Sunday, 5 July 2015

Plus ça Change

Today was another reminder that internet access in the north doesn't mean real internet access, and no matter where I go there will always be some hotel or motel willing to completely misunderstand the concept of wheelchair access. Hence the late, really late, blog today. It's 5:30 PM here in Tok, Alaska, and way later everywhere else.

The day started with me trying to write my blog in our hotel in Dawson City. The Westmark Hotel is comprised of four separate buildings, the main building, Gertie's wing, the Robert Service wing and the Jack London wing. In the main building the internet signal is strong. In the outer buildings, the internet signal is weak to non-existent. This morning it was non-existent.

Given the situation, I said to Katherine that I would write my blog in the main building, while sitting at one of the patio tables enjoying a coffee. She went to do the check-out, and when she returned she said there is no way I could get into the main building and patio today; the place was jammed. So I decided to write my blog later today.

We headed out over the "Top Of The World" highway, first crossing the Yukon River by ferry, then up the hill in West Dawson and on our way, eventually, to Tok, AK. The road is amazing, set high in the mountains, running along ridges and mountainsides, with a view of hundreds of miles of forested valleys. Along the way the road ran from brand new pavement all the way down to barely upgraded logging road. It was a great drive.

On arriving in Tok, we went immediately to Young's Motel, where I had called ahead and booked what they called one of their "handi-rooms", not fully wheelchair accessible but supposedly with wheelchair access and wider doors. On arrival we discovered that there was nothing "handi" about the room, nothing at all. The doors may have been wide enough, but there was a 10" sill on the entry door. When we asked about a ramp, the proprietor said they didn't have one, but someone could help lift me into the room. As Katherine noted in response, "Every time?"

We took a look around Tok and found the Golden Bear Motel. They have a fully accessible room but it was already booked. However the manager put together a workable solution in no time, getting a portable ramp and giving us access to standard room. I can even get into the bathroom, but alas there are no bars. Nonetheless, we are in and safe.

Plus, I booked the wheelchair room in advance for our return trip. I've learned not to leave this stuff to the word of motel staff, or to chance.

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