Sunday, March 22, 2015

National Parks Visited

With a visit to Biscayne National Park during Spring Break 2015, Laurel has now visited 12 National Parks and Kellisa has 21.

Complete Lists (Multiple visits in italics):
Laurel- Biscayne, Carlsbad Caverns, Congaree, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Everglades, Guadalupe Mountains, Lassen Volcanic, Mammoth Cave, Redwoods, Rocky Mountain, Voyageurs
Kellisa- Arches, Big Bend, Biscayne, Canyonlands, Carlsbad Caverns, Congaree, Crater Lake, Cuyahoga Valley, Death Valley, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains, Joshua Tree, Lassen Volcanic, Petrified Forest, Redwoods, Rocky Mountains, Shenandoah, Voyageurs, Zion

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Escaping with our Lives (A 1st Anniversary Story)

March 18, 1990

This picture was taken 26 years ago. But, this is the story of what happened (and more importantly, didn't happen) one year later:

We were young, had no money and it was March in northern Illinois. Three good reason NOT to go camping, but we did to celebrate our first anniversary. This was our first overnight trip beyond Chicagoland together. We somehow managed to buy a small tent, a stove and maybe a few other items, but we didn't have the money for sleeping bags. Instead, we threw a few blankets in the car and drove off for a happy weekend. I should mention that we had a 1977 Chevy Caprice that we had no business driving so far from home.

We drove uneventfully to Apple River Canyon State Park in NW Illinois. We were the only campers, but that didn't bother or scare us (at first). It didn't take long to set up our meager camp. We probably went on a hike before cooking a simple dinner. I remember it got dark fast and it was very cold, so we retreated to the tent. Before we could fall asleep, we heard footsteps and were scared to death. Then we heard branches breaking near the tent. Since we were the only campers, there was only one logical explanation for the noises we were hearing. We were convinced there was a murderer in the campground. We ran to the car and drove off into the night leaving behind our camping possessions.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Special Olympics

St. Johns County Summer Games
Menendez High School
March 7, 2015


We can now say that Kellisa is a Special Olympian after she participated in the 2015 St. Johns County Summer Games. Kellisa trains with her friends from school and her amazing teacher. She was entered in two events, the 50M Assisted Wheelchair Race and Tennis Ball Throw. She came in first in both events. It did help that she was the only one entered in both events, but we'll take the 1st Place finishes just the same as it allows her to participate in the "Area" Summer Games.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

West Lake Boardwalk Trail

 Everglades National Park 

March 2015

I knew from previous visits to Everglades National Park that our best chance to see the threatened American Crocodile was at West Lake.  Kellisa stayed in the air conditioned car listening to music while Laurel and I investigated the water around the boat ramp. We were immediately rewarded when we saw this little guy in the water. It's estimated that only 500-1,200 crocodiles remain wild in south Florida and we had one swimming in front of us:

I told Laurel that the momma crocodile was probably close and she started looking for her. It didn't take long to find the mother:

After a couple of minutes, the mother swam off into the lake:

This is a cool picture because there's a crocodile on the left and an American alligator on the right:

I thought I could take a picture of Laurel centered between the crocodile and alligator, but you can only see the alligator:

We hiked the West Lake Trail:

Kellisa did a great job of wheeling herself on the boardwalk trail:


We found this bird watching over our car after our little hike. Laurel "talked" to the bird for close to an hour:

Monday, March 2, 2015

No, I'll Take the Room I Reserved, Thank You

Kellisa at Abilities Expo- Atlanta 2013
I was recently asked to write an article for, the premiere resource for the disabled community. I've become very familiar with this organization since I attended their 2013 Abilities Expo in Atlanta with Kellisa and Laurel. I did not hesitate to agree to submit an article. I was given the opportunity to submit anything for consideration as long as it somehow pertained to the disability community. I had already shared my thoughts on the importance of getting first floor hotel rooms when traveling with Kellisa on this website, but I still feel strongly about this subject, especially since most ADA hotel rooms are NOT on the first floor. I reworked and expanded my initial thoughts for the article I submitted. I was honored when agreed to run the article because I knew it would not only reach a lot more people, but it would reach my target audience. Thank you!
The full article with pictures can be found (here)

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