I was really excited to explore the world of Motel 6 and accessible lodging. Motel 6 was often the cheapest motel, and yet its status as a national chain assured some sort of standards. Plus, as a result of a recent ADA settlement with the US Department of Justice, Motel 6 was forced to update its facilities, adding roll-in showers and the promise that if they didn't have an accessible room that slept two people, they would provide a second room free of charge. Motel 6 seemed a great way to organize our road trip. That optimism and enthusiasm lasted about 800 miles.
Motel 6 in Spokane, WA
The first night we stayed at a Motel 6 in Spokane, WA. It offered cheap, accessible ground-floor lodging in clean environs, with a wheelchair-height queen bed, a roll-under sink, toilet grab bars, and a roll-in shower. Perfect!
This lucky streak ended the second night, with the reminder that not all cheap motels are used by travelers. We no sooner pulled into this urban Motel 6 than we noticed the people and activity in the parking lot, and we were quickly warned by the people leaving that they had observed 2 drug deals in their short time there, while checking out the rooms -- which they claimed had unwashed bedding. Unfortunately, although there were several cheap motels in that neighborhood, they all seemed to have similar problems.
Luckily, we were able to find an appropriate, cheap, accessible room in a nearby neighborhood, with the help of the Super 8 reservations agent. Two lessons learned: 1. Never commit to a cheap motel until seeing it, and 2. Join a group like Wyndham Rewards (even though there were no accessible rooms at the Super 8 that I called, the agent was able to find me one at a nearby Howard Johnson's, because those hotels are part of the same hotel group).
Using motel's plywood and
our portable metal ramp
to get inside Masterson's Motel
Fairfield by Marriott has
Some cheap motels do
not have official accessible
rooms, but are accessible
On the road, we almost always had phone connectivity, which was invaluable. I can't imagine doing this without smart phones. After the trip ended, I learned about a website that provides reservations for accessible lodging. This seemed to me to be unbelievable gold, and I wish that I had known of it before the trip. For the USA, and site is accessiblego.com, and for Europe, I found disabledaccessibletravel.com.
Fortunately, some of the units had sinks outside of the bathroom, so that the sink was accessible, even if the bathroom wasn't. This was often the design that made an otherwise non-accessible room usable.
- Transfer board (a Hoyer Lift would be an energy- and back-saver, but it requires space under the bed)
- Screwdriver (often the bathroom door was too narrow with hinges on, so we removed door)
- Short (3') foldable metal ramp (to get over steps
- Self-propelling shower/commode chair
- Long shower chair to get over/in tub
- Portable under-mattress bed rail
- Suction cup grab bars (warning -- they don't always stick!)
- Electric kettle (for instant meals)
- Dishes and dish soap
- Towel to put on chair after shower (some motels did't have enough towels for this)
- Wet wipes
- Hair washing tray
- Dry shampoo
- Hand sanitizer
- Electric foot heater (to plug in while sleeping)
- Pillow (for car and for some motels)
Portable folding metal
ramp (3' length fits in car
and helps wheelchair
over 1-2 steps)
|Long sliding tub/shower chair
Spokane, WA: Motel 6 -- ADA room with a low queen bed and an ADA bathroom with a roll-in shower
Pendleton, OR: Red Lion Inn --ADA room and ADA bathroom with a roll-in shower: it seemed like an older resort, which had passed its prime
Idaho Falls, ID: Fairfield Inn -- ADA room with a king bed and ADA bathroom with a roll-in shower
LaCrosse, WI: Holiday Inn-- ADA room with a king bed. and ADA bathroom with a big roll-in shower. They offered us a walk-in discount.