Phoenix–It’s Hot and Crowded

On my way home from Sonora, I opted to spend a night and a day in Phoenix, Arizona. I was going to take the red eye anyway, but it made sense to spend a night in Phoenix and visit various customers and suppliers. Phoenix is one heck of a metropolis. I just don’t get it. If it wasn’t for Willis Carrier’s invention of air conditioning, it just wouldn’t make sense to squeeze that many people into a city in the middle of a desert. A little cloud cover and drizzle kept the temperature from reaching the forecasted high of 104F.

With energy consumption and global warming among our country’s top priorities, it makes less sense than ever that people continue to flock to places like Arizona. I get a little frustrated when I see the expansion and impact on the environment. The whole growth of Arizona, particularly Phoenix, stemmed from a “California is too expensive” mindset. Sure, the weather, excepting the summer, is a great lure. So is, or was, the cheap land. But now, you have like four million people living in a place where there isn’t even enough water. Granted, in the Northeast, we need to burn oil and other fossil fuels to heat our homes in winter. Oh well.

I cruised the streets of Tempe after dark in my bright red Chevy Aveo. I haggled with Enterprise to get 28 hours of car time for the price of 24. As an experiment, I wanted the smallest and most economical car in the garage. That was the Aveo. I sure wouldn’t want to get rear ended in that little thing, but I drove all day for less than three gallons of fuel. Who needs hybrids? The Aveo retails for less than $12,000.

I checked out Tempe Town Beach. I’ve toyed with the idea of adding Ironman Arizona to my agenda. I was hoping to get up on Thursday morning and swim in Tempe Town Lake, the man made body of water that has been created from the Rio Salado. However, I learned from chatting up a local triathlete at the park on Wednesday night, that you can only swim on race day. They have a few other triathlons at that location, but IMAZ is the big one. My triathlete friend was a good resource. He had just finished a run, so I cornered him while he was stretching and picked his brain about the AZ tri scene. I’m having second thoughts about AZ. The venue just didn’t do it for me. After racing at picturesque Lake Placid, I’m not sure if I want to compete in dead flat Arizona’s concrete jungle. Both the bike and run courses are three laps, which is also not too appealing. We will see!

I covered a lot of ground during my Thursday in Phoenix. I visited seven customers and suppliers and pretty much explored all of industrial Phoenix south of the airport. I had to kill some time at the end of the day before my late night flight, so I explored the grounds of the Biltmore Hotel. It was very nice. I scored a free internet connection in the lobby and even got a free bottle of water from a sympathetic hotel worker. Don’t tell them…I wasn’t a registered guest.

The Biltmore Hotel grounds.

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