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Heat waves haven't stopped Americans from getting outside this summer

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

Summer usually comes with a promise of fun, whether it's cookouts in our backyard or long-awaited vacations. But this summer has had a hard time delivering. This weekend, we're expecting a heatwave in the South - again - and thunderstorms in most of the country - again. NPR's Lisa Lambert reports that despite all that, Americans are determined to hold summer to its promise.

LISA LAMBERT, BYLINE: It's summertime. Isn't the living supposed to be easy?

TAYLOR EVANS: Yeah. It hasn't been that easy.

LAMBERT: That's Taylor Evans, who works in entertainment marketing in New York.

EVANS: Oh, gosh. It's been very muggy, very warm. Yeah, just almost like swampy a little bit.

LAMBERT: And thunderstorms. And those days when the city was blanketed with wildfire smoke. Well, even then, Evans has found ways to keep having fun...

EVANS: I went to a concert in Brooklyn.

LAMBERT: ...Both indoors and out...

EVANS: There was an anniversary party for the musical "Wicked," like, two weeks.

LAMBERT: ...In a very New York way.

EVANS: The Met does like a rooftop sort of like makeshift bar in the summertime.

LAMBERT: No, Americans will not lock down again. We're constantly consulting weather apps and chugging the it drink of summer, water, or electrolytes if you're feeling fancy or really, really hot. And we're having fun in. The last week of July, which was hit by both excessive heat and thunderstorms, Major League Baseball recorded the best attendance at games in more than a decade. Live Nation, the big concert promoter just posted record profits. And then there's travel. John Hunt has been zooming around the country with his wife and two kids.

JOHN HUNT: Our 4-year-old, for some reason, keeps a rock every time we go somewhere. And I think we have like nine or 10 rocks sitting on a table.

LAMBERT: Rocks from Missouri, California, Washington state, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, the Rockies.

HUNT: And every time I look at it, I'm like, man, that was a lot of packing the car, making sure you have everything, checking the weather, going and doing it.

LAMBERT: It's been tough at times. Sixty-mile-per-hour winds shook their tent in Wyoming. His wife had heatstroke at the gorge in Washington. One flight was delayed for six hours. But Hunt hasn't canceled any plans and doesn't intend to.

HUNT: My family is kind of on like a rock band tour from the end of May until the middle of August.

LAMBERT: One reason - he invested a lot into planning this summer. He started in November to make sure he could lock in campsite reservations. Also, most of the time, summer's been fun, like at Priest Lake in Idaho, near the Canadian border.

HUNT: The weather's great. I think the hottest it got was maybe like 90 degrees. We had one day where there was a little sprinkle of a shower, but, you know, sitting on a beach at a lake in northern Idaho is pretty lovely.

LAMBERT: And yes, there's a possibility of more extreme weather next summer, but he's still going to kick off another round of planning in three months.

HUNT: And I guess the best thing I learned from my grandfather is if you don't bring a raincoat, it's going to rain. If you bring a raincoat, there's a chance that it won't rain. So you just kind of prepare for whatever the worst could be and hopefully it doesn't hit you or it misses you by a couple miles. Or you're in it and then, you know, that's a whole different experience.

LAMBERT: And hopefully, you have your weather apps and your electrolytes with you, too. Lisa Lambert, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Lisa Lambert
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