Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Caregiving: accessible van (sleigh ride)

Last week's Valentine’s Day 2007 snow was our first winter storm owning a wheelchair accessible van. (2002 Dodge Grand Caravan ES / IMS RampVan Conversion).

Dashing through the snow

In a (wheelchair accessible van)

Through the (streets) we go

Laughing all the way.

It’s no SUV, but with the extra vehicle weight from the lowered steel floor and four Michelin Hydroedge 17” tires traction was excellent in snow and ice.


Icing of the door track was the only major problem. For the ramp to unfold the door must be able to slide open. It took significant time to clear not just the couple inches of ice and sleet from the roof of the van but from all the grooves and niches of the sliding door track.  


Like a mechanical bird unfolding a wing, we need at least 4 ft clear on the passenger side for the ramp to unfold and to successfully roll Patti out in her wheel chair. … Plowing of parking lots, store fronts, streets, etc obviously creates piles of snow. In general, they are either too high to ramp across or too uneven to ramp onto. … It just takes some cruising around to find an optimum spot.


The ramp itself has some space age surface that is NEVER slippery which is great when you are the one pushing someone up and down the ramp. <grin>


In past years with Patti’s Multiple Sclerosis progression, transferring from wheelchair to car was treacherous on snowy and icy surfaces. Now she’s bundled up comfy in her wheelchair and it’s just a matter of pushing Patti up the ramp into the comfort of the accessible van.

Bells (as the ramp folds up) ring

Making spirits bright

What fun it is to ride ...


  1. ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))))))))))))))Very nice entry,almost made tears to my eyes.what wonderful caregiver you are.Have a nice day.

  2. Hi Patrick, I love my Dodge Grand Caravan ES. Its the most comfortable ride I own. Great to travel in. Have a wonderful day my friend.
    Love ya,
    Liz in VA.

  3. what a great entry:) have a good week


  4. Sounds like sooo much fun! You always seem to make every day a fun with Patrick day for Patti.

  5. oooo--that's where I'd get an extension cord and my hair dryer--but I'm in Cali--so I don't even know if that would work.
    This winter was the first time in  my life there was a light layer of ice on my windshield and I freaked out.  Then I took my plastic starbucks card out of my pocket and started scraping.

  6. Even a cruise through a snow-covered parking lot becomes a special day for Patti and Patrick! bea

  7.  Sounds great.  I want some of that space age stuff for my walk.  Is this weather ever going to end?


  8. I’m happy that you now have your own wheelchair accessible vehicle! Patti can now travel with you without any hassle. Also, you don’t have to exert extra effort carrying her back and forth to the car. Imagine that relief?

    -Thomas Wright


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