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Two on-the-go RVers Cruise in Modified Winnebagos
The lure of the open road... the desire to get out and go and see and do. Now it's a call that can be answered by the physically challenged, just like everyone else.
Whether the goal is to travel America, to visit friends and relatives or to enjoy the serenity of nature, travels and stays for physically challenged individuals can be convenient and comfortable in a custom modified motorhome.
Bruce And Fran Byrne
Bruce Byrne was an instrument specialist in the military when he was injured in an accident, leaving him without the use of his legs.
Since retiring in 1989, Byrne and his wife Fran, have enjoyed the mobile lifestyle that a motorhome provides them. They have owned three modified motorhomes, including a 1993 Winnebago Adventurer. Although Byrne uses a wheelchair, he is the primary driver of the motorhome, using hand controls exclusively.
Working Winnebago Industries, the motorhome was modified exclusively to fit Byrne's special needs. A 30-inch-wide electrically operated door was installed on the curb side of the Adventurer and a wheelchair lift was installed. Inside walls were shifted, furniture was repositioned and the bathroom was modified extensively to allow access to the wheelchair.
For five years, Darrell Gwynn was at the top of his profession as an NHRA drag racer. The same year that he set a world record for the fastest time in a quarter mile drag race, it happened - Gwynn's dragster crashed. He ended up with a broken neck and a left arm so badly mangled that it had to be amputated. With only very limited movement in his right arm, for all practical purposes, Gwynn has been paralyzed from the neck down for more than five years.
Gwynn now travels and stays at racetracks in a 37-foot, 1994 Winnebago Adventurer motorhome which has been modified to accommodate his needs. The Adventurer features an additional four-foot-wide door toward the rear of the motorhome with a platform wheelchair lift. The bathroom was reworked significantly to provide a 74-inch-by-33-inch shower area that accommodates Gwynn's wheelchair. Wider interior aisles were created and there's a "reception area" in the front of the Adventurer, complete with a literature rack and a desk for his computer.
"During the race season we travel extensively," Gwynn said. "The Winnebago makes traveling from track to track easier and more enjoyable.
Winnebago Industries can modify motorhomes to meet the requirements of persons with a widerange of physical challenges.
For more information on modifying motorhomes for accessibility, contact Roger Lunning at Winnebago Industries, P.O. Box 152, Forest City, IA 50436; 515/582-6297.
Ken Nordsrtom is a communications specialist with Winnebago Industries, Forest City IA.
Reprinted from Woodall's Monthly Regional RV/Camping Publications.