Modern Technology allows everyone to Enjoy RVing!
Better than a motel. Designed for your convenience.
The advantage for handicapped individuals who RV is that once the vehicle has been physically altered to suit the Special needs of the RVer, you never need to worry about staying in hotels or campground cabins, or worry about vehicle rentals.
Gayle Martinelli, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist, Handicapped Travel Club member and RVing advocate agrees. “RVing is the equal opportunity travel option where no one is precluded. What other mode of travel allows folks to bring their accessibility with them? Accessibility issues that are often encountered in hotels and restaurants are solved with a comfortable traveling ‘home-away-from-home’ that can be thoroughly customized or modified.”
Customization for disabled travelers involves more than just relocating the VCR. It involves physically altering the vehicle’s structure, more so than cosmetic changes. “Every handicapped person is impaired differently,” said Pete Lewis of Coachcraft Industries in Brownsville, Oregon who’s private business customizes vehicles for disabled and non-disabled individuals. “It almost becomes a one-on-one process.”
However, the most common vehicle customizations for the wheelchair bound are installing a wheelchair lift, widening the entrance and interior aisles to accommodate the wheelchair’s girth and installing hand-control systems.
Widening the door and installing a wheelchair lift are the most popular disability customizations. The rest of the vehicle may be suitable enough so that none of the interior needs to be modified, such as wider aisles.
This type of work may take anywhere from one day to one week to complete. Aside from the lifts, the second most popular modification is converting the foot-powered dashboard driving mechanism to a hand-controlled system.
All of these modifications can be made in automobiles, trucks and RVs. But when customizing motorhomes and trailers, specifically, widening aisles and modifying the shower/tub are other common changes – which is the whole point to RVing. Not only can handicapped individuals drive to a destination, but their living arrangements can be designed to meet their specific needs.
It’s easy to find businesses and manufacturers that will customize your vehicle once you know where to look. But… where do you begin?
Hopefully the following information and links will solve your needs.
A book about dealing with a disability
Michael Creurer’s book, “Changing Lanes” is a compilation of the articles I found so helpful as well as some new writings. Written by a man who has himself had to adapt to a lifelong disability, “Changing Lanes” is a metaphor for driving down the highway. At first all is well, we are keeping up to the faster traffic and enjoying life in this fast lane. As we age, become disabled or ill, we must acknowledge our frailties and adapt to them with courage and the grace to move over to the slow lane. What now? One chapter in Michael’s book speaks about the grieving process, a series of steps we must take in our journey towards re-accepting our new self. We may find it is difficult being alone with this new self.
There is life in this slow lane and lots of it. We are here adapting to the hand life has dealt us. Some are here, like Michael, assisting others on this road. Sometimes the road is rough or uneven and we may need a tow or “push” to help us over those ruts. Michael Creurer has been there and has many thoughts to share on coping. Michael says, “Life in the slow lane allows us the opportunity to seek answers to the questions that we never had the time to ponder when we were searching for opportunities and striving to accumulate in the fast lane.” Being in the slow lane is a fine place to be.
Michael’s book, “Changing Lanes” affirms this and is in itself proof of what we are able to accomplish from this slow lane of life.
A directory with information on RV accessibility for the disabled, as well as RV shows, publications, rental sources and clubs, can be obtained by writing RVIA, P.O. Box 2999, Dept. P, Reston, VA 20195.
The Handicapped Travel Club, Inc. was formed in August, 1973, in Arcata, California by five disabled couples from California and Texas. These couples had received so much therapy from travel and the association with campers with disabilities, they decided to form a club which would encourage other handicapped people to travel, to meet, and to exchange ideas. The HTC encourages people with disabilities and their families to travel, to meet and to share information on making recreational vehicles accessible for the disabled. “Fun and fellowship” is our motto.
Chariot Eagle Park Models can be designed for handicapped accessibility. Call Joe Follman At the factory in Ocala, FL for information (352) 629-7007
Foretravel of Texas, Inc., 811 N.W. Stallings Dr., Nacogdoches TX 75964; 409/564-8367.
Honorbuilt Industries, Inc., 1200 W. 10th St., Minneapolis KS 67467; 913/392-2171.
Kustom Car Creations, 23350 Harborview Rd., Charlotte Harbor FL 33980; 813/625-9993.
Quality Vans, 1457 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler AZ 85225; 602/899-2088.
Red-E-Kamp, Inc., 811A Space Center, Mira Loma Space Center, Mira Loma CA 91752; 909/685-0151.
Teton Homes, P.O. Box 2349; Mills WY 82644; 307/235-1525.
Turtle Top, Inc., 67895 Industrial Dr., New Paris IN 46553; 219/533-4116.
The Van House, 1801 Cushman Dr., Lincoln NE 68512; 402/423-3600.
Waldoch Crafts, Inc., 13821 Lake Dr., Forest Lake MN 55025; 612/464-3215.
Winnebago Industries, Inc., Commercial Vehicle Department, P.O. Box 152, Forest City IA 50436; 515/582-3535.
Atwood Mobile Products, 57912 Charlotte Ave, Elkhart, IN 46514, P: 574-522-4625, F: 574-295-6195,
E-mail – zambrano.J@atwoodmobile.com