"Get Out and Live"

Friendly Wheels, Issue 67
September 2013

WIth Amigo owner Barbara Gratzke, her husband Bill and the Handicap Travel Club 

Barbara and Bill Gratzke of Homestead, Fla. certainly make their rounds while traveling -- they travel six to eight months of the year in an accessible RV!

The Gratzkes' drive a highly customized, used RV that was adapted before they purchased it. RV's have come a long way when it comes to accessibility and have many options to remove barriers, including lifts, modified bathrooms and even ceiling lifts within the RV.


Barbara has been active in the post-polio support community for years and continues this advocacy while traveling. She also chaired the Miami-Dade County Commission on Disability to advocate for making the area more accessible.


With Barbara and Bill's support and advocacy, the Miami area must now have accessible cabs available at the airport and surrounding areas. To honor Barbara's efforts for local disability advocacy, the Health Foundation of South Florida awarded her the $10,000 Concern Award, which she designated to her Miami post-polio group.


"A lot of times it's just about educating people -- most places don't purposely aim to exclude people with disabilities, but letting them know about easy fixes that could make their facility more accessible can make all the difference," Barbara said. 


As is probably true with most grandparents, Bill and Barbara's travels often center around visits to their grandchildren. "We always stop in St. Louis and Dallas to see our grandchildren -- we have four total," Bill said.


After they have a chance to visit their grandkids, the Gratzkes then focus on the annual rally for the Handicapped Travel Club (HTC), which is held in a different city each year. The rally includes a potluck dinner, wheelchair races, live music, silent auctions, bingo, campfires and opportunities to visit with friends.


The HTC was formed in 1973 to encourage people with a wide range of disabilities to travel -- the club encourages people to "get out and live," and currently has 250 members. "When we go to the HTC rally, it brings tears to my eyes," Bill said. "To see people come together like that and to see people's homemade accessibility adaptations is just wonderful."

"We would love to have new members attend the 2014 rally. The HTC is not exclusively for RV'ers, -- it's open to anyone interested in accessible travel," Barbara said. The 2014 rally will be held in Rapid City, S.D. Membership to the HTC is $12 for the first year, and $8 for renewals.



When asked about their favorite travel destination, the Gratzkes were quick to say how much they love the west coast. "California and the rest of the west coast tends to be very progressive, and we've consistently found facilities to be more accessible there," Barbara said.



The Gratzkes enjoyed the drive from San Diego to Seattle so much, they've done it twice! The Yosemite National Park was the most accessible of the parks they've visited. Bill also described the Grand Tetons as "spectacular" and very accessible. A few other favorite destinations include the Washington area and Asheville, N.C., where the Gratzkes enjoy mountain views and bluegrass music.



"I so appreciate the independence my Amigo affords me to travel," Barbara said. We appreciate Barbara and Bill being part of the Amigo family, and we are so glad they were able to make a stop at the Amigo factory during their travels -- best wishes on the rest of your trip!


News Flash

Supporting Families in Many Helpful Ways

Supporting Families in Many Helpful Ways

Friendly Wheels, Issue 123

August 2018


Amigo owners often share inspiring stories. From overcoming a mobility challenge to figuring out innovative ways to go to new places to helping people in their communities, the experiences they share never cease to amaze us.

In this edition of Friendly Wheels, we get to meet Shannon DeWall, JD, an attorney, wife, mother and community volunteer in metro Detroit. Learn more about her story below.

A Family's Story of Reclaiming Hope

A Family's Story of Reclaiming Hope

Friendly Wheels, Issue 122

July 2018

In a time of crisis, it may be reassuring to know that there is another family that's experienced a similar situation: the Shepherds. James Shepherd and his mother founded the Shepherd Center, a not-for-profit hospital located in Atlanta, Georgia specializing spinal cord injury rehabilitation, in 1975 in response to an accident James endured as a young man. Learn more about his family's inspiring story.

This Amigo Owner Adds a Little Magic

This Amigo Owner Adds a Little Magic

Friendly Wheels, Issue 121

June 2018

Carrie Rostollan, a longtime member of the Amigo family, recently visited our Bridgeport facility for the Amigo Mobility Center open house. She shared with us some of her upcoming summer plans and entertained us with her magic tricks! Discover more about Carrie's 'magical' adventures.

Amigo Mobility Blog