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Thread: Cross Country Walk. Equipment talk.

  1. #1

    Question Cross Country Walk. Equipment talk.

    I'm planning a Cross Country Walk (San Francisco - New York) in June 2016. Yeah it's pretty far away but this thing need precise planning, and this is one of the most important thing, thought I should just ask.

    I'm getting a new wheelchair for this purpose. My choice of ride for this one is Icon. For it's adjustability of course. I know those adjustment would come in handy from the desert-y arizona and all the steep highway down to the farm-y kansas to city-ish philly. I'm getting a separate wheel with knobby and the surge LT, just in case it rains. I have natural fit LT, it doesnt work that well in rain. I'm also considering freewheel, or just settle with front-positioned 6" frog legs. But soft rolls sucks on rough surface. Owh how I wish Icon made several front end like marvel.

    What i'm getting trouble with is the cart. I've had enough problems with carrying luggage along in flight I had to travel light all the time. But cross country walk is very limiting to the very definition of travelling light. Of course, cathether, urine bags, cant skip that. In current plan, I'd probably bring along :

    1. Cathether and urine bag.
    2. Goal Zero Yeti 150 - a small power generator.
    3. A tent.
    4. An air mattress. It has a blanket. But compact when folded.
    5. 1-2 gallon of drinking water. Some light food like tuna in can, bread, just in case we find no town in 2-3 days. Unlikely, but just as precaution. Depends on the itinerary.
    6. I'm not planning much on cloth. 7 underwear, 3 shirts, 4 jeans, 1 jacket.

    That's about it.

    My 1st issue is cart. This isnt really that much. It can fit into one large luggage actually. But compact means the mass is too centered it'd be less efficient for the force. Although, too spread out also means larger mass which will affect negatively on stability. Need to hit that sweet spot between force and stability. I wish to such cart, but couldn't find anywhere that fits a wheelchair. The best way to stick a cart to is at the camber tube. Less backward force, more stability. Well, it's the center of gravity. I would really love suggestions regarding this.

    My wheeling ability is decent, if not excellent. I've travelled 300miles on chair on a trip, 20 miles a day. That is as far as I get. I'm trying to do better, but worthy. I'm confident, yet scared. I'm doing 20miles a day. yes it's short, but I'm considering carpal tunnel as well. We'll take route 66 and leave from Missouri and head towards New York. I did the math, it totals up to 3400miles and 20 miles per day needs around 6 months to finish, which I think is pretty good. Doesnt matter if I need more time. I'm not chasing anything.

    I have 2 AB friends walking along with me. They're both photographers trying to fill their portfolio on route 66.

    I'm also planning to adopt a dog, medium to smaller large. for protection purpose. Don't have any gun. Bear spray, at best.

    Please, do advice. Am I missing something? Is there things that I need to be aware of? Is there things that I should know? Any input is deeply appreciated. (especially on the cart!)

    Disclaimer : I'm not sponsored. This is for personal cause. I love travelling, and heard about how American do road trips like a ritual. I would love that experience by own leg. I mean, wheels. And take pictures. Lots and lots of beautiful pictures. Been to US twice, and was amused by the sandstorm in the desert, the lightning strikes at far away at night. I even saw a bear somewhere. And stranded horse. It's one majestic hell of a travel.
    Last edited by nia adha; 03-06-2015 at 07:21 AM.
    walking is OVER-RATED!!!

    Broken in August 14th, 2003. T9-L1 complete.

  2. #2
    I would recommend the Free Wheel over Frogs Legs, or consider using a handcycle rather than a wheelchair.

    What route do you plan to take? Getting over major mountain ranges will be an issue. Also, what time of year? Snow and ice can be a problem in the Rockies nearly the whole year. The Sierra Nevada is very steep and ice in the winter. Route 66 goes through some high mountain country in New Mexico. Flooding can be an issue in much of the Eastern US from late winter through the spring.

    Have you read the story of the couple who recently completed a bike/handcycle trip from Washington State to Cape Horn? They have published several articles in New Mobility Magazine, and you can also see their blog here: While this is a longer trip, and he has a tetraplegic injury, there is a lot you could learn about such a trip from their experiences.

    Have you considered having your friends drive a vehicle such as a van as a support vehicle for your trip? They could alternate days driving and walking with you (or biking). This way you would not have to pull a trailer (cart) and it would be invaluable for chair repairs, emergencies, and carrying your supplies. You will need to be prepared to do wheelchair repairs such as tire replacement, flats, etc. and many times will be many miles from a DME who can provide this type of service.

    Good luck. It is an ambitious journey!


  3. #3
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    The Netherlands
    Wow, awesome plan nia adha. I admire your courage.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  4. #4
    The trip supposedly start on Jun to however long it takes, but hopefully finishes in 9 months.

    Well, I did plan the bicycle. But both of my partner says they'd rather share a cart and one can push me when needed. But personally, i'd like to just push and set my name on the hall of fame among those who have accomplished it. I didnt read about the couple, but I read about one para and one spina bifida paralimpian finish it in less than 100 days. I personally cant achieve that. Less muscle mass, less strength. But this is more than just a walk for us. We're non-americans, so we're planning to capture everything from rolling hay balls to scorpion to bears to very mythical like events that happens along the highway. :P

    I've been to US twice. Once was new york-philly-connecticut-massachussets trip. the other one was california-arizona-nevada trips. I had the chance to drive when visiting CA-AZ-NV trip and yeah, sometimes the highway gets steep like 5% to 15% (i think, if i remember correctly), but that isnt the route 66. That's interstate 40 i think. Those steep hills starts at Needles, i think. (ok too many i think). That's pretty steep. But that's supposed to be along route 66 too, but we plan once we reach Flagstaff we're gonna have a rib there (i ate there once it was orgasmic!!) and have a little detour to see Grand Canyon once again! And then continue our journey.

    And then to New Mexico, a bit of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and rather ending it at Illinois, we go straight to Indiana, Ohio, Penn, and New York.Those are the roads I'm not familiar with the weather and condition. Trying to gather as much intel but their travelogs dont record much either.

    I did include 2 schwalbe tires and 4 extra tubes which I hope is enough. I usually change my tire myself. It wouldnt replace my knobby but I think after texas the harsh part is over. (I mean, the desert-like place). Or am I wrong? And I never know about the flood. Please enlighten me.

    Will do on the freewheels. I guess that's my only option. I know soft roll aint gonna last with trip that long. Not to mention heat.

    KLD, he didn't update much about his travel in the website. Did he upload the video to youtube or something?

    elarson : thanks. i'm definitely going to finish this one! or die trying!
    walking is OVER-RATED!!!

    Broken in August 14th, 2003. T9-L1 complete.

  5. #5
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."

  6. #6
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    The Netherlands
    I hope you plan to write a blog with your experiences and photo's and will post it here.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  7. #7
    Senior Member patd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Boise, Idaho, USA

    Cross country push

    I might suggest the rack that fits on top of the FreeWheel.

    Good luck!

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  8. #8
    Can I ask what type of visa you're planning to get? Are you a Malaysian citizen? Malaysia has not yet been accepted into the US VWP, but even still that would get you a maximum of 90 days. There's no way a tourist visa would stretch to 9 months. More likely 3... There is a chance you could get a J or H visa if the whole trip got affiliated with a university, could be US or Malaysian. But it is only a chance, and not easy to swing.

  9. #9
    Nia - that sounds like an incredible adventure. May I ask how you estimate costs of such a trip?

  10. #10
    Wow - what a trip! Very impressive.

    In addition to the Freewheel Rack that Pat recommends (although I've never tried one) - when you describe the need for a trailer, I thought immediately of a bike trailer with the appropriate fitting to latch onto your camber bar (or wherever your chair would better place it). I have often thought of adding some sort of bike trailer to my chair as sometimes people make me carry a whole lot of things (certain people believe I am an excellent coat rack/trolley). Of recent I have been speaking up for myself...but there are still times where a bike trailer or something might come in handy, as often there are large items I need to carry by my own choice!

    I am not sure if the bike trailer would be an option for you (they make many styles, so don't just stop at one photo) - because of the additional weight / COG may make it very difficult to get up hills. I once had a garden cart however...that collapsed into a flat cart (sides folded inward) - to transport large items, or the sides went up to carry your plants. There was a handle on it that could easily be hooked over an appropriate wheelchair modification. The handle also allowed AB's to pull the cart easily. We used it for years to transport our groceries from the driveway into the house. A downside though (of a plain garden cart as that was) is that there is limited independent steering and braking.

    As I said, there are many styles of carts, so maybe you will find something that works for you.

    I wish you luck in the new adventure, and goodness - I want to follow it, too!

    Take care,

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