I hope you enjoy my blog, a collection of articles and thoughts regarding my interests. I'm a married father of two that loves to write about gliding, hunting, fishing, camping and any outdoor passion. Oh yah, I'm a quadriplegic. I hope this is informative to some, entertaining to others, and interesting to all. Let me know what you think. If you'd like an article for your publication, I've got words I haven't even used yet!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

New Adventure Buddy

Last April we lost our beloved yellow lab Nakoda. She was a big part of many of our adventures, and went everywhere we did for 12 years. At the age we are at we thought we'd want to downsize and lower our responsibilities, and be pet free for a few years. We thought the freedom would be great. Ok, we had a nice sterilized quiet dog-fur-free house for 4 months or so ... yay. Walks with the dog are no fun with no dog. Fetch-the-tennis-ball is like playing with a broken boomerang without a dog. Needless to say, after a few months of enjoying our new freedom we wanted another dog. It seems a dog makes the house a home for us, so my wife approached me one day and said "I really miss having a dog, I want one, how do you feel?"

"Woohoo, yes, yes, yes, I always wanted a dog, I really miss having one. I just don't want the extra work for you if you don't want it." I reply, containing my enthusiasm ... not ... but realizing that the lion's share of the work with the puppy will be hers. "I would like the Golden Retriever this time, how about you?"

"That's exactly what I would like, and I found one online!" She said, not all that surprisingly.

And so it started, in no time we had a puppy spoken for, a beautiful reddish colored Golden Retriever. A few weeks later we picked her up, so here we go again, more adventures to come with the new buddy, Ginger!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Accessible Alaska Cruise with Holland America

At Port in Skagway
“Mr. Wright, nice to see you back! We have your table ready! ”
“Thank you so much, good to see you again!” I reply.

We are once again treated to a fantastic meal, great service, and a fun evening. Hotelling it? Nah. Cruising in style!
Our friends Jim and Sheila let us know a while ago that they were doing the seven-day Alaska cruise, and would we like to come? Having a strong case of spur-of-the-moment -itis and a habit of not behaving very responsively, the plans fit well with us. So here we are, on the Holland America ship Ms Noordam!

Glacier Bay
“This is your captain speaking, we are expecting 11 foot seas and 45 kn winds this evening, it may seem a little rough, passengers are under orders to have a couple of drinks to smooth out the waves,” comes over there public address system.
“You heard the Captain, we have to obey orders, a bottle of wine Sir!”

“Coming right up!” is the reply.

Terryll and I pop a Bonine (similar to a gravol), I take my Dristan cold pills, and we proceed to have a sip or two.
“He was right, this boat does rock in the waves!” I say.

“The storm hasn’t started yet, that is your medication” my wife replies.

Sure enough, a glance out the window confirms that it is just a cold pill – red-wine-storm, all’s well. By the time the real storm hit we were used to the waves anyways, and it didn’t bother us in the least. On the way back to our room we made a stop by at the outdoor pool on the back.
Enjoying the Balcony
“Wow, this places abandoned,” I say looking at the normally busy open deck. The wind was howling, the deck was rolling, the sea (about 100ft below) had white foam on top with whitecap-waves, and the pool was doing its best to empty its stomach. Even on such a large ship one can get the sense of what some of the fisherman must experience out in the open ocean!

On the trip we stopped and disembarked at Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. We also toured the amazing Glacier Bay for a day, incredible scenery! We saw goldrush towns, float planes, whales, glaciers and salmon runs. It is incredible to pack in so much new stuff into a short time. Everything on the ship including the gangplank seemed completely wheelchair accessible. Our room had a wheel-in shower, and our balcony had ramps. The staff on the ship was incredibly friendly and accommodating. Somebody would always run up to ask if I needed help cutting my steak or a refill of my glass, amazing service! I think if anybody wants to try an accessible cruise I think they would be happy with Holland America!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Quad Flyin' a Quad

This thing is a freaking blast! Once it is set up to know where home is, you simply give it some power and up it goes! Pushing forward on the right stick makes it fly forward, pulling back to fly backwards, right stick right, right stick left, and it slides that unit right and left. Left on the left stick rotates left, right on the left stick rotates right, easy! Helicopter? Nope, a quad copter!

Last Christmas I received a Phantom 2 quad copter from my wife (I'm so happy ... I promise to say nice things about her for three days!), I couldn't have asked for anything better! We (myself and my sweet lovely thoughtful wife, did I mention I would say nice things for three days?) easily adapted the transmitter with a couple of short broom handles, so that I can control it with my paws. Then we (my sweetheart and I)  pulled out the old book-reading-tray that was built to fit my gun rack on my wheelchair, and away we (guess who?) went!

You don't really have to know how to fly an aircraft to handle one of these quad copters. All you do (after your sweet lady buys you the ultimate gift of all time, a quad copter) is you set it on the ground with your transmitter turned on, then you turn on the battery for the quad copter and wait for the lights to turn green as this signals that it has found enough GPS satellites to find its way home. Then you calibrate the compass with a few simple maneuvers from your lovely thoughtful bubbly helper (who lets on like she would rather do nothing else but fly things), turn on the camera and your screen and away you go! If you get flustered you can always let go of the control sticks and it will stop where it is, in space, and just hover there! When the battery level gets low it will automatically take over, come back and land safely where you took off from, cool!

This thing will take HD video using its GoPro camera, flies for about 20 minutes, and you can watch the whole thing on a screen while you are doing it! What a hoot! Can you imagine receiving a gift that would top this? I cannot! How thoughtful! I guess it might be a bit of an invasion of privacy at times (and it is very much appreciated when your significant other points it out in her subtle way), but you just have to be responsible about where and how you fly it.

If you want to know more about how this works, and how easy it is to fly for a quadriplegic (or anybody), just send me an email and check out my YouTube page! End of day 1.

My Youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8B5KVptDLln4h9tLE44Dg

Friday, 31 July 2015

Playing With A Mower

Earlier this summer my wife brought it to my attention in her subtle way, that her love of setting her butt on a tractor and mowing lawn for 8 to 10 hours every week was starting to wane. We decided that a new lawnmower that could handle more capacity would be in order. My brother and I did some shopping around and determined that the regular residential size units didn't look like they would handle the amount of lawn we have here, and us having the 'go big or go home' gene firmly entrenched in our system thanks to our father, we decided to go with a commercial John Deere unit.

The lawnmower arrived on schedule and budget, and was unloaded in the yard. After a quick demo and an exchange of funds, my wife was on and test-riding. A little while later she pulled up to the house, a devilish grin on her face. Hmmm ... I had the feeling an idea was brewing.

"I'm pretty sure you can drive this thing, it is really easy!" She said.

"Do you really think so?" I said hesitantly, knowing that Murphy seems to get quite involved in my new endeavors, especially if it involves things with engines, wings, floats, hooks, fire, knives, etc. etc. etc.

"Let's find out if you can!" She said, jumping off and running in to get our lift, a little bit over the top with enthusiasm methinks.

She hooks the lift up to a ring that is attached to the rafters in the garage, we fondly referred to this as the "meat hook". In a minute or so I am hanging near the ceiling, with great vulnerability I might add,wondering if this is going to work out as it does seem a little crazy.

The lawnmower is pushed underneath me, I am lowered down, and strapped in so that I can't flop around. Without belts I am kinda like trying to balance an octopus on the end of a broom-handle.

Soon we have the key adapted so that I can start it and shut it off in case of emergency, and off I go! After a little bit of driving around at slow speed (yawn) I am ready to up the throttle and try the mower! Everything worked out perfect!

Now I have been mowing the lawn all summer, and although I don't want to let on for fear of forfeiting any goody points, I absolutely love it! Driving one of these zero turn mowers is something that a lot of people that are wheelchair users can do, heck I have very little strength and no hand function, and it works for me!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Fruitcake On The Radio

Most of you know that I have been a Parrot Head for a long time now. I got an email from Steve Huntinton  saying that I was selected to be the "Fruitcake On The Radio" on Radio Margaritaville. I have never been a DJ on a radio station before so this was going to be quite an experience! I found out they wanted four songs, and a little bit of a talk in between.

I have been listening to Buffett music since I was a teenager. I have never been very good at leading a serious lifestyle, and for some reason his music just clicked. Then I was involved in that awful car accident, and in the hospital I needed an escape from the reality of the situation. My friends rescued me with a couple of Sony Walkmans, a bunch of batteries, and my Buffett tapes.

I could close my eyes and escape that hospital nightmare, touring the tropical places in those songs. My attitude got back to normal, for me, and I have since been able to live a pretty darn good and fun life thanks to my wife, family, and friends. I'm still not very good at being responsible or serious, but I guess the rest of you will just have to put up with that.

I put together a little slideshow to go with the recording of my two seconds in the limelight of being a DJ, although I did shorten the songs so it wouldn't be quite so long!

No sense in being too serious, we don't want to get to the end of the day and have to leave the park with a bunch of fun tickets in our pockets!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Camping Bliss ... uhuh ...

Most of you that camp have experienced the peer pressure of parking a trailer in a busy campground, just thought I'd collect some data and report the findings. Feel free to make your own observations utilizing the following guidelines, it is a fun and educational way to spend an evening.


To truly observe and appreciate all of the particulars involved in parking a trailer, one must arrive at the campground, and have their own campsite completely set up by Friday noon directly across from a carefully chosen target campsite. Acquiring such a perfectly situated site for yourself is in itself an art, but key to the success of the investigations.

The target campsite should be a back-in site (pull-through sites will contaminate the data) designed by the latest engineering software. The site should be complete with large overhanging branches, a post to mark the campsite, metal-fire pit, and utility pillar. All of these are to be strategically placed so as to be completely hidden from the driver's view at all times, leaving the sole responsibility for their avoidance squarely on the shoulders of the person directing from behind. This encourages spousal interaction (many couples have worked out their own sign language, however a universally recognized signal apparently occasionally gets "flipped"). You can detect proper placement of these obstacles by the lovely colorful paint-scrape marks inscribed on them by multiple cheerful campers starting their vacation off on the right foot.

Next, one must unpack and set up all of the scientific observation equipment needed to examine campers parking, undisturbed in their natural habitat ... including but not limited to lawn chairs, umbrella, notebook, cooler full of Corona, video camera, etc. Next place your lawn chairs at the front of your site in full view of all goings-on. You may notice other folks in the campground doing the same for educational purposes or merely sheer entertainment value. In Quantum Physics the "Observer Effect" states that "There is no phenomenon until it is observed", so nobody really knows if a camper, without an observer present, has trouble parking or not. It's kinda like "If a tree falls with no observer present, does it make any sound"? I think that Observer Effect must be at play, because of the 396 campers that I polled, 89% stated that they have no difficulty parking their RV. Our observations revealed that 29% was more accurate (our poll is accurate 99 out of 100 times between beer #3 and #4 while balancing on a $3 lawn chair between 5pm and 9pm on a Friday night in a rib-stained blue shirt). Note: when observing, one should be careful not to skew the evidence by laughing, cheering, mooning, or engaging in any other type of interaction with the driver during his/her attempts at parking their rig.

As the time approaches five p.m. one will begin to detect a certain anxiety on the part of drivers as they frantically race to grab the last few sites. It is imperative that you have a fresh Corona before the “Low-Beer-Light' comes on as there may not be an opportunity for replenishment once the action begins.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Horse Therapy

Horse Hugs

I had a pretty neat experience yesterday.

First we collected lemons. My regular chair had experienced the melting of some very important wires, and hence was in the repair shop. So I was left without my wheels, which is a bit of an inconvenience to a quadriplegic (ya think???).

So I arrive home, sporting my 1983 p.o.s. backup unit. Now if you think us gimps look uncool before, ya gotta see me in my ill-fitting backup MacGyvered-so's-it-at-least-runs unit! Unloading from the van we notice the 4x4 off-road chair sitting in the garage minding its own business. It fits me well and is comfy, but you may have noted from previous posts that this thing is not carpet and linoleum (or marriage) friendly, and as such has been banned by the appropriate powers from the inside of the house.

"Do ya want to ride that?" Terry asks, pointing at the beast.

"Sure!" I reply, wanting like always to stay outside.

Terry laughs, "I guess I won't see you for the rest of the day!"  knowing that I will  roam all over Hell's 1/2 acre in this thing .

"Anything you want before you go?"

"Maybe my sunglasses, a hat, and a tea, and I'll see you later!" I reply.

One great thing about living out in the country is you can roam around and explore for a couple of hours no problem. Terry hands me my stuff and off I go. I spend the next hour or so exploring the fish in the ponds, animals and birds. When I get back to the yard the horses are standing in the corral.

"You want me to open the gate so you can go see them?" Terry asks.

"You bet!"

Years ago way back in my first life, I used to like to ride horses. I haven't had a lot to do with them ever since my accident, but when I am outside I always call to them and when they raise their heads to look at me I wave back. Sometimes they will walk up to the fence and lean over to look at me for a few seconds, but that is about all the contact I have had with them. This was going to be new being in the pen with them and it was pretty amazing.

As soon as they noticed me in the pen, they were curious. Total, the big old standardbred, walked right over immediately and stopped with his nose close to mine and stared at me from close range. He then leaned down to sniff my feet. Then he did something unexpected, he gently grabbed the toe of my boot and lifted my foot off of the foot pedal! Then he sniffed my legs, and came up to sniff my hands. He gently grabbed my hands one at a time, and lifted them. Then it dawned on me, he was wondering why I couldn't move my hands and feet, he had noticed that something was wrong!