But an excuse to go to Phoenix, coupled with the fact that we'd be driving in a GM-produced car (which means ice-cold air conditioning) and getting exposed to cheap Arizona gas prices, what the hell, it sounded sane enough to me.
370 miles to Phoenix isn't bad at all, and the cheap Arizona gas certainly helped. Walking outside into 110F+ weather sucked, but what really left an impression that we were in a different place was walking ouside into 90F weather at 11pm at night. o_O Suffice it to say I was very happy that our hotel room had very good air conditioning in addition to being darned cheap since it was a weekend in (almost) summer season ($63/night for a SpringHill Suites by Marriot).
The reason for the madness: GwT was coming into Phoenix, and the Phoenix guys decided we needed a meet.
Semi On and the locals are always up for meets; a newer guy (DogEars) put together a nice little plan in a shopping center with ample activities around it; and quite a few other people were going to be in-town for other reasons. Digitali and his wife were in town for family business (he's over on the East Coast now) and it was extremely good to see him after five years (last saw him in Texas five years ago), !Toad! and Mrs. Toad were heading in for vacation (from Texas), ProphetM decided to drive in from Vegas, Wunderhund and I decided that splitting gas cost wouldn't be too bad so we headed in from California.
Things were simple. Dinner and drinks at Rock Bottom Brewery, plus a rock wall outside to tempt me, then over to Jillian's for arcade games/pool/more drinks. It was very good to see everyone and hang out for a few hours, especially ones I hadn't seen in a long time, such as Digitali. I feel compelled to note, gathering four Senators/Moderators in the same place did not provoke an attack of the [H]orde. =P
Left picture: Left to right: continuum, Semi On, Digitali, DogEars, Travathan, choda_boy, Wunderhund, ProphetM, !Toad!, GwT.
The meet ended a bit on the early side, so we walked around the rest of Desert Ridge plaza and browsed around a bit. Scorch bar was near Jillian's and looked packed, but it's an outdoor bar. Crowd looked good and all, but we could feel the heat radiating off of that place-- skip it! Further down was a Fat Tuesday's (mmmm, margaritas, tempting!) as well as an artificial fireplace that was turned on in this weather. Crazy nuts!
The next day was breakfast at Arizona's only Original Pancake House, then a drive-through of Arizona State University and Mill Ave. (where the bars are), followed up by a drive-through of downtown to take a few pictures. ASU's definitely got a nice campus, even if it is throughly baked in the sun. According to the locals, ASU is normally full of hotties walking around, but we saw one in the 40 minutes we were there. The rest of the campus was deserted, probably because it was 110F outside.
Passing through the airport and downtown Phoenix revealed that there isn't much to look at in those areas. Downtown reminds me of San Jose's downtown: big enough, but boring enough. At least it wasn't much of a detour for us: we wasted less than three minutes hopping onto I-10 and headed back to Los Angeles once we finished up.
A nice little weekend trip. When the focus of the trip is an Ars meet, there really isn't too much to write about, since everything else is being discussed right on Ars. *grins*