Tahoe National Forest
Kellisa has many chairs with wheels, she has a wheelchair with bus tie downs, a travel folding wheelchair, and two off-road chairs built for rugged trails. In her 24+ years, she's gone through just about every kind of wheelchair and adaptive jog stroller we could find. With our vast experience, we always found a significant gap in the market. We've never found a chair that can maneuver in a hotel or restaurant and hold it's own on the average non-ADA trail.
Everything changed when we saw a post from Ben Huntzinger, the owner of Spartan Wheel Chariots. Ben is making a wheelchair that doubles as an off-road chair. It was everything we dreamed of in a dual purpose chair.
Kellisa will still need her other chairs for everyday life and extreme trails, but when we are out and want to hit moderate trails, Ben's chair is the perfect medium. We travel a lot and it's a pain to travel with two chairs, one for trails and one for everywhere else, especially when we aren't planning on hiking anything too crazy. Or maybe we are visiting family and leave the trail chairs at home, but find an unexpected few hours free and know we can't find a trail because we don't have the right chair.
After a few emails and measurements, we ordered a Spartan Wheel Chariot for Kellisa. Ben was super responsive and open to some adjustments to meet our needs, like the push handle customized to my height. The communication was outstanding with pictures of the chair in each phase of development. After a few weeks, Kellisa's chair arrived and it looked like our problems were solved, but we had to test the chair to be sure.
It was another couple of weeks before Kellisa and I had time to head out on a trail. We didn't have one in mind, so we just headed out for a drive through the Tahoe National Forest. We drove around for a couple of hours enjoying the views before we discovered a large lake far below the gravel road we were navigating. Through some trees, we could see the edge of a cliff band rising from far below. We didn't see any established trails, but knew this was the perfect spot to test Kellisa's new chair.
This would be Kellisa's first time even sitting in her chair and her excitement was off the charts. She was ready to go as soon as I had the seatbelt on and within seconds she was bouncing and giggling as the chair easily navigated the rocky terrain. The lake really opened up once we got near the edge of the cliffs and we just took in the light breeze and endless beauty. We explored a little while taking some photographs. Unfortunately, we didn't have unlimited time because I had to get back for a parents meeting with Egypt's water polo coaches.
Even though our time out was limited, I have no doubt Kellisa's new Spartan Wheel Chariot (aka Purple Beast) will continue to exceed our expectations!
Thank you Ben!