Eight years ago, we moved back to Colorado from a summer living in California. It was a long drive, and Max was having one of his jags of refusing to eat or take his medicine. Lack of sleep, lack of routine, and not enough food and seizure medicine meant instead of stopping to sleep when we got back to Denver, we went straight to Children's Hospital to the ER because we couldn't get his seizures to stop. This was the end of a very busy moving season of our lives. We had left Colorado in the winter and headed to Virginia for a month, then on to England, then California before landing back home in Colorado. When Max's neurologist came into the room he gave us a hug, touched Max on the top of his head and turned to us and said "You can never take him away again." before starting a full battery of tests and treatments to get his patient well again.
While it was a bit of hyperbole, we took that instruction to heart. Up until last year when we took Max to Oklahoma for my mom's memorial, we hadn't taken Max much further than the mountains a couple of hours away since coming back from California. We were afraid to travel because of his health. We were unsure of how we would do it with how big he's gotten. We were insecure in the ability to make it happen because that year of moving around has felt like such a mistake as far as Max's health went.
I give you that background story to start this series of blog posts.......Max went to California to the ocean last week for vacation. And for him, it was everything.
Naturally, it took months to plan. His village had to come together to pull it off, but we did it and it was a success. We decided on Oxnard, CA and stayed on Hollywood Beach. This is in Ventura County in Southern California. We booked this house through airbnb.com that was exactly what we needed. We were able to take Max's nurses with us so we needed a lot of space!
Last year before going to Oklahoma, we planned this trip to California. Max started telling his teacher around spring break that year he was going to California for vacation. We had no intention of such a trip, but thought maybe we could take my mom with us when she moved to be with us at the end of her battle with cancer. When mom got here we knew she would not be able to make the trip, but we were charging ahead. The day before we were to leave for California, the hospice doctor working with Mom told us we only had a couple weeks left with her. We shifted plans and had two very meaningful last weeks with my mom. When we were planning that trip, Steve built a bed in the back of the van with a seat belt attached for Max to be able to lay down and have a break from his wheelchair. We put it to the test on the trip to Oklahoma last year and knew we would be using it on this trip too.
We started early Saturday morning packing up the last things in Max's van and headed over the mountains and through the desert to our first stop in St. George, UT. Max did really well and was so excited to be going to the ocean...FINALLY! I have to apologize for the lack of front range mountain photos....I was totally asleep. But, once we went through the Eisenhower Tunnel to the west side of the mountains I picked up the camera and didn't stop for a week. Get ready for the pictures, people. And remember, this is just the first two days!
Packing for Max is like moving house!
Our old girl, Olive, went with us while George stayed in Colorado with a neighbor who is also a dog trainer.
Time to wake up! Going through the tunnel under the Continental Divide is always a trip! We're under a mountain people!!
|Oh look! The western side has RAIN!!! A sight for our parched eastern slope eyes.|
It was also 48 degrees.
|It rained all the way through Dillon, Vail, Glenwood Springs. It was so beautiful!|
|Did I mention Max was SO excited to be driving to California?|
Utah had some really incredible scenery, and really incredible extreme weather. We got caught in a canyon rain storm and started to feel the desert heat.
We thought this rainstorm was really impressive. It created waterfalls on the sides of the mountains.
We started to move out of the rain and found sunny skies again. The kids were both taking a rest in the back, along with Olive.
|It took Max about 5 minutes to roll himself over and go to sleep at the hotel!|
Pictures just can not do justice to the colors and views we experienced with the sunrise in Arizona. It was so incredible. Of course, Max slept all the way through it so we had to tell him when he woke up he had already been in three states before he woke up!
The transition to Nevada was so quick we missed the highway sign. Fortunately, we found a smaller one at the first exit and rest stop.
But Max kept on sleeping.
And then we drove into Vegas. I know a lot of people really love visiting here, so I'll just leave it at this is one place that is just not our scene. We try to scoot around and out of there as soon as we can.
See, there's the city.
Ventura County is very pretty. It was nice to start seeing some green again after all the desert scenery.
Channel Islands Harbor.
We finally pulled up to the house, got Max out of his van and rolled him directly to the back deck which sat on to the beach. We made it...his dream come true...a vacation at the ocean in California!