Road Trip Part 2 (Antelope Canyon)

One of the areas that I really wanted to see was Antelope Canyon.  Here’s whatgoogle has to say.  It’s quite beautiful.  And it’s just around the corner from Page, AZ. Antelope Canyon is divided into upper and lower canyons.  It’s about 15 minute drive from Page, and now adays, the only way you can get to Antelope canyon, which is on the Navajo land, is through a tour.  I really thought it was a good idea to protect this land.  It is a special place and vandalism has no place for such natural monument.

Well, I think the photos do better justice than anything I can blither on about.  So there you go!

Oh BTW in page, we decided to go to a chinese buffet.  Page is a small little town, with oh.. few thousand people. Buffet is preferred for me because it iss easy, and you can really eat.  I might have mentioned that there were days when I didn’t eat at all only because I’ve been going hard all day long.  So, finding a buffet for me is always an easy way to find something that I can eat.  What’s more, this buffet was run by  a hwagyo couple. They are chinese who lived in Korea.  They spoke very good korean and also served a pretty darn good Kimchi.  Go figure!


Saturday afternoon…

And we’re at 8-A.  The day clinic is closed during the weekend and we’re here getting our second round of Vidaza, AKA azacitadine.  The routine is, 2 hours of pre hydration, 40 minutes of Vidaza and 2 hours of post hydration.  We were given the option of staying in the common room with four beds, or the parent’s lounge.  Uhhh… we’ll take the common room, thank you very much.  The parents lounge is right next to the “death room”, 8A-11 and is often made available to the family of the child who’s not doing so well.  So, thanks, but no thanks.

It’s 5 PM, and we just had the 2 hours of pre hydration.  We’re going to be here until 8 PM, if everything goes smoothly.  Because the team is worried about Maya being so sensitive to chemo, we’re still at 66% dose of the recommended therapeudic dose.  Also, because this chemo does not stay in solution very well, as soon as prehydration is done, the nurse rushes over to the pharmacy to get the drug in solution and administered right away.  This drug will stay in solution for about an hour at 25 celcius.

So, what has it been like?  Not too bad.  No nausea and no malaise.  And the amount of antiemitics taken has been moderate.  Also, since Maya only has a single kidney, hydration is important.  Vidaza is known to be nephrotoxic as well as hepatotoxic. Whatcha gunna do?Good news is that Maya has been really taking advantage of not having her CVL.  There are times when she wants it back, but this is due to the fact that Maya has to get a pokie.   So far, she has only gotten one pokie per week.  Not so bad. But.. (of course there is a but) Maya also does not have good veins.  Of all the things you wish for you to inherit, good veins have never been on my list.  Well, it is now, although a bit late for that.  What that means is that we often have to call the IV team to get the peripheral IV in place.  Sometimes they miss.  What this means is that the nurse will poke her multiple times to find the vein.  This time is a time for anxiety both for Maya as well as myself.  And when the nurse taps the vein on the first try, I hear angels sing. If they miss, well I am proud to say that no physical harms has been committed… yet.

But in the big picture, I think not having the CVL is worth one poke per week. Not more.  And yes, we will need to get one put in.  It will be required for bone marrow transplant.  For now, we are enjoying not having the line.

Oh yes, today is our fourth day of the second round.  Maya had gotten a poke last wednesday when we started.  We were able to use this line every day. And the vein has held up. This vein, which might be about the diameter of a needle, is used to hydrate, administer vidaza as well as platelets.  Through this little vein, we’ve been pushing a lot of fluid through.  So, we’re doing well. I had thought that Maya may require a new poke each day.  Thankfully that hasn’t been the case.   Awesome!  If we can get two pokes for the week, I think I would consider that a major win.

We’re both bored out of our skulls, I tell you.  But, I would not want it any other way.

Road Trip Part 2 (Lone Rock)

What I noticed is that I’ve begun to get a sense of restlessness when we’ve stayed in one place for more than a few days.  This was certainly the case with Grand Canyon.  I needed to move.  We needed to forge ahead towards Utah.  And within a day, the restlessness had become urgent.   The urgency was partly fueled by meeting a guard who stopped and chatted with us about motorcycling and  the side car.   Of course I talked about the “Marriage made in hell”; German bike and the Russian sidecar.   (If this doesn’t make sense, time to brush up on your WW II history) The guard in return told us about Lone Rock and the smokey mountain trail which starts around Lone Rock and ends at Escalente.  We could camp right on the beach at Lone Rock!

So, after giving thanks for the generous hospitality to Grand Canyon, we started towards Utah!  It was a bit of a home coming for me.  After all, some ten years back, I was standing at the top of Moki’s dugway thinking how much I wanted to share the view with my family.  For now, off to Lone Rock and the smokey mountain road.  Then, we’ll hit Moki’s dugway (Valley of the Gods) and to Canyon Lands.

It took us good part of the day to get to Lone Rock, which is just across the AZ, UT border and right by Page, AZ.  Yes, everything takes longer.  I was relieved to have found Lone Rock and excited to camp on the beach.  You see, there is some sense of romanticism associated with camping right on the beach.  The ranger at the gate told me that I should be fine if I am careful.  Make sure to look for hard packed sand and don’t get stuck!  The tow truck will not come on to the beach and that can be problematic.  Thank you for this information.  I took the bike out so I could head down for something of a reconnassance.  We don’t want to get the RV stuck in sand.  OK.  Path found and we should be fine, if we keep close to the water’s edge.  We did just fine getting down to the beach.  Looking for the right spot took us in a U-turn. And that’s when the RV found the deeper sand patch.  You see, when you are confronted with such a mishap, there is a deep sinking feeling that takes hold of your lower stomach.  Oh no!  We are stuck.  How the heck am I going to get out of this mess now?  Try as I might, the RV just dug in deeper.  The fact that my mother was back seat driving only made the situation harder to deal with.  There she is… walking in front of the RV, finding the right path out.  Mom !!! Stop!!!

Well,  it was late afternoon by this time.  We’re here, so let’s not worry about it for now.  Plus, it seemed like there is a thunderstorm brewing, which will be something to watch.  Hopefully, the wet sand will help with being stuck.  The rain didn’t really come.  But the sand storm did.  Suddenly, there was sand flying everywhere.  It got in everywhere.  In your eyes, ears, mouths, noses.  Everywhere.  Nothing to do but stay inside the RV and make sure you close all the windows.  It was interesting, nevertheless and watching the lightening storm from the distance was definitely novel for us.  If only, we weren’t stuck in this darn sand!  (Note:  even now, after the trip, when I put the A/C on at full blast, we still get sand coming out of the vents)

Now, just what the heck do you do with a 45″ train that’s stuck in sand?  Well, you dig!  And we did.  Fortunately, I had a couple of 2×6’s that I had, to load the bikes on to the trailer. They were wedged under the tires and I just “give’d her”  The RV grabbed the boards and I was able to get it unstuck.  Exhillaration!  The elation one feels solving a problem, in this case becoming unstuck on the road is unique, and unlike any other.  It means we’ve averted a possibly long and difficult (and often costly) endeavor.  There is also a sense of accomplishment which is unlike any other as well.  It’s like that on the road.  You worry incessantly about all the little things that could possibly go wrong.  You also try to prevent such an event from taking place.  Inevitably something will happen which you were not prepared for.  If you are lucky, you’ll be able to McGuyver your way out.  If not, well, you just chalk it up as part of the trip.

I took two rides with the boys.  One was with Taylor and we left early that evening.  I was hoping to find the Smokey Mountain Road.  Here’s the google map. The view does not suck. Even on the bike, we managed to get it stuck in sand three times.  Imagine a dark thurnder cloud right above my head with little lightning bolts.  Well, you get the idea.  By the time we got out by the entrance to the park, it was dark and we were both spent.  We also ended up not finding the entrance to the road.  Oh well.  We did end up starting a nice big fire, curtesy of some gasoline and sat by the lake and enjoyed the evening with Smores.

Next morning, Jonathan and I got out.  And after a while, and getting stuck only a couple of times in sand, we did find the smokey mountrain road.  Some of the photos are available  here.

Although the beach was nice and camping on the beach really idelic, the aqua torquoise water was also full of Algae.  While I did go in for a swim, it wasn’t a refreshing dip that I had assumed.  No matter.  The area is really magical.  Weather, not like anything that we’ve seen before and the landscape, really out of this world.  Was I happy to be there?  Absolutely.

Canyon Lands, we’re coming for you.