Before I sent my trusty Permobil off to the wheelchair graveyard a few months ago, I found this travelogue secreted away under the cushion. It reads as follows:
Day 1... Today I took a few unexpected side trips and saw the inside of many airplanes. I missed David! He went to Jackson, Wyoming, but I went to Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and back to Denver for the night. A whirlwind adventure, for sure! I still feel a little woozy and have some bumps and bruises from the mishaps and mishandlings. I wonder what he's up to in Jackson. Sure hope I’ll be with him tomorrow.
Day 2... Hooray! I was reunited with David. Frankly, I got pretty tired of touring airplanes and airports. It's nice to start the vacation. David was relieved that with a few adjustments and Band-Aids, my condition was acceptable to continue with the trip. I know I'll need some major surgery when we get home, but for now good times are ahead.
Day 3… Today, David and I checked out some wonderfully accessible walkways and saw Old Faithful Geyser. David said that watching the many magnificent geysers erupt was unforgettable. Talk about a steamy experience!
Day 4… More hiking along the miles and miles of accessible boardwalks. It seemed like we were on Mars as we passed by bubbling, stinky mud pots and fumaroles. David learned about Yellowstone's geothermal activity and features, while I couldn't help but notice how many other wheelchairs there were in the park.
Day 6... While driving through Yellowstone in a van rented from Wheelchair Getaways, we saw many wild animals including bison, moose, and elk. We found it amusing to sit in the van and watch the bison roll around in the dirt. These gigantic animals would also nonchalantly walk directly in front of our van, sauntering by like they owned all of Yellowstone National Park. The elk stayed mainly by the rivers; David and I could see them from a distance from the van. An anxious moose darted in front of our van, and then quickly hid behind some bushes. Yellowstone’s diverse wildlife is certainly a sight to behold!
Day 8… I was not with David today. I needed to rest my weary parts. In his manual chair, David went up to the summit of the 10450-foot Rendezvous Mountain, via an accessible ski lift. I heard the view was incredible - snowcapped mountains, lush green forests, cool breezes, and the invigorating smell of the earth.
Day 9… Not with David again. He took a scenic boat ride across Jenny Lake. Many hikers used the boat ride to get to the other side the lake to hike through Cascade Canyon. Unfortunately, there aren't many accessible trails in the Tetons, but the views of the mountains from the boat and from the road are quite grand.
Day 13… I'm on the plane. So far the flight has been relatively uneventful. We just landed. Good to be home.
Here come the baggage attendants to help me down the conveyor belt. Oh no, there's a drop ahead and they don't have a good hold on me…..
Epilogue from David: My Permobil wheelchair was fatally damaged from that final catastrophe. With some work, the airline did authorize a full replacement. I was without my specialized chair for several weeks, and still now am needing adjustments on the new chair. It is taking a long time to get both the function and the comfort adjustments correct for my needs. VERY frustrating! But, I refused to let the problems ruin a wonderful trip.