On Tuesday we had a meetup with Brad’s family at Cowpens National Battlefield, which is a US Revolutionary War battle site (pictures below!).
I drove on the way out to Cowpens, which was about an hour and fifteen minute drive. I thought my driving was fine, except for the time I drifted to the right side of the road over the rumble strip, looking longingly at a hot dog stand. The girls didn’t mind my driving, either. But Brad was very stressed out the whole time I was driving. He often finds me driving with him as a passenger more stressful than if he were driving! Oh well, at least I tried.
When we arrived, we parked and unloaded the van. I brought my wheelchair to sit in as it is way more comfortable than picnic tables, and Brad and I wanted to go on a stroll afterwards. I had Hestia and Alice on my lap.
The girls were really excited to see Brad’s family, as were we! There were nine of us there! We sat in the shade and chatted for a long while. The weather was perfect! It was just the right temperature. It was great to catch up with everyone.
When it was time to eat, I put Hestia on the ground where she kept trying to make eyes at Nancy and Tamara. I had Alice in my lap, and she did great! As soon as I had food in front of me and put her in a down, she relaxed and stayed that way almost the whole meal! She only got up once, even though I was eating with both hands and so didn’t have a hand on her back to remind her to stay in a down. She was very relaxed and I was so pleased!!!
After lunch, Brad and I had to use the bathroom. Tamara offered to hold Hestia so I wouldn’t have to juggle two dogs in the bathroom. I decided to see how Hestia handled it (she has a hard time being away from me), and Brad and I zoomed off.
We had a little race up to the bathroom area! I won, but only because Brad let me! His wheelchair is faster than mine. While we were racing up there, a woman was at the bathroom area watching us with her mouth open. She exclaimed how much she’d like a power wheelchair… For those who don’t know, this isn’t a very nice thing to say to a disabled wheelchair user. We’d much rather be able to walk without issue, so it’s a little offensive. Plus it’s a comment we hear a TON (as well as things like “speedy”, “do you have a license for that?”, and “that looks fun”) and so it gets really annoying.
Luckily for the woman I am a newer wheelchair user so not quite so jaded, so I just said “thanks” awkwardly. Brad just kind of grimaced.
In the restroom, Alice experienced forced air dryers for the first time. She wasn’t super happy, but wasn’t terrified either. I think she thought they were like giant and extra forceful hair dryers like she gets used on her after a bath.
Apparently while I was in the bathroom, a woman walked by Hestia and Tamara with a dog and Hestia barked at it, but other than that, she was good! That bodes well for her retirement if she needs to be watched by others!
Tamara took some pictures of Brad and me that I thought I would share here. In them, I am wearing a blue dress with a blue with pink roses see-through wrap-type top. I also have on a straw hat. I am sitting in my power wheelchair with Alice (sable and white) and Hestia (black and white) on my lap. Brad is wearing green pants, a multicolored shirt, a red scarf, a white blazer, a green bowtie, and a red plaid hat and is sitting in his power wheelchair.
After a while, everyone but us was ready to leave. So while they all headed home, we headed to the visitor’s center to go on a walk. They have a 1.25 mile battlefield trail that is “partially paved”. We didn’t know what “partially paved” meant, but decided to try it out and see.
The trail ended up being very fun, and had lots of perfect locations for photo opportunities. Brad carried his big reflector with him, which is used to reflect sunlight onto faces in the shade. For the first part of the walk, I had Alice in a pouch and Hestia on my lap. But after a while, Alice got tired of being pouched and wanted to be loose on my lap, too. I hadn’t tried that before while zipping along, so was hesitant. But it worked out pretty well, so I’ll probably be doing it more often!
Brad really liked getting pictures of the sun coming through my straw hat on my face. I got some pictures of him with his reflector, and close up with his bull brooch. He got lots of picture of nature, and of me looking at the interpretative signs along the way.
All in all, it took us over an hour to make the 1.25 mile loop because we stopped so often for pictures! We had so so much fun. The weather was really glorious. It was perfect in the shade, and just a little warm in the sun. The path was mostly in dappled shade, switching between forest and grassy areas populated with a few trees.
And yes, it was partially paved. About half the trail was paved and topped with a soft rubber surface. The rest was a compacted gravel. It’s hard to go over gravel in a wheelchair, but this stuff wasn’t too bad since it was so compacted. It’s actually easier in my wheelchair than in Brad’s fancy wheelchair, because mine has a special design without freely rotating casters. His has two drive wheels and four casters, so it easily fishtails on gravel!
Eventually we made it back to the van and headed home. Brad was done with my driving, so he drove us home! It was a great outing!
Enjoy all the pictures below!