My wife Diana and I live in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California. We have a 19-year-old son Daniel.
For many years we served at a mission school in Mexico, where I taught Industrial Arts, hiked in the mountains and enjoyed life to the fullest.
I really enjoyed teaching woodworking to my students!
Then in 1987 I became paralyzed in a construction accident.
I continued serving in Mexico for another 10 years, driving more than 270,000 miles in an adapted van.
For 15 years I explored many places in my trusty Meyra chair. But it finally wore out, and I needed a way to continue exploring the great outdoors!
In the winter of 2002 I went to Nor-Cal Mobility in Chico, CA to discuss details of a new van being modified for me. That’s where I saw a TracAbout for the first time. I knew that was the chair I had to have! Terrence McElveney demonstrated it for me. I didn’t even give it a test drive that day – I already knew this was exactly what I needed!
Jack Meintsma brought a demo chair for me to test-drive on our 100 acres of forested hills. I was delighted!
During the summer of 2002 we traveled across the U.S. in our new van to visit relatives in Maine. Coming back, we stopped in Kansas.
We met Lloyd Wolfe, innovator of the TracAbout, at the factory in Newton. He spent many hours showing us how their machines are built and what they can do. I really wanted to take one home with me!
Eventually the details were worked out, and I was able to take it back home to California! I was thrilled!
Arriving in California, we headed for the Sierras and began exploring the huge granite rock slopes of the Rubicon Trail.
Jeepers stopped and stared in disbelief – what was that strange contraption, and how did it get out on their turf?!
Some places were rough and very uneven, but the TracAbout got me around easily and safely.
Remote, high mountain forests and crystal clear streams are now accessible to folks like me!
I can get down close in the water as my son and his friend play in the lake!
The TracAbout plows through tall grass and easily gets me through the swampy areas without getting stuck or damaging the ecology.
Summer fun! Up the California coast among tall redwood groves, navigating the Eel river rocks gave me a very bumpy ride! This machine could use shock absorbers!
Aaaaah, the sand feels so smooth after those rocks! And never a worry about getting stuck either!
We easily climbed Coyote Hills next to San Francisco Bay.
Other power chairs spin out on these steep gravel trails, but the TracAbout glides up so easily. Diana’s happy because she doesn’t have to push this chair – she lets it pull her up the hill instead!
O.K., I know I’m not supposed to go in places like this! But this chair is so stable, even when my son tried to tilt it forward, it didn’t come near tipping over. So he let go and I made it safely to the bottom.
I couldn’t resist going out when it snowed. This amazing machine with smooth tracks actually went up this 20% grade above our house!
Going uphill went well until I stopped. Then I began to ski backwards down the hill! My dad, an old logger and tractor driver had to try it too. His only complaint: “It’s too quiet – this thing should be going clank-clank-clank like my Caterpillar!”
Folks in our church were curious about my new chair, so I featured it during the Children’s story.
The congregation and kids watched in suspense as I carefully climbed onto car ramps on the church platform.
They gasped in surprise as the TracAbout tilted sideways, crossed a 12-inch gap, and went safely down the other side.
Back at home, I had a strong urge to get outside and do some useful work. My son Daniel hooked up a mower to the seat back.
Right away I began cutting grass in our yard – my first real outdoor work since becoming paralyzed more than 16 years before.
It felt so good to be doing useful outdoor work again! And while mowing, I discovered my constant burning pain was completely gone!
I mowed our yard, orchard, walking paths, firebreaks through the forest – TracAbout mower therapy was just what I needed!
Some areas needed to be leveled, which was easily done by pulling a weighted pallet behind the TracAbout.
In late summer we followed a creekbed and a jeep trail to visit the ruins of an abandoned resort lodge deep in the mountain forest.
This climb up the creek bank was a challenge. And I forgot I was supposed to do it backwards!
But a little tug with some rope easily got me up the bank.
A huge lodge, built in the 1920’s, once stood amid the tall trees. The same location in the picture below shows thick forest where the lodge used to be. Only the ancient pear trees remain, still bearing sweet fruit! There’s good blackberry picking here too!
While the others picked berries, I explored the old stone rooms and foundations.
When this dead tree got in my path, I just bulldozed it out of my way!
No, I didn’t go down these old steps. But they were tempting!
In March, 2003 we organized and led a Mission Trip group to the mountains of Chiapas in south Mexico.
After driving 3,600 miles from California, we slipped and slid on rough muddy narrow mountain roads to the remote village of San Lorenzo.
Our group of 60 volunteers participated in construction, dental and medical projects in this remote Chamula Indian village.
Our group built 6 new classrooms for a jungle school.
With the TracAbout I could easily get around all areas of the building site to see work progress.
Muddy clay was no problem. Here I am discussing project operations with the work supervisor.
Volunteer physicians and dentists treated hundreds of native Chamula Indians.
These Chamula ladies spend an entire month embroidering their native blouses. They had never seen such an odd machine!
While exploring the jungle trails, the TracAbout was nearly swallowed up by thick vegetation and crowds of curious kids!
Coming back home, we camped at the beach near Veracruz.
What a treat to get out in the sand and relax under the coconut palms!
Gliding along the dry sandy beach was so easy, the ride so soft, and it was really special to be on the beach without getting stuck!
I just couldn’t resist getting next to the waves!
After 16 years I could splash in the ocean again!
I’m proud to tell anyone who will listen: TracAbout has taken me to places no wheelchair was ever intended to go!
Diana, Fred & Daniel Adams – a family very grateful to the folks at TracAbout for enhancing our quality of life!
I do have some special requests for improving my TracAbout experience: A smoother ride Longer battery life Tracks that don’t derail A dozer blade in front Trailer hitch and trailer in back Mechanical arm with attachments for pruning trees, cutting firewood, etc. Another mechanical arm to load firewood, mulch, etc. into trailer I could think of a few other things, but this is a good start! Fred Adams 3060 Lawyer Dr. Placerville, CA 95667 (530) 642-9441 firstname.lastname@example.org Created July, 2004
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