Southern California
camping, a CWD conference, and some sightseeing

It took a Children With Diabetes conference, Friends For Life 2004, to lure us south. We hadn't been to the L.A. area as a family since the kids' grandfather invited everyone to Disneyland in 1993. The conference was reason for the trip, but we took in a few sights before and after to give the kids a taste of So Cal. The trip gave us a lot in a short amount of time - family recreation and rest, a whirlwind of education and connecting with new friends and a day at Universal Studios with hundreds of other CWD families, and a bit of city sightseeing afterward.

Before the Conference

Mission Santa Barbara

We drove down Highway 101  and stopped to stretch our legs in Santa Barbara. The view was great.
The mission  had a pay phone for my first call to Walgreen's

mugu camp

Our campsite at Pt. Mugu State Park provided a  shady, peaceful (mostly) spot for cooking,  campfires and conversation, just a short  walk from the sandy beach.

tunnel to beach

Access to the beach at Point Mugu goes through a sandy tunnel under the highway.
The ocean water was pretty cold, though. It doesn't warm up until farther down the coast.

Point Mugu State Beach

The beach was wide and welcoming.
The kids did some boogie boarding before basking and digging.

We camped at the beach for a couple of
days. We drank cocoa until the fog burned
off then played in the water and sand in the

I called Walgreen's from the pay phone
in camp to finalize plans to pick up insulin -
a fitting start for a trip to a Conference of
Children With Diabetes.

peacock fountain

Adamson House, Malibu
is a tile showroom turned private residence. It was great to see the original cuerda seca tiles that inspired my Lopez stair mural.

We took a detour through Malibu en route
to Universal City and the CWD conference.

Adamson House is full of the most amazing
tile murals, including a tile persian rug.

We also stopped in Burbank to pick up the
insulin prescription that hadn't been ready
before we left. Hooray for Walgreen's
and their central database network.

Rock Store

Bart came down to join us on Wednesday.
He rode his motorcycle down spectacular
Highway 1 along the coast and then took a side trip through the San Gabriel Mountains, a Southern California motorcycle mecca.


We participated in educational sessions and learned about insulin pumping nuances, site rotation tips and research developments.

In the support group sessions, we found others who faced the same challenges we have, whether as a kid with diabetes, as a sibling, or as a parent. Ahhh, people who understand!

In other sessions, we met people with diabetes who dance, fly planes, play the didgeridoo, compete in Olympic sports and speak out about diabetes, as former Miss America Nicole Johnson Baker does.
Friends For Life
Children With Diabetes Conference

Universal City, July 14 - 18, 2004

Jeff and Brenda

CWD founders Jeff and Brenda Hitchcock wearing their orange conference T-shirts

click here for the CWD conference report

At the conference, we finally got to hug friends we had known for years online.

We ate together at tables where Brian's inulin pump or someone's need for something sweet right now were completely normal.

We had support when dealing with the too frequent consequences of travel with diabetes - treating highs and lows and keeping supplies handy and safe and cool.

We played for a day at Universal Studios and smiled at all the other people also wearing bright orange shirts.
Gary at the pool

Olympian Gary Hall, Jr.talked about swimming and diabetes with the kids in one of the sessions.

There was also free time to play around at the hotel pool.

We gathered for meals in the big Food Tent. All foods had carb count labels.

Bart and Brian share a laugh during the evening's entertainment.

There was a teen dance after dinner on Thursday night.

Brian and Trent explore Brian's laptop before Friday night dinner.
Laura  B

CWD provided tables so that insulin pumps could be left while the kids went on the rides. Some rides can affect the pumps.


Michelle and Stacey and Scott are friends we met through the CWD parents list years before meeting them in person at this conference..

Alison and Brian went off on their own around the park with other kids from CWD families.

The wet Jurassic park ride was popular in the hot weather. CWD families got priority loading. Long waits affect blood sugar.

The view of the San Fernando Valley was spectacular from the high points of the amusement park. Clear air, too, almost.

Shark attack! Many of the movie themed rides had exciting moments involving water or fire or both.

L.A. Sightseeing
Hollywood and La Brea
mammoth bones

A mammoth skeleton from the  La Brea Tar Pits - prehistoric muck and bones in the midst of Los Angeles

Chinese Theater

The Chinese Theater in Hollywood

After the conference was over, Brian and Alison and I spent a day playing tourist in L.A.

Hollywood was on our way as we travelled by Metro and bus,  so we had a chance to see some famous and familiar spots there.

Then we went on to see some of the L.A. basin's earliest history at the La Brea Tar Pits. Excavations are still going on there and the displays show how much has been found.

We poked with sticks at the pools of tar that ooze out of the lawn on the museum grounds.

mini metro

The metro station in Hollywood
where the Minis drove down the stairs
in the new "Italian Job" movie.
click here for Barbie's home page

last updated July 9, 2006