Last year at this time we finally decided that Dawg needed a new van. Actually, the old van was still working okay, but indications were that it was on its last legs. Rather than wait for it to die on the side of the road, we went out and bought a new one. We emptied our savings accounts and borrowed the rest. The old vehicle went to our local PBS station to auction, since the car place wouldn’t give us anything on it if we traded it in.
There’s been a couple of surprises with the new van. The one we wanted had automatic doors and rear seats that fold away into the floor, so when we found a demo at a good price, we snapped it up. Since I’d promised myself an automatic ramp when I got the new van, I figured that we’d go to the “ramp” store right away. That became surprise number one. Turns out that you can’t put normal fold-out ramps on a van that has seats that fold into the floor. (The place where the ramp has to be bolted down is where one of the seats goes.) The only other powered solution is called an “in-floor” ramp, although with our “seats in the floor” model, the ramp has to be built under the van so that it shoots out the side, then comes up level with the floor once it’s extended. That means that the ramp is fairly short (limited to less than the width of the chassis). That creates a problem. Most powered chairs won’t climb a steep incline, so, for this to work, the van has to be equipped with a power ride suspension, allowing the chassis to be lowered almost to the ground. And all that ain’t cheap. In fact, all of it together costs more than the van did. And, since we’ve emptied our savings accounts, looks like that ain’t gonna happen.
So we decided we’d have to make do with the old, portable ramp, and that became surprise number two. Turns out that, even though I had measured the ramp before shopping, and measured the van’s door opening before buying, the ramp is about a half-inch wider than the door hole. In other words, the ramp doesn’t fit. While I was messing with the ramp one day, trying to see if I could cut a notch in it and make the thing work, it suddenly slid into place. I guess that was surprise number three. I found out that if I set the ramp at a slight angle, it fits just fine. I’m not too sure if it’s going to hold all the weight it needs to hold at that angle, though, so if you hear a loud crash, come running.
So, to sum it all up: the new van is still working great, but I had to give up on getting an automatic ramp. However, I had to do something, so I went online to see if I can at least get a ramp that’s not so darned heavy. Next post: Can the Universe at least give me that one little thing?