Living in the west has many advantages – particularly sunny weather year round. Lisa and I experienced our first western winter this past year in Loma Linda and understood the appeal of the west coast climate. You could not ask for anything better.
Arizona weather has come with a few surprises that we have learned to live with. It is hot here (obviously) but the evenings are extremely pleasant and we have discovered that many people here do not go out until the sun goes down. This past week Lisa was called into the hospital (while on-call) at 2:00 in the morning and she noticed a crowd outside the local McDonalds as well as many older residents riding their bikes – two freaking O’clock in the morning! I recently had a conversation with someone who after hearing I was from Kentucky said she loved the skin complexion of Kentuckians compared to people here in Arizona. Here, she said, people’s skin look like boots. I never really thought about Kentuckians skin complexions until she said that.
But as I thought about it – it really does make sense. To be outside during the summer months in the Mohave Desert is a test of endurance. We have learned to never be too far away from water as the dry air will turn your skin to ash and your throat to sandpaper in a matter of minutes. We are now buying our skin lotion by the drum. Lisa’s co-workers advised her early on to drink plenty of water – even if you are not thirsty. Likewise we have tried to adjust to excessive sun exposure and my “skillet skin” (as Lisa calls it) has burned, pealed, tanned, burned and pealed again going on about the fifth cycle. If my skin gets too much more sun exposure I’m afraid someone will confuse it for beef jerky.
But the dry, hot conditions we were expecting. We were not ready for the winds. It is very unusual to find no wind blowing here in Kingman. Riding my bike feels like I’m pushing against a jet engine at times. Our RV has not stopped swaying almost from the time we arrived and on occasions high winds will blow through in sudden gusts creating huge dust clouds and blowing away anything left unsecured. Forget pulling out an RV awning – it would not last a single day. But with the strong winds – usually comes cool breezes at night and it has on a few occasions almost felt cool – almost.
Finally we learned about monsoons. We experienced our first and only (so far) monsoon and flood level rain this past week. All the streets, sidewalks and parking lots were left caked in mud when the waters receded and the “washes” (large trenches designed to carry away the flood waters) flowed like small rivers throughout Kingman. We received four inches of rain in a three-hour period and the waters carried many vehicles down stream as they moved across the area. Some are saying it was the biggest rain they have had here in years. Well of course – right up there with the hottest temperatures they had experienced in a hundred years and the McFarlands have seen it all.
It seems that Arizona is a state of extremes. Here you don’t just have a summer shower – you have floods that can kill. Here you don’t have summer breezes – you have hurricane force winds. Here you don’t just have hot summer temperatures – you have saunas. Some have told us that it can get cold here in the winter months.
I can only imagine.
Thanks for reading!
Steve and Lisa