GLOBAL ACCESS NEWS TRAVEL E-ZINE
VOLUME IV, NUMBER 9 , September 2003
Copyright © 2003, Global Access News
http://www.globalaccessnews.com/


Please note: Any Internet links mentioned in this E-Zine were verified as functioning as of the date on this E-Zine. Websites and e-mail addresses, however, change frequently, so changes may have occurred after that date.

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Welcome to the September 2003 issue of the Global Access News Travel E-Zine Thanks to everyone for taking the time to write us and share your travel experiences.

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CONTENTS

1. COLORADO DISCOVER ABILITY
2. NOOSA QUEENSLAND HOLIDAY APT.
3. HEARST CASTLE TOUR
4. WARNING: WESTERN SKYE VANCOUVER
5. ROMAN HOLIDAY
6. ALASKAN CRUISE: HOLLAND AMERICA
7. PENRITH TO KESWICK CONVERTED RAIL TRACK

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1. COLORADO DISCOVER ABILITY

Headed by Tyler Jones, Colorado Discover Ability Integrated Outdoor Adventures (CDA) provides a range of active experiences for wheelchair users and blind skiers. Several hundred skiers take part in their winter activities every year at Powderhorn Ski Resort. Summertime adventure travels include rafting in the Grand Canyon and kayaking on Lake Powell. To learn more, visit http://www.cdaioa.com

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2. NOOSA QUEENSLAND HOLIDAY APT.


Paul Balasarini announced the availability of the fully accessible holiday apartment he designed for wheelies like himself in beautiful Noosa, Queensland, Australia. Visit his web site at http://www.holidaysnoosa.com.au/
then navigate to Unit 2 and take the virtual tour of his accommodation’s many accessible features. Paul may also be contacted at pbalsarini@optusnet.com.au
 or Tel. 0418 963416.

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3. HEARST CASTLE TOUR


Disabled visitors to Southern California’s San Simeon Hearst Castle can expect a very limited tour of all the splendors of this 165-room, 127-acre palace owned by William Randolph Hearst, newspaper publisher. Wheelchair users can tour the ground floor of the main house, one level of the guesthouse, some of the gardens, the Neptune pool, and the interior Roman pool. The cost is $18, which includes a film titled “Building the Dream, Hearst Castle.” Visitors must reserve the tour 10 days in advance and pick up the tickets at the Ranger’s Office at the Visitor’s Center 20 minutes before the tour, which is offered three times per day. Plan on taking a wheelchair that is no wider than 28” or borrowing one of theirs at no charge. Wheelchair visitors must bring a companion capable of pushing them up long, steep inclines. Call (866) 712-2286 for more information or visit www.hearstcastle.org

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 4. WARNING: WESTERN SKYE VANCOUVER


Global Access News
recently removed the link to Vancouver’s Western Skye from our Accessible Accommodation section after receiving the following letter from Annette Novominsky, which describes the serious problems she encountered there.

Determining the extent of access can often prove tricky, and as Annette’s letter illustrates other unforeseen issues can arise without warning. Still, Global Access suggests that travelers follow Annette’s example of establishing a dialogue with a prospective landlord and posing every possible question about disabled access and renter responsibilities
Annette writes:

I wanted to report the problem that we encountered when we rented a condo that we found through your website. We leased Western Skye for the nights of August 2, 3, and 4. This is not the first time that we have rented a condo when on vacation. We have stayed at the same condo in Grand Lake, Colorado six times and have also rented two different condos at Aspen, Colorado. In the past, we have never had any problem with facilities or the landlords.

When we booked our cruise out of Vancouver, BC we made a reservation at the Waterfront Fairmont for the three days before we departed on our cruise and then made a reservation at Western Skye for the nights or August 2-4 at the end of the cruise. The unit was advertised as being fully handicap accessible for a person in a wheelchair. Not even the bathroom was fully accessible. Although the bathroom did have a roll -in shower and a shower bench, there were no grab bars in the shower to help with transfer to the bench. There were no grab bars near the toilet either. The sink was accessible as it was wall hung. The only accessible feature in the bedroom was a queen size adjustable bed. The bedroom was small and the only furniture in the room was the bed and a small tray table beside the bed. There was no table or folding rack to place luggage on and no dresser of any type. The only place to put luggage was on the floor. As you can well imagine, it is quite difficult for a handicapped person to try to live out of a suitcase that is placed on the floor. With the suitcase on the floor there was no room to roll into the room and to the side of the bed.

When we arrived we were asked for a check for $200 as a damage deposit. This had never been mentioned in any of the many emails I had written or received from Brandy Cook, owner of the condo. I did not hesitate to give the check as I knew that the apartment would be in good condition when we left. I was told that Ms. Cook or her mother would be there to the morning of our departure to return the check and get the key. The person that let us into the apartment was Ms. Cook's mother. We were taken back when she asked that we put the towels and bed linens into the wash and dryer before we departed ---- this was the first time any landlord had asked us to do the wash, however, we felt we could certainly comply. We were not told where to deposit any trash and never saw a trash deposit place outside of the apartment. While we were in Vancouver, the only meals we ever had in the apartment was breakfast which was cereal and toast that was eaten at the table. As soon as we had breakfast we were out for a day of sightseeing.

We were up early on the morning of our departure so that we could pack up, shower and then get linens washed and into the dryer before we departed. We gathered any trash that had accumulated from breakfast cereal, toast, etc. and put it all into one trash bag, which was left in the kitchen. The dishes were all put into the dishwasher and were washing when we left. I had a call from Brandy saying she was going to be unable to meet us and return the check but we could leave the key at the desk in the condo's lobby and she would put the check in the mail to us.

The day after we returned I received an email from Ms. Cook telling me that she would not return our deposit because we had "trashed" her apartment, denting the hardwood floors and staining her couch. She said we had not left the apartment in the same condition that it was in when we arrived. Beds were not changed, trash was left in the kitchen and dishes were left in the dishwasher. She said she had to pay to have the apartment cleaned before the next guest arrived.

We did nothing to stain her couch; we never even sat on it. We ate at the table and watched TV while laying in bed in the bedroom. We certainly never dented her hardwood floors. We have had hardwood floors in our home for 35 years without damaging the floors. We feel we had done more to clean up her apartment than we should have been asked to do in the first place. We should not have been expected to change linens for the next tenant. Every condo we have ever been in has had a cleaning crew that came by daily to ask if we needed fresh towels or anything else. We have never been expected to be the cleaning crew. We had rented the condo because my husband wanted me to have the comfort of an adjustable bed like I have at home. We had expected the apartment to be fully accessible for a handicapped person.

I would advise any handicapped person to NOT deal with Ms. Cook. I feel that she never had any intention of returning the deposit in the first place. She knew that we would not go elsewhere when we had already paid $375 and had no reservations anywhere else.

The advertisement for Western Skye says that they take Visa and Master Card, however, when I made my reservation and wanted to give her my credit card information, I was told that they were not set up to take charges at this time. I believe that she no longer uses Visa and Master Card because when she has pulled this trick on others in the past and they had paid with credit cards they had been able to protest and stop payment on the deposit. I hope you will warn others that they can expect problems with Western Skye -- and save others the frustration that we have encountered. We are out a total of $950.00 for three nights in an apartment that was not as advertised.
Annette Novominsky, Houston, TX.

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5. ROMAN HOLIDAY

Despite the sizzling summer heat (and challenging access) of Rome, Italy, Gyl Stacey, and her husband, Mark, of Scotland, toured the highlights of the Eternal City. http://www.globalaccessnews.com/romanholiday04.htm

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6. ALASKAN CRUISE: HOLLAND AMERICA


Annette Novominsky and her husband of Houston, TX cruised Alaska on Holland America's Zaandam to the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay. http://www.globalaccessnews.com/alaskancruise03.htm

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7. PENRITH TO KESWICK CONVERTED RAIL TRACK


Syd & June Burns, of Penrith, England, explored the access of a nearby converted rail trail between Penrith and Keswick.
http://www.globalaccessnews.com/penrith_to_keswick_converted_rai.htm

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Global Access News  welcomes your travel reports, tips and comments at clearpath@cox.net Thanks for sharing!

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