We've been together for 3 years and 4 months... and as you might notice from the picture, he has sustained a few cracks and dents in that time. He has a different set of wheels, shocks, arm rests, and seat cushion since we first met. He has been lifted, pushed, and steered by "unauthorized" drivers - in fact, I'm sure most of you who are reading this have been a part of his story! He's gone up and down infinite ramps, elevators, and curbs. He's handled gravel, mud, grass, ice, sand, snow, puddles, and even wet cement (not recommended).
Kids stand on the back and pretend he's a scooter,
sit on the footrests and pretend he's a stool,
play with the controls and pretend he's a video game,
climb on the sides and pretend he's a jungle gym,
and step up on the frame and pretend he's a ladder to a balcony, where they can give hugs and kisses to Princess Connie.
He's rolled down the boardwalk of Seal Beach, California,
along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon,
up the first few meters of Angels Landing of Zion National Park,
on top of Stone Mountain,
down my favorite pothole-riddled alley in Fort Wayne, Indiana,
on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park,
inside the Statue of Liberty,
in the buffalo territory of the Grand Tetons,
and on the fishing pier of Dubois Park in Jupiter, Florida.
Svante and I have been on more adventures together than either of us could have imagined. And while 1600 miles does seem like a lot, I'm convinced he's got many more miles left in him. So here's to more cracks and dents, more dust from the trails, more new sets of wheels and shocks, and many more adventures to come.
(By the way, my friend Marty has written an excellent children's book about a little boy and his wheelchair. Go to his website and check it out! www.wallythewheelchair.com)