Nothing holds back
Aunt Gerrie's travels!

I finally got to meet Aunt Gerry in person last year and I remember seeing her for the first time made me realize that she had flown all by herself to Missouri from New Mexico.

I don't know that this would be anything I would even consider doing with a handicap.

I thought about the cramped airplanes and bathrooms, lack of ramps, and having to catch transportation on time. I just knew that she was one incredible woman for having done this and let's not forget to mention having to go through the amputation itself.

Through it all, Aunt Gerry has kept her sense of humor and has learned to laugh at situations that normally would be considered difficult enough. One humorous incident was on after her surgery a therapist came in to help her use the new walker. He could only find one shoe and was puzzled as to where the other one had gone. Then it dawned on him that she only needed one shoe!

As you can see in the photo, she has not let her disability stop her for a minute. Getting her picture taken with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders was just one travel moment well worth the frustrations!

In her own words below is list of just a few problems she encountered when traveling:

Tours with the handicapped in mind:
Hotels for the Disabled - click the Disabled box in amenities during your search.

Jim's Specialized Aussie
Transport & Tours
17-314 Hoxton Park Road
Miller, NSW
011 61 2 958-8379
011 61 2 607-8188

Destination World

P.O. Box 1077
Santa Barbara
CA 93102

Bill Dvorak Expeditions
17921-B,US Highway 285
Nathrop, C0 81236, USA
They will help you locate an inn or hotel according to the region in which you wish to travel.
They will help the physically challenged achieve their diving and aquatic dreams!

Silver Beare Travel, Inc.
The source for travel arrangements for those with disabilities
Dedicated to providing British Columbia's handicapped community with info pertaining to wheelchair access.

Global Access Disabled
Travel Network
A placed where disabled travelers can share their experiences, get tips and advice, and locate trips, accommodations, and travel books relating to their needs.
A disabled travel forum where you can “talk” to others with the same concerns
The largest and most prestigious Hotel and House Service with health care providers on call 24 hours a day
Accessible travel in southern Africa for those who are in wheelchairs
Disability travel and recreation resources
A complete listing of travel destinations, companions, traveling with children, air travel and transportation for the disabled

Ability Camp, Inc.
Provides conductive education as a Cerebral Treatment for children with motor disorders
Search various camps for children with special needs

Disabled Travel Agencies
Specializes in cruise and land vacations
Worldwide information for the mature and disabled traveler

"Older businesses are protected from the Disability Act by a Grandfather Clause and don't have any type of Handicap facilities. The newer businesses are required by law to have the handicap parking, ramp and bathrooms, but some scrimp and just get by with the barest items necessary. I have found ramps that are hazardous to use, because of huge chunks broke out of them.

The handicap stall is very narrow and you can't get a wheelchair in, or if you get the wheelchair in, it is hard to transfer because of lack of space. Then usually you can't get the door closed with the wheelchair in the stall.

Some just have a bar behind the commode and that is all. This is of no value to me in transferring.

One ladies' restroom in Albuquerque had the handicap stall at the very back of the room. I was on a scooter and barely was able to get in the handicap stall. I had to back out and there were ladies standing in line against the wall and others washing their hands on the other side. I had to back about 20 feet between them, not being able to see where their feet were, and if I was going to run over them. This made me very nervous.

I am more fortunate than some disabled people. Medicare and my supplement insurance helped me get a Jet 3 Power Chair, which enables me to be more independent.

I find that a lot of the general public do not show consideration for a handicapped person. They stare, they cut in front of you, and they park in the handicap parking spaces at businesses. Sometimes children point and laugh and are not corrected by their parents. I guess most people don't think about it unless they have experienced a similar situation. It's not that handicapped people think they are superior and deserve better treatment. It is because it is necessary.

A few years back, I was flying to DFW Airport in Dallas, and left home about 5:00 AM. I got to the airport and after a wait of about 30 minutes boarded the plane. I knew I wouldn't be able to use the small restroom on the plane, so I limited my liquid intake, to be safe. When I got to DFW, I had planned to use the rest room there before leaving with my friend, Liz, who picked me up. I had a porter who was over protective and kept wanting to take me to another gate to board my next flight out, I kept telling him I was at my destination and my friend was there to meet me, but he didn't speak good English and I couldn't make him understand. While he went to the check out counter to find out, one of the electric transfer carts came by and the driver jumped off and started trying to load me on it. I told him the same story, and he understood, and found the lady he was looking for and then took off. My porter finally came back and asked where I was going next. I told him "luggage claim" and off he went with my friend and me trailing behind. He took my claim ticket, got my luggage and then went sailing up the aisle and outside to the entrance to the parking garage.

One other concern is having a shady place at stadiums and ballparks for the handicapped to sit under. Many people have gotten sunburns and even heatstroke having to sit under direct sunlight." — Gerry Lowrance.

This has been an eye opener to me, making me more sensitive to an area that many people overlook. I do understand now, having read Aunt Gerry's story and researching more about traveling with disabilities.

You will find a listing of resources that I have put together in order to get assistance in traveling with a disability or traveling with someone who is disabled. Taking a trip can be stressful enough without being handicapped or limited. Let's all consider those who have special needs as they, too, enjoy new destinations.

By Lena Mabra, Kansas City Correspondent.

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