I know I said I would back off the vacation posts this week, but this is sort of on the periphery... so I am going to slip it in. You may recall that my birthday car trip to Vegas was pretty dicey. By the time we arrived at Sin City I was very headachy and had a good bout of nausea. I chalked it up to a lack of food and my usual does of morning caffeine.... okay, paranoia at the time (it was the Cooper's first major road trip and post-accident), also made me ponder a carbon monoxide leak into my car... but with Todd unaffected, I had to discount that particular conspiracy theory.
It was still in the back of my mind going into this road trip... and sure enough I did start experiencing some of the same symptoms on our first leg -- the 8-ish hour drive to Santa Fe, New Mexico. While things were not nearly as bad as Vegas (I made a concerted effort to eat and stay hydrated), I still didn't feel all that great as we entered The City Different.
Since Todd had his laptop and we had free Wi-Fi at our hotel, I googled around to come up with a quick self-diagnosis... long story short(er), I came up with motion sickness. The next morning, I picked up a box of the Walgreens version of "dramamine" ... actually meclizine. Long story still short(er), I took it before every lengthy drive for the rest of the trip and was fine.
I am willing to admit it is all (or partially) psychosomatic... but it worked, so it is hard to argue/complain. To my knowledge, it is something that I have never suffered before and, go figure (!!!), it has appears to occur in my beloved MINI Cooper (smaller car, lower to the ground?).
So while that particular issue was "solved," there was yet another worry. Living at just over 1,000 feet above sea level here in the Phoenix metro area, there was the issue of altitude sickness. Staying hydrated, "proceed with caution" alcohol consumption (pfffft!), and sun protection were things I read about over and over in travel books and even the MINI discussion boards.
Denver is very proud of their mile-high status. Just one night in that city and there is no doubt that "one mile = 5,280 feet" will forever be seared into your brain. Funny enough, Denver was the lowest altitude of any of the cities we spent a night in... Santa Fe, NM is at 6,989 feet (a great trivia question/stat... since that makes it, not Denver, the highest of any state capital), Telluride, CO was 8,792 feet... and the MINI homebase at Copper Mountain, CO was at a lofty 9,720 feet... and there were more than a few occasions, we were 2+ miles above sea level!
Thankfully, we didn't experience any serious ill effects from the altitude... a very slight bit of sun overexposure one afternoon and a tad light-headed atop Mt Evans (at a whopping 14,2000+ feet)... as mentioned, I did regularly test the "alcohol at altitude" but at most, I think the thinner air only saved me one drink at best early on in the trip!