Into our warm season here in Vegas now; the time when you walk outside and realize that it really is hot. I click on the weather link on my phone and see the display for the week: 42, 43, 44, 43, 43, 42 (OK, 108, 110, 111, 110, 109, 108) and realize that the last week in July is the hot one, and we aren’t there yet. The hottest it has been in the eight summers we’ve been here so far is 115 (46) with 118 (47) being the record high. And to think that Phoenix is even warmer than us.
We have a big covered patio out back with a metal cover high overhead – I put it up about four meters (fourteen feet) when we built the patio, so that the heat from sun on the roof would be way up there, and hopefully blow away without melting us down below. That concept has worked out very well, but still when I go out back in the shade it feels like I am going to melt. Walking out into the sunshine is even worse. The nighttime lows are around 32 (90f) so things do not get a chance to cool off; walking outside barefoot early in the morning the concrete is still hot under my feet.
Most places compensate for the summer by really cranking up the air conditioning. The big casinos are the worst; it’s almost freezing inside and always dark. When you walk out of one of those huge places on the Strip the heat and bright sunlight feel like a slap in the face, probably what they are aiming at, so you will just turn around and go back inside. Summer is dead season for conventions, so the big halls are empty, but high season for tourists, so the hotels are fairly full. Of course the tourists want to see Vegas while they are here, and most walk up and down the Strip to visit the big casinos and resorts. With the hot weather most wear not much clothing, and with all that exposed skin sunburn often sets in. Taking lunchtime walks on the Strip it was always amusing to see the bright red arms and shoulders, while at the same time feeling the pain that those people will have that night. So I would say that red is the color of summer here in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is the city of favor among Hawaiians; we’ve got the largest population of people off the islands. I guess it is as far away from water and damp as they can get. A lot of people here have boats and go cruising Lake Mead or Lake Havasu on weekends. My neighbor has a huge one parked in his driveway, it’s about as big as you can get and still pull it with a private vehicle. He has a big pickup truck and takes the neighbor on the other side with him to Mead all the time.
We also have periods of high winds, which don’t really cool you off when it’s that hot, but feels more like you are standing in a blast furnace. At least it’s a dry heat: average humidity is around 5%, so when you sweat (sorry ladies; perspire) it dries off almost immediately. When you get out of the swimming pool you almost don’t have to towel off, you’ll air dry very quickly. On days when we don’t have winds the dust and car exhaust hangs in the air, making things slightly hazy.
That’s the Strip from about as far away as you can get and still see it, a little hazy in the distance. This was taken from Henderson about to go over the pass into Boulder City, about twenty miles east. The foreground is our standard Nevada landscaping, open scrub and dirt. The Stratosphere is that little dot in about the center of the picture, with the big hotels running south, to the left. You can see all the clouds in the sky, which produce all the rain we don’t get.
Still, we’ve lived in other places and right now I don’t think I would rather live anywhere else (well, except for Paris, I loved Paris). Back east it was too damp and cold; in the summer the temperature would only be 31 (88f) and it would feel darn uncomfortable as the humidity was around 100% all the time and it felt warmer at night. I was raised in New Jersey, and we didn’t have air conditioning, so all we could do was turn on a fan and sweat. Upstate New York was worse, as in the winter it would get down to -29 and stay there for a week, I would much rather sweat than freeze. Southern California was beautiful, with all the tropical growth and consistent temperatures, but San Diego was just a tad too cool, even in the summer. But I do miss all the green, and how easy it was to grow things.