Traveling Alone While Disabled: Part IX, Just A Short Way
This is the ninth installment of the surprisingly rollicking adventures of a courageous disabled traveler going it alone. Here are links to the first eight installments in case you missed them:
I had come to paint scenic Ireland and found an old stone bridge on the way to Glenbeigh. There was a twelve inch sidewalk on the bridge and a non-user-friendly wall with pointed rocks every 8 inches or so. I found one that had a bit of a flat top. I poured some water into a small cup. I put the bottle between my feet. I had my paints and papers and brushes balanced on my lap. In retrospect I think the bridge design with sharp rocks was to prevent what was about to happen next.
Buses, trucks, and vans passed my knees less than a yard away. At one point I leaned down to get the water bottle only to see headlights gunning for my head. I jerked straight up. Air surged past me as the tourist van whizzed by ridiculously close. I looked down to see that I had inadvertently thrown everything into the breeze. I feverishly grabbed for palette, paper and brushes. The tubes of paints were rolling away. There was a break in the traffic and I scrambled to get all the paints back. As I juggled all the pieces I somehow lost hold of my favorite brush sacrificing it to the river below. At least I saved my paints and, oh yeah, I did not get killed. My bridge painting days were kaput.
I proceeded to Glenbeigh, which, I was assured by all whole who knew, was the very essence of a quaint Irish village. All I had to do was follow the “Ring of Kerry” and “It’s just a short way.” At this juncture may I tell you, dear readers, if you ever get the notion that you too would like to hike “The Ring of Kerry”, DON’T! Even is you're not hobbled, as I am, by the effects of a disease called Transverse Myelitis, you wouldn't find this route smooth going.
I know you have copious guidebooks and, yes, there are well marked signs saying that this main road is the official hiking trail. Yeah, maybe if you’re a snake or a very thin piece of string. This scenic route is in serious need of a brush hog. The lovely hedge rows are overgrown onto the road leaving maybe 8 inches between the briars and that little yellow side line. Every time a car passed I was encouraged (note above bridge fiasco) to leap into the waiting prickly flora. Not cool. And often as not, as I waited for the line of cars to pass I would be aware that behind me was a drop off of serious proportions.
The entire hike I was mumbling:
"Seriously have any of you walked to Glenbeigh...ever?"
“No one here but me. Is it the slow economy or have the semi-trucks already knocked them all into a boggy grave?”
"This darn well better be the cutest town in history or I will become completely unhinged."
As I entered Glenbeigh I had to admit it was lovely. It was awash with window boxes and hanging pots. It was perfect. I looked around, found a convenience store, bought a burrito and called a cab.
To be continued . . .
Sally Franz is a former stand-up comedian, motivational speaker, and radio host. She is a twice-divorced mother of two and a grandmother of three. Sally has a degree in gerontology and several awards for humor writing. She is the author of "Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey," and "The Baby Boomers Guide to Menopause."