Above and Beyond (w/pictures): from Here to There in My Power Chair - Bridges and Overpasses Edition

In this first installment, we'll cover my local gateways to more extensive freedom. Basically, I am hemmed in by a highway and a major thoroughfare (plus, I am not yet comfortable traversing main roadways). However there are ways around these obstacles.

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At first, I thought this ascent would be the death of me. You see, I'm not supposed to climb at greater than a 7.5% gradient. The risk is getting stuck, or tipping over backwards. Those are bad things. I am doing my best to avoid bad things. I've had enough bad things in recent years. So have the rest of you.

Anyway, the third day I had the power chair in my possession, I went all the way up to the top of this thoroughfare overpass. Of course, I probably shouldn't have.

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Fear Came to Me

A particular thing happened to me while I was up top. Someone came jogging by. And as they approached, my chair started bouncing up and down (as did the bridge). And both continued bouncing up and down long after Mr. Exercise Man cleared the pedestrian bridge.

As this was happening, I half-wondered if I would come crashing down onto the main road below. Maybe my 388 lb chair, and 155 lb self (in combination), was far too much weight for the structure to bear. But clearly, it wasn't. I am still here, and you are reading this.

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Does anyone remember Galloping Gertie… That bridge over the Columbia River Gorge? The one that collapsed back in 1947 (I think that's when it was) after bouncing and twisting in the wind for endless days amidst breezy conditions?

Traversing this pedestrian bridge has been a goal of mine all along. It's what I've seen outside my window since last December. Since the Covid-19 death days. Bicycles going up and over. Joggers going to and fro. High school kids looking for a conspicuous place to hang out.

As a side note, the wheelchair people, the ones that came here to make subtle and obvious adjustments to my gifted contraption (on Monday), confirmed that my chair could safely climb similar constructs great and small.


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I engaged this next up-ramp early on Tuesday. The morning was relatively cool, maybe 85° to start off. So I went for it. I headed south along the bike path running parallel to the freeway. And maybe half a mile down, I came across this. And really, it's a scenic overpass. Most of them are. They really designed the hell out of these. And the views in either direction are fantastic.

This portion of the freeway was somewhat recently completed (2003? I think). Many houses were demolished, businesses displaced, javelina's harangued, rattlesnakes were on the run (on the slither?) ... you know, that sort of thing. And I remember going down onto the freeway for the grand opening celebration, with my son in tow. I thought he might get a kick out of walking the roadway (I seem to recall that he did).

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Anyway, a fair percentage of taxpayers were upset that the county and state spent so much money beautifying the brand new freeway, making it visually appealing to all comers. There's also artwork placed intermittently along its breadth, if you care to view it. Of course, most people are incapable of safely viewing abstract art at 65 mph. In any case, the pedestrian crossovers are visually appealing from start to finish.

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This last pedestrian crossover was traversed by me just yesterday. And also, this used to be one of My Places.

Places?

Yes, when I lived with the mother of my son (the not a very good person, person). I needed places to go when the going got rough. And this was one of my favorite places. I used to bring my guitar, tape recorder, and different guitar pedals with me (packed neatly into my Quick Escape Bag) and settle in for several joyous hours of jamming, until things cooled down.

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My midnight places were local grocery store parking lots. Mostly. I needed enough light to see what I was doing, basically, manipulating musical instruments (or scrawling vicious rants into a notebook).

Yes, I had other places; a person who would help me cool off. And also, one particular bar of distinction. I didn't drink alcohol back then, but never mind that right now. This was one of my locales into glorious escaping. Being there this time and right now made me emotional. And actually, being anywhere often makes me emotional now. At times, I feel overwhelmed, realizing it's been a decade since I ventured out at all. Crazy, right? I've missed the better part of ten years being ill, and then seven of those years exclusively confined to bed. But each of you knows this already.


Let me know if you enjoyed my presentation. Either way, I shall likely present a Part 2, and Part 3.


Takes care,
Howard

Comments

Well, I don't know if I should cringe or say "Good going, Howard." That overpass doesn't look scenic but downright scary. Probably better at night, but don't cross it on my account.

The other does look lovely. I gather the two connect, is that so? So your musical composition are a result of madness, are they? Well, I suppose a lot of musicians are mad, or high, but many are poets and that is their history, so I'll not tamper with it. How did you know that things had cooled off at home? Also, what happened to your guitar?

Enjoyed the presentation and many of the lovely pics. Just be careful, please. Do you take water when you go on these jaunts? I'll feel better when your weather cools off. I'm glad that you're happy....really. Yours, Lenora
 
I didn’t only enjoy it, I absolutely fell in love with it all!

I was travelling with you,
feeling the spooky jumping of the bridge,
admiring the stunning walkovers,
listening to your talking as we walked,
gazing at the view!

Im always looking forward to your blogs,
but now more than ever!
Eagerly waiting for part 2 and 3 (and even more?)
 
Gosh: that is some really outstanding geometry and shots of how much Phoenix seems to want to protect its pedestrians!

(I am still wading through the blow by blow account)

One of my main forms of escape from Zenda, (see Prisoner, of)...is watching the water color painters, the more exotic variety are so good at this type of thing: the bridge, the architecture, the shadow that is cast across the surface of THAT feature.

so all these photos deserve a Painting! And I was wondering if I had talent, I'd render someting moving swiftly past, perhaps slightly reclining.....(388 pounds?)

Your chair must fit through the two bars at the base of the pedestrian bridge, correct?
 
ahhhh: such recreational fun with pretty outstanding views.

I'd want to bring a picnic!

Escape- yeah- some of us used to do that, didn't we? I think I'll just walk out of here right now!

(slam door, for dramatic effect).

Your post reminded me of the local bridge, once famous. Famous for the incredible view that went in every direction and the complete absence of any form of Pedestrian Safety.

The famous scenic bridge got too famous. I have not driven over it, since the "improvements" called fencing to protect the pedestrian...were installed by our stalwart state hwy department. So much for the scenic view.

We used to argue over bridge replacements. The gorgeous old bridge, classy in every way, is replaced by the worlds most boring strip of cement. One town managed to save their metal old bridge, in five sections, and they even managed to redeploy one section. Its SCENIC!

Could we please have Grizzley Bears and Salmon- sculptures please, on the replacement bridge (some started out with that, up by the redwoods and big rivers of the north).

So we've managed to get: waves...on the cement walls, they embossed some waves....(near the beach) so Thats SCENIC..they even put colored tile near the central freeway median, on the ground...(oddly almost impossible to see)...
 
You should consider posting some of your pictures on EmmaRose's thread here:
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/share-your-creative-self-here.87990/page-7#post-2410578
They're very good.

or maybe this earlier thread that has resurfaced recently from Strawberry: https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/anything-goes-photography-thread.60450/

You might also be interested to read about Whitney. He recently won an award in photography and I think incredibly, like you, he was using a cell phone. :D

He talks about it starting in post #682 here: https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/whitney-updates.47052/page-35#post-2405678
 
You should consider posting some of your pictures on EmmaRose's thread here:
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/share-your-creative-self-here.87990/page-7#post-2410578
They're very good.
I agree, and am briefly breaking my silence to say so .....

That would be one way to go, but I think that other options could be considered as well ....

THESE TWO ARE AWARD-WINNING. Not sure where you'd submit them for consideration, but maybe someone posting here would know.
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Or maybe send them to the City of Phoenix Office of the Whatever.

They deserve a much wider audience ....
 
Words can hardly describe how i feel for you getting to experience the world again. I am incredibly stoked for your new adventures in life. You have places to go and things to see, so go and be on your way!

You can imagine your eyes looking through the lens into your new world. Your cranial nerves processing. Saturating cells with pure joy and elation at more independence and freedom and visual and motor stimuli every square inch of your new surroundings. They don't make drugs that good, ha! The pictures are a emotionally stunning representation.

You did i t :heart:
:trophy:
 
You should consider posting some of your pictures on EmmaRose's thread here:
https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/share-your-creative-self-here.87990/page-7#post-2410578
They're very good.

or maybe this earlier thread that has resurfaced recently from Strawberry: https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/anything-goes-photography-thread.60450/

You might also be interested to read about Whitney. He recently won an award in photography and I think incredibly, like you, he was using a cell phone. :D

He talks about it starting in post #682 here: https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/whitney-updates.47052/page-35#post-2405678
Or the 'Sunny Day Went for a Walk' thread (it can be a walk or a roll) https://forums.phoenixrising.me/threads/sunny-day-went-for-a-walk.79617/

It makes me incredibly happy to see how much independence you have gained.
 
So you know, I am totally overdoing it! But that's not unexpected. So in order to keep myself indoors, and off the road, I will hereby respond to the comments posted above… keeping myself occupied within safer environs.


The other does look lovely. I gather the two connect, is that so?
None of the overpasses connect. The first one traverses a busy Phoenix roadway. The second one is approximately half a mile south of me, and crosses the freeway. The third one, crosses over the freeway approximately half a mile north of me - or perhaps slightly further. That one took a whole 15 minutes to reach.


Eagerly waiting for part 2 and 3 (and even more?)
I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. I could probably use more descriptive words, probably also be more emotionally engaging, but I'm letting the images speak for themselves. Or at least, that's the objective. :)


Your chair must fit through the two bars at the base of the pedestrian bridge, correct?
For me it's a tight squeeze getting between the two bars, but I do indeed fit. My chair is only 24 in across. We have residents here who likely exceed that number by an easy 50%. Sadly, I seem to be the only person aware of this bike path even existing. It's too bad there aren't more volunteers to push the residents out and about when able.


I'm so f*cking happy for you @Howard. :hug:
No kidding! And thank you! I am rather happy for myself right now, too. :)


You should consider posting some of your pictures on EmmaRose's thread here:
Thank you for the links! I think possibly I will do that after I finish the subsequent picture blog entries. :)


@YippeeKi YOW !! Ughhh... Alright, suddenly the quote function isn't working so hopefully the rest of my responses make sense in regards to those who my responding to------


Thank you. And that's a great idea in regards to the City of Phoenix. They took a lot of flack for spending so much on these "ill-conceived" pedestrian crossovers and related freeway artwork.




@Tammy


Right. I can't believe it's me who's doing these things. Every time I head out the door, I can't even conceptualize that it's me who is off and running. Or, off and rolling. I never thought I would see the outdoors again. Seriously. I couldn't even go there.


@Sunshine


Yes. One would think I'd have ample amounts of words to describe what's happening, but this whole experience is far beyond reasonable comprehension. I do not know how to frame any of this. And I'm trying to experience as much as I can, before it's all taken away from me again. Somewhere in my mind, I know this could all end suddenly. But I've got a resist the temptation to push myself too far.


@Rebeccare


True. I hadn't even considered that I technically "go for a walk" now. :) Thank you!




Thank you everybody for your comments, kudos, and concerns.


Beyond this, I've been playing an out of tune piano for 20 to 30 minutes each day, everyday, for the past ten days… also, approximately 5 minutes worth of guitar playing as well. But the past two days everything has been catching up with me. Clearly, I need to make adjustments. The heat is hot. And as a result, I've experienced additional kidney stones / bladder stones. I also re-injured my rotator cuff on my right shoulder. My neck? Oops. That, too! Ouch, yeah. That wasn't good either. Ummm…


For all those doctors out there who thought I was pretending to be ill, the ones who tried to put me on psych meds, or thought I wasn't making enough effort, well… f*** all of you! LOL - I*ve always pushed my body hard, fast, and far as anyone possibly could. I've never been lazy, in that respect.

K. Be good, y'all
 
Good Morning @Howard. You're squeezing every bit of life out of as much as possible at the moment. Slow down and rest because you'd hate to look at that chair with tears in your eyes.

Cooler weather will be here in about a month. What about a cell phone? Should you be going so far without an emergency pack? Right now you're being trusted by the nursing home staff....that could change in one ride, Howard.
I don't mean to puncture your balloon, really....I don't like to do so, but that's a long trek that you're presently taking, especially if you aren't getting enough liquids (and you aren't). So, here the old lady in Dallas sits telling you to be careful. Why? Because I did some not smart things in the heat that landed me in the hospital and I developed a lot of problems along the way. So I know. I'm more careful now, but even more important, so is Rod. Things can happen and unless you actually live in a really hot climate, it's hard to imagine the toll it can take on the body. Keep those electrolytes balanced....so important.

Do you carry a card with the name and phone # of the nursing home with you? In a prominent place, yet? I want you to have fun for a long, long time....not just one or two quick weeks. You enjoy your music and perhaps you could work on it in the courtyard.

You're a different person and it's wonderful to see. Do keep it and moderate Howard in the way you know you need it. Those pics really are lovely and I think Phoenix did a great job. A lot of money and upkeep will be needed, but every city needs places like the ones shown. Yours, Lenora.
 
For me it's a tight squeeze getting between the two bars, but I do indeed fit. My chair is only 24 in across
oversharing that I was responsible for protecting some nature preserves, therefore I developed advanced skills in things like barricading access points to reduce vehicular incursions. "24 inches..."

In fact, in later years, I used to just fix fences. Or take them down. And there is something really enjoyable about just being out someplace, in the countryside. I was often removing old barbed wire....cutting it off tree trunks.
 
@lenora - great ideas!

Now I am only going out in the morning for 20 minutes, and then at 10 minutes incremental events throughout the rest of the day... maybe 5x or so per day. Three hours+ was just too much. Considering the heat wave coming up, I shall do my best to lay low. :)
 
Well son, just do your best (and I know your own mother would be saying the same things, if she knew,...as well as so many of the ladies on here). We don't want to stop your hunting, that wouldn't be wise, but please....just do it carefully. Every spring you hear news of someone who fell through the ice.

We gatherers have a heavy load, too. Worrying is hard, hard work and it never seems to end. Unfortunately the nuts are often within our families! Including our daughters, their husbands, grandchildren & furry friends (& human ones, too). ;):):)
 

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