Thursday, September 18, 2014

Summer Road Trip: The Long Ride Home

We woke up to sausage, orange rolls, and coffee. The perfect way to say good-bye to our amazing hosts! We finished packing up the car, and just as we were saying our good-byes, D started to bawl. She did NOT want to leave. She cried non-stop until we hit the Bay Bridge, then it was strangely quiet. She slept until we got to Sacramento, asked if we were still in California, when I told her yes, she started to cry again. Poor kid, I sort of felt the same way. I drove the whole way through Cali again until we got to Reno, then Adam took over and drove across Nevada.

Happier girl once we got into Nevada.
We had decided to try a different camp site in Nevada for the way home. We agreed to try Angel Creek, but once we got there it was totally full. There was another site but was up in the mountains. So up we went, and found our camp site. It was truly a beautiful site, but I wasn't too keen on it. It was also packed, so tons of people blaring loud music and yelling at each other. Plus there were giant swarms of nasty little bugs. (think the size of a mosquito without the bite, but as annoying as gnats or fruit flies).
The really neat things was that just a slight hike around the corner, was this amazing lake, hidden at the top of the mountain, and was filled with melted snow from the top.

The next day we were off for Vedauwoo Wyoming again.

First off a stop in Park City Utah for a potty break and lunch. We had lunch at Del Taco, but had a silly time in this at the visitor center.
Almost back to our destination for the night, we made a quick stop at Little America Wyoming for a gas/potty/change driver/ice cream break. Added bonus: a small playground for the kids to run a bit.
Back at Vedauwoo for the night. Just before we got there, there was a little sprinkle and a rainbow. Wonderful! Set up camp, made dinner, and had our last s'mores for the trip. Adam took this series of shots while trying to get a "good" shot. Personally I love these more.

Every night of our journey, the kids and I would write in our journals. We would write about anything that had happened that day, that way we could remember all the fun times we had.
We woke up the next morning. I had not heard from my friend (L) keeping an eye on Milo for us for a few days, so I sent a quick text asking how he was doing. She said he had been fine, just not eating much. He would do that on days he would get mad at us. We figured that was the case. But she had then gone down to check on him for that day, and we got a text that he wasn't doing well. He was hiding under the bed, yowling, and refusing to come out. So I got a hold of my other friend (A), she headed over to check on him and possibly take him to the vet to get checked out. A could tell just looking at him that it was not good. She rushed him into her vet, and that was when we got the bad news. Because he had stopped eating, and drinking his kidneys were shutting down. He was so far gone, that all the vet could do was give him a little IV, antibiotics, and a bit of a pain reliever. The vet said that if it was his cat, he would bring him home to pass away. This was horrible news, especially since Adam and I made Milo promise he wouldn't go while we were away. We had decided from that very first bad news text to drive straight home to be with him. It would take 18 hours of pretty much straight driving.

A would text me through the day giving us updates, but never good news. Eventually she called to tell me that he had begun having seizures, and would I like to say good-bye over the phone. So she put the phone to his ear, and I said my good-byes. It would be the hardest thing I have ever had to do.... As soon as Adam heard what I was saying, he pulled the car to the side of the road, we all got out and had a giant family hug and crying session. It was extremely hard on all of us. L said he wanted to go to heaven with Milo, D said she didn't know daddy would cry like that. We thought it would be best if we moved all the stuff from the backseat so that I could ride back there with them. We explained that everyone will grieve differently, and that is ok. If they wanted to talk about him, we would, or if they didn't want to talk that would be fine too. So we kept our mind off things while watching T.V. shows and DVD's.

Eventually I got the text that Milo had taken his last breath, my friend A was just as heartbroken as we were, but she stayed with him the whole time. For this, I am forever grateful! We continued on the way home, stopping just outside of Joliet Illinois to switch drivers again, and I took the rest of the way home. We arrived home at 2:30am with both kids sleeping. Adam went in first to take care of Milo before we brought the kids in. We felt it wouldn't be good for them to see him, he no longer looked like him. We got the kids in bed, and brought in all the stuff from the car. We kept a small tuft of his fur from his belly and keep it in a small fancy pill box in case we needed help remembering.

Adam and I didn't go to sleep until 5am! When we all awoke at 11:30am the kids decided to build a little shrine to Milo after being inspired by the one at Haight and Ashbury. My kids were troopers, and made it the whole 18 hours with no complaints or bad behavior. They knew what was happening and have dealt with things like the big mature kids they are. I am incredibly happy to know that I have amazing friends that help me when I need them, and I have an amazing little family. It was a little bittersweet to come home like that, but it still was the most fantastic trip we could ever have taken. The kids are already asking what road trip we are taking next year.


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