Living with ALS By Mike Rayl 

My Adventures

Let me just say I've been to many wonderful places over the years, Mainly because of my ex wife Kat. Her career takes her to many wonderful places and I was blessed to be able to join her on some very nice trips... The most memorable trip was to Anchorage Alaska... It was a Fam trip (Familiarization), where they wine and dine you and more, in the hopes getting you to book your convention in their locality, Kat is a meeting planner... This trip was the most exciting of all the many adventures of a lifetime. Salmon fishing at the remote local of lake Chilatna at the base of Mt Whitney where the only route to the destination is by float plane, landing on the lake itself, many miles from civilization !!! So picturesque it makes your heart sing. It was catch and release. Panning for gold in the outskirts of town... Singing born to be wild at Karaoke at a local club, A nighttime ride on the ski lift at Alieska mountain! Train ride with an wonderful dinner at Turn-again arm, very picturesque and very romantic evening, along the bay... The food out of this world, nothing but the best for us Famers. I was a vegan vegetarian at the time of this trip... So I didn't get a chance to eat the wonderful seafood! 

New Orleans was one of the funnest trips... You can actually walk down the street with an alcoholic drink in your hand!!! We were at a Kareoki bar that had a gong, if the audience didn't like your performance they could gong you !!! I was game, I sang an Elvis tune, an avoided the gong... It was so fun!!!$$$ the food was most interesting of anyplace I've ever been. Ńew Orleans is a place that lives on the edge, at below Sea level, it depends on a System of pumps To pump water out when it rains!!! We went oñ a bus tour Of the city And the tourist Guide Told us that it was just A matter of time when they would have a disaster in in the size and scale like theÿ had recently.. 

Vancouver BC, is the perfect city very clean, with wonderful food, beautiful parks, a great library!!! Stanley Park can be very cold in the wintertime and it was, the coldest I've ever been. I even tried a trick from being so cold, wear pantyhose under your clothes, didn't work... The mall was under ground, went on for several blocks, very nice. Vancouver Island is a beautiful place, with the famous gardens, hotel, where they serve high tea at 3 pm every day. There weren't many flowers in the dead of winter, but we had to go!! Many movies and tv shows are filmed in Vancouver, known as Hollywood North...

Kats parents treated us to a honeymoon in Orlando FL, we loved it !!! The high light was going to Disney World and Universal Studios... I loved the virtual reality exhibit at Epcot Innovations... I became part of the demonstration flying through the chapel at the Vatican , it seemed so real !!! They have come a long way, instead of having this bulky device, they now have a compact stylish device that looks like headphones for the eyes... Epcot was my favorite attraction at Disney World !!! Universal Studios east was fun, we watched an Indiana Jones live show, reenacted parts of the of the films stunts, was exciting !!! 

Monterey has always been a favorite of ours, the restaurants on the pier with food that is amazing and the ambiance of the pier and the bay is awesomely beautiful!!! With lots of history Monterey is a very interesting place... With the beautiful coastal 17 mile drive and pebble beach famous golf course drive just south, lots of scenic beauty, the kind that make wonderful memories!!! The Aquarium is the best on the West Coast... My favorite is the otter exhibit and the Sharks..., Jellyfish also. Our two kids, Steven and Shellee,, went along on our adventure to Monterey in 1998, driving up the coast, it was fun having them along, even though they were teenagers, you know how that goes, they were pleasant most of the time!!! We brought our fur buddy, a precious springer spaniel named Humphrey, whom we rescued from the local animal shelter... We volunteer there, we worked on a local tv show, I was cameraman, it is an adopt a pet show!!! In 1998 was a year before I was diagnosed with ALS, I was using a walker it was difficult but no power-chair yet... So I could still walk down the steps to the famous Cypress tree, the most famous tree in the world, it's a registered trademark!!! It was fun having the kids with us,..?

Palm Springs and Dessert Hot Springs has always been a favorite of ours... One time on a warm spring day we decided to take the tram to the top of the mountain and ended up in the middle of a fluke snow storm. We me and the kids made the best of it, having a snowball fight at the main lodge!!! It was a blast, had so much fun... The Marriott at Dessert Hot Springs is a world class resort, we were privileged to stay there Many times over the years!!! A river runs to the lobby, where one can catch a boat ride, that runs throughout the huge property... Once we treated ourselves to a day at the fabulous Spa, where we were pampered with, massages, skin Treatment, haircut, a relaxing laying out by the private lap pool, and all the bottled water one could drink... Most of the time though, you could find me swimming or laying out by the huge world class swimming pool!!! They have four or five world class restaurants on the property, so you could stay there forever...

I had never been to Kauai although I lived on Maui in 1980... When Kat invited me to tag along with her as she worked a meeting there I was thrilled !!! Her clients always choose to stay at the top notch resorts, so I was loving life... It was wonderful, the food fantastic, the beach awesome !!! We got to drive across the beautiful island too... The highlight of the trip was getting see Wyland artist studio, I got a fabulous poster there, creating wonderful memories... And I hung it in my bathroom where I could look at it when I stood to pee everyday !!! The painting is of Maui, everyday I was transported there, as I looked at it, all wonderful memories of my years there !!! Kats sister Jeannie who works with her, went too, and one of the highlights of the trip was watching her, learn how to surf, with her private instructor !!! I learned on my own while I lived on Maui, in Lahaina, right out front of the Pioneer Inn... I don't know why I never surfed much, on a board, I guess I loved body surfing more !!! Kauai is the prettiest island, that I've seen so far, yet to see the big island of Hawaii... Kat talks of moving there when she retires in a couple years and I may join her !!! Even though she's my Ex, till this day she is my BFF and my manager, editor of this book, we still love each other,but now I'm like a big brother, she never had, since she is the oldest of five siblings... 

Enough with this chapter, it makes me depressed writing it, don't know why, but I long to create new adventures, lots more!!! But the powers that be, won't even allow me to go out in the community on my own anymore, like I've been doing for the past thirteen years, even though I wrote a waiver, releasing all liability from the facility where I'm living !!! I now feel like I'm a prisoner here instead of a resident !!! I understand their concern, but it's not a perfect world, and yes some person who is on a cell phone while driving may run me over, while I'm crossing the street, but to me, that's the chance I take, me only me, it's my right !! I want to be able to ride the bus to the beach , Newport pier, go to an angel game, go to Catalina for the day, and a hundred other things !!! I just got my new chair when this all happened... Sure I've made some mistakes, who hasn't !!! But that doesn't give them the right to keep me prisoner here, where an alarm sounds when I get even close to a door !!! All this is DISGUSTING and degrading !!! This is why I haven't written much, I've been depressed !!! All this because of a false statement of a person who works here still, that used to go out with me at the request of the facility, who would demand that I treat him to lunch or coffee or juice, when we went out, and they believe him over Me, with no discussion, I wasn't even told what Gerson told the administrator, this is bogus, and I'm going to fight for my rights, I'm not taking all this crap lying down anymore, my happiness and well being depend on this !!! I'm finished for now, I will write more adventures later...