I use a scooter and have a service animal. My husband and I are thinking of taking a car trip up the California coast from our Los Angeles home. The problem is that I’m a Type A personality and I stress about everything. I’m worried that my service dog will not be allowed in many places, even though it’s the law. I just want to go on vacation and avoid the ignorance that exists about service animals. Is that even possible? Do you have any suggestions to make my trip go smoother?
I understand your issues with the ignorance, and the whole “want a vacation” mindset. Your trip sounds very doable, with your own car and the destination you’ve picked. There are lots of fun accessible things to do along the coast.
That said, I have three pieces of advice for you. First off, you’re just going to have to turn off or tone down Miss A Personality for the trip. Just go and enjoy yourself, and if you encounter people with bad attitudes, just consider it their problem, not yours, and don’t let them ruin your vacation. In other words, concentrate on the things you can change (like your itinerary) and forget about the things you can’t (other’s attitudes). And yes, I know that’s hard to do.
My second piece of advice is to seek out dog friendly accommodations, as you will most likely encounter less of an attitude there. The Pets Welcome website (www.petswelcome.com/) has a database of pet friendly hotels. And yes, I know your service animal is not a pet, but I’m thinking that if you go to places that welcome pets, then there won’t be any raised eyebrows about your service animal. In other words, choose the path of least resistance.
I also recommend stopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea as it’s a very dog friendly town. The business owners have water bowls set out, hotels and inns routinely accept four-legged friends, and some bars even have yappy hours. And although some parts of this one-square mile town are hilly, the main business district (where most of the shops are located) is very doable with a scooter.
And don’t miss neighboring Monterey, as there’s a very nice wheelchair-accessible trail along the coast, from the pier to Cannery Row. It’s very doable in a scooter, as is the wharf and the aquarium.
So just try and relax and go with the right mindset, do some research and have fun. And realize it doesn’t have to be perfect, so if you encounter some problems, deal with them and move on. Don’t let it ruin things. And like I said, leave Miss Type A at home!