Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer In Phoenix

Don't Fear It!

I've been a Phoenician now for almost 20 years.

Taking a moment to let that sink in....

I grew up and lived my first 18 years in a house my dad built in Oakland. Then at 19 pure wanderlust kicked in. Over the next decade I lived in Coeur d'Alene and Moscow Idaho, Seattle, Anchorage, San Jose, and Hawaii before eventually relocating to the Valley of the Sun.

Now, I should point out that I have loved every place I have ever lived. But....perfect year round weather in the bay area actually became kinda boring....

And in Seattle I got tired of rationalizing why I was enduring 11 months of crap weather for that one amazingly beautiful month each summer (Hint: always around SeaFair).

In Coeur d'Alene summers could be really nice or week upon week upon week of grey dreck.   

In Alaska summers were short but came with 21 hours of daylight and enormous mosquitos. 

So here I am living in a place where summers replicate the surface of the sun.... 

But, after all these years I find summers here fall into kind of a nice cycle.

In May as the heat returns we start making mental notes where the shady parking is.

By June our beloved winter visitors are long gone, and our best restaurants suddenly have reasonable wait times for a great table under a mister. City streets are much less crowded (and much more sane) and evenings offer a perfect time to take a dip in our warm backyard pools to ponder the stars.

By July we are experiencing our amazing summer monsoons. These are electrical storms of epic proportions with lightning chains that fill our summer skies. They typically deliver rain in sheets and afterwards the fragrance of creosote fills the desert air.

In August our European visitors arrive. Mostly German and French they stay only briefly usually on their way to rent a houseboat on Lake Powell. By August 6th or so many of the kids in Phoenix are beginning to  return to school. And when Labor Day arrives (signaling the close of summer for everyone else), Phoenicians are kind of going a bit crazy. So we try to make a desperate weekend trip to San Diego, Payson, Flagstaff or Prescott.

But summer clings on getting the last digs in and our 100° plus days roll right on until around October 15.

So for those that are adventurous (or a contrarian traveler like me - I love Alaska in winter hoping for a view of an aurora borealis) consider summer in AZ!

Moonrise Over the Red Rocks of Sedona
A 4 or 5 star resort room costing $300 in winter is $120 (or less) in summer. The pools are splashy, many offer family barbecues, water slides or lazy rivers. At night there are dive-in movies!

And while here, you can visit indoor delights with bulletproof air conditioning (which was invented here) there is the Arizona Science Center, the Heard Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum or the amazing new MIM Musical Instrument Museum.

The Phoenix Zoo has misters and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum just outside of Tucson offers special evening programs showcasing their nocturnal critters. For sports you can take in a D'backs game. Many just use Phoenix for a home base to go visit the Grand Canyon, gaze at the stars at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, or go spend a day or two in a jacuzzi surrounded by the red rocks of Sedona.

There is Only One Grand Canyon
So, scratch skanky old Las Vegas off your list. Be bold, bring sunscreen, come visit Phoenix or Tucson in summer!

Enjoy a big loud monsoon!

Your wallet will thank you.

And after two or three days in a big old pool, making new friends, so will your kids.

Roadboy's Travels © 2013

No comments: