When you’re disabled everyone tells you what you can and can’t do “no stairs” “No steep hills”” no mud or snow” but why? Have we actually tried all these things? I regularly jump stairs when the ramp is blocked or not there, and snow, well thats just a way of life in New York City.
Everyone ,especially the upright and abelists think they know how you should control your chair, even though wheelchairs are only made for one everyone thinks they know how you should operate it!
When Ella and I started looking for our forever place, friends told us about buildings with elevators and cities with great records for the disabled, but no one got it what’s life without a challenge. So after 5 years of false starts we finally found a beautiful place called candy kitchen, In Cibola county New Mexico.
So you say, what’s the public transport like? Are the sidewalks ADA compliant? Is it wheelchair friendly? The answers are NO, NO, NO, but it’s a piece of heaven yes because it’s beautiful but more importantly because it challenges me at every corner.
To me if there are no physical challenges then life’s not worth it, so the land is 7,500 ft. above sea level the track is nothing more than the gap between the rocks and for the most part completely untravelable without a 4wd, sounds perfect for a wheelchair doesn’t it?
We set out to do the work all on our own, but the wonderful people of candy kitchen had another idea they opened their arms wide the hearts wider and loaned us building equipment and tents and even an all-terrain vehicle and the one thing that we never could have done anything without was the huge sacrifice made by my oldest friend in the world Michael Holmes who jumped on a plane from Australia to come live with us and build our home.
The second day there I had to know, without a vehicle in an emergency could I make it down the mountain almost 5 miles to the trading post in a wheelchair so with a gallon of water off we set.
It was 80 degrees and hot but we made it 1 mile from completion, when a retired marine gave us a lift the last one mile and even though we would have made it we were glad for the lift.
We slept on the ground went to the toilet in the woods cooked over a camp fire and only showered twice in a week.
We cried we laughed we argued but we did it and we did it our way with the help of great people in a great place, and I was there with wheels under my ass my service dog at my side
My wife working harder then everyone except the amazing mick and the thing that kept us going was beauty and the fact it was all ours, no mortgage no banks a house and acreage and we did it our way.
Thanks to fellow off the grid people who had a similar dream a cool man who runs a trading post thanks michael francis, a gay couple and their friend, cowboys at every turn and a family man from Oregon and his teen age sons. Jr harrison a rig worker and his amazing wife tracey
A gal-pal from Albuquerque called Mary and her man tom and a lovely volunteer from the wolf sanctuary who drove us 125 miles to albuquerque airport for free infact she asked us to donate the gas money to the sanctaury.
We are like a remake of the dirty dozen, but like my marine friends will tell you we improvise, we adapt, we overcome and there’s no such thing as retreat it’s charging in the other direction.
We left what is now known as “Elarosa Ridge” with the first building not yet finished, but in capable hands. Knowing it’s ours, no one can take it away and we’ll be back soon and this time forever.
If you head orway just stopp at the candy kitchen trading post get a greta meal from the amazing anita and ask the amazing michael francis where mia lives and look for the aussie flag and don’t forget the beer and vegemite.
So to my dis and other wise abled friends tell the naysayers to go screw themselves, go find your own mountain your piece of heaven and push yourself to your utmost limits trust me you’re never as alive as when you are straining every muscle and feeling every ache and sweating but doing it all for yourself by yourself and for your future.
A WISE MAN TOOK AN ORDINARY MAN TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD AND SAID” STEP TO THE EDGE AND GAZE OVER AT ALL THAT IS WONDERFUL”, THE ORDINARY MAN SAID “ I DARE NOT IT’S STEEP I WILL FALL” SO HE WENT AWAY AND LED AN ORDINARY LIFE.
HE TOOK A MAN WITH DREAMS HOPE AND VISION TO THE EDGE AND SAID” GAZE OVER AND LOOK UPON ALL THAT IS WONDERFUL” AND THE MAN STEPPED TO THE EDGE AND AS HE GAZED OVER HE WAS PUSHED AND HE FLEW!
Step to the edge of your world my friends, I promise the view is wonderful and if you trust yourself you’ll fly