Wisconsin was home for my first 28+ years. Then Michigan for the next 36+, except for three years in Japan. I never visualized living any place else.
Until September, 2014, when I helped my niece move some things to her home in Sun City, Arizona. My introduction six years ago to the Grand Canyon State showed me the great beauty and geographic diversity that exists here. And when I discovered the attractiveness and value of an active 55+ community, thoughts of a move began fermenting.
One year ago, Kathy and I made Arizona our home, so allow me to look at the year in review, and she some things I’ve learned.
Arizona (State 48) is historically known for the 5 c’s – copper, cattle, cotton, citrus and climate. Cattle and cotton surprised me.
There are 179 moderate trails in Phoenix. I have 175 more to discover, and it’s the number one thing I want to do when the weather breaks.
I have never seen a snake, scorpion or roof rat, though it’s not uncommon to see a coyote roaming the neighborhood, and an occasional bobcat as well.
The sun shines here every day. Every. Single. Day. And it’s intense. I can tolerate temps into the low 100’s fairly well, but above 105, I’m toast. I’m proud to say I have successfully avoided sunburn for the year.
Monsoons, short bursts of powerful rains, run from June through September. Flash flood warnings are frequently issued on the first drop because the desert just can’t absorb the rain at the same rate it falls. I don’t remember much action last year, and this past week, we had our first rain in more than 100 days. It didn’t get the sidewalk completely wet.
Haboobs, intense dust storms, occur primarily in the southeast part of the Phoenix area (Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Apache Junction). I live in the far northwest and generally, we won’t experience these.
It is impossible to get a glass of cold water from the tap. In the winter months, it may be slightly cooler than room temperature. In the summer, I’m brushing my teeth with warm water.
The abundance of free grapefruit, lemons, and oranges of all varieties was an unexpected gift during the winter and early spring. We had our grapefruit tree gleaned by a group of volunteers from the food bank. Other people leave boxes of fruit near the sidewalk for anyone to take.
It’s a five-hour drive to both San Diego and the east side of LA, Las Vegas is a four-hour drive, and four hours to Algodones, Mexico. What’s in Algodones? More dentists per capita than any place in the world. It’s a walk across the border from Yuma, Arizona and very popular for people from our area to go for dental work, eye exams/ glasses, and pharmaceuticals. Fortunately, we have good insurance!
Phoenix has an incredible selection of wall art or murals around the city. One of our goals for year 2 is to drive around the city and see as many as we can.
It’s impossible to find good tomatoes here. Much of our produce comes from Mexico. In the future, I will plan my visits to Michigan and Wisconsin around produce season.
With the purchase of a golf cart, we became a one-car household. There’s no place in our community of 26,000 that Rudy, the golf cart, can’t go. It’s been perfect.
Pre- pandemic, I was involved in a quilting club, yoga, and line-dancing, but that came to a screeching halt in mid-March. Kathy continues to play pickleball and golf, but also misses line-dancing and yoga. We both like a good pool workout.
The highest of the highs? The weather, of course. I didn’t miss the changing colors or the lack of green like I thought I would. Fall and spring are especially wonderful, and winter requires a light weight coat most of the time. Also, we both love the variety of classes, concerts, and clubs we have available and the choice to do as much or as little as we want.
The lowest of the lows? Not much really, except I’ve become a bit of a wuss driving massive expressway entrance and exit ramps, and overpasses. Actually, my new skill is finding routes that avoid them. My fear is illogical and irrational, but it’s still my fear.
Anyway, a little recap of our first year here. What will year two bring? At some point, a life without masks, I hope. Stay safe and healthy, my friends.