Friday, October 8, 2010

New England Rails and Sails Abbott's Bus Tour

About 5 years ago Lib and I took an Abbott Bus Tour to the West Coast with a good size group of square dance friends from Roanoke. Even though I was already being compromised by spinal stenosis we made the trip using a three pronged walker. Our friends helped me by carrying the walker up steps when necessary.

Since we had moved to Richmond both Lib and I were significantly weaker and both of us needed assistance if walking long distances. Going up hill was a definite “no” most of the time.

We were perusing a recent Abbott tour catalog and drooling over the New England trips. One caught Libs eye, the one with the “rails and sails” fall leaf colors tour. We talked about it numerous times trying to decide whether we should consider such a project and finally just said “Why not?” We had the financial wherewithal was the physical capital where we were coming up short. Lib wrote the check and the deed was done.

This past week the experiment got under way. We wondered if we would know anyone on the tour. There is always that chance. In due course we discovered that Shirley Collins, tour leader was a square dancer and knew people from the Roanoke clubs we belonged to. John Dickerson, our driver attended First Baptist Church in Roanoke and knew folks we knew. Behind us sat Bob and Inez Flora from Roanoke who knew of our Kinzie and Murray relatives. What a small world it is!

We both have to admit that our physical limitations made it an iffy proposition. Bus steps up were always a strain. I have good upper body strength so could pull myself up. Long walks such as in the casino hotel where we got lost before finding our room and several times when we had to traverse several hundred yards of parking lot to a restaurant were scary at least to me. Wondered if my leg muscles, even with a walker had enough reserve to get me there. We had seats on the walkers and when things just stopped working I would sit down until the “batteries” in my legs would recharge.

We really enjoyed most of our experiences to the hilt! We had never been to this area of our great country and so we saw lots of historical places, beautiful mountain leaf country, and trains and boat rides that were for the most part interesting and stimulating.

I would say that if I had known in advance how difficult some of the situations would be I might have backed out. On the other hand all the daily walking we did may have been beneficial, sort of like physical therapy with all the sights, sounds, and meals thrown in. Today, one day removed from all the activity I feel somewhat renewed and possibly stronger. It’s been a definite day of rest. I’ll be curious how I’ll feel and function tomorrow.

The Abbott Bus team were absolutely fantastic! One could not ask for better guides. They helped us over the rough spots and were always there to assist us. Shirley was a real trouper and was most professional in all that she did. She is a real jewel in Abbott’s crown! She even brought our meals to us when they were from an upstairs location, or she knew that it would be difficult for us to manage them and our walkers, too! For all of us she was proactive, apprising us of what was to come and
how we were to respond. We’re tired and sore, but what an adventure. The price was worth it all the way/

Thank you Lord for showing Lib and I that dreams can still come true for people who dare to dream. Thank you for the kindness of strangers opening doors for us, waiting for us to pass through. Thank you for the new friends we’ve made who also did so much to ease our way. Thank You and bless Shirley, Melvin, and John who helped and assisted us at every turn.

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