We're planning a late July early August road trip out West from Pa. Our concern is the heat at that time of year. Has anyone traveled out West at this time and regretted it. One person in our group does not do well with the heat and we were hoping to do some hiking on the trip.
I travel in "the west" every day -- I live here. Is it hot? Yes. Can you deal with it? Yes. As a kid, I played baseball on sunny summer afternoons! Of course, this may be why I am a bit addled NOW.
I am more uncomfortable in Indianapolis at 85 degrees on a humid day than I am in Phoenix on a 105 degree day in June. Since we almost always have less humidity than eastern states, our heat is not as oppressive. Our humidity is higher in July and August, but still is almost never as uncomfortable as you'd find in the midwest on an 80 or 90 degree day.
We stay indoors at the height of each afternoon, or only go out for short intervals -- but with well-maintained and air conditioned automobiles, you can stay comfortable and travel anytime during the day or night. Rent a light colored car -- never a dark one that will absorb heat. Plan your hikes for the morning hours -- be done by 0900, or wait and hike in the cooler evening. Carry and drink lots of water, and make sure to carry (and EAT) salty snacks. Hotel/motel air conditioning can be as cold as you want it to be.
Anyone who stays away from a hot desert area in the summer is missing out on one of life's best adventures! Experience it at least once -- and if you do not like it, you don't have to come back (except maybe in winter). But I'd almost bet you WILL like it. You might even want to MOVE here! Bob
Summer heat in the West
I've been out there in mid-July, and I must say, that even though the heat was in the upper register, I really didn't have a problem with it. I hiked through Bryce Canyon when it was 110 in the canyon, but I didn't sweat. Likewise hiking in Zion, and wandering around Williams, AZ. That "dry heat" really is true! I must admit, though, I'll take anything over months of single-digit temperatures. I'm a self-admitted heat junkie.
"It's not the heat, it's the humidity" is a common saying. I know I have more trouble with 85 degrees and high humidity than 115 and little humidity. Of course, drinking a lot of water in either situation helps.
I don't know what the stats are, but I would say you'll have an easier time finding places to stay because of the common conception to stay out of the area during that time of year.
And lots of great bargains too -- our 5 star resorts practically give away room packages in the summer! Bob
The dry heat
The sun, the heat, no tourists and great bargains, what else can you possibly ask for? I found very decent rooms for as low as 21 bucks in June in the southwest. I drove through UT, AZ, NM and TX without any A/C (I don't recommend it ok, I'm just another crazy heat addict)... Just like Timbo said, the trick is to drink lots of water, it really helps. I hiked through Bryce as well, it was really comfortable, nothing to do with that New Orleans' humidity in the summer.
Just returned from road trip in Thailand
I just spent two weeks on a road trip to northern Thailand where the average daytime temperature was 95 degrees (F) and humidity never dropped below 89%. That was a tad fatiguing -- beautiful place but it sure felt nice to get back to the dry air of the American southwest!
Thailand, wow! have you been to Angkor Thom in western Cambodgia? That is one of my few travel projects! I can relate to that kind of temperature. I went to Cuba in June a few years ago, it was 100-105 degrees and the humidity was between 94% and 100% the whole week. It was hard to walk and breathe normally. Can you believe I actually thought I would do my 30 minutes of jogging every morning? I had lots of plans : a day of kayaking, rent a scooter and visit some places, take the bus to visit a bigger city...Needless to say I dropped that for scuba diving, a few margaritas on the beach and lots of pineapple juice by the pool... Yep, you definitely are spoiled in the south west!
Depends on what WEST you are talking about
If you are traveling the Southwest, be prepared for high temps at or over 100. If you plan on going a bit toward the northern border, the Inland Empire of Washington/Idaho/Oregon can be a bit warm, but nothing too hot. Average temps in the desert area of the Northwest push 100 durring the day, but cool off greatly at night. The coast and mountains are MUCH cooler, and usually average anywhere from 70's and 80's to the mid to upper 90's. Check with the NOAA or Weather Channel for average temps and thats what you should expect (abouts anyway), just beware- Seattle is Dryer than normal, Phoenix is Wetter than normal (so far), and Central Washington is a hikers delight!
i have done road trips in summer. even hung out in death valley in late july. i may get a bit hot.what we did was do alot of sightseeing/outside more in the morning. then sometimes in the middle of the day, we would drive or go and take a nap, or find someplace for lunch/shopping. there are many ways to avoid the hottest part of the day.
also, maybe you could just concentrate on staying in higher elevations. instead of phoenix, do flagstaff. instead of LA, do san francisco. instead of arizona, do montana. and so on.
Re-reading the posts in this thread
While I was looking back over these posts, a couple of things occurred to me. One of the best memories of my childhood was returning home to Arizona from vacation trips -- coming from places like Michigan, Seattle, Indiana, etc. The plane was always air-conditioned of course -- and this was in the days before the "jetways" provided "indoor" access to airliner cabins -- to get out of a plane, we had to climb down a set of portable stairs and walk across the tarmac to the terminal building. As I'd step out of the plane onto the steps, the "blast" of 110 degree Arizona heat would hit me in the face and remind me that I was home again. It always felt really great (for a few minutes).
The other one is summer evenings in the desert. The temperature often stays above 100 degrees until later in the evening, but after the sun goes down, that residual warmth of a summer evening is always something to be savored. It's beautiful here (Phoenix) right now -- but summer is coming -- and I cannot wait! I'm one of the lucky ones, to live in the Arizona desert! Bob