I already mentioned it in our introduction. We probably would not be camping if it wasn’t for MS.
We live in Florida and as such there are plenty of opportunities to kill some leisure time. Busch Gardens, Disney, Universal, and the list goes on. Unfortunately traveling in a car, even if it is a roomy SUV can be challenging for someone who has MS. Especially when the legs are affected. Even the short trip from our home to Busch Gardens, a little over an hour, would put a strain on Charlene. While I would end up pushing her in a wheelchair at some point no matter what, the fact that she pretty much is done for the day by the time we get to our destination would prevent us from enjoying time off to the fullest. On occasion, we would go and stay in a hotel the night before, but that is not always feasible either. Not to mention the fact that we would have to hire a dog sitter every time we went out.
So this is how the idea of camping started. It did take some time though. The idea was brewing for the better part of 3 years. I did my homework to figure out what would work best for us. We finally narrowed it down to a Class C RV.
Well, for one they are lower to the ground. Unlike Class A’s, Tow Behinds, and 5th Wheelers, most only require a few steps to get inside. The cab is accessible like pretty much any other Truck or SUV and she has the option to pick where she wants to hang out. Seat belts are everywhere but on the bed. So for us, this is the best option to go with. At least at this point. It might change, but for now, we are good. It’s also not too difficult to install a lift if we get to that point. So far she was able to get inside even on her worse days.
Your mileage might vary. Do your homework, figure out what your needs are, and look around. Even if you depend on a wheelchair, there are plenty of options now. Winnebago has a whole line of ADA-compliant RVs now. And yes, they are affordable.
We found out quickly that we made the right choice. In October 2018 we managed to score the right RV. It checked most of the boxes and I made some upgrades that help to make it better. We will get into that at some point.
We discovered, that a disability can have its perks. National Parks and Florida State Parks offer discounts for people with disabilities. This makes camping in some of the most beautiful locations rather affordable. Almost all parks have sites available that are ADA-compliant. Most are level and near the bathhouses. National Parks and State Parks do a lot to accommodate disabled visitors. However, we did find out that some can be challenging. We will be working on a section of the website that will cover that. We already started mentioning accessibility in the descriptions of our trips.
It did take us a little longer to find an activity that we both could enjoy together. There is only so much sightseeing that she can handle. I and Lokai have hiking, but that leaves her out most of the time. So far only Highlands Hammock State Park had short and easy enough trails that Charlene could enjoy too. Long story short, we ended up getting kayaks. One each. We did try a 2 person inflatable, but we are not that much in harmony. We managed to paddle for close to 3 hours already and Charlene emerged herself into a world that we and probably most Floridians don’t know is out there.
Despite the handicap, we enjoy what we are doing. And we are going to talk about it.
As you can tell by our trips section, we upgraded to a class A. On top of that, we sold our house and we became full-timers. Let’s tell about it.