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July 18, 2005

Welcome to hell. Escape routes enclosed!

It's that time of year again: the time sidewalks buckle, eggs fry on the sidewalk, and the fires of hell belch up from every crevice they can find in the earth's crust. The time hotter water comes out the cold side of the tap. It's summer in Arizona. Despite the record-breaking heat, some people are doing very odd things. Take, for instance, the City of Chandler, who decided it's a lovely time to repave various neighborhoods in the area. The end result is that my own street is missing chunks of freshly-laid asphalt and there are tire tracks everywhere. Huzzah, my tax money at work. Whereas the fine folks at APC got a letter of appreciation, the city will be receiving a stern talking-to about the quality of their contractor's work. Poorly-planned paving aside, it's a wonderful time to escape on weekends and afternoons to other portions of the state. Y'know, the parts of the state that have actual honest to goodness *seasons*. A few suggestions: * [Woods Canyon][1]: A nice lake, and lovely places to camp. If you're not the camping type, there are also all sorts of little (and big) hotels around. Oddly enough, there are woods to go wandering around. * Sedona: If you can avoid the crystal/vortex/alien spacecraft maniacs and the gouge-o-licious "Red Rocks Pass," it's nice country. [Slide Rock][3] should be open, barring any _e. coli_ disasters. Even if you can't get in the water, the scenery's nice. Don't think they're selling cider this time of year though. * [Christopher Creek][2]: A day trip favorite of mine. It's more difficult to get there with the way the highways have been redesigned (blink and you'll miss the turnoff), but it's got nice weather and lots of places to kick back and enjoy nature. The Creekside Restaurant serves up food with a view. As far as I know, the Tonto Fish Hatchery is still open as well. Fishing opportunities abound in the creek and nearby lakes. * [Phoenix Rock Gym][4]: Want to go rock climbing without the heat? Head to the swell, air-conditioned home of the Phoenix Rock Gym. Many walls. Many paths. Fun for everyone, from beginners to the more advanced. Take a friend or several (or make new friends at the gym, if you're feeling lucky). * Grand Canyon: It's nice above the canyon. Lovely weather. Just don't go into the canyon unless you want to die. * A walk-in freezer: Mmm, chilly. If you can't make it out of the Valley, find someplace refrigerated. And a few places I can say from experience you absolutely positively do not want to go: * Wupatki National Monument: They're fascinating ruins. It's a great trip. But it's very hot this time of year, in spite of their "Flagstaff" location. Save the exploration for fall. Or winter. Or perhaps even spring. Temps are nearly as bad as Phoenix this time of year. * Tucson: Like I even need to say it. You could do worse, of course (Blythe comes to mind), but the drive down's a hot one and Tucson's not particularly cooler than Phoenix. You could tool on through to Summerhaven, but I'm not sure how much of it is rebuilt. If the Mt. Lemmon Café is open, though (and it appears to be from a couple sources), then by all means go! Great food there, and well worth the trip. [1]:http://www.woodscanyon.com/ [2]:http://www.christophercreekarizona.com/ [3]:http://www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/sliderock.html [4]:http://www.phoenixrockgym.com/

Posted by Colin at July 18, 2005 7:01 PM

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