This week I got to check out the conversion done on a Honda Odyssey. Now you may remember back in January I discovered that I didn’t exactly fit in the conversion done on a Toyota Sienna (read that experience here). Now, last summer I had the chance to look at the conversion that was done on a Honda Odyssey for a local girl who was in the processes of having the van modified with her adaptive driving equipment. So it was a pretty drastic experience when I tried out the Toyota Sienna and had this whole Austin Powers moment trying to get in.
Yep, that’s pretty much how it looked…The whole experience kind of shook my confidence in what I remembered about fitting in the Honda Odyssey. I began to wonder if I was remembering the experience with the Odyssey through some sort of new leather contact high coloring my memory. So began the journey to look for another Honda Odyssey with wheelchair conversion that I could try out again. The general manager at Team Adaptive, Inc., the qualified mobility dealer in my area, searched for a van from any one of the company’s dealerships but to no avail, so he worked some business mojo contacting the owner of the Honda Odyssey I saw last summer and convincing her to let me play in her van for a second time, only this time I would also get the chance to see the adaptive equipment that had been later installed. But the opportunity also afforded me a chance to meet the owner Allison, a C7-level quad.
Another interesting bit of history, the first time that I got to try out Allison’s van, Team Adaptive was in the process of adapting the van with all its various adaptive equipment using only the manufacturer measurements of the wheelchair that Allison would be using but didn’t have yet; those all important measurements and fittings that are normally taken in person during the conversion process were instead being done with factory information of the chair. But as it turned out, Allison was in the process of getting the same wheelchair that I also have. It was kismet! The staff at Team Adaptive needed a “live model” for their conversion measurements and I needed a wheelchair accessible Honda Odyssey to look at. I’m a firm believer that God brings us into the lives of people. Allison’s van being the only Honda Odyssey that Team Adaptive could once again find for me to look at is proof of that.
This time around I brought along with me a little helper, my niece Mali. Inquisitive little creature that she is, she made sure to test all of Allison’s adaptive equipment to make sure all was in working order…and to rewire some things as she saw fit; you know, retractable wheelchair tie down strap Part A with hook to power cord Part B of passenger seat (they shouldn’t put hooks on things if that’s not what they’re meant for, right!?) As for the van? I did fit! It wasn’t new leather contact high! The conversion kit used on the Honda Odyssey affords six extra inches of floor space in the center of the van, allowing me to complete a full circle in the center. The experience also gave me the opportunity to see first hand some of the equipment I might be interested in having in my own wheelchair van. And I made a new friend to boot!
Big thanks to Allison, for taking time out of her schedule to let me play with her van, ask her questions about her own experience with the purchasing and conversion of a wheelchair accessible van, and for letting us share the experience with you.