2008-01-31 01:02:53.000 – Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist
This is how I roll.
I like to think that my Wednesday mornings before coming up start like most peoples. Get up between 6 am and 7 am and roll out of bed. Prepare a cup of oatmeal, set the toast, and boil up a cup of tea with cream and sugar. Get dressed and get put in order in the bathroom. Check the weather reports and early news online. Warm up my car while loading work materials (in my case, a backpack and ice axe) and pick up the mail. Adjust the heat to a sensible heat and leave the water slightly going to prevent my pipes from freezing like they did last winter. Do a last minute walk around making sure everything is closed or open that needs to be and that everything is turned off. Lock the doors and head off to work, doing a few chores along the way. Get gas, get coffee, and mail bills for the week. And this is where my sense of normalcy ends.
My next stop is the pharmacy to pick up Dramamine for the second part of my commute. I then drive the rest of the way to the base of the mountain to ride up in the MWO Bombardier. And this is where the Dramamine comes in. The Bombardier is a great way to come up but for someone prone to motion sickness, it is (at times) the evil combination of a boat on rough seas, a car driving up a winding road, and the Tea Cup Ride at Disneyland all thrown into a box you can’t see out of. But let me break each of these analogies down. It’s like a boat on rough seas because of what are called “water bars.” These are actually not water but sections where water ran down to at one time then froze creating giant bumps. It’s like a car driving up a winding road because, well, the road to the top is a winding road. It is like the Tea Cup Ride because at times, we have to blade the snow off the road and if it is deep enough or packed enough; it might take some maneuvering to clear the snow. And it is like a windowless box because the windows we do have ice up fairly quickly both inside and out.
So hopefully this paints a decent picture for you, if not, try it for yourself with a daytrip or an overnight Edutrip to the summit. But getting back to point, when I take Dramamine, the ride is fine especially when you consider that everything is done at a speed of less than 8 mph. I hold conversations and carry on. But without Dramamine, I get to deeply study every aspect of my boots and other peoples boots as I keep my head down towards the ground in a deep concentration. Fortunately it has never gone beyond this ground observation ritual for me, if you catch my drift.
By the end of the trip, I hop out of the Bombardier and just want to hug the ground. I look like I just got spun around and are being directed toward the piñata as there is a slight swagger to my step as I try to find my equilibrium. Today was a smooth day though only taking only about an hour with very little sudden motions. And once on the summit the side effects of Dramamine kick in allowing me to kick off for the day in preparation for my nightly duties. All in all, a typical Wednesday commute, for me at least.
Ryan Knapp, Staff Meteorologist