Before the christmas break I was approved for a pretty damn cool piece of equipment. Its called a Batec, it can quickly turn your everyday Manual chair into an off road chair. I see it as a half a motorbike that can join to the front of your chair ( It looks just as awesome as that sounds, plus you can do some burnouts with it.. So I pretty much just turned into a krusty demon). Its invented in Barcelona by a Quadriplegic who wanted everyone who uses a wheelchair to have the freedom he has gained. I thought the best way to test it, is drive to the most hilly place in Ausralia and hike a mountain….Yipee!
Here I am learning about how to attach and undo the Batec, it took a while for me to get my thick head around this. LOL(Here is the Website so if you have time jump across and have a look at this fine thing! https://batec-mobility.com/en/about-us.)
So the adventure began…. My Batec arrived at the begining of February, lucky as I already had planned a month long road trip down to Thredbo to see my one of my best mates Kim. Kim and I have known each other for 15 years, she has been one of the most solid friends throughout my life and I wouldn’t have lasted the rough Spinal Cord Injury journey without her. She is wild, spontanious and adventurous all mixed together, this can be an exciting/deadly mix but she always makes it through with exciting stories to tell me . She always surprises me with how she lives life to the fullest and enjoy every second.
My first day I left home feeling rather sick, it took me hours to get out of bed. The first day and I end up with a Horrid UTI ( S#%T). Im very lucky to have a pretty cool carer who packed up my car for me, strapping my Batec inside my van and got me ready for my journey. My plan for the first day was to listen to gory true crime podcasts and drive 5 hours south to stay at my friends place. My friend suggested Podcats for my drive, so I can occupy myself with self development, well wasn’t she wrong, i didn’t download what she recommended but i went on a bender of gore. I didn’t make it, 3 hours on the road and I pulled over 6 times to have a half an hour nap. I thought to myself this isn’t the safest driving like this, so I might as well stop at a cheap hotel on the side of the highway, sleep it off and get some antibiotics into my system to kill those disgusting critters. The Grafton Motor inn, what can I say about this place: Its reasonably priced, The owners are beautiful, they have an accessible room, the parking is difficult for a wheelchair user, the food wasn’t the best, the room has a nice balcony and its a good location. My sister always told me to do sandwich that is a compliment then constructive cristism then another compliment, she said people tend to listen more and you don’t seem to offend people to much. So that is my ham sandwich compliment for the Grafton Motor Inn.
After sleeping 16 hours straight, I woke up and packed up my belongings and drove to Dyls house in Eungia rail. I met Dylan in rehab 9 years ago; no not drug rehab, SCI rehab. I think Dyl being in drug rehab at 15 is a bit to young, but I suppose being in SCI rehab at that age is to young as well. Dylan is a soft spoken caring guy, which may surprise you that he insults me whenever he gets a chance. He is also one of my closest friends and someone I can chat and relate to easily.
I stayed at Dyls for a couple of hours and had a tea whilst we chatted. We decided we should go on a cruise around Italy next year, which is really exciting. It will be for our ten year anniversary since our accidents… We made it, well nearly one more year and ill be singing Drake started from the bottom. After a lovely chat Dyls dad pushed me up my ramp into the car and I set off on my hour journey to Port Macquarie, luckily it was only an hour as i think I’ve listened to enough stories about Charles Manson for one trip!
I grew up in Port Macquarie, I had my accident only 2 hours west of there. I love it here, except sadly its not the most accessible place to live. Let me explain what Port is, its an oasis of sandy beaches and coves, with rainforests that you have to trek though to get to the water. There is large rivers and lakes that you could explore for months or even years on end. Its a friendly comfy small town where everyone knows everyone, warm and homely. I just know when I arrive there that I’m at peace in my heart and soul.
Ports accessibility is getting better, they are making a lot of effort. Its a retiree town, so they would have to make some changes to make it easier for their demographic. This is the first time that I have had a piece of equipment in Port that allows me to go off road, so I can explore everywhere that I haven’t been able to visit in 9 years. I got to batec around Bonny Hills, Rainbow beach, Bartletts Beach and my stomping territory Shelleys Beach. I would say most of this is accessible for power chairs, but not manual chairs unless you’re extremely fit and can wheelies 90% of the time.
Whilst I was in port I got to visit Sea Acres Rainforest Centre. Sea Acres is a National park that is located near shelley beach, I actually lived in the house over the road from here and my mum worked as the chef at the restaurant for 18 years. Ive only visited this place a couple of times in the last 9 years, coming here brings back a lot of memories of growing up. I met one of my friends Jen at the centre for lunch and a stroll around the 2km board walk. What can I say about Jen? Jen is loud, out going extrovert that loves going on adventures, she also likes a sneaky relaxed day watching Harry Potter. She’s persistent in finding happiness and succeeding at whatever she puts her mind to, this trait of Jen is going to help her establish a happy life doing what she loves and helping others. On the surface Jen is extremely bubbly and loud, deep down she is a caring soul who would help anyone who asked.
Jen and I ate a huge lunch and then proceeded to waddle around the board walk, chatting and admiring the rainforests from the ground up. If your not from around this area or Australia, you would be in ore of the natural beauty that is captured here. We stopped at each spot having a break, I was using my Batec so I didn’t exert any effort, but I still wanted to stop and read the signage educating me about the flora and fauna. Sea acres was a relaxing adventure that ended my stay in port.
Part two of my diary is Newcastle to Thredbo, so follow along as I have so much more to write especially the best part! the hike!!