Okay, I'm in Arizona and I can already report that it is still inhumanely hot.
Actually, according to the very few people that I have run into during the past twenty hours, it could be a lot worse. The high today is supposed to top out at a mere 99 degrees, when normally it would be a minimum of 110 this time of year.
I arrived during a storm yesterday that was so bad our plane had to circle the airport for nearly an hour waiting on things to calm down. It never, ever rains in the Valley of Hell, but Pa Rock comes flying and brings a good rainstorm with him. Jan Brewer ought to name a street after me!
My friend who was picking me up at the airport went to the wrong terminal - but eventually found me wandering through the luggage carousels in a daze. I found one of my two bags on the wrong carousel without the tracking tag. The other one was missing.
I am staying at the Fighter Country Inn (an Air Force on-base motel) and my room is very satisfactory. My plan was to rent a car on base until I could find one to buy, but the rental agency was closed by the time I got to base and isn't open on Sundays - so I am afoot.
The lost bag turned up during the night, and I got a call early this afternoon telling me that I had twenty-two minutes to make it to the South Gate to claim it. (The baggage handler didn't have a military ID and couldn't come onto the base.) I walked very fast across the base (about half a mile - in the heat) and met the fellow just as he pulled in. I guess I looked like I was having a heat stroke, because he went and talked to the gate guard, surrendered his driver's license for surety, and drove me back to my room. (Of course, by then I was so sun-addled that I couldn't find it, so we had a nice tour of the west side of the base and explored all of the streets!)
Luke Air Force Base is divided right down the middle by Litchfield Road, a major public thoroughfare running north and south. Security walls line Litchfield Road, and there are only a couple of places where a person can exit onto or out of the base. There is a vehicle and pedestrian bridge connecting the east and west halves of the base.
There is only one place to eat on the west side of the base (where I am staying), and it is closed on Sundays. I can see several fast food places from my room, but they are on Litchfield Road - outside of the wall - and I would have to walk at least a mile to get to them. This afternoon I walked to the Burger King, which is on base and also about a mile away. Right on cue, it turned out to be closed on Sundays! There was a Shopette next door which was open (praise Allah!), so I bought a few things and walked back to my room.
Unlike the bases on Okinawa, taxis cannot come on Luke Air Force Base.
Did I mention that it is hotter than hell?
But it's a dry heat.