originally posted April 18, 2018
If you are new to a three-wheel scooter, it is really easy to use the ferry service. On and off with ramps that have little altitude is a breeze.
The monorail is fun with the three-wheel scooter, but going up and down the large ramps if you are new to using the multiple speeds might be intimidating. My husband mostly went up the ramps using speed setting two versus speed setting one.
Unfortunately, I lost the video of him going up and down the ramps, but I DO have the video of him getting on and off the monorail.
The best thing to do is to ask the conductor which way you exit from the monorail. It varies whether you are going to a hotel versus the transporation area or Epcot. For the monorail that we used, we got off the same way we got on. My husband went backwards down the ramp once, but he leaned backwards and felt the scooter tilt backward. (If you do have to go down backwards, remember to lean forward!)
Rather than doing that again, he opted to turn around in the monorail. That worked much better.
Sorry it has been so long since I posted. We actually went to Disney World in January and stayed at the Marriott Sabal Palms, right behind the World Center Marriott. This was the first time we traveled to Disney with the Triad 3-wheeled scooter, and my husband couldn't have been a happier camper.
Originally published September 6, 2107
Some general mobility observations or how to navigate Gatlinburg with a handicap.
I tried to find everything I could before we went to Gatlinburg about what was and what wasn't scooter friendly.
My husband can walk short distances, and he did use his walking stick in restaurants, although he could have driven to the table in many of them as well.
Here is a quick list of resources. I'm going to be posting more in-depth posts on the area as well:
http://www.cabinsforyou.com/blog/advice/stroller-friendly-trails-in-the-smokies.htm (what works for strollers often works for scooters.)
PLACE TO ASK QUESTIONS OF LOCALS:
REVIEWS OF LOCAL AREA
First published September 6, 2017
Our first vacation lodging with a scooter was in Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg Town Square. The underground garage, elevator, proximity to downtown, and a large room made it a great choice.
Gatlinburg was going to be the first long stay vacation with our new scooter. I wanted the place to be perfect for my husband so he would travel more. I went to Trip Advisor and read everything I could on the resort, including any mobility info I could find on the Gatlinburg area in the forums.
The Triad 750 CSX, which we just received the week before we left, is 45 inches long and 29 inches wide. It fit in the elevator, climbed the hill from the Parkway (a business and attraction strip in downtown Gatlinburg) to the Town Square just fine, fit in the kitchen, and we LOVED the covered parking so it made it easy to bring the scooter in and out of the car no matter what the weather. (As a temporary measure, we used two pet ramps to get the scooter in and out. The scooter weighs 77 lbs. without the seat. We kept the seat on, but he walked the scooter up the pet ramps into the car with the steering column folded but power still getting it up the ramps.)
Because of the scooter, we could easily get a room far from the elevator. The parking garage elevator went to any floor.
The hotel was perfect. We had a two-bedroom suite just for my husband and me. (My mother was supposed to come but didn't. We would have had to put the Thule on top to fit the luggage with her in the car and the scooter.) We were on the third floor Creekside. Views from the private balcony were gorgeous.
How you view the hotel may depend on what size room you get. I had first reserved a studio, but then mom was going to come. I'm glad that we got the larger room. A one bedroom would have been just fine, but for a week's stay, the studio would have been too small for us.
Hubby could just drive right in and park.
Our view from the balcony was great.
We were at the resort during a VERY busy sold out weekend and a much less full weekday period. We come from the Boston area, so small parking garages aren't new to us. We were able to get a spot at all times for us to unload the scooter--but not handicapped spots. But with the scooter, we didn't need a handicapped spot. In fact, we never parked in a handicapped spot. My husband could just buzz through the garage and over to the elevator. Without that, I would have had to drop him off and then found parking. We also would have to have asked for a room by the elevator. With the scooter, we were WAY back into the woods, which was just great.
No problem navigating the parking garage.
We also went to the outdoor pool and hubby parked his scooter and relaxed. The pool was small but fine for us. There was one hot tub, but it was occupied when we went to the pool.
AREA ATTRACTIONS VISITED:
We spent a lot of our time in the Smoky Mountains--tooling around Newfound Gap, Clingman's Dome, and the Sugarlands Visitor Center--plus visiting Biltmore Estates, taking a Smoky Mountain Carolina Shine Train ride, seeing the Titanic Museum, cruising the strip, etc. The location of the Gatlinburg Town Square was perfect for this. We also purchased a Gatlinburg-made walking stick for hubby to use (he won't use a cane, but this stick is super sexy.)
GETTING TO THE DOWNTOWN STRIP:
We didn't drive in our car to the strip, we walked to the strip. This is where the scooter really shone. With the CSX disk brakes, it made it down and up the grade just fine. We could also just drive the scooter out by the game area to the street and didn't have to go through the parking garage.
Use Google Maps to get around any traffic while you are in Gatlinburg. There are back ways to get to the hotel. We arrived Friday evening, but had no traffic because we went through I40 Asheville to Cosby versus going through Pigeon Forge. (We had to make Google Maps do this for us, but it was SO worth it. Stress free driving! My husband would have hated the entire vacation if he was always stuck in traffic.)
I will always remember Gatlinburg. We had a great time, and it forced us to find mobility solutions that will work for years to come.
HOW WE RESERVED:
(For the record, we are Marriott owners and traded through Interval International for our room. I had purchased the retrade option too, which worked out for us in the long run. We much preferred the larger unit.)
COUNTER TO SOME OTHER REVIEWS I READ:
Things we had NO problem with that others had written about: WIFI was great, hot water was great, mattress/bed was awesome, pool water was warm, we heard no noise from the other rooms. They don't have the ice makers hooked up, but they deliver full bags of ice to your room. LOVED the ice!
Things I would have personally changed: lighting. The lighting was adequate in the one-bedroom side where we stayed, but the bulbs were the yellow type bulbs. I also didn't like the fluorescent in the kitchen, but hubby liked it. In the studio section of our suite, the fan/light was wobbly if you had it at a high speed, but we didn't even use the studio side. The studio side only had one small window too so you would notice poor lighting more. Lighting is one of those funny things. If it is good, you don't notice it, but if it isn't what you like, you do notice it fast.
I gave it four stars instead of five because it isn't Marriott timeshare quality, lighting, and some of the layout is funky, but it is PERFECT for Gatlinburg! I would definitely stay there again.
Originally Published September 4, 2017
I read every mobility review I could of the Biltmore Estates before we went. This was our first real “let’s buy a ticket” outing with the Triad 750 CSX that we had just purchased and had delivered the week before.
Biltmore Estate is an 8,000-acre estate that was built during the gilded age by the Vanderbilt family. It is still owned by Vanderbilt descendants. So many famous names helped construct this masterpiece nestled in Asheville, NC and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
WHEN TO GO
Holidays are going to be the most crowded. This is when they get most of their traffic. We went the Tuesday AFTER Memorial Day weekend and it was lovely.
We got the cheaper disability tickets. You have to call to purchase them or purchase them at the Biltmore. They are cheaper because you can only see the first and second floors with a scooter. You can't see the basement or the third floors. They have a movie with pictures of these areas, but, if you purchase the optional audio tour, the movie has no real explanation of the rooms like the audio tour does. It would be ideal if they had an alternate version of the movie that included the audio tour if you purchased it. (And do purchase it even for the first two floors. We each purchased our own copy. The recorders hang around your neck.)
IMPORTANT SCOOTER DIMENSIONS
We used a Triad 750 CSX to go through the house, eating areas, and winery. Please take note, the dimensions of the Triad 750 CSX are 29 inches wide and 45 inches long. If your scooter is wider than this, it probably won't fit in the doorway from the outside ramp. I have a picture of the clearance. It might not fit in the elevator either depending on length. I have another picture to show that.
HOW TO GET THERE
We have a disability placard. We were able to be passed through all the parking attendants to the main building itself. The main building has a drop off area by the handicapped ramp on the left-hand side of the building if you are looking straight at the main building. I dropped hubby off with the scooter, and then I parked in the lot closest to the main building. They have lots of handicapped slots there, but they also have nonhandicapped parking. I was able to walk a quick five minutes back to the main building. You could also wait for a shuttle. It was a nice day so I walked.
SCOOTER IN THE MAIN BUILDING
Hubby was able to get into the main building with about an inch or ½-inch clearance. We then enjoyed the first two floors. We used the original elevator to the building, which requires the attendant to work the elevator from the inside. All three of us managed to fit in, but it was tight. The elevator was called the bird cage and it was beautiful.
The standard ramp to get up to the Biltmore.
The Triad CSX just fits. I don't know if a larger scooter could get through.
It was a tight fit, but all three of us, the attendant, hubby and I fit in the elevator. This is one perk for having mobility issues.
After the main building, we ate at the Stables. There is a brick floor in the courtyard. If you have mobility issues, this might be a problem for you. It was wonderful with the scooter. He was so relieved that he could navigate this with ease. Before he had a scooter and would try to walk things like this, he couldn't.
Navigating the uneven bricks was a breeze.
I then retrieved the car by using the shuttle, and we went to the winery area. If you don't have a motorized scooter and you park in the regular handicapped parking area, you better be in shape if you are pushing a manual wheelchair. A mother and daughter were having a hard time getting up the long winding ramp to the main area, and then they had more problems getting up the second ramp to the winery. I looked around after seeing their problems, and it seemed that there was a handicapped drop off at least to the main area, but it you don't know it is there, it would be hard to spot it. They hadn't. My husband's scooter had no problem with the ramps, the winery (including the wine tasting room) or the wine shop.
Navigating the Biltmore wine store wasn't a problem. We purchased three bottles. The basket was handy for that.
Hubby preferred to stand. The scooter wasn't far away though.
We had fun tasting! They also serve little crackers to clear the palette.
These dry facts, while important, don't talk about the magnificence of this place. The architecture, the views, the artwork by Durer and John Singer Sargent. This place is a museum of the highest caliber. My husband and I really enjoyed it.
A FEW OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
There is a land tour that you can take that goes on a bus. Sign up for it beforehand if you want to go. It was full so we couldn’t get on it. (I called in the morning and there was space. I should have booked it then.) There is also a Segway tour. I wanted to see if we could go on the Segway tour and have hubby on his Triad, but they said, “no go.” (Hubby likes the stability of the Triad Scooter. He didn’t even want to try a Segway. I’ll have another post about this.)