Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Journey Begins

I made it to Kentucky in one piece, mostly.

Friday afternoon, Laveau and I hopped aboard the train. We had a sleeper car on that leg of the trip and immediately we met two ladies in the sleeper across from ours. We spent the evening with them and their two grown children. We ate dinner, and spent time in the observation car.

I tried to get some sleep but sleeping on a train brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "tossing and turning." Laveau slept on the foot of the bed, where she could look out the window. She immediately fell asleep while I lay there listening to old Golden Girls shows on my iPod. Eventually I was asleep, and then the train went down what felt like, a very steep hill. The feeling of tilting at such an angle woke me up, and awake I stayed.

The train was an hour late arriving into Union Station in Chicago. I got off the train, and was immediately greeted by my two SSPs for the day, Colleen and Maggie. We first found a locker for storing my luggage for the day. By then we were joined by a friend of mine who is also DB and who lives in Chicago. We took Laveau to pee, and she actually went!
We walked to a local pizza place for lunch, where were joined by yet another friend of mine and her guide dog.

I was having quite a bit of vertigo; I could still feel the train moving beneath my feet! I was pretty nauseated so took meds, and they kicked in just in time for me to eat a huge slice of Chicago style veggie pizza. It was really good. We spent time just chatting, and eventually decided to go see the Bean statue in Chicago's Millennium Park.

The Bean is a giant (and I mean huge) bean-shaped statue covered in reflective metal. I was able to see it once I stood in a place where the Bean blocked the sun. It was amazing. My friend took tons of pictures.

Then we went to a fountain near by. You can sit on a dock thing, and put your feet in the water. I took off Laveau's harness and let her jump into the water. She loved it, but we got busted by the park security because dogs aren't allowed in the water, even if on leash. So poor Laveau had to get out, but she was very happy to be wet and a bit cooler.

We put our shoes back on, then went to yet another fountain. This one was a giant wall of water, coming down from above. Like a giant shower (a very cold shower). I took off my backpack, and my hearing aid, and went with one of my SSPs and Laveau into the heart of the fountain. Like I said; it was cold! I was soaked! Laveau was pretty wet herself. It made me glad she wears a nylon harness!

After we got out of the fountain, we took the El train back to Union Station because it was time for me to continue my trip to Kentucky.

My time in Chicago was wonderful. Both Laveau and myself enjoyed it so much. I met another DB person on the train. We road together and spent time chatting. It was nice to have someone to talk to. Laveau slept like a rock!

The train was delayed a few times, so we arrived in Cincinnati about two ours passed our original arrival time. We found a number for a cab, but they wouldn't accept relay calls. The person I rode with found another cab number, and they sent a driver.

Who was an idiot and tried to deny me access to his cab with Laveau. By this point I hadn't slept in over 24 hours, I had traveled for a day and a half and I was not going to be left at the train station by some jackass who does not know the law. I tried explaining about the dog, and the law. This guy was from here, so he had no excuse not to know the law or not to understand me. Here is our conversation:
Me: "You have to take her, she's a service dog. Do you know what a service dog is?"
Driver: "No."
Me: "Do you know what a guide dog is?"
Driver: "No."
Me: "Do you know what a Seeing Eye dog is?"
Driver: "uh..... uh... I think... I think I've heard of one before."
Me: "Ok, she's a seeing eye dog. You have to take her."
Driver: "It's against the law to have dogs in the cab."
Me: *internally swearing*
Me: "You are violating federal law by denying us access. It is against the law for you not to provide me access to your cab with my service dog." Driver: "Are you blind?"
Me: "Yes!!!!!!!!"
Driver: "Is that a Looker Dog?"
Me: "Yes!! She is a looker dog!"
Me: *thinking to self... "looker dog???"*
Driver: "Well why didn't you say that! I can take looker dogs in my cab."

So I didn't have to kill him and take his keys after all! We hopped in the car and drove to the hotel. By then I was exhausted so I quickly checked in and went to bed with my looker dog.

Just a side note, I thought, being from New Orleans, Laveau would be a Liquor Dog; not a Looker Dog. And to think, for all these years, I've been blaming her for drinking all of the brandy in the keg she was supposed to be carrying around her neck. It's not because she's a lush that she doesn't have brandy, it's because she's a Looker Dog, not a Liquor dog!!

This morning I woke up, farted around on the internet for a while, then went and got my registration packet. I met an SSP from Ohio who took me in his car to get food for Laveau. I needed a refrigerator in my room because my growth hormone needs to stay cold, so there was plenty of room in there for Laveau's food. However I forgot we're not in New Orleans any more, and they didn't have things like turkey necks and pig feet! So she's having ground turkey and beef.
After we got back from the store, I took a nap because I was still so tired.

Then I went to the AADB opening ceremonies which were wonderful.

This hotel is like a maze. I keep getting lost. Tomorrow I have workshops and the exhibit hall. I'm meeting my SSP for breakfast at eight am.

I think I'm going to crawl into bed and get some shut eye. Tomorrow is going to be a long day!
It is great to be here at AADB!


  1. A "looker" dog? Really? Welcome to the South. LOL I hope you have a wonderful time.

  2. A LOOKER DOG???????????Now what will they think of next? Glad you and Laveau are having a good time.