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 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.