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Very helpful member
Dec 11, 2014
We had a wonderful month-long trip to Yellowstone. We arrived on May 20 and departed for home on June 18. It was a long and wonderful trip. My two sisters joined my wife and me for the last couple of weeks of the trip. My friend Greg and my adorable 7 year old goddaughter were there for the last 3 days. We also had a visit from Jean and Honani, great friends who now live Montana.

The trip was truly wonderful. We had wonderful encounters with wildlife and truly amazing experiences watching geysers. We took a few trips into the back country, which I enjoyed tremendously.

In this thread, I will try to share (a bit at a time) a few of the experiences we had.

I will start with a wonderful day where we saw the Artemisia geyser erupt and then hiked the trail by it.

We had decided to hike (with wheelchair, of course) the trail from the Daisy geyser area to the Biscuit basin area. That is about a mile-long dirt path. It has wonderful scenery and views of many hidden thermal features.

While we were hiking it, we noticed that Artemisia was going off. That is a geyser I had never seen erupt before, so we stopped and watched it from a fantastic view point across the river from the geyser. It was absolutely wonderful.

We made our way to biscuit basis. I was riding in my Permobil C500S VS wheelchair for that part of the trip. My sister and wife had taken the wheelchair van to biscuit basis and then driven back to the old Faithful area where we started our journey.

When we got to biscuit basin, we did a thorough tour and my sisters and wife did the hike to Mystic falls. After that, they helped me unload the Magic Mobility X4 wheelchair from the van so we could try the trail that runs right next to the Artemisia geyser.

That trail is very difficult, and is a challenge, even in the X4 four wheel drive wheelchair. I enjoyed the trail immensely! I did almost flip the wheelchair once and I scared my sisters and my wife on a couple of occasions. But, we made it through just fine.

Here is a brief video of me coming down the trail from the Artemisia geyser. It was a lot scarier than it looks! I enjoyed it tremendously:).

Zenfolio | Steven A. Walker | 2018 05 19 Yellowstone | Video 1

awww the video stopped just when you were getting to the really scary bit and I was all holding my breath getting ready and all :lol:

this will be a great thread, thanks for taking us along!
How awesome Steve. I so enjoy your stories and pictures/videos of your great adventures. Looking forward to more about this trip. Kate
Steve, you and my Brian would have gotten along great, he liked off roading, but only has a c300.
Thanks for all the feedback! I often reflect on the adventurous spirit other PALS have. I would so like to share my adventures with them, but know that it is not practical.

Here are a few more pictures, all taken with my little sister's cell phone.

1. From left to right: my little sister Ginger, big sister Fran, me, and my wife Lori at a lunch stop on the trail that runs from Daisy Geyser to Biscuit Basin. This is a very pleasant trail that follows the firehole river for about a mile in Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin. It was a beautiful day!

2. From left to right: Haruki (our cat), my wife Lori, and my precious Goddaughter Victoria at our campsite at the Madison Campground. There are only two accessible campsites at this campground and we have been fortunate enough to be able to reserve one of them for our trips over the last several years.

3. From left to right: Me, my good friend Greg (and father to my wonderful Goddaughter), and my big sister Fran at our campsite.

4. From left to right: Me, my little sister Ginger, and my big sister Fran at the overlook for the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. This waterfall has the highest volume of water flowing over it of any falls in the Rocky mountains. At over 300 feet tall, it is twice as tall as Niagara falls. It is a truly impressive site.



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Awesome trip. Wish I could still be ventilator free and still had control of my Frontier V6.
Bruce, I wish I could share my adventures with you in person! I have made the decision that I will go on a ventilator when the time comes (if I still can communicate and have not developed dementia), so know that what you are experiencing is likely to be in my future.

I am really glad I have the opportunity to go on these kinds of trips now and that I can share that experience with you and everyone else here.

Here is another installment of pictures.

1. Beehive Geyser is one of my favorites in the park. It erupts about every 15 to 20 hours. We were able to catch it on a beautiful day. The rainbow was a great bonus.

2. The park service opened up a new trail last summer that leads to an observation point where there is a spectacular view of Grand Prismatic Spring, which is one of the largest hot springs in the world. My Permobil C500s VS wheelchair cannot make it up the steep grade of that trail, so I had to use the Magic Mobility X4 four-wheel drive wheelchair. It made it easily. I am sure glad our wheelchair van can haul 2 wheelchairs! I made it to the overlook 3 times during our trip. Here is one of my favorite pictures of Grand Prismatic Spring from the overlook.

3. As I posted earlier, I was able to see an eruption of Steamboat Geyser, the tallest active geyser in the world. It is typically quite unpredictable, but erupted 4 times during our visit. This picture is of Lori and me at the second eruption during our trip, which we missed by about 30 minutes. After the water phase (I think that was 27 minutes), the eruption transitioned into a steam phase. This picture is of the steam phase. It was raining silica-laden water that had condensed out of the steam. That made a real mess of us and the wheelchair!

4. I took a wonderful ride on the Fountain Flats road. It is about a 4 mile dirt road/trail that goes by many thermal features. It was a wonderful day and there was abundant wildlife. A red tail hawk flew low right over my head and lingered for a few minutes.

5. Fan and Mortar (along with a few others) is a set of geysers that erupt irregularly about once every two to four weeks. I was able to see the first witnessed eruption of 2018, which was a real treat! The picture does not do it justice. It is a magnificent set of geysers.

6. Finally, here is a picture of the tallest predictable geyser in the world, Grand Geyser. We watched it erupt many times on our trip. Each eruption was special, but this one was extra special. The sun was at a proper angle to create a magnificent rainbow. It was a very memorable experience.



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Wonderful to see your adventures in Yellowstone. I made it out to Boulder Cave in the eastern Cascades last Tuesday. Only my Frontier V6 or your X4, could climb a section of steep trail with loose dusty surface. We brought our oldest grandson.

I missed my 4pm nap this day and it took me four days to recover. :(
But it was worth it!


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Bruce, that is amazing.

Too bad we can't get together for a v6/x4 excursion together.

Thanks for sharing the picture.


I've always loved your descriptions of the many adventures but, when I see the pictures, your descriptions come to life. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your good times with us. I wish you many, many more. You look great.
Hey Steve. Thought you'd enjoy this high resolution video of Yellowstone National Park. Thanks for the thought of hitting some trails together. I also have the links for my trail riding peak days.

Bruce, those videos are amazing.

For 8 years I lived in Flagstaff, AZ, which is about a 45 minute drive from Sedona. I have visited Sedona many times and have hiked a lot of the backcountry there. I have not yet tried to get a wheelchair in the backcountry around Sedona, but will have to try that the next time we are there.
Bruce ,Steve. Thx for the adventure pics
My v6 frontier takes me many off road trips
Fond mem of Teton and Yellowstone few yrs back

Steve, I always enjoy your posts and this last one showing your trip to Yellowstone and your maneuvering on the trails was quite inspiring. Your video showing the magic mobility 4 x 4 chair was quite interesting. What can you tell me about that chair. Where is it distributed? What is a price range? Is there anyone that deals in used chairs of this type. I would like to try them on some trails here in the Northeast.
The X4 is a four wheel drive wheelchair that was made by Magic Mobility in Australia. Magic Mobility products are distributed in the US by Innovation in Motion.

My X4 was purchased off of craigslist as a derelict and was made about 2004 (I think, based on looking up the manufacture date of the serial numbers on the motors).

My good friend Greg and I spend a few months getting it working. I bought it for $500 and we put another $1,500 into it. I am pretty handy with electronics and Greg is pretty handy with mechanical stuff. It was a bit of a challenge to get it going, but we had great fun working on it together.

Interestingly, I can still get parts for this very old wheelchair. I have worked with AccessToRecreation and the owner has been absolutely terrific in helping me to get the parts I needed to repair the wheelchair.

Surprisingly, All the motors have serial numbers that are just a digit apart, indicating they are likely original to the chair. When we pulled the brushes to inspect them, we found they had essentially no wear and that there was no brush dust in the motors. I estimate the chair was driven less than 100 miles before I purchased it.

It has four separate motors with a Dynamics Controls DX control system. It steers with what seems like a modified skid steer arrangement. When turning left, the wheels on the right turn faster than the ones on the left. The front two wheels can turn freely, but are connected together by a tie rod. So, as you steer left, the faster-turning wheels on the right cause the chair to start to turn. As the turn happens, the front wheels rotate to the left and the rate of turn increases.

The chair has a maximum range of 6 miles with two group 24 MK gel batteries (the best lead acid gel batteries, in my opinion). The practical range when traveling over rough terrain is about 4.5 miles. It has a max speed of about 3.7 mph. If the motors are loaded heavily, the wheelchair's controller will lock out further input until the power is cycled. If the motors are heavily loaded for a sufficient duration, things will overheat and power will be substantially reduced until things cool down (perhaps an hour!).

The wheelchair will not practically fit on our transit buses. It will fit, but turning it around requires great diligence and about a 20 point turn:). I have loaded it onto the bus twice. The second time, the bus driver gave me the number of their free van service! It fits well in that van and the van service has been absolutely wonderful.

Learning to drive the chair precisely was a bit of a challenge, because it reacts to control input very differently than my other wheelchairs. It is especially exciting when one of the front wheels encounters an obstacle that causes it to turn. This is especially exciting when going downhill on a sidehill and hitting a rock:).

Driving backwards in anything like a straight line is especially difficult because of the steering arrangement. It is a divergent control situation, where once the front wheels start turning (usually unintentionally), they turn at an ever-increasing rate until they hit the stops.

So, learning to drive it was a bit of a challenge, but once I got used to it, it became second nature.

Even with these limitations it is an amazing wheelchair and I am very, very glad to have it! It has taken me on many adventures and allows me to ride right up to the ski lift for my winter ski outings. It has proven to be quite reliable, despite its age and limitations.

The X4 was replaced in Magic Mobility's lineup by the X8 many years ago. From the specs, it appears to be a far better wheelchair, with improved range, faster speed, better steering, and less susceptibility to degraded performance when hit with a heavy load.

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