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Old 07-02-2015, 09:58 AM   #1
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LOW Altitude Sickness.... a change of perspective

One aspect of High Elevation are the temperature and humidity variations during a 24 hour period. Warm to Hot, low humidity days and cool to cold higher humidity evenings and mornings. The low humidity and thinner air creates some unusual situations that we in the elevations above 3,000 feet give no thought.

A below freezing day with snow on the black top road will evaporate on a Sunny Day. Sublimation. Frozen water going from a solid to a vapor. Air temperature of 30F on an overcast day feels like 30F. Air temperature of 30F on a sunny day is warm and comfortable in the sunlight, until you step into the shade or after sunset. The humidity is barely noticed.

At 900 feet elevation in the Kansas City, MO area, a sunny 30F and high humidity feel cold. It seems to permeate your clothing and you need to add clothes to feel comfortable and then begin to sweat in the process. Skiing at 9500 feet the humidity is low and the sunshine upon thin layers and a dark clothing exterior, make it comfortable, until the sun sets... then the temperature plummets and your lack of clothing becomes apparent quickly.

This is not a scientific observation, until you prepare to dry camp in the Rocky Mountains. You need Spring, Summer, Fall and a touch of some Winter clothing. It can Snow in July. A January is hot one day and a blizzard the next. Totally misleading the unsuspecting that weather can confound even the most experienced campers. You must always be prepared for the best and worst that elevation offers.

Although weather can be just as variable as Low Elevations, there are few places where the comfort zone can be so variable with sunlight, low humidity and thin air. As you go higher in elevation the temperature ranges are cooler and the humidity begins to increase. I call it "going in dry and leaving wet". Sometimes the temperatures are so much colder and the morning humidity so much higher, it is a relief getting down to a more agreeable elevation. Condensation is dripping off your awning and sides of your trailer at sunrise!

The "Low Altitude Sickness". Not in a physical way, but in a comfort perspective.

Homes in the mountains have large windows orientated towards the Winter Sun. Free radiant heat.

Park City, Utah for example. On I-80 while passing through in the Winter months you will notice homes in eternal winter shade on the south side and homes on the north side of the highway catching as much winter sun as possible. Which would YOU prefer...?

Why is this in Boondocking and have anything to do with Airstream trailers?

Your trailer can be orientated to take advantage of the seasons and sun angle while boondocking.

Quemado, NM for example. When the sun rises at 7500 feet elevation the mornings can be cool. The sun rises at 50 degrees NE. That is, if your compass needle is reading North, the sun is rising at approximately 50 degrees EAST of North. To catch those morning sun warming rays... orientate the trailer to take full advantage of the sun rise. Usually our right side (door side) of the trailer is situated to make the best of catching the morning sunlight for heat. Use the awning to make adjustments for retracting for cool mornings and extended for warmer mornings to shield from direct sunlight onto the aluminum skin.

On HOT days you orientate your trailer with the narrower width of the trailer orientated towards the sunrise. I like our rear bed end to catch the sunrise for getting up early, or switch it around to sleep in...

Obvious to some... but not to all. This can apply to any place, but at elevation the temperatures can vary considerably overnight.

This applies to those with Solar Panel(s) and an open area to catch the maximum range of sunlight, but minimize or maximize direct sunlight on the trailer.

Although you would think it is common sense, it is learned over time that you can change the orientation of your trailer for the temperature and seasons.

The Low Altitude Sickness is an attitude. We always miss being able to see 50 miles or more in the high country. Or even 25 miles on the prairies. Camped in Arkansas digging quartz crystals north of Hot Springs, maybe a 1 mile view. Most of that is the open pit mine and tailings.

There is something appealing to stand at a point and see for many miles. There is also something appealing to understanding how to make your time in the High Country comfortable. With a little thought a perfect camping spot can be picked before others figure out what you are up to.

Camped at low or high elevations create new situations to understand. It is all just a matter of perspective. Nothing to get sick over.

Human Bean
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Old 08-08-2015, 03:45 PM   #2
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Low Altitude Sickness.

Have you stood on the beach and watched the sunset?
Have you been on a Cruise and stood on deck and watched the sunset?
Have you waded out and looked back at the beach?
Have you wished you were back home in the Rockies?

Low Altitude Sickness.

Do not get me wrong. People coming from near Sea Level come to the Rockies and get... High Altitude Sickness.

Standing on top of Pike's Peak, Colorado you can see 100 miles. Altitude Sickness.
100 miles east of Pike's Peak and see the season's first snow on top. Altitude Sickness.
Getting a headache trying to breathe the thin air. Altitude Sickness.
Wishing you were back at Sea Level. Altitude Sickness.

We all suffer Altitude Sickness in our own ways. High, low or in between we miss what is our home. Smelling the cool salty ocean breeze after sunset or the rapid cooling of the air after sunset in the mountains is our way to connect with nature. We are all creatures of habit and where we live is our habitat.

I spoke with a family sitting next to their rental RV in Boulder City, Nevada last week. They marveled at the mountains to the north, the east and the south. Lake Meade's blue was a contrast to the bare stark naked... mountain ranges no more than 5,000 feet elevation. The Netherlands is so... flat they said.

Arriving from Los Angeles to Utah to Nevada was an eye opener for them seeing a large metro area and then... nothing but open country and mountain ranges forcing the roads to wander through the desert basins. The 108F sunny day was not something seen in the Netherlands. The brilliant blue skies, until the California smoke from the multiple fires began to haze the valley was new to them. I almost wanted to take them to Quemado, NM and actually discover that even in the "civilized western nation USA" there remains large areas with few people and even fewer tourists, unwilling to test their sight seeing adventures.

My mother was a natural born Dutch woman. Her rude awakening coming to the NW Montana forests and mountains was not like the movies made in New York City and the night gowns and parties. Western Montana along the Flathead Lake was still populated with Flathead Indians who would summer along the beaches of the lake. Indians! Western movies translated into Dutch put a totally different "sickness" into her experience. Her experience and these Dutch tourists brought back these memories and the huge differences in how we live and accept wide open spaces casually.

So Altitude Sickness varies from family to family. This Dutch family experienced what we accept as normal routine, but to them was a gigantic Disney world free for the taking.

Next time you are camped at a RV Park and you see one of those rental RV's, stop and speak with them. You are a wild American specimen offering information that they would not even have the faintest idea to ask. Life is a zoo at times. Sometimes we are the specimens that are wandering freely without fences.

Since this Thread did not stimulate any thought... I was not able to restrain myself to add to this by seeing through someone else's eyes. This family from the Netherlands got to visit with the local RV wildlife and feel like they had a nice conversation and there were no signs "Do not feed the Wildlife". It was a Free Range interaction. Do your part next time.

Human Bean
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Old 08-08-2015, 04:08 PM   #3
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How about humidity sickness?
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