Friday, April 1, 2016

How To Read A Map

Well, sometimes plans change. We didn't fly to San Diego. We decided to drive instead.

In many ways, driving is easier than flying if you're using supplemental O2. Herkimer (my Portable Oxygen Concentrator) can be plugged in and I don't have to worry about changing batteries. Plus I don't need him when I'm driving or riding in the van if I'm not at a higher elevation than about 3000 ft.

What I didn't consider is that from Amarillo, Texas to Flagstaff, AZ the route is almost a constant climb, with much of the way above a mile high. Flagstaff itself tops out at over 7000 ft. Even at that elevation, if I use Herkimer, I can maintain a healthy O2 sat while seated, but any sort of activity reduces me to a slug-like state.

This makes me a little sad. I used to be a mountain person. I've lived in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Our house in Park City was at 7200 ft and I used to be able to hike in our neighborhood without huffing like an old horse.

But it was lovely to see some snow peaks again, even if I can't be active in them.

Fortunately, it was all downhill from Flagstaff. In fact, once we crossed over from Yuma to California, we actually dipped below sea level! The lowest the route dipped was -53. I actually felt like I was getting an oxygen rush!

Then I-8 starts a rapid ascent to over 4100 ft through the Vallecito Mountains. What an O2 roller coaster!

I did ok and we arrived alive in San Diego. We were careful to overnight in places that were low enough for Morpheus (my bi-pap) to keep me humming through the night. But from now on, when I plot out a route, I'll be sure to check for the little numbers on the map that indicate elevation.

Those are even more important for me than distance from Point A to B.

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