Wheelchair Accessible Reno Getaway
By Mary Fowler © 2001

Mary Fowler and Jim Gonsalves, of Alameda, CA, recently enjoyed a fun getaway to Reno, Nevada.  

Click on blue links to visit the web sites of locations mentioned in this article.

We stayed two nights at Boomtown in Verdi, NV, a few miles west of Reno. They had very interesting Craftsman's style furniture in the lobby and  rooms, and there is a wheelchair accessible shuttle-bus from Boomtown to downtown Reno several times a day. 

We also stayed two nights at the Flamingo Hilton in Reno. The bed was not our best choice because it had wheelchair access problems.

Yes, it was cold.  There was snow in the gutters in Reno and a little snow falling in Boomtown.

Reno access is really great. The Whittlesea Taxi Service (775) 333-3333 has wheelchair accessible Dodge Grand Caravans.  Most of the hotel casinos don't have accessible shuttles, but the hotels we've stayed at reimburse for the cost of the wheelchair accessible taxis.

The Boomtown shuttle between Boomtown and Reno has a lift. The local bus system is accessible, frequent, etc. We have used the buses between the main gambling area and the Peppermill and the mall. We also rolled down to the Peppermill once.  Some of the sidewalks were very narrow, however.

The hotel rooms are very accessible.  The Flamingo Hilton has roll-in showers in some of the guest bathrooms.  One of the few annoying things is that the Flamingo "handicapped" rooms don't have king or queen sized beds, just two doubles.  So we sleep in one double, with Jim not close to the edge of the bed.  The Flamingo also has king-sized beds, but they are too close to the wall, so Jim can't get his wheelchair close to the bed to transfer. We are trying to deal with them regarding this.

Reno’s curb cuts are architecturally attractive as well as convenient.

Some casinos have the Blackjack tables at a lower level, but Jim usually happens to pick a Blackjack table, which is higher.  He chooses his stables based on the dealer, other players, minimum play, etc.

Now that most machines can handle paper money, people don't need to handle coins, which is something Jim would have difficulty with.  After breakfast and after Jim selects a video poker machine, I can put his plastic card in, put some paper money in, and I go back to the room to take a shower, wash my hair, etc. 

Almost all the restaurants are very accessible and have enough tables with chairs (as contrasted with booths).  Booths are difficult because I need to sit close enough to Jim to feed him, and right angles work best. If they assign us to a booth (usually not in Reno), I will ask for a chair so I can sit right next to Jim.  This looks really silly since no one is sitting on the booth seating. 

We usually fly to Reno via Southwest Airlines.  It's usually fairly inexpensive and the staff knows Jim and his power wheelchair, so there are rarely any problems.

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