Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

Heather and I just returned from a week-long road trip through Arizona. And it was awesome. Happiness is me, my wife, a pile of cameras, and a car on the open road. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

  • Arizona is hot. Damn hot. Real hot. Hot like, when you turn on the cold water in the bathroom, it comes out hot because it’s been baking in the pipes for a few dozen miles. Hot like, if you do the courtesy flush when you’re on the pot, you can feel the heat from outside in the water, creating a little steamroom for your bum. Hot like, when you’re from San Francisco, and you’re walking around in Arizona, all you can think is, my God it’s hot.
  • The Salton Sea smells like rotting fish. But that’s only because it’s full of rotting fish.

Topanga Canyon Fire

  • Highway 5 is one of the most boring stretches of highway in the United States. But it’s a lot more interesting when there’s a 2 mile-high mushroom cloud of smoke over it.
  • Saguaro cactus grow like an inch a year. So those iconic cacti you see out the window when you’re whipping down the highway have been around longer than you, your father, your grandfather, and sometimes even your great-grandfather. So, yankow, like, wow.
  • Half of San Francisco has moved to Arizona. Heather and I wound up meeting so many Bay Area expats, we started to think they were following us. To Greg the shop owner in Scottsdale, Ryan the restauranteur in Bisbee, that couple talking about Halloween in the Castro in the Prickly Pear, and many more, San Francisco says you’re welcome back anytime.
  • The friendly people at the Titan Missile Museum really believe that nuclear weapons create peace. And the nice folks at the Queen Mine really believe that mining copper is good for the environment. Paging Dr. Stockholm….
  • Bisbee Arizona is the bomb. We’re totally moving there someday. When it cools off.

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Hi, I’m Derek. I used to make websites. Now I grow flowers and know things. I’m mostly harmless. More.