Go north to get cool, say the denizens of Arizona’s urbs. In Tucson, it’s up Mt. Lemon. In Phoenix, it’s up to the Rim.
After all, south is hot! Not! Not always, at least.
Bisbee, with its mile-high elevation, has average high/low temps in June of 89/59, while Payson, up on the Mogollon Rim where Zane Grey once rode, is 88/51. Not a lot of difference. In July, the numbers are 87/62 for Bisbee and 91/59 for Payson, after the rains start. (Here’s the source for these figures.)
The summer rains don’t just cool things off in Bisbee. No, no, no. They add a beautiful dimension to the scenery as well. The thunderheads often start in the valley below the city and come right up into the canyons, a-flashin’ and a-roarin’ and dropping the temperature 20 degrees or so within minutes, while soaking and cooling folks who are out in the streets dancing, ’cause they can. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but we’ve given rainy-day tours, in our open Jeeps, to folks from Phoenix who dearly love getting a soaking. Because they can’t get it at home.
To make it even cooler, this summer we’re offering Jeep tours that begin at 8 a.m., rather than the normal 10 a.m., to capture more of the early-morning cool and to stretch the day. You can eat breakfast/brunch after you’ve gotten your day well under way. If you’re reading this on your mobile, just click the number, 520-432-5369, to make a reservation for an 8 a.m. Historic Bisbee Tour. Please call a couple of days in advance.
Another way to stay cool in Bisbee, of course, is to burrow into the mountain. Actually, the burrowing has been done for you by the hard-rock miners of yore. All you have to do is catch the train the runs deep into Queen Hill and enjoy the Queen Mine Tour, where the temperature is about 47 degrees, day and night, winter and summer. Ah, if only they could bottle it . . . . (The number for reservations at the mine tour is 520-432-2071 .)
A different kind of cool
While Bisbee is cool in the summer, it’s also cool — a different kind of cool — all year long. You can find stuff about its art and architecture and setting all over the place, so here we’ll talk about its rich history.
It was recently recognized by USAToday as the best historic small town in America, and for good reason. History happens where there is money, and Bisbee was the epicenter of history and wealth in the Southwest. To understand the source of its wealth, visit the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, where the good folks at the Smithsonian Institution put together a world-class exhibit on mining and minerals for us. It is the ne plus ultra of small-city museums.
It showcases some of the most beautiful mineral specimens you could ever hope to see, and after an hour there, you will understand the wealth of the camp. A trip through the city in a Lavender Jeep will then fill you in on how the city developed, with tales of places, people and events good and bad.
So whether you come to Bisbee to cool down or chill out, you are likely to leave both satisfied and hungering for more. But you won’t know till after you make the trip south.