Tell Your TerrainHopper Story

YOUR STORIES

Tell Your TerrainHopper Story

“…The TerrainHopper gives me more independence and allows me to enjoy the outdoors I love so much…”

I grew up in the North Georgia Mountains and have always loved spending time outdoors camping and hiking. About five and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with aggressive Parkinson’s disease, which attacks the nervous system and organs. Over the last couple of years, my mobility declined to the point that I need a walker or wheelchair to get around. The disease damaged nerves in my feet and legs causing neuropathy, which makes it even more difficult to walk or stand.

The TerrainHopper gives me more independence and allows me to enjoy the outdoors I love so much. I got “The Beast” in October, and my brother and sisters, wife, and more adventurous friends have enjoyed taking it out on trails all over North Georgia through state parks and on horse trails and hiking trails. I was even able to visit the Indian track rock that is on the border of my family’s land, which was a favorite place to play when I was a boy. It handles every obstacle I’ve encountered—steep trails, slick Georgia red clay, rocks and boulders, and even steps, which are used abundantly on steep Appalachian trails—hence the name, The Beast.

I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to get out into the backcountry again, but with my TerrainHopper, I’ve been able to go places my other scooters can’t go. I have been often surprised by but always very pleased with its abilities.

— David, Georgia

“…Don’t let life’s setbacks stop you from your adventures!…”

My name is Todd Kneale and I was born and raised in Ohio, but after College, I moved to Southern California and began my Career as an Engineer. While I had always loved nature, it did not take me long to discover all there was to see and do in California. I soon became an avid skier, backpacker, and a lover of the outdoors. I could easily escape to the mountains, deserts, or the ocean on any weekend. So much beauty in one place.

In 1994, I met my best friend and soul mate (Teresa) at Mardi Gras and we were married 3 years later. What attracted me most to her, besides her loving heart, was her passion for adventure. Shortly after we met, I introduced Teresa to Joshua Tree, where together we learned how to rock climb. We both were very excited about this new sport and for the next 10 years, we spent many weekends climbing, while continuing to ski, backpack and off-road all over California. Our weekends and our vacations were dominated by outdoor adventures, and we loved it as much as we loved each other. Indeed, we have always kept adventure at the forefront of our Marriage.

However, unexpected things can happen, which can change our lives forever. In 2003, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. As those who have MS and their caregivers know, it can effect each person differently. In my case, this progressive disease that effects the central nervous system has primarily caused the loss of mobility in my legs. As I lost more and more mobility, I slowly lost my ability to rock climb, ski, backpack, and even hike. Though life was more challenging, we still always found a way to enjoy the outdoors, but most of our adventures were focused around offroading which still allowed us to get off the beaten path, but I was limited to staying around the vehicle, as no traditional wheelchair was able to navigate rough trails.

This started a quest, and for years, Teresa and I had been looking for a true offroad wheelchair that could reopen my ability to “move” in nature without a vehicle. Then, thanks to Todd Lemay and TerrainHopper USA, our dreams have come true. To say we were excited, would be a huge understatement, and as it turns out, we were the first to put in a down payment on a TerrainHopper that would be manufactured in the US. We picked up our new TerrainHopper in April of 2018, and it instantly changed our lives. This machine, my 4WD wheelchair, now allows me to “hike” with my wife again. When we venture out into nature, I can leave the truck behind and explore trails, experience vistas, and regain that feeling of really being in nature that had eluded me from a truck. We have had the TerrianHopper on steep and rocky mountain trails, rough desert washes and paths, and ocean sand and surf. I am now able to enjoy and explore the outdoors in a much more intimate way – much more like I used to do. The TerrainHopper has made my world so much larger, and given me the freedom to experience the places Teresa and I love, in a way that I did not think would be possible for me anymore. Thank you Todd Lemay for this gift of freedom.

So if there is a single thing that one might take away from my story, I would hope it is this: Don’t let life’s setbacks stop you from your adventures!

— Todd, California

“…The TerrainHopper has reopened a part of the world I thought was permanently off limits for me.”

Having dealt with a progressive disability for most of my life, one of the hardest aspects has been the loss of ability to get outside into places I always loved. As my walking ability gradually disappeared, I relied on an electric scooter but my range was limited by my scooter’s small wheels and low clearance. Wilderness trails were completely beyond my reach.

Searching online led me to various manufacturers who claimed their products had off road capabilities, but to them off road wasn’t much more than crossing a lawn. Some European manufacturers flatly refused to sell their off road capable chairs to someone in North America. Then I found out the TerrainHopper was being manufactured in the USA.

My wife and I were delighted when my TerrainHopper was delivered.

We live in an area with a huge network of forest trails. I was concerned about how cyclists and hikers might react to seeing a TerrainHopper on these trails, so being greeted with enthusiasm and curiosity was a welcome surprise.

First we tried only the easiest trails as I built confidence and we learned what this remarkable all-terrain chair could handle. Climbing and descending steep slopes was simple. Small obstacles that had turned me back in the past were barely noticeable. Soon we started trying harder trails. The only obstacles we couldn’t overcome were ‘pinch points’ too narrow to pass or very large objects like fallen trees. Getting over curbs and railroad tracks was easy.

I can’t overstate the benefits of being able to get outdoors to explore new territory. After years of being tied to home or carefully groomed paths, it’s fantastic to be able to get out and explore. The TerrainHopper has reopened a part of the world I thought was permanently off limits for me.

I’d say more but I’d rather be outside.

— Ed, Canada

“…My Terrainhopper has exceeded all expectations.  After 35 years I regained my freedom…”

My name is Frank Abbott.  I grew up along the Gulf Coast of Florida spending most of my time on, in, or under the crystal clear waters of the Emerald Coast.  Between my first and second year of medical school during a routine SCUBA dive, I got “The Bends” sustaining a rare spinal cord injury resulting in incomplete quadriplegia.  Needless to say, my beach and water sport activities were subsequently drastically curtailed.  After a year in rehab and learning photography, I returned to school.  During the ensuing years, in my spare time, I became successful as a landscape and nature photographer.  The inability to navigate the soft white sands of the beach I so loved and the inability to get in position to capture a location, just out of reach, had always been tremendous sources of frustration.  After retiring from my practice I wanted to devote my new available time to my photography but I needed a way to do it. After a year of Internet research, I found the solution.  Terainhopper.  My Terrainhopper has exceeded all expectations.  After 35 years I regained my freedom.  Rediscovering the beach I so loved.  Being able to go after shots that use to escape me. And now the ability to take my dog for a run every morning and every night. My regained freedom, priceless.

— Franklin, Florida

“…it’s taken me to uninhabited beaches unspoiled jungle clearings and most importantly a sense of freedom and independence…”

I was paralyzed at the age of 17, gunshot accident, I know it sounds like the opening sentence of what could be a very short story. Or perhaps more likely the beginning of a self help book entitled [hooray for me hooray for you]. But it’s neither of those things, it’s just a statement of fact I was shot when I was 17 years old. That’s an odd time of life, not adult, not child, just raging adolescent sure of everything and knowing nothing. Although I don’t suppose any particular time in life is ideal to be shot. But there you are, statement of fact, and now at the age of 71 simply ancient history. Something that might produce a slight tilt of the head and a wistful smile at the memory.

This might be the part where I drag out clichés guaranteed to make me feel better about my life, or to make those who might be in a similar condition feel better about their lives. Not going to happen, there is fate, and then there’s responsibility. Fate is what happens, responsibility is what we do about it. And ultimately we are responsible for how we plow through what fate has provided. There’s plenty of poor me, and I can’t, and there are plenty of occasions where architecture or nature gets in the way of what we might want to do. And then there’s opportunity and timing, and finally technology and awareness coming together in, drumroll, okay maybe not a drumroll, but certainly a veritable epiphany for reducing the limitations of the physically impaired in an outdoor environment.

I’m a skeptic by nature and in my years I’ve seen lots of attempts for increasing outdoor accessibility, some well-meaning and others with an obvious profit motive. I researched hard and long and after two years opted to fly to Phoenix to meet Todd and test for myself what at the time seemed like the only real option. Well, it may sound self-centered, but I love to be right. It was all right there, the real package, strength, durability, range and comfort, and better yet a manufacturer who knows one size does not fit all.

At this point I’m supposed to tell you how the TerrainHopper has changed my life. Does anyone remember their first pair of tennis shoes, rollerskates, long pants. I don’t know something momentous in your life, something that spoke to you so personally words were useless. I’m talking first kiss, I really don’t have the words, whatever was life-changing, that’s the stuff. Okay here’s my story. I live on an island off the coast of Panama. When I got here 12 years ago there were three paved streets and the only ramp in town was into the beer distributor warehouse. Actually that works for me, but as I develop friendships I discovered pretty quickly most everyone lived out of what was laughingly known as town central. What that means is 6 miles up a dirt coral and sand road and two more miles on an overgrown four wheeler trail. These people have monkeys for neighbors and ponds with caiman as landmarks. Real Jurassic Park type stuff and if you’re transportation is not reliable rather than going to dinner you are dinner. All right, that might sound a bit dramatic but since the chair arrived in June it’s taken me to uninhabited beaches unspoiled jungle clearings and most importantly a sense of freedom and independence that I haven’t experienced in over 50 years. I guess that’s it, see you at the beach, or wherever else you got the desire to go.

— John, Panama

“This Bad Boy gets me where I want to go…”

I was paralyzed at the age of 17, gunshot accident, I know it sounds like the opening sentence of what could be a very short story. Or perhaps more likely the beginning of a self help book entitled [hooray for me hooray for you]. But it’s neither of those things, it’s just a statement of fact I was shot when I was 17 years old. That’s an odd time of life, not adult, not child, just raging adolescent sure of everything and knowing nothing. Although I don’t suppose any particular time in life is ideal to be shot. But there you are, statement of fact, and now at the age of 71 simply ancient history. Something that might produce a slight tilt of the head and a wistful smile at the memory.

My life has always been active and full of adventure. I’m not a “girly girl”. I love being outdoors, riding my horse, deer hunting, riding my four wheeler, shooting my pistols or my Nikon camera.

My profession of 38 years as a Beautician, a Stock Broker…livestock, horse trainer/trader, then I went to the dogs. We have a very large kennel in southern Illinois where we raise Designer Dogs. We prefer the herding breeds crossed with the Poodles to get the non-shedding hair coat from the Poodle and the intelligence from the herding breeds. I worked 7 days a week, did it all, cleaned the kennels, whelped the puppies, ran the web site, did the sales…my gift is being able to sell ice to an Eskimo!

I began to notice my right foot dragging, my balance was off, I was tripping and stumbling more than usual, there were spells of vertigo, all of this was disturbing.

I was planning a big riding trip out west with my oldest granddaughter and some friends…it never happened! I ended up having brain surgery instead, followed by 7 weeks of radiation and physical therapy. I survived that go around and my new normal was impaired use of my right side, especially my hand, and my ability to walk normally, but I could walk!

Fast forward three and a half years, lots of MRI’s, a Gamma Knife surgery, and there I sat with my Doc telling me I’d best go home get my affairs in order because the tumor was back bigger and badder then before and pretty much beyond his skill level. That was not the end of my story, obviously, A good friend found a place in Pennsylvania called UPMC a WORLD CLASS Hospital with a miracle working surgeon who performed an 11 hour surgery that did indeed save my life and has given me 3 more good years!

Yes, I did lose more mobility, can’t expect them to mess around in your brain and not come away without some deficits. We were able to winter in Arizona, then buy a house and move full time to Patagonia. I had looked at the TerrainHopper 6 years ago before you could buy one in the US. I actually bought a lesser mobility scooter back in the beginning, it wasn’t worth much for getting off-road. When we moved to Arizona I began to search in earnest for a mobility machine that would get me out of my driveway! We have gravel and my motorized wheelchair won’t even go through the gravel…I felt trapped.

I emailed TerrainHopper to see if they shipped to Arizona. Todd answered back right away and told me they were located in Phoenix…a mere 3 hour drive! I felt like it was meant to be and immediately made an appointment to go up and try one out…I already knew I would buy one before I even tried one.

I placed my order the same day, “The Purple Pony” that’s what I named my TerrainHopper, was under way, it only took them 6 weeks to get my machine to me. Todd kept me informed every step of the way…he and his team are GREAT to work with. They offered advice on what accessories I needed based on my personal mobility needs. After watching me getting on and off the TerrainHopper they were able to recommend special adjustments for the seat and foot brace.

Now that The Purple Pony is sitting under my car port I could not be more thrilled with it. This Bad Boy gets me where I want to go…for starters it gets me out of the driveway, it crunches thru the gravel with ease! We do the dry wash, by we I mean “Splash” my Service Dog and I, he heels on the right side of the TerrainHopper. I opted for the 2 to 4 mph speed for the dogs sake and for when we go back to S. IL ,to visit, I can go trail riding with the grand kids on their horses. We can do the steep hills, the washes, or take a tour around town, this baby hops the curbs with ease. If we want to stop at the park for lunch I just pull up to the end of the picnic table, put up a handle bar, rotate my seat, and I’m ready to eat my lunch. If I want to head out to the BLM for an afternoon of target practice, with my pistol, I just load up my gun/ammo, in my carry bag, and head out. The TerrainHopper has given back my independence and freedom to be me again…this is my new normal!

— Kris, Arizona

THE ADVENTURERS HAVE SPOKEN