Hyundai Elantra, my latest Hertz Rental Car – HaliPawz

As my summer with mom draws to a close, it was time for me to head back to Kansas City, Missouri from Port Huron, Michigan. I rented a car from Hertz like I normally do. I wasn’t as happy this time about the rental price, but that is another story. I had picked the group “Toyota Corolla or similar” and ended up with a 2015 Hyundai Elantra.  I have some question about the Elantra and the Corolla being in the same class, but Hertz, like any rental car, is never specific enough to give you an true answer and it wasn’t so far off that I feel like complaining again to them.

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Rental Car 2015 Hyundai Elantra

Let’s talk about this car for a minute. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that it is a nice looking car. I’m really more of an SUV/truck person in general, but I do appreciate a decent looking car at a good value. The car has a nice sleek look to it. When I got in to drive away, I was impressed with the amount of legroom when you put the seat all the way back. I’m 5 foot 10, so plenty of legroom, especially for a long drive, is very important.  I still don’t like how low it is to the ground, like I mentioned in a previous rental review, but again, I’m used to being higher up in my mini suv.

Headed to my moms to pick up my luggage I didn’t have a real chance to check the vehicle out, as it is a straight shot on a normal road. The brakes were crazy intense though! I barely tapped them and the car jolted to a stop!

When I start loading the luggage, I was impressed with the amount of trunk space there was. I am not the neatest packer, especially on car road trips. As long as everything can shove in the trunk I am happy! Because of this, I appreciate ample trunk space. I fit my suitcase, a duffle bag, a baby gate (for the dogs), a 30 pound bag of dog food, two tie outs, the dog’s travel bag, my laptop bag, a pair of shoes, some miscellaneous small bags,  and a big Sam’s Club thermal tote with some food in it.

Hertz, Rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Trunk filled with stuff

Since it’s a rental, I covered all of the seats in sheets and blankets.  Filled the dogs water cooler and put it in the back, on the floor.  Loaded the dogs up and we were on our way.

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

Bella asleep in the backseat of the Hyundai Elantra Rental Car

The backseat must not be too bad, because Bella was not as restless as she was on the trip six weeks ago in the rental car. She only wanted her head out the window for about two minutes and then settled in on the seat and fell asleep. Zipper crashed in his normal place on the floor of the backseat.

When I first hit the expressway, I was a little concerned as the car seemed to want to sway back-and-forth quite a bit. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so I wasn’t really sure what caused it. All I knew was it was going to be a long drive if it continued. After a while, I began to think maybe it was me, because it seemed to get better as we drove along. There is an interesting feature I found on the car, you can choose what mode you want to drive it. The options are normal, Sport, and Comfort. I’m not going to lie, I played with it a few different times on the road, and I honestly couldn’t see that much of a difference. The steering wheel might be a little tighter in sport mode but it was very minimal.

I have to drive from Port Huron, Michigan to Kansas City, Missouri pretty down pat. I usually know where I’m going to have to stop, I know when I’m a third of the way, I know when I’m half way, especially when I’m doing the drive overnight. As I was crossing Michigan, I was on the phone and realized that I had already been on the road about four hours and the gas tank was still at half a tank. I couldn’t believe it!  I made it all the way from My mom’s house, to Kanake, Illinois before I had to stop!  It wasn’t because I needed gas, it’s because my bladder gave out before the gas did. It only took 10 gallons to fill it back up and we were back on the road. I noticed I still had 447 miles to go until I reached my home, and the car was saying I had 417 miles to empty. Had I waited another half an hour, I would’ve only needed to fill the vehicle up once for a 12 hour drive! That is pretty impressive. In looking at the gauges I averaged about 36.8 to 38.4 miles per gallon.  Not too bad.

Hertz, rental, travel

Hyundai Elantra Gauge showing 36.8 mpg

Hertz, Rental Car, Travel

Notice the angle of the edges on the driver’s seat of this Hyundai Elantra

As I have mentioned before, I am not a small woman. The seats were not the most comfortable in my opinion. The edges kind of dug into my outer thighs a little bit so I found myself shifting a lot. Perhaps if I had a vehicle with power seats, it might have been a  little better because I could have raised them up a little, but I doubt it. I found myself sliding down in the seat quite often and then having to shift myself back up. It’s just not comfortable when you’re wearing a pair shorts! Another complaint I had which I have often in cars, is the position of the center armrest and the side armrest; there is no comfortable way for me to rest my arm on it while I’m driving. They were both way too low. I found myself bringing my left leg up and resting my arm on it while I kept my hand on the steering wheel.

For some reason I don’t seem to like the cruise control on this vehicle. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I was constantly tapping my break and shutting it off and then driving with my foot on the gas again. I hit a little bit of rain at one point in the drive, and the vehicle handled it pretty well. I had control of the vehicle at all times.

***A little safety tip… Never ever ever use your cruise control when it is sprinkling, raining, snowing, icy, etc.!  It is not safe.***

Okay, back to the review!

The headlights were weird. I know that sounds strange, but I had difficulty figuring out if my lights were on or not!  I drove at least an hour and a half to two hours with just my parking lights on until it got dark enough for me to realize I didn’t have my actual headlights on. What threw me off was it looked like they came on automatically because the dashboard lit up a little differently when I got dusk but it didn’t look like any lights were on the outside so then I flipped the switch and saw a slight change on my dash and what I thought were lights on the car but then, like I said, it was only my parking lights!  Oops! Oh well I eventually figured it out.

The mirrors on the side are very nice, they are a good size, and the driver side has a little mirror insert in the upper left hand corner so you can see the road from two different perspectives.

The gauge lighting is nice, you have a clear indication of your fuel, you can toggle between your trip Miles, your miles per gallon, how many miles to empty, what your average rate of speed is, and how long you have been on this trip. It was easy to reset each one of them when I  started my trip. As I am a huge fan of the color blue, I was happy to see that most of the lights on the dash were a nice navy blue tone. Accented with white or a lighter shade of blue depending on which one you were looking at.

The steering wheel has a nice assortment of gauges on it including your cruise control your emotions to go between the different styles of driving, your trip information and you can quickly reset it from your steering well. I was surprised to not see any radio controls on the steering wheel, not sure if that is an option that can be added on different models or not.  The one thing I found weird though was that the controls were all on one side, so when you’re driving at night, it just didn’t look symmetrical.  If you have a case of OCD, I’m sure it would annoy you a little!

It has a sunglass holder up near the roof along with nice lights that are easily accessible and easy to turn on for the interior, I know they’re easy to turn on because Bella‘s big head turned them on more than once when she decided to walk around a little bit and try to move to the front seat!  I said try, because she wasn’t successful, but she did hit the light!

You have a 12 V plug along with a USB plug and in auxiliary plug all at your fingertips. The USB plug is a very nice touch. There is a small area to the right of the plug to put a few things. I put my Bolle` sunglass case in it though and it pretty much filled up the area, so it isn’t very big. The center armrest also opens up for additional storage, but I don’t like to put things in there for a rental car because I don’t want to forget them.  There is another 12v plug just off to the right so a passenger could also plug something in.  I forgot to look to see if any were in the back seat or not.

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

Front Area of Hyundai Elantra Rental Car from Hertz

All in all, even with being uncomfortable seats, for a rental car on a long trip I would definitely choose it again if given the option because I loved the gas mileage and how little I spent on gas for the trip. I just need to either lose weight, or make sure I’m wearing jeans the next time! LOL

Both Zipper and Bella were able to fit their head out of the same window when we were closer to home!

Hertz, travel

Bella and Zipper sticking their head out of the rental car Hyundai Elantra

Hertz, Hyundai, Elantra, Travel

Bella and Zipper happy to be home after 15 hours in a car. You can see the water cooler on the floor behind them.

Would I purchase the car?  No, it would be too uncomfortable for me long term, but for one or two people (or skinny people) renting a car, it might be a good choice.

I hope this review helps you! Share your comments and thoughts if you have this car or have driven one?

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz

Advertisements

Can Glucosamine and Chondroitin help the severly arthritic? – HaliPawz

Sam's Club

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my mom has been down visiting me for a while again this summer.  Being a writer, my schedule is a little more flexible than my siblings and I try to make sure she has a good time while she is down here.  My mom has suffered from arthritis for as long as I can remember.  Of course, as she has aged, it has become worse.  She now walks with the assistance of a walker, a motorized scooter for long distances, and is in pain almost all of the time.  As a daughter, I hate knowing she is in pain.  I am always trying to research ways to improve her life and minimize some of the pain.  At the stage she is in, most things I read says there is nothing to help her other than pain management.  There were some studies that showed medical marijuana might help, but she was not willing to even consider that and I don’t think my siblings were too keen on her trying it, so I kept moving.

Back in 2013, I started working with a new trainer for my horse and Luke would have “clicking” sounds when he worked.  My trainer said I should put him on Glucosamine and Chondroitin and see if it helped.  Within a month, the clicking was gone.  Of course, some say it was because I was working him on a regular basis so he was stronger, minimizing the clicking.  I believe it had something to do with the Glucosamine and Chondroitin.

Because I had hurt my knee when I was younger, I decided to try the supplement for myself after seeing it work with Luke.  I’m not great at taking medication, I often forget, but I did notice my knee didn’t hurt as bad when I remembered to take them.  I purchased them at Sam’s Club because they had an Instant Savings on them and I have the Plus membership, so I saved more money at that time.  I liked their Simply Right brand because it didn’t contain a lot of the fillers, just the glucosomine and chondroitin along with vanilla flavoring to make it easier to swallow.

Sam's Club

Fact Sheet Simply Right Glucosamine Chondroitin

Fast forward to earlier this year, my 4 year old Neapolitan Mastiff, Bella, was stiff every night after a fun afternoon at the dog park.  Don’t let her age fool you, she can run with the 1-3 year old dogs and hold her own.  She loves to play.  I didn’t want to take that away from her but hated to see her in pain at night.  I decided to try some Glucosamine and Chondroitin for her as well.  I ended up changing her food to a dog food with it built right into the food.  For more information on that, feel free to check out an earlier blog.  I also learned turkey neck bones have a lot of natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin in them and are good for dogs to chew on, but because I have another dog at home with food aggression, it was not an option.  I had purchased some dog treats with Glucosamine and Chondroitin built into them and it seemed Bella did even better when she had just a little more in her than what her food provided.  The treats were expensive though, so I hit the internet trying to find out if I could give her pills safe for humans.  It appears that, as long as you don’t use the ones with additional fillers and by products in them, they are safe for dogs.

Week 1 – We are at the first week.  While I told her she had to try it for a full three weeks before we would determine if it is helping her at all or not, I still wanted to see if she had noticed any changes as all.  It has been an extremely rainy time down here.  I think it has rained almost every day.  She said she noticed her hands haven’t been sore or swollen feeling.  This is pretty huge because she has actually talked to her doctor about her hands they would hurt so much the day before it rained.  He prescribed her some ultraced  to help with the pain and she hasn’t had to take one all week.  It’s too soon to tell if it’s due to the Glucosamine and Chondroitin or just due to the fact she is in a different climate and more hydrated than she is at home.  I don’t think she drinks enough water when she’s home alone, I make sure she has something to drink all day.

Week 2 – So, here it is, a full two weeks into my trial period and I ask my mom how she’s feeling.  So far, her hands have only hurt her one night out of the full two weeks and it has rained almost every day here.  I asked her how her shoulders were feeling and she said they don’t hurt, but they don’t normally hurt.  I was surprised by this comment because she is always complaining her shoulders hurt!  She has had surgery in them and has very little ability to reach over her head now.  I noticed she was reaching for a glass in one of my cupboards because I forgot to leave one down in the dish strainer for her.  I asked her if it hurt for her to do that. She paused and checked both shoulders and said no, it didn’t hurt when she reached up!  I thought that was a good sign.

We will finish the full three weeks and get final thoughts.

Week 3 – A full three weeks of the Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Not a lot of difference between week 2 and week 3.  Her biggest surprise is her hands.  She said they just don’t hurt.  I waited a couple weeks before finalizing this to ask her and she has decided to continue taking them.  Her biggest complaint is the size of the pills.  They are pretty big.  Is it a HUGE difference, and miracles happened?  No, but I know her hands have led her to take pain pills before, so if we can eliminate even that pain, to her, it appears to be worth it.

As I said, I know it has helped me personally with my knees when I take it every day.  If I start missing a few days, then it seems like it takes days for it to start working again.

My suggestion is, try it for three to four weeks.  See if you notice anything different.  You’re only out the cost of one bottle, but if they do work, the price is worth it!

Let me know about your experiences with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, I would love to hear other opinions, both good and bad.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

The Dryer welcomed a visitor I did not invite – HaliPawz

Yesterday, as I was waiting for mom to get ready to leave the house, I remembered I had thrown some towels in the washer. Running downstairs, I opened the dryer and saw some clothes in there.  No surprise.  I’m horrible about emptying it. I hang all my shirts up to dry, so there is never anything in there that can’t be.  With mom here, I’m always finding Kleenex remnants in the laundry. She always has a Kleenex with her and I am always missing them before I wash, no matter how hard I look.  As I’m folding the clothes, I see a rubbery thing near the zipper of one of her jeans.  I’m thinking….what in the world did she leave in her pocket this time? I go to pick it up and as my hand hits the rubbery thing, I scream (a small one), pull my hand away, and do the “icky” dance.  It is a SNAKE!!!

 

jeans, washer & dryer, dead snake, baby snake, snake in home

Baby Snake in Dryer

Yes, I freak out.  I don’t deny it.  I hate snakes! Albeit, this was a very very tiny one, but still I’m freaked.

Wait, it’s not moving.  Is it dead? I stare at it. Do snakes pretend to be dead when they are frightened? I stare some more.  No, they slither away.  Yes, conversations are running through my head rapidly.  Still staring.

Ok, take a breath.  You can do this.  I grab my trash can and move it next to the dryer.  I’ll just pick up the jeans and then dump the snake into the garbage. Simple.

I start to reach in, being careful as to not put my hands or arms anywhere where this vicious snake could come up and strike me and kill be.  The snake slips a little and ends up between the zipper opening and is now touching the dryer! I jump back.

Ugh! Now what to do.

I close the dryer door.  I’m done. I can’t do it.

I HAVE to do it.  I can’t leave it in there.  Ok, I go upstairs looking for something to help me. I shut the door on the dryer to make sure the 50 other baby snakes I can’t see don’t slither into my basement while I’m gone.

I tell mom what’s going on.  She starts talking about the guy eating the snake on Naked & Afraid the night before and then she thought about snakes and now there’s one in my dryer.  She hates snakes.  Yup, right there with you mom.

I grab a plastic Wal-Mart bag so I can pick it up like scooping poop.  I’ll lift it out and throw it away.

I open the dryer door and, for some reason, freak out all over again.  I quickly run through the list of friends I could call to come help.  NO! It is a DEAD baby snake.  I CAN do this!

Oh wait….take a picture.  No one will believe me.  Plus they’ll laugh at me over how small it is.  I still have to take one.  Carefully…so as not to get bit…line the phone up.  Turn the flash on because it’s too dark. Got it.

Now to scoop it up.  I can’t tough it.  My finger is still giving me phantom “icky” vibes where it touched it before, even though I’ve washed my hands three times already.  I look around.  I see a mitt I have for wiping the dogs paws when they are wet / muddy.  I put it on.  Grab the bag. I go in. Quickly reach down, scoop, squeeze, throw.  I honestly couldn’t tell if I connected with anything through the thick mitt or not.

dog paws, clean, muddy paws
Success!!!! The snake was no longer there!

I threw the jeans on the floor, looked all over the dryer, and then threw the towels in.

The jeans immediately went into the washer along with some other dark clothes.  Had to wash them.  They were filthy from dead, rubbery, snake.

Phew! I did it.  With limited freak outs and lots of deep breaths.  Did not matter.  I did it!

Went upstairs to show my mom the picture.  Her first question….did you put it on Facebook? Well not yet! I was too busy trying to catch it! Well throw it away.

Of course I posted it. I had to. I still have no clue how it got there. I really don’t want to think about it.  All I know is, next time my dryer wants to invite a visitor into my home, I hope it asks for permission!

 

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Why isn’t Ruby Tuesday busier? – HaliPawz

I used to travel a lot for work.  One thing I learned was the importance of consistency with restaurants.  After working all day and spending multiple days in a city, you start to find yourself not willing to try a new local restaurant, you want one of your old reliable(s) because you know what you are going to get.  Depending on what city I was in, I would have one or two “go to” restaurants.  Sadly, I even ordered the same thing from them usually.  Over time, you begin to know which restaurants are very consistent with their quality and tastes and which ones might be hit or miss.  Let’s face it, when you’re tired, eating in restaurants every day, and have been away from home for a few days in a row, you just want something you know and like.  One restaurant I came to know to be pretty consistent is Ruby Tuesdays.  One thing I noticed from town to town, even here in Kansas City, is the restaurant is never packed.  It makes me wonder, Why isn’t Ruby Tuesday a busier restaurant?

My mom and I went out to dinner tonight and we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays.  I gave her a choice of three and let her pick.  I tried to pick places I knew wouldn’t be too busy for a Saturday night but would still have good food.  We went to the location in North Kansas City, but I can speak confidently about that one and the one in Independence.

I want to talk about some of the facts, based on MY experience……

    • I have never encountered poor service.  Just the opposite really.  It must be a decent restaurant to work at because everyone always seems friendly.  I have laughed over one thing or another with a waiter.  Take tonight for example, I was drinking my typical Coke with Lemon and she brought me another drink with a new straw still in the wrapper.  She asked me something, probably about the food, and as I was answering her, I opened the new straw then chuckled a little and said I didn’t know why I opened the new straw.  She genuinely laughed with me and said she didn’t know why she brought me a new straw!  I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the little moments you come to appreciate.
Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar     Photo by TripAdvisor.com

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

      • Their salad bar is one of the best around!  I LOVE their salad bar.  I can not say enough good things about it.  Everything is always fresh.  I have never seen a dirty salad bar at any location I have gone to.  The dressings I have tried always have flavor to them.  Their croutons are amazing.  I can honestly say, if they aren’t my favorite croutons from a restaurant, they are in my top three.  The quality of the salad bar is very consistent in every state and every location I have ever been in.  The only thing I have ever encountered was one location, I can’t remember where, was out of croutons on the bar.  I mentioned it to the waiter.  Not only were they refilled immediately, the waiter brought me a small dish of them for the salad I was eating.
Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

  • Their menu has some hidden gems on it.  I changed the way I cooked my green beans at home because of the way Ruby Tuesday’s prepares them.  I finally asked someone what they were cooked in and how they were cooked and they told me.  I now brush my green beans with olive oil and grill them.  I even went out and bought a pan a few years ago just to grill green beans on my grill.  Since then, I have used the pan for other things, but it was originally purchased because of those green beans.  They also have white cheddar mashed potatoes that I love.  One of my favorite meals from their was their Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin.  I say was because one day I was torn between ordering my go-to and trying theirRibeye.  Ribeye is one of my favorite cuts of meat but I had always been happy with the sirloin from there.  The waiter, ever so helpful, pointed out I could order the Ribeye and have it prepared like the Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin.  Are you serious?!?!  I never even thought about it!  I have a new favorite!  My mom ordered the bourbon glazed pork chop tonight and it came out looking as good as the picture in the menu.  It smelled great and she said it was really good.  She said it was nice and tender.  It must have been because she ate more of her meal than it did.

    Ruby Tuesday Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin

    Ruby Tuesday Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin

  • That leads me to another point…..the portion sizes are good.  I always leave full when I eat there.  Tonight I even took home a small portion of my steak.  I was just too full to finish it.  Not only that, but the food actually has flavor but not so much fake flavor you lose the flavor of the actual item.
  • Their food prices are reasonable.  In addition, if you are like me and like to take advantage of savings, if you have a smart phone with the Retail Me Not app, type in Ruby Tuesdays and there is usually a Buy one meal, get one 50% off.  I use that coupon all the time when I eat there.  I tell the waiter and at the end of the meal, they ask to see the coupon and I show them the code.  I have never been made to feel awkward for using it or felt like the waiter was annoyed I was using it.  ****Just remember to tip them based on the amount BEFORE the discount.  You can also go online with a desktop or laptop and go to RetailMeNot.com and print the coupon ahead of time, but if you have a smart phone, it isn’t necessary to print it.  In doing some searches for this blog, I did find a Facebook group called Ruby Tuesday Coupons where they also have different coupons posted on there.
  • I do think their desserts are a little pricey for what you get.  I ordered the cupcakes once and wasn’t impressed.  I do like their Blondie dessert though, so if you’re not too full from your meal and want a huge dessert or one to share, you might want to consider it.
  • They are a full service bar.  I don’t usually order alcoholic drinks when I’m out.  I just don’t see the point in spending that much money.  I am completely against drinking and driving, I’m usually the driver, so again, I tend to avoid alcohol when I’m out to eat.  I have ordered their signature drink; Ruby Relaxer and it was really good.  According to their website, the drink is: “a mellow blend of Absolut Vodka with Cruzan Coconut Rum, peach schnapps, pineapple and cranberry juices, and fresh orange.”
  • They have these cheddar cheese biscuits they normally serve with the meals.  For some reason, now that I think about it, we didn’t get them tonight, but I didn’t think to ask why.
  • Their carry out service is pretty good as well.  I love the fact you can run in and make your salad and then grab the hot portion of your meal and head back out.  They do have prepared salads on their menu but I don’t know why anyone would choose that over making it yourself at their salad bar.  I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure you could just order a chicken breast by itself to add to your salad if that is all you want.  I know Outback will do that.  I used to do it for carry out all the time.  I’d just order their house salad with a 6 oz chicken breast.  Never hurts to ask if you are interested.
  • They are ADA Friendly.  There is usually enough spacing between tables for wheelchairs and walkers.  Just tonight, I noticed about three different families eating there where one member was in a wheelchair, plus my mom was there with the walker and even with her getting the salad bar, she is able to navigate it on her own.
  • Family Friendly, Meeting Friendly, Date Friendly, and Friend Gathering Friendly.  I wouldn’t say it is a romantic place, but I have actually had two different dates there.  One was even a first date.  I don’t think it should be understood the man pays so if he insists, I try to think of a restaurant centrally located between the two of us with good food and not too pricey.  Ruby Tuesday fits the bill.

So why isn’t it busier?  I’ve been thinking about this.  Perhaps people don’t understand what a hidden gem of a restaurant they are.  Are they the fanciest?  Absolutely not.  They are clean, they are simple.  They are like a neighborhood restaurant that just happens to nationwide.  I remember I didn’t go into one for the longest time because I thought it was a seafood restaurant.  I have no idea why, but I did.  Their logo, the little swoosh on the “s” in Tuesday made me think seafood.  I chalked it right up there with chains like Red Lobster, Applebees, etc, all of which I don’t go to.  I have never been impressed with the quality of their food.  As I don’t eat anything from the water, Red Lobster’s only alternative was a chewy chicken.  So, with this thinking, I stayed away until one day I decided to venture in and I am so glad I did.  I remember taking a friend there once and when we left, he admitted he had never eaten there before and it wasn’t what he thought it was.  I think we’ve been back two or three times after that.

To me, it is just a nice, relaxing, place to go and enjoy a decent meal at a decent price.  The only complaint I have about the locations in Kansas City is that they don’t have one close to me.  If they wanted to put one near Waldo, I would probably just bounce back and forth between them and Chipotle all the time!  Actually, I think Waldo demographics would be perfect for them.  They should consider it!

I encourage you to look to see if you have a Ruby Tuesday near you.  If you do, go check out what coupon would be the best for you, and then head out to try it.  I’d love to hear about your experience if you do.  Or, if you’re already a fan, drop a comment about what location and what you love about it!

Happy Eating everyone!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

The trip to the Kansas City Zoo takes a frustrating turn – HaliPawz

I love zoos. It’s a great way to get outdoors, go walking, and enjoy seeing all of the animals.  Great zoos aren’t just about keeping animals in captivity but about learning about them and striving to find a way to help those in the wild stay wild.  Mom is down visiting right now so we are headed to the Kansas City Zoo.  With her electric scooter, it’s a nice day outing and I think she enjoys the zoo as much as I do.

Growing up, we didn’t get to the zoo very often, it wasn’t close to us.  The Detroit Zoo was about an hour away and when I was young, that seemed so far away. Both me and my sister now live close to a zoo, she is near the Comunbus Zoo in Ohio.  I think my mom made it to four zoos last summer between us; Kansas City, Omaha, and Detroit with me, Columbus with her.

The Weather Channel App for Kansas City

The Weather Channel App for Kansas City

We arrived around 10am, two hours after the zoo opened. I couldn’t believe how many cars were here. A lot of buses were also in the parking lot.  The handicapped spaces were full, there isn’t a lot of them, so we went in search of a parking space.  Even though there isn’t a lot of handicapped parking, there is a large area for loading and unloading, so it isn’t necessarily a problem.  Mom had her scooter, so we could park pretty much anywhere as long as I had room to get it out of the back of the van. We ended up parking by the buses.

Mom forgot her hat so the first 20 minutes were spent going back and forth between her and the gift shop as I looked for a hat for her.  She prefers the crush-able fabric bucket hats but it seemed like they only had those in child size.  She didn’t want to come in with her scooter because it is sometimes difficult to navigate in there with it, especially when there is a lot of people.  While most of the park is ADA friendly, I will say the main gift shop near the entrance is sometimes difficult.  It has enough room for a wheelchair, so they are compliant, but, like we often see in stores, they don’t take into account someone with an electric scooter.  There are quite a few sharp twists and turns from that perspective.  I finally convinced her to come in and look at them.  She didn’t want the adult hats because they didn’t say “Kansas City Zoo” on them, so I found the largest size child’s hat they had and she purchased that.  I’m sad to say I didn’t get a picture of it because of what happened as the day progressed.

Giraffes and Kansas City Zoo

Giraffes and Kansas City Zoo

As we were going through the back half of the zoo, after we crossed the swinging bridge, I noticed I smelled a burning wire / electronic smell.  I thought perhaps it was just being in that area and ignored it.  As we crossed back over the swinging bridge to finish our African Adventure and grab a bite to eat, I noticed my mom was getting further away from me.  She keeps the speed pretty slow in general, but this was slower than normal.
We had lunch at Rafiki Restaurant right at the beginning of Africa.  I had shut off the scooter and removed the key while we sat at a table inside.  After our day, I hate to say something negative about the zoo, but I really have to.  I know you can bring in your own food but when for me, between traveling with everything my mom needs and the scooter, the last thing I want to worry about it packing a lunch and keeping it cold.  The food at the zoo just seems so overpriced for what you get.  The fries were good.   They were the nice thick crinkle ones.  The double cheeseburgers are $8 and so dry! I understand having to cook them well done, they might even purchase them pre-made, pre-cooked, I’m not sure, but my cheese didn’t even begin to melt.  Is the cheese too cold?  The burgers not hot enough?  It’s a little disappointing.  One way to save some money though is to have a Friends of the Zoo Membership (FOTZ).  You save money on food, items in the gift shop, etc.  If you purchase a large, refillable, souvenir cup for $8, you can get it refilled for $1.50 or $1.35 with the FOTZ membership.   They will refill it with ice water for no charge.

Pepsi, Orangutan Canopy

Kansas City Zoo Souvenir Cup

The cups are nice and large and for us, they fit in the basket of her scooter quite well.

After we finished eating, mom started the scooter back up, ready to enjoy the remainder of the day and head over to the new Orangutan Canopy Exhibit.  She pushed the lever and nothing happened.  I looked over and the scooter wasn’t moving.  Uh Oh, what’s going on.  I thought perhaps I forgot to re-engage the brakes, but it usually gives us an alert when we do that.  I had her shut it off, I checked it all over, had her start it up again, and again, nothing happened.  What is going on?  I have her hop back off it so I can try to figure it all out.  I pull the battery out, check all of the connections, put it back in, and try it again.  Still nothing.  I turn it on and leave it on for about sixty seconds, and a series of beeps start to come from the scooter.  I know those beeps mean something, so I turn it off and back on again so I can count the beeps.  9 beeps.  Pull the battery back out to cross reference what 9 beeps means.  INTERNAL ERROR!!!  Contact an authorized dealer!  Ugh!!!! I leave a message with Chuck from Chuck’s Mobility over in Lenexa, KS.  He is the one we had purchased it from.  I guess I should be happy that this happened in Kansas City and not in Michigan.

So here we are, stuck in the back of the zoo with a scooter that isn’t working.  I can’t push her all the way to the front.  Even if I went to get a replacement scooter, I still had to get the other scooter back to the van.  What a dilemma.

The restaurant is pretty busy, so I push mom out of the restaurant and head over to the gift shop.  They weren’t quite as busy so I asked the associate if she could contact someone in guest relations to figure out if they had a solution.  She was so helpful.  She was able to reach someone and they were sending EMS out to help us out.  I didn’t really feel like we needed EMS because it wasn’t an emergency, mom was fine, maybe a little frustrated, but fine.  EMS arrived and after a few minutes discussing the problem, we came up with a solution.  He was going to take mom in his cart, we were going to lift the scooter into the back of his unit, and he called for another person with a golf cart to give me a ride.  They were extremely helpful.  I can not thank all the parties involved and the Kansas City Zoo for their quick and effective help in a very frustrating situation.

While we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to see, now we just have an excuse to go back sooner once the scooter is back in commission and a reason to compliment the zoo even more!

Additional Note about the Scooter

Chuck called me back and I ran the scooter over to him.  He called me back after talking to the manufacturer and they believe the mother board is damaged.  A new one is on it’s way and Chuck will replace it as soon as he gets it.  If anyone is in the Kansas City area and in need of a scooter rental, a scooter purchase, or any mobility needs, Chuck is a great resource.  I have rented two scooters from him before we purchased mom’s last year and we have had nothing but great service from him.  The mother board is just a fluke and not a common problem.  We will be happy to have it back and her rolling again!

Mom on Scooter at Omaha Zoo Summer 2014

Mom on Scooter at Omaha Zoo Summer 2014

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz