A View of the World from A Little Red Scooter

Last week I was scheduled to attend the ASTD TechKnowledge conference.  I had also been scheduled to attend last year, but a last minute snafu prevented that from happening.  Unfortunately, this year I was also faced with a challenge.  My right leg is in a cast.  The Henry B. Gonzalez convention center in San Antonio is huge, and my hotel was 4 blocks away.  So…after some research I learned I could rent a mobility scooter.

RedScoot

Here’s what I learned:

  • It is very easy to rent a scooter, although not inexpensive.  I just called up, gave them my card number and it was waiting for me at the hotel.
  • When you fly, if you have enough tip money on you, people are happy to move you from gate to gate and even stop in the restroom, but don’t expect any side trips for food.  (It can be a long day)
  • Crabby airline employees are no friendlier to the woman having a hard time moving around than they are to anyone else.  Crabby airline passengers are in general even more crabby (As in, I’m in a hurry and am obviously more important than you so get out of my way!)
  • My hotel staff were wonderful, but it’s hard to drive a scooter in and out of a hotel room.  How does one person hold the door and drive by?  Bring a door stop that you can pull out as you go by…I had to use a rolled up magazine.
  • The streets of San Antonio do not facilitate travel by scooter.  When they widened the road, they left the street lights right in the middle of the sidewalk.  The drop off is dangerous.  Curb cuts do not line up with push buttons for street crossing, and apparently not all streets are meant to be crossed from all directions.  If you have to drive on one side because you can manage to squeeze by the light poles…you have to cross there anyway.
  • Drivers do not respect curb cuts…not when they pull up to the light, when they park on the street or when they park in front of hotels.  Even when they can see you coming they still pull up to the curb cut and park there.  I know they saw me, I waved, they waved back.
  • San Antonio has taxies with ramps to load scooters.  Unfortunately they don’t have enough.  Waiting alone in front of the convention center on a windy, dark, 40 degree evening for over an hour was difficult.  However, other nice taxi drivers will gang up together, load your scooter in a “non equipped” van and take you where you need to go, even if it’s just 4 blocks away.
  • Prepare to be smacked by doors.  People don’t see you and they let them go.  On the other hand, a lot of nice people are very willing to open doors for you.
  • Exhibit halls and food lines are hard!  You are basically “invisible” in exhibits.  The isles are crowded and apparently you don’t seem like a real customer to vendors…hello…my foot is fractured, but my brain works fine…and I have a lot of time right now to sit on my backside and think up e-learning projects.  (It’s my sewing leg in the cast!)  When it comes to food, it’s every man or woman for themselves.  They apparently can not see a bright red scooter with a sizeable woman on board waiting in line, because the line just keeps flowing around you.  And forget buffet style…how do you see in those chaffing dishes?  Riding a scooter you are right at “flame height”.  When the drinks are down in a barrel of ice…well….fortunately once they had food, people were quite willing to hand you a drink.
  • Scooters are much more comfy to sit on than chairs in a convention hall.

All in all, despite the challenges it wasn’t bad.  I could never have managed without the little red scooter.  It was kind of fun zipping around on it when you weren’t encountering an obstacle.  I can walk some so it made getting around some barriers much easier for me than I fear they must be for those completely unable to walk.  I loved the conference.  Came home with a brain full of good information and ideas and met some wonderful people.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. marty
    Mar 08, 2008 @ 22:21:49

    Loretta, I know what you mean. I have been in a powered wheelchair for the past 5 years and people act as if I am invisible when I go to the mall or out on my own. My DH really tries hard to make things easier for me but he cannot always go with me. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Reply

  2. meril
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 15:51:04

    I have a leg amputation. I am planning a trip in July with my family to san Antonio, I have been on the computer for over an hour, just looking for a place in San Antonio where I can rent a scooter for a week and not pay an arm and a leg to boot, since I only have one leg left as it is. lol. I found one, Toms, but wanted more names of places so I could comparison shop, but its not happening. If anone from San Antonio happens on I would appreciate any names of places to check rates for mobilit scooters. Thanks I can also be reached thru my shop at http://www.sunnfox.etsy.com

    Reply

  3. meril
    Aug 09, 2009 @ 09:11:25

    Well, we ended up not going to San Antonio, instead we just got back from St Louis Mo. My husband played some golf and went to a few Cardnial games.
    We had a wonderful time. All museums, and tourist places were handicapped accessable and most were FREE!
    We were there a week and didn’t have time to do all that St Louis offers. We did manage, the zoo, one day, The fantastic art museum with the Picasso they own was wonderful and accessable.It also had mummys for the kids and lots of furniture, art glass etc besides paintings. we even ate at Wolfgang Pucks cafe and had delicious Portabella mushroom sandwiches at a reasonable price. The botonical gardens were a delight with thier exoctic flowers and butterfly house. We went fossil hunting at a local park s boat ramp one afternoon, and found some rocks to take home. I got the names of several places to “hunt” online. My neice had a ball, we had to throw away her shoes and sox, for the mud she ventured into. lol
    We spent two hours in the gift shop at Chokia Mounds, in eastern Ill. and lots of money too. They had autherntic native American goods and pottery. The museum was so interesting and so where the mounds. I couldn’t go up the hundreds of stairs, but others in our party did. Everything else was accessable, and it was a nice warm afternoon.
    A fleamarket in Peavly was not so handicapped accessable, with gravel walks that were impossible with the scooter just sinking in and frustrating me. I still managed to score a few finds before we decided it was enough and right up the street was Bobby Toms, restraunt, also accessable, and the best bbq ribs in all of St Louis Counties I am told.
    after supper there the next night, we agreed! Forest Park is large and close by with the museum, zoo, golfing, and lots of other things to do too. we missed City Museum, and wish we had more time in the city to enjoy the other things it offered.
    The major attraction for me was the buildings in downtown st Louis. They were just beautiful! There were so many with statues and other embellishments. The mermaids and mermen splashing in the waterfalls on Market Street were cooling just looking at them. Parking was convienent and the Arch, the pride of St Louis was a very interesting place to visit and also very handicapped accessable, with handicapped bathrooms easily found throughout the city too.
    Anyone else got a story for me on somewhere to visit thats interesting and handicapped accessable.?
    My only complaint was the airlines. Having to get into that aisle chair is not fun! Especially when they are not smart enough to assign me a seat that is on an aisle, and the arm rests don’t all go up, so I had to wiggle into my seats, in the center of the row most of the time.

    Reply

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