For those of you who haven't met her yet, we introduce our new van!
Isn't she pretty? A 2014 Dodge Caravan with rear entry wheelchair access. But before I give you all the details and photos about the van itself, I should probably tell you how we got it.
No you know what, I just tried to but I deleted it because it's a really long, long story. Also, it involved a lot of stress, and trying to even type it out makes me re-live that stress. So here's what I'll say instead: Thank you Giving in Action, who still managed to find us some funds despite no new allocation of money from the BC Government (shame on you BC Gov but that's a whole other conversation). Thank you Variety Club of BC and Bear Essentials for your contributions. Thank you to us for finding a way to contribute the sizable remainder. Thank you to my friends who had to listen to me stress and cry about all of this. Just thank you to the universe for all of this aligning and making this van ours.
Ok so are you ready for some more photos then?
First up - from the rear where Asher will enter. The van is boosted up a bit in the back to allow a ramp to fold out when the back door is open (Sidewinder is the company who converts the van):
Here we have it with the ramp folded up:
And here it is with the ramp extended. It literally unfolds (manually) and weighs basically nothing. Nolan can unfold it himself if that tells you anything:
Here we are looking in from the back when the ramp is down. All the straps are tie downs that attach Asher's chair to the floor in four places. Take a looksy on the far left (directly across the car from the spare tire) and that's a third row bench seat that conveniently flips out of the way when not in use:
Here's Asher wheeled in and tied down, between the middle row of seats with Nolan and Rio on either side of him. He also has a giant seatbelt in addition to the tie downs. Safety first!:
And finally, here we are with the back bench folded down, allowing for two more passengers to sit behind the second row even when Asher is in there:
Oh look, here's the happy family on their first drive all together:
And more importantly, here is the star of the show, feeling pretty special:
So pleased with himself. Can you blame him?
We are so excited for this van for about a million reasons. First of all, it is the safest way for Jordan and (especially) me to transport Asher's chair. Although it weighs less than 100 lbs, I do SO MUCH lifting in a day that even eliminating one of those lifts into the car is huge for me. But going forward, Asher is going to have a 300 lb power chair along with his large framed self, and lifting will no longer be an option.
Additional to all the practical accessibility advantages, isn't it really just a smokin' hot new van? Jordan and I between us have owned exactly one brand new vehicle in our lives besides this one, so it is pretty fun to have such a nice car. And suddenly seven seats plus the additional cargo space to boot? Oh my goodness it's heavenly. Scroll back up and see how much room we have behind Asher. TONS. In our other van we had to remove a seat to even get Asher's chair in the back, taking it down to a five seater with no other passengers. Once the chair was in there was basically room for nothing else:
(That's only the base of it shown - the seat is the big part and it's not in there). Throw in a couple bags of groceries behind it and we were maxed out.
Now we just need to do some learning. At the moment it takes both of us together about 10 minutes to load Asher in as we're not used to how it all works. But I'm sure with a little practice we'll figure out the best order to do things in and shortcuts to speed up the process. Good thing Asher is SO patient!
We feel so, so, so blessed that we have this awesome new vehicle that will continue to meet our family's needs in the future. Next up - a house that's equally as functional as the car. Coming soon - renos start in July 2014...stay tuned! In the mean time, we have a 12 year old Kia minivan to sell. Any takers out there? Anyone?