I know a lot of people who follow me know I’m in a power wheelchair at least part-time. This trip has been an eye opener any way you look at it. I am so glad to have had it on the journey because without it, I would have watched the water flow by from the window in our cabin. Instead, it provided me wheels all over the ship. Although I could only get out one door on the boat deck and one door on the sun deck. That was not a problem, it is a fifty-year-old ship, so I understand it was not built that way, and there are just so many ways that it can be adapted. I will say the cargo elevator is large. (More on that later.) The interesting thing for me was noticing things out of place or out of reach.
This is one of those times you do not realize things until you do.
This trip has helped me come to grips with just how much has changed for me and how strong I am. I was pleasently surprised how helpful fellow passengers and crew were. It is funny that just opening a door takes 4 steps that used to come natural and never thought about when you are on two feet.
1. approach door and grab handle
2. step back and pull door
3. open door and walk through
4. get out of way so door can close.
I do those same steps now but never realized how heavy doors are and how often I used to use two hands to do some of the steps. I was so grateful that there were a bunch of people on the ferry who were in the places when and where I needed doors opened for me. The good part was by the end of the trip I was confident and ‘skilled’ enough that I was getting good at the four steps. When the places I had to go was an empty room. Speaking of rooms, we did upgrade to a handicapped room which was a blessing in disguise the door had a push button to get out.
Talk about open doors let you go places. THEY REALLY DO!
Two things here I bring up: One just how helpful the crew on the M.V. Kennicott was even if one of them was working unexpected overtime. (That is a story I’ve covered already) Second how out of reach normal buttons and levers can either by accident or because it was designed for the rest of the population and would be illogical to have two sets.
Now onto the elevator and why I had a ride in it. There was a ramp that I used to get up to the passenger elevator except it was not flush to the ground. That said, a lip anywhere you have one is difficult for the wheelchair to get up. I brought this up to the Chief Steward and she suggested the freight elevator. They had a ramp that went right up to the edge of the doorway, easy peasy.
That would have been Roy. Not quite but it is my story. We are members of Harvest Hosts, if you like wine, fruits, musuems, and boondocking this is something to check out. We stayed at EdenVale Winery in Medford Oregon. Everyone was so amazing. I have to do a few shout outs.
First, I have to thank Aaron King as he was instrumental in getting us to the winery and then helping us over the phone find a space. It is funny the way we ended up parked in the upper parking lot where we were locked in for the night. Roy did pick the wrong drive way. So on the phone to Aaron explain where we were. He said we can stay up top but the gate gets locked and you can’t get out until after 9 am. He said he put us down in the gravel by the barn. I am so glad he let us stay up top. It was a straight shot to the tasting room.
This was the first place we pulled out Roy’s scooter and my chair. I was a little concerned about the gravel, but, my little bugger has some moves that I showed off later that night. I digress, back to the second shout out. That would be the hostess / bar maid / comic known as Lisa. We approached the entrance the hard way as there was no ramp up so we lifted the chair and Roy’s scooter with a little help from some strangers. Later that evening Roy discovered a path that went through. So we get in the tasting room and Lisa is quite busy. Busy is good though. Talking like we always do when we go somewhere new. I found out that Lisa and her other half are headed to Alaska. It was neat sharing some tips and tricks about Alaska.
Towards the end of the evening we got to witness a wedding being planned. Someone has to taste all the wines. Speaking of wine, Lisa turned Roy onto a 2020 Viognier clear, sweet but not too sweet of a white wine. I had a rootbeer, he had two glasses of the wine. Later I did try a pear cider. I have to say that it had an interesting taste. Sadly though, the orchard where the pears come from was damaged by fire recently.
After we closed down the tasting room it was time to explore the grounds. This is where we found the barn owl sitting in the rafters of the peak of the barn. I also took advantage of my viewpoint from the chair to take some grape vine pictures. The vision here was to have the vines go on forever. The sunset had a tad bit of color to it also. It was good I had the chance to get my feet wet and take some pictures.
I know that this coming trip will be filled with adventure.
I have met some awesome people already, first day in. When we boarded the boat on the 4th of June we get there early and I was glad for that. I say this because sommething we should have done was reserve a handicapped cabin. We had a 2-berth no potty reserved. Here again timing is everything. I just thought I would ask if they had one available, they did. Kayla who works for the ferry was very helpful and had such an awesome attitude. It is wonderful to run into people like that.
Roy and I have traveled the AMHS about 4 times each time we have had wonderful experiences. This time is no exception. Although I do say being in a chair you do see things in a whole new perspective. You also realize it is hard to make everything in a 50 year old ship ADA compatible. I have scoped out the 2 doors that will get me outside and inside. Once outside I am able to go completely around the ship.
I don’t know if it is fate, destiny, or just a small ship the reason I ask is all day yesterday I kept running into the same person. When this happened about the fifth time I asked for his name. We introduced ourselves and about 15 minutes later I see him and his wife and I say Hi, it was cute the look they passed between them. Long story short she was cool after we told her about the constant bumping inmto each other. Now I am still running into them. I will go for small boat.
First day out and we already had to turn the ship around. No, Roy was not acting up. Unfortunately there was a sick crew man that needed to be transferred for more intense medical care. I do hope he is ok. The bright side to this is the turn around gave it a chance for the sky to clear up. I was thinking not again clouds and blah for this trip.
There are quite a few photographers on the ship, when it clears you can get some awesome pictures. I did enjoy the fog this am and I think I have some working pictures of fog. that does make for some freaky moody pictures. I have not seen any whales yet, this is only day one. I trust that there are orcas in my future.
Well I am signing off for now. We are headed towards open waters to make up time and I am headed to lay down due to the motion of the ocean.
I did not know I would have internet in port so I am posting this and hope to finish writing the lead up to the ship. We are in Ketchican Alaska. The journey to the first port was super long. Dramamine is my friend. I will post some pictures when we hit dry land.
What was empty you ask? It was our water tank. I thought I had put enough water in to make the pump work. I was wrong. When we put water in the fresh water tank we used a meter to keep track of how much went in. I put in 15 gallons according to the gauge (I think my gauge was off.) When we were at our first stop the water pump would not stop running it was trying to pick up non existent water. We did not realize that was the problem. We would deal with it in Reno at the Boomtown KOA. The only good thing about that campground is there were full hook-ups. So we get the water hooked up and fill up the lines, make sure it flows from the pipes. Disconnect the hose and hook it up to the fresh water tank fill it up with more water. I then held my breathe while we turned on the pump. Success, it was operater error. That being said we went up to the casino for dinner and I actually rewarded myself with a rootbeer float for dinner.
Crazy how fast our departure date came up. We got under way at 9:30 am. Only a half hour later then estimated eta.
Our campsite is great right by a babbling brook that talks quite alot. I have definatelly been in the city way to long. Reason being that bubbling of the brook was annoyong for the first hour not used to the sounds of nature. Portuguese Joe is a gem in the Alabama Hills, there were very few people there. The rate was good also only 21 a night. No hook ups though but great location for night shots.
We got lucky that the Tau Herculids meteor shower peaked on Monday night. I am not sure how many I caught still on a learning curve with camera, tripod, and photoshop. After about an hour of catching shooting stars I turned my attention to the milky way.
It was interesting trying to keep my shadow and our trailer out of the picture. There were tenters behind me with head lamps, I was getting light painted if I wanted it or not. This was all good because I ended up with this amazing picture.
I am just glad we are headed down the road on this adventure. We did have one hicup while we were here. Someone did not put enough water in the tank. I wonder who.