Riding the rails with a guide dog

New article with a ton of great tips and tricks for riding Amtrak long distance with a guide dog. Fauna and I had a great time traveling to California from Denver riding Amtrak’s California Zephyr for 33 hours.

http://www.blindtravels.com/riding-amtrak-long-distance-with-a-guide-dog/


Making airport navigation easier

New tech created by Carnegie Mellon University offer a suitcase called Bbeeo which will help users avoid collisions with people walking around the airport and NavCog, a smartphone app that utilizes bluetooth beacons placed throughout the airport to provide turn by turn navigation to gates. We applaud creators of tech like this because navigating airports is one of the most frustrating aspects of traveling. Airlines are doing their part to make this easier for those of us who are visually impaired, but it is heartwarming to see that the need for this tech is becoming mainstream.

This is one suitcase designed to do much more than hold vacation gear — like help people without sight to see.

It’s called BBeep, a suitcase on wheels that can assist travelers with low vision or loss of sight to navigate crowded airport terminals and avoid collisions.

https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2019/05/07/Pittsburgh-International-Airport-Carnegie-Mellon-University-BBeep-NavCog-suitcase/stories/201905070066


I’m back, new work and our next trip

Thank you for all the concerned messages, for the last few weeks I have been out of commission due to a broken hand. During the last snowstorm here in Colorado, I took my guide dog Fauna out for evening relieving and didn’t see the ice that had built up on the threshold of the door. One wrong step and I ended up laying unconscious on the ground with a broken hand. It was of course my right hand and I’m right handed, so no typing or mouse use for me. Fauna made it through the ordeal fine, she ran around the backyard playing in the snow having a great time until I woke up. I’m all healed and ready for action now though. Speaking of…

Next week, Fauna and I will be headed to California on Amtrak. We will take the California Zephyr from Denver and arrive in California the following evening. This will be Fauna’s first time on the train with me, and I am interested to see how she likes it. We will of course be blogging here while we are traveling and posting pictures on Twitter and Instagram – @nedskee We will be creating images for my new body of work Fauna’s Adventures which made it’s debut in April at Access Gallery in the Santa Fe Art District here in Denver. I’m happy to formally announce the project and you can find lots more information here:

It is amazing to have support from Antrak, Hilton Hotels and United Airlines for my project. They are helping me to spread the word about legitimate service animal use in the travel and hospitality industry while showing support for their customers who use real service animals. A big shout out to the Special Olympics, The Crawford Hotel and other local Denver-based hotels for their support on this project as well!

Stay tuned for more on the upcoming trip, I hope you will all follow along in the adventure with us!

Hey! I love to hear from my readers! Feel free to contact me via my social media sites I would love to hear your thoughts on this or any of my other articles! Until then, get out and get shooting! 

My Photography site: http://www.tahquechi.com/

My Bodyscapes project: http://www.bodyscapes.photography/

Instagram and Twitter: @nedskee


Tipping tips

As a visually impaired traveler, I personally find it important to “pay it forward” by tipping those who help me out, as to give visually impaired travelers “cred”. If I can tip someone who helps me to the gate for my flight and that makes them more enthusiastic about helping the next visually impaired guest, then I have achieved my goal. My biggest problem is seeing the denominations on the bills and making sure I am offering a five dollar tip and not a fifty dollar tip. Let’s talk about it…

Preplanning

Before I leave the house for any trip, I always take time to organize my paper bills. I figure I need a few five-dollar bills for people checking me in, helping me to the gate, and helping me to baggage claim. I roll a few fivers’ and put them in my front pocket – with nothing else. That way, I know if I am reaching into that pocket I can grab a single bill and hand it to the person helping me with confidence. Just this one tip can make travel so much easier, especially if you are trying to find your gate, drag your luggage and in my case make sure my guide dog is sorted out.    

Flags  

I can still see color, and I have found that the little colored post-it flags you use to mark pages in books work fantastic for identifying the bills in your wallet.  I use a system which uses red, yellow, green and blue flags. My singles and fives are flagged with green (for go), my tens are marked with blue, twenty-dollar bills are marked with yellow (for caution), and 50 and 100-dollar bills are always marked with red (for stop). Here is a link to the flags I use – They come right off the bills easily and this system allows me to enter a store as I travel and confidently find the proper denominations in my wallet.

Post-it Flags Value Count, Assorted Colors, 280 Count

https://amzn.to/2TGBqnx

I hope you found this travel tip interesting! I love to hear from my readers, You can catch up with me on social media:

Website: http://www.tahquechi.com/

Charity Work: http://www.bodyscapes.photography/

Instagram and Twitter: @nedskee


Smithsonian museums are becoming more accessible in D.C. with the implementation of new tech for the visually impaired.

Using the Aira app, Smithsonian museum visitors who are blind or have low vision can now access an app that uses their smartphone cameras or special glasses to provide wayfinding information coupled with on-demand verbal descriptions of everything from individual objects to entire exhibitions. For more information, you can read the entire article here:


Google Lookout now available!

If you are a Google Pixel user, you can now download the Lookout App from the Google Play store. The app helps Visually Impaired users identify objects and read labels. Google Says:

Google recommends wearing your Pixel device on a lanyard around your neck or keeping it in your front shirt pocket. From there, Lookout can tell you about people, read text, identify objects and more as you go about your day.

You can check out their blog post on the app https://www.blog.google/outreach-initiatives/accessibility/lookout-discover-your-surroundings-help-ai/

and read more about the app here:

https://www.cnet.com/news/google-releases-lookout-app-for-visually-impaired-and-blind-on-pixel-devices/


El Paso joins growing list of airports to enhance accessibility to visually impaired travelers

The aira cellphone app (https://aira.io/) charges a monthly subscription to connect those who are visually impaired to a trained agent to help them see using the cell phone camera. Recently El Paso International Airport partnered with aira to allow visually impaired travelers to use the service for free while in the airport. El Paso International airport is among a few select airports implementing services which make traveling visually impaired easier.

https://www.ktsm.com/community/el-paso-international-airport-launches-service-benefiting-blind-community/1784979381?apt_credirect=1


How Guide Dog teams are matched

Very cool article about the process Guide Dogs for the Blind match their human/guidedog teams.


Blind parents face unfounded accusations regarding newborn

This sort of thing really makes me sad. I fully realize that lack of education for the greater public is fully to blame. I can see no logical reason why a blind couple could not raise a child. I would also wager that they will be better and more attentive parents than most are. In the article, the couple explains that they planned having their child for some time, It is easy for me to advocate because I am visually impaired, but if I can’t use this platform to advocate for this couple who will?

I have not talked with the couple, but I would love to interview them for this website. I have a feeling that the concerns being raised are likely nothing more than busy-body neighbors.

On December 21st 2018, Eagle Point residents Danial and Minh Turnbull gave birth to their first baby.

Since then, they’ve had three reports put into the Oregon Department of Human Services by various people questioning their fitness to be parents, which they say were unfairly based in the fact that they are both blind

ktvl.com

https://ktvl.com/news/local/blind-parents-face-unfounded-accusations-regarding-newborn


Tucson International Airport adds service that helps visually impaired navigate facility

Bravo Tucson International Airport! Way to be an industry leader and support your visually impaired community with this new service!


Blind and low-vision passengers will get free help navigating Tucson International Airport with a system that connects them via mobile phone networks to a personal airport guide.

from Tucson.com

https://tucson.com/business/tucson-international-airport-adds-service-that-helps-visually-impaired-navigate/article_1fb92033-efae-537d-bd74-70b89568be49.html


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