Phoenix & Scottsdale is a popular vacation spot, because it is right in the middle the Sonoran desert which makes it nice and warm (particularly for us frozen Canadians in the winter).
Scottsdale has a number of canals that pass through the city originally built by the Hohokam people for irrigation. Today, the canals still supply the city with water and are surrounded with nice bike paths, patios, condos and restaurants.
Because the area is so popular with tourists (22 million visitors a year) there are hotels and resorts everywhere. The Phoenix area is home to more 5 star resorts than any other city in the US. Me, being the classy guy I am, stayed at the Holiday Inn express; sometimes you just have to treat yourself.
Because Scottsdale is fairly flat, a bike makes for a great way to get around. Fortunately, they have a bike rental program where you can use an app to unlock a bike and take it for a spin. When you are done, you can leave the bike just about anywhere within the designated area.
I filled up the rental bikes built in basket with Gatorade and water (remember, it’s in a desert) and headed off for a bike ride along the canals.
I thought these trees looked pretty cool, kind of like fireworks going off. Those are not yellow leafs you see, but are all yellow flowers.
When those yellow flowers fall off they blanket the ground in yellow. Notice in the background, more rental bikes, these things are everywhere in Scottsdale.
More views along the canal bike ride. I made the mistake of heading out right in the middle of the day. It is hot in the middle of the desert, very hot.
So just how hot is it in Scottsdale? The average temperature is 24 degrees C. Most years they will have over 100 days that exceed 37C (that is 100 in freedom units) and over 30 days where the temp will exceed 43C. The hottest recorded temperature is 50 degrees C! That is how hot it gets. For comparison, Calgary recently set a record high temp of only 36C pfffttt.
Even their art is made to look like the burning hot oppressive sun. This particular piece is called Desert Sun, clever, I know.
Even with all those hot temps they still play hockey in Scottsdale. Believe it or not, it has snowed in Scottsdale with a record snowfall of an outstanding 1”! For comparison, somewhere like Lake Louise will average around 300” a year.
In order to avoid the crazy hot temps, I would tour around the city in the evenings and at night. Here is the old part of Scottsdale (dates back to around 1880).
You could also go inside to keep cool, but then can’t bring your weapons with you. Where is the fun in that?
More rental bikes to get around on. Phoenix doesn’t follow daylight savings time, which is a really good idea in my humble opinion.
Just outside of the city is South Mountain Park, which claims to be the largest municipal park in North America. At 16,500 acres, it is roughly 20 times as big as central park in New York.
You can drive right to the top of the mountain for a pretty good view of both Phoenix and Scottsdale. This also makes it a great place for antenna towers, many many antenna towers. There are over 50 miles of hiking and mounting biking trails in the park. That’s 80Km for you Canadian folks (and the rest of the world for that matter).
There is an old stone building on the top of the mountain you can check out. In the distance is downtown Phoenix. Phoenix is home to only about 1.6 million people. But the other surrounding towns bump that population up to about 4.5 million.
I spent some of my time also in downtown Phoenix, this is the view from my hotel room. In the distant left is Camel Back Mountain (which you can, and should, climb: Camelback). In the middle is the phoenix convention center. And to the right is Chase stadium, home of the Arizona Diamond Backs (that’s baseball; I had to look it up).
So other than the Arizona Diamond backs what else is Phoenix famous for? How about:
– The birthplace of Scientology
– The birthplace of the Miranda Rights “You have the right to remain silent…..”
– The First MacDonald’s Franchise
– The filming location for the movie Pyscho & Transformers
Oh, and how could I forget, also home of the Danger Room Gym! Sounds pretty badass if you ask me (you should).
I somehow ended up a small party in a rented air BnB mansion just outside the city where I drank somebody’s beer and watched the sun go town. A temporary reprieve from the heat…. For a few hours.