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Friday, August 1, 2014

Test Drive!

So our attorney hooked us up with Custom Mobility, a wheelchair van supplier, who, I was told, would send a sales rep to our house with brochures and information on buying a wheelchair van. And the rep called and made an appointment for yesterday.

I thought he was showing up with just brochures and, you know, information. Instead he showed up at our house with this:
Which is a 2014 Toyota Something-Limited Edition wheelchair van. I say "something limited" because I don't recall the real name -- which sort of went in one ear and out the other when I heard the price: $75,000! ga!

But the van was here and he invited us to take it out for a drive. I tell you, this thing had every option imaginable.

With the touch of a button, the door slides open and the ramp unfolds....












Getting Bob in it was a sinch! Buckling him in was another thing -- to use the E-Z lock device you need a E-Z lock bracket on the wheelchair, which Bob doesn't have, so we had to strap him in the traditional way with straps.

But I could tell Bob liked the idea of being in the passenger seat, instead of in back.


So we prepared to take it for a spin. Believe me, I was nervous and, really, felt like a foreigner in a foreign land. I mean, here I was about to drive a vehicle that costs more than our house! ga! And it had so many buttons and gadgets with weird symbols on them, it looked like the inside of a UFO... I mean there were three (three! count 'em!) thingy-bobs on the steering wheel and I could only figure out one of them (the blinkers.) And there were controls for dual sunroofs and GPS and satellite radio and rearview cameras and blindspot cameras and bluetooth connectors and all sorts of junk that I couldn't identify and probably don't need and certainly can't afford.

Anyway, I sat there bewildered, at first, just looking at the dash, wondering where the ignition/starter was and waiting to be handed the ignition key, and the sales rep tells me to push this one button. So I did and it was the weirdest thing -- the van started up with a push of a button, with no key, and, turns out, there was no ignition key! The whole thing is activated by a "fob" which you carry in your purse or pocket, and the van's computer senses it, you don't even have to take it out of your purse or pocket. And all you have to do is push the start button. And outside, you can touch the handle of van when you approach it (as long as you have the fob in your purse or pocket) and the door will unlock or slide open, at your touch command.

So I started the van and took off. And the littlest bit of pressure on the gas peddle sent the thing lurching forward. I guess I have a heavy foot from driving The Green Machine. 

Then, I drove this mansion-on-wheels a couple blocks and I was really surprised how smooth the ride was even on our antique brick streets and I was really getting quite comfortable driving it, which also surprised me, because I thought it would be more like driving a bus. But I'm thinking, hey, I could get used to this! -- when I turned the corner and cut the corner to close and GA! CLUNK! ended up hopping the curb with the back wheels! Which of course caused Bob's wheelchair to go flying. And me, to nearly have a heart attack. I tell you, I'm not used to a vehicle this long... and the last thing I wanted to do was damage this brand new expensive beast.

I got it back home safely, though, I tell you, I was so scared I was stupidly doing about 10 mph. Good thing, no other cars were around.

It certainly was a big change from this:

The Green Machine

The company does sell less expensive wheelchair vans, both new and used. The rep said that I need to just call for an appointment and they will send a wheelchair van to pick both Bob and I up! Wow, talk about service.



7 comments:

oc1dean said...

Damn cool, you need one of these.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the new car world with more buttons and gadgets then the space shuttle. You're right, lots of things you really don't need, but on the other hand....maybe it's time to spoil yourself and Bob just a bit. I would stick with a Toyota or Honda for your wheelchair van due to their high dependability.

Enjoy the ride. Hugs & prayers, Dan

J.L. Murphey said...

It's a Toyota Sienna. I've got one but not a 2014. Nice comfortable ride. No it doesn't have a keyless ignition so I have to lean into the passenger's side to start the car too. Forget all the bells and whistles. You can always figure them out later with the manual. And yes, he brought you the most expensive model.

Yes, the car is expensive but I've got over 150,000 miles on mine and so far no major repairs except for a timing chain.

Isn't it nice to shop for all these things knowing you will be able to purchase them for a change? You and Bob deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Diane,
You didn't mention how Bob felt about it after the ride? I'm sure he like it!
Like everything you will learn as you go.
Bob did great in the electric chair, see.
Love
Yadira

Anonymous said...

You both so deserve this! I hope you get one soon. Enjoy having things easier for you and Bob so you both can enjoy life a little.

Michelle Russell said...

When you get your van, make sure it will work with the new wheelchair! Be aware of the weight of the chair with hubby in it. And the weight limit of the ramp or lift.
Be sure to check out a full size van.

Good luck and we are glad to see you and Bob are getting the elect. Chair. It looks like Randy's and his weighs in at 325.

Don Wood said...

one word WOW we have an old Ford Van can get two wheelchairs in but theey need lifting I get to sit up front in the seat, I cann still move with my zimmer. Don
Hope Bob is OK.