Oxygen Travel Tip

Charles and I are on the road again; this time on a three week trip of the Western states, culminating in Oklahoma City. We’re basically spending our time finding accessible options in the national and state parks, tourism sites and lodgings along the way. We’ll check out a couple of larger cities too, and of course we also have a number of B&Bs on our itinerary. To date, it’s been a very productive trip, and I look forward to more of the same in the next few weeks.

We spent a good deal of time talking to the folks at the Grand Canyon Railway and Xanterra Resorts while we were in Williams and the Grand Canyon. This included a tour of some of the accessible lodging options in Williams and up on the South Rim, which are managed by Xanterra. But my most interesting interview was with the reservation supervisor for the Grand Canyon Railway.

He went through all of the accessible options as we toured (and later rode ) the train, and I have to say that these folks are spot on as far as access goes. They see to every detail to make sure folks get the accommodations they need. They have a great system. But I’ll save the details for a future issue of Emerging Horizons.

I also asked the reservation manager about problems they have encountered along the way, and how they were able to address them. To my great surprise he said that they have had several passengers who have run out of oxygen. This amazed me as the people that I’ve met who use oxygen are so meticulous and careful about all the details.

Well, in talking with the manager, he told me that some folks think it’s just a two hour trip with a 3 hour stop at the canyon and then another two hours on the train, and they plan for that. Well, that’s all well and good, but it should be noted that both the Williams depot and the South Rim of the canyon are at a high elevation – 7,000 feet. And you use more oxygen at 7,000 feet than you do at sea level. So if you plan for the regular amount that you would use at sea level, you will most likely run out at 7,000 feet. And that’s not good.

So, a word of warning, if you are planning on visiting the Grand Canyon (or any other place with a high elevation) this summer, be sure and pack along enough oxygen for the higher elevation.

On the plus side, the Grand Canyon Railway folks have successfully dealt with oxygen emergencies in the past. Still, better safe than sorry — especially when we are talking about oxygen!!