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    Coyotes hockey game Vehicles that have a disabled parking permit are allowed to park in the lot right next to the Glendale Arena The wheelchair seating at the arena was fairly good although not spectacular Our seats were located in the last row of the lower bowl The only wheelchair seating that was closer was a section right up against the glass but those seats were reserved for season ticket holders The next day we made the two hour drive to Tucson Since we had been on the go pretty much every day of the trip so far it was nice to just spend the afternoon in the sun by the pool at our hotel We spent the next three nights at a hotel near Tucson Airport Unfortunately we had another one of those unexpected surprises at check in Whenever I book a hotel for myself I always doublecheck with the reservationist to make sure that I am booked in an accessible room with a roll in shower and this hotel was no exception However when we arrived in our room there was a bathtub in the bathroom not a roll in shower So we went back to the front desk and the front desk receptionist apologized and sent us to another room However it was the same problem Back at the front desk the receptionist once again apologized and then did a little investigation to see which accessible rooms had roll in showers and which had bathtubs Sure enough all of the accessible rooms that had roll in showers were occupied and one would not become free until the next day Of course I had my little e mail with me where the reservationist clearly promised me a room with a roll in shower but the receptionist did not even need to see it as it said right in his computer that I requested a roll in shower So he got on the phone with his boss at home to find a solution The rates that we were booked at were 79 for the first night and 109 for the remaining two nights His boss offered us the first night free if we accepted the room with a bathtub and then they would move us to a room with a roll in shower the next day I would have accepted that and in fact I was just about to say sure but then I blurted out how about the first night free and 79 for each of the two remaining nights The receptionist looked at us as if he was afraid to ask his boss but he did anyway and his boss agreed to it so we came away with a pretty good deal I did not get a shower the first night but at least I saved myself about 140 plus tax It just goes to show that it never hurts to ask The next morning we drove 1 5 hours south to spend the day in Tombstone the so called Town too tough to die As the heart of the Wild West in the late 1800s the town of Tombstone has become legendary with countless movies portraying the adventures of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday We started with a visit to Historama located next door to the OK Corral For 7 50 you can purchase tickets to both Historama and the OK Corral site of the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral Historama is a good way to start your visit to Tombstone The 20 minute multimedia presentation is narrated by Vincent Price and retells the town s history focusing largely on Tombstone s bad old days as the center of the Wild West Next we went next door to the OK Corral Every day at 2 p m they have a reenactment of the famous gunfight on almost the exact spot where it took place The shootout erupted when Doc Holliday Wyatt Earp and Wyatt s 2 brothers went to confront five men and three of the five ended up dead The reenactment is supposedly the most authentic recreation of the actual event as it happened It was short but definitely entertaining Next we walked over to Helldorado where actors perform a fictional gunfight a couple times each day The gunfight is supposed to be more funny than realistic but it was one of the worst 4 I have ever spent We were very tempted to leave early but I was determined to stay and get my 4 worth It didn t happen though Not only was the show bad the wheelchair seating was awful The set was located at the bottom of the hill so visitors actually had to go down a bunch of steps to get to a grandstand which was situated on the side of the hill The wheelchair seating was located at the top of the hill and off to the side which made it a little difficult to hear what the actors were saying It s a good thing the show was not very good it made the poor wheelchair seating a little easier to take The only good thing about the seating was that it allowed us to make a quick exit at the end of the show Next we made our way over to the historic Bird Cage Theatre which once served as a saloon theater gambling hall and brothel Tickets were 8 per person to tour the famous theater Once inside we were able to walk around and view many artifacts dating back to the theatre s hayday in the 1880s Of course the first thing you notice upon entering the theatre are the 14 bird cage like cribs that hang from the ceiling which gave the theatre its name In the 1880s this was where the ladies of the night would do their business 20 would buy a man a bottle of whiskey and a lady for the night There were several other notable items including one

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  • World On Wheelz
    After lunch we took in the Journey Behind the Falls The entrance was located in the Table Rock Complex We were taken by elevator deep down to the bottom of the gorge where we were once again given raincoats A short walk down the tunnel led to a lookout area located right next to the start of the Horseshoe Falls There were quite a few steps going down to the lower level of the lookout but the upper level was entirely accessible Back inside the tunnel another tunnel veered off and led to two portals behind the Falls where you could see and hear the powerful water gushing down only a few feet away Next we got back in our van and made the 2 mile drive north on the Niagara Parkway to White Water Walk There was plenty of parking alongside the road and across the street After buying tickets we were taken in an elevator down to the gorge An accessible boardwalk ran alongside the gorge and offered a great view of the category 6 rapids the fastest rapids in the world Following the White Water Walk we made our way over to the Skylon Tower for a trip to the observation deck Upon arrival at the top I was appalled to discover that the outside viewing area was not accessible There were several steps down followed by a sharp right turn through a door to go out to the observation area So I was forced to stay inside where I could hardly see the Falls at all I was quite upset since I paid full price for my ticket so I got the elevator guy to drop us off on the Revolving Restaurant level hoping to just take a quick stroll around and check out the view However when we got out of the elevator there were a few steep steps going up to the revolving floor where all the tables were They apparently did have a portable ramp for the steps but it must have been a steep ramp and we didn t want to bother with it since we did not have dinner reservations The only remaining level was home to the Summit Suite Dining Room Fortunately it provided a decent view and the waiters were nice enough to let us take a stroll around They were actually quite sympathetic When I told them our story they arranged for us to get our money back at customer relations They also mentioned that the Skylon Tower is in need of a serious upgrade citing the fact that the Revolving Restaurant level does not have one single restroom on it By the time we made it over to the Hard Rock Café and had dinner it was getting late into the evening and we had not even gotten to the Clifton Hill attractions yet Since we wanted to spend a good amount of time there it was clear that the best thing to do would be to

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  • World On Wheelz
    t understand how people can live up there Beautiful view though From there it was on to Santa Monica beach which had a similar set up to Malibu beach The beach was too soft to drive on with a wheelchair so we took a stroll down to the end of the pier to check out the view After a bit of walking around and checking out what the vendors on the pier had to sell we decided to head over to Anaheim where we had tickets for the Angels game that night It took us two hours to drive from Santa Monica to Anaheim The wheelchair seating at Edison Field reminded me of the seating at PacBell Park They had wheelchair seating around the stadium from third base to the rocks in center field but to me the outfield seats were the best because it was the only wheelchair seating where you could see the sky above you instead of the overhang from the next deck The only other baseball game that we went to in Los Angeles was a Dodger game the following week Wheelchair seating at Dodger Stadium was much the same as at the two I just mentioned nothing seems to compare to the great wheelchair seating at Fenway Park Yankee Stadium and even the Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland but that is a topic for another discussion We began another day by driving in to Beverly Hills and parking by the Will Rogers Memorial Park which was right across from the Beverly Hills Hotel We got out and decided to walk all the way down to Rodeo Drive which was an interesting little stroll past some very expensive housing and shops From there it was over to the Hard Rock Cafe and the Beverly Center where we were told there are always celebrities out shopping although we did not see any that day After a mid afternoon lunch we headed out to Venice Beach Although we did not have a disabled parking permit I forgot to bring mine along from home we continued to park in disabled parking spaces Our van had a big wheelchair emblem on the side so I hoped we would be okay The parking attendant at Venice Beach even directed us to a wheelchair space even though we told him we did not have a permit Anyway we got out and did a lot of strolling around going to the end of the pier and checking out all of the vendors The beach was not very accessible due to the soft sand although there was a nicely paved bicycle path all along the beach which we went on not sure if wheelchairs are supposed to be on there though We returned to the van to find the thing I had feared the most for the past week a US 300 parking ticket on our windshield for parking in a disabled parking space without a permit Luckily the ticket lady was still there writing out a ticket for some Porsche We went over to her and innocently pleaded our case and she immediately called her supervisor and got permission to take the ticket back Meanwhile while she was dealing with our ticket the owner of the Porsche actor Owen Wilson showed up Our first celebrity close up He had been out surfing at the beach He too tried to get out of his parking ticket which was only 40 but he did not have the same luck It was hilarious The ticket lady and Owen Wilson were great In fact we got her to take 2 pictures one of me with Owen Wilson and another of my friend and Owen holding up their parking tickets In any event the point of the story is that if you plan to rent a van on vacation do not forget to bring your disabled parking permit from home We managed to catch six live tapings of television shows while we were in Los Angeles We ordered free tickets for The Drew Carey Show and According to Jim a month earlier off of Audiences Unlimited They were not specifically designated as wheelchair tickets We were told to just call a day or two in advance to notify them that I was coming in a wheelchair Wheelchair seating for The Drew Carey Show was excellent Since the bleachers where the audience sits were not accessible we sat on the floor in front of the bleachers by the tv cameras During the show a member of the crew came over and gave me a Duff beer and one of the writer s scripts for that episode Unfortunately for According to Jim the area in front of the cameras was too cluttered so we were forced to sit beside the bleachers with the writers of the show It was kind of a bummer because we could not see any of the taping except for one scene although it was definitely cool to sit with the 6 or 7 writers of the show during a live taping and see them in action They were really nice to us too offering us food and allowing us to go backstage to get coffee or snacks The security guard never even gave my friend a second look although security for all these shows is probably much tighter now in light of the events of September 11 Tickets for game shows are typically much easier to get Every day there are guys giving away free tickets for tv shows in front of the Chinese Theater This is where we got tickets for Hollywood Squares Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy Wheelchair seating for these shows was very good in the last row for Hollywood Squares and on the floor in front of the bleachers for the other two shows For Wheel of Fortune we were actually only about 10 or 15 feet from the board and Vanna White It was not necessary to specify that we

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  • World On Wheelz
    Parliament Hill in their red coats and busbies and performs a series of military exercises It is a good idea to get there at least 15 minutes early to ensure a good viewing spot After the ceremony we went over to the Info Tent located between the Centre Block and the West Block At the Info Tent you can pick up free tickets for guided tours of Parliament Hill and the Centre and East Blocks We started with a tour of the East Block Four rooms in the East Block have been restored to look as they did in the late 1800s namely the offices of Sir John A Macdonald George Étienne Cartier the Governor General and the Privy Council Chamber The tour was conducted in 19th century time so at various points along the tour we were interrupted by characters dressed in costumes who explained a little bit about daily goings on in the building The tour was completed accessible The main entrance had steps but I was escorted through a side door and up an elevator for the tour on the upper floor Next we did a self guided walking tour around Parliament Hill Information booklets with maps were available at the Info Tent We were able to walk all over the Hill including a walkway behind the Centre Block that overlooked the Ottawa River and Gatineau Quebec Points of interest included the Noon Day Gun the Cat Sanctuary the Summer Pavilion and the Victoria Bell There were also many statues of significant figures in Canadian history including statues of Queen Elizabeth II Queen Victoria who chose Canada s capital Sir John A Macdonald s Canada s first Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier Canada s first Francophone Prime Minister and others We also stopped by the Centennial Flame located directly in front of the Centre Block The flame was lit in 1967 to celebrate Canada s 100th birthday It is surrounded by the shields from each province and territory We made our way back to the Info Tent in time for our tour of the Centre Block home to the House of Commons and the Senate The tour typically ranges from 20 minutes to an hour depending on whether the Chambers are in use Since we were there in the summer we were able to go right onto the floor in both the House of Commons and the Senate It was quite worthwhile At the end of the tour we were given the option of leaving right away or going for a trip to the top of the Peace Tower There was quite a line up for the Tower but we wanted to do it away The line up actually went up a flight of stairs so a security guard took us up an elevator so we could join the line at the top Once we got to the front of the line the two security guides stopped me and explained the policy on wheelchair users in the Peace Tower The policy is that if a wheelchair user wants to go up the Tower they first have to clear out the people at the top They immediately halt the line of people going up the elevator and wait until everyone from the top has come down Then the wheelchair user goes up alone or with their companion s for a private viewing The purpose of this is for fire reasons I guess the stairwell in the Peace Tower is pretty cramped so in the event of a fire it would be hectic enough trying to get 15 or 20 able bodied people down from the top nevermind having to drag a disabled person down as well I understand the policy I think but it was a little awkward for us because they were basically shutting down the Tower for us while a huge line up of people waited for us to go up look around and come down I am sure there were a few annoyed people but too bad They told us not to feel bad about it because they do it all the time That s just the way it is Anyway the view at the top was fantastic and I definitely recommend it Located near the elevator in the Peace Tower is the Memorial Chamber Inside the memorial are several altars with books on them containing the names of Canadian soldiers killed in battle The chamber s walls and floors contain stones from several significant battlefields in Canadian history Upon exiting the Centre Block we walked one block south of Parliament Hill to Sparks Street Mall Canada s first pedestrian mall It stretches for 3 blocks and is full of shops and restaurants After a little lunch we made our way over to the National War Memorial located across from Sparks Street Mall Completed in 1939 the War Memorial commemorates Canadian soldiers killed in war The Tomb of the Unkown Soldier was added to the memorial in 2000 when the unidentified remains of a World War I Canadian soldier were brought back from France At night we drove to the other side of the Ottawa River to visit the Canadian Museum if Civilization We hit it just right because they were only open at night twice a week during the summer and admission was free after 5 p m Highlights of the museum include the Grand Hall home to the world s largest collection of totem poles and the Canada Hall which takes you through 1 000 years of Canadian history I definitely found it more interesting than the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City but I still wasn t overly in to it It had been a long day though and I was pretty tired My friend thought it was great so who am I to judge We started our second day with a trip to Rideau Hall the official residence of Canada s Governor General We parked on a side street near the

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  • World On Wheelz
    worth it The show was great I m not sure how they would accommodate wheelchair users who can t turn their neck though On the third day we took a stroll through Central Park and checked out some of the attractions on the way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art The Met was very accessible There was a floor plan that you could view online or pick up at the entrance which showed the best way for wheelchairs to get around on each floor There was a suggested admission price to enter the Met but you could basically pay whatever you wanted to pay to enter the museum The next day we took the bus over to the pier for a cruise around Manhattan We picked up a Metrocard for 4 which provided unlimited bus rides for that day Every New York City bus was wheelchair accessible They were great The bus drivers were very friendly too All we had to do was tell them which street we wanted to get off at and they would stop when we got there The boat had a ramp for wheelchairs to board and the whole main deck was accessible However the bathroom was not accessible and I am pretty sure the upper deck was not either The cruise itself was very worthwhile It circled the whole island of Manhattan including a close up of the Statue of Liberty From the pier we took the 42nd street bus back to Broadway and then caught a connecting bus down to the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan Since it had been almost a year since the September 11 attack and all of the debris has been cleared away there really was not much to see other than a massive hole in the ground Nevertheless it was still an eerie feeling to be there and imagine what once stood there and everything that happened that day especially since I had visited the exact same spot only 2 years earlier and had actually gone up to the observation deck at the top of the WTC The site was now surrounded by a chain linked fence and there was a designated area where you could view the site which basically looked like a huge construction site On our last day in New York we went to the World restaurant Located in Times Square it was basically a huge restaurant entertainment center owned by the WWE On Mondays and Thursdays you could buy tickets to watch RAW and Smackdown there We were fortunate enough to be there for Summerslam The show was great and the atmosphere in the restaurant was amazing with all the die hard wrestling fans There were also frequent autograph signings at the World We were lucky enough to be in town for an autograph session with Ric Flair Shawn Michaels and the Big Show Apparently the lineup for autographs began at 3 am By the time we arrived at around 11 am the

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  • World On Wheelz
    but there wasn t time We made the 5 hour drive from Montreal to Boston and checked in at our hotel Unfortunately we had several problems with our wheelchair accessible room I was promised a room with a roll in shower 2 beds and enough space under the bed for a hoyer lift to roll under Well we tried a few of their accessible rooms before finding one with a roll in shower and none of the rooms had any space under the bed at all They managed to find 4 milk crates and I was forced to sleep on a roll away bed that sat on the crates We filled in a comment card at the end of our stay voicing our displeasure and to my surprise I received a letter from the manager a few weeks later apologizing and asking me to write a letter outlining the details of our stay So I wrote a page long letter detailing what had happened and making a few suggestions on how they could improve it but I never heard back from him NOTE One year after this trip I returned to Boston for another 3 nights following my New York City trip I decided to stay at the same hotel hoping that they might have changed a couple things based on my letter The main problem for me is the issue of space under the bed Their beds were completely stuck to the floor When I made the reservation I asked them again if there was space under the bed and I was assured that there indeed was so I assumed that they had gotten different beds as per my suggestion Unfortunately I arrived to find the exact same problem as the year before which meant I again had to sleep on a roll away bed on 4 milk crates I complained to the manager and told him about my experience the year before and he was nice enough to give us the first night free and 50 off of each of the remaining 2 nights I will definitely never stay there again though On our first day in Boston we decided to finish seeing the half of the Freedom Trail that we didn t have time for the year before This time we started at the other end We took a wheelchair taxi from our hotel to the Bunker Hill Monument There was a ramp going up the hill to the monument and the gift shop Unfortunately the monument itself was not accessible You had to climb steps to get up to the lookout area at the top There was no elevator We then headed over to the USS Constitution We debated whether or not we wanted to see if we could get on it but the gangplank did not look accessible at all and we didn t feel like inquiring so we decided to just keep going We continued on past the Old North Church and several inaccessible

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  • World On Wheelz
    the NBC Nightly News is taped and also went on to the sets of Saturday Night Live Dateline NBC and The Rosie O Donnell Show We also took guided tours of Radio City Music Hall the United Nations the Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden All were extremely accessible and some had slight discounts on admission We also walked around lower Manhattan beginning at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where we took a guided tour Tickets for this tour were free but they had to be booked a few weeks in advance The tour was interesting as we were able to go down to the vault to see all of the gold reserves It wasn t quite as I imagined it would be after watching Die Hard With A Vengeance but it was still cool From there we went over to Wall Street and the NYSE where we took another tour It actually wasn t much of a tour We basically just got free tickets and then waited in line to go to a viewing area overlooking the trading floor where we could stand and watch the trading for a while Next we went on to Battery Park for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty The best part about the Statue of Liberty was that people in wheelchairs got to bypass the long lines for both the ferry and the entrance into the Statue itself it was the same for the Empire State Building This probably saved a couple hours Unfortunately wheelchairs could not go up to the crown only to the pedestal Lastly we walked over from Battery Park to the World Trade Center where we bought tickets for the observation deck The New York City busing system was AMAZING Every city bus was accessible even for long guys like me and you could basically get anywhere you want in New York City for 1 50 We took the bus twice once from mid town Manhattan to the Wall St area and once in the afternoon from mid town Manhattan to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx which forced us to change buses once One thing I really wanted to do was to take a Yankee Stadium tour which was offered at noon on days when the Yankees were not in town The tour was completely accessible and very interesting It took us to the press box Monument Park and also on the field in front of the dugout Watching baseball games at both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium was fun Yankee Stadium has some of the best wheelchair seating I have seen right behind home plate about 15 or 20 rows up Our seats at Shea Stadium were not quite as good We sat directly behind home plate behind the very last row of the section The wheelchair section was located on a platform behind the last row and you had to take a little elevator to get to the top of the platform This

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  • World On Wheelz
    were able to walk around the entire field along the warning track It was awesome to be able to go right up to the Monster and see it close up dents and all After the Fenway Park tour on the first day we took a wheelchair cab over to the Bull and Finch Pub better known to tv fans as Cheers They had a lift that carries a wheelchair up along the railing and over the steps into Hampshire House known on the show as Melvilles Once inside there was a gift shop and a room where you could eat lunch or you could take an extremely small elevator downstairs to have lunch or supper in the Cheers pub I had to take off both of my leg rests and push my feet under my chair as far as possible just to fit into the elevator but it is worth it if you are a fan of the show The layout of the pub is completely different than the bar on the show but the windows lampshades and bar top were virtually the same Of course the outside of the pub is the actual one seen on the show Apparently they used to come to Boston a few times a year to tape the scenes involving the outside of Cheers Following lunch we took another wheelchair cab over to Harvard University They had free guided tours which were conducted by students They basically walked us around Harvard Yard showing us the major points of interest as well as a brief look inside Memorial Hall The tour was completely wheelchair accessible and quite interesting Following the Fenway Park tour on the second day we took another wheelchair taxi over to the Boston Public Garden We walked through the park and the Boston Common before starting down the Freedom Trail The sidewalks and curbcuts in Boston were generally fairly good although there were some rough spots where the sidewalk was either cobblestone or old uneven brick The sidewalk along the Freedom Trail was pretty good the whole way though Due to time constraints we were only able to cover about half of the trail We went inside the Old State House which was pretty accessible We had to enter at the back of the building where there was a lift The Old South Meeting House was also mostly accessible There was an accessible entrance as well as an elevator going down one floor We had lunch at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace before it was time to catch another taxi back to our hotel and start making the 4 hour drive to Cooperstown Just a note about the wheelchair taxis in Boston though Even though there are supposed to be lots of them every taxi company is required to have a certain number of accessible vehicles you can still end up waiting a long time to get one We had it happen a number of a times where we would phone one company

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