Too Much Sunshine?

Is there such a thing as too much sunshine? I grew up in the Midwest and I remember well the days that would turn into weeks where the sun stayed hidden behind a thick layer of cloud cover. The month before we packed up and moved west, we experienced an entire month with seeing the sun shine. Talk about depressing!

sunshine Prescott Arizona

That gloomy weather made it a lot easier to say good-bye to family and friends as we packed up our family of four plus furry dog and moved west to the unknown. We didn’t have jobs. We didn’t know a soul. All we knew was we weren’t meant to stay in the Chicago suburbs.

sunshine in Prescott ArizonaWe purged more than half our stuff. Items we couldn’t part with, like our canoe and a few family heirlooms, were stored at Al’s sister’s farmette in northern Illinois. We packed up our full size van and a small pull behind U-Haul trailer and off we headed west to Las Vegas, Nevada ….. in January, no less. Our larger pieces of furniture were moved by Mayflower.

Yeah, there were a few people who thought we’d lost our marbles moving from Chicago to Las Vegas in the dead of winter with our young children – 3 and 5 years old at the time.

When you know in your heart that it’s time for a change, time to move on, why procrastinate? Al and I share a favorite scene from the movie Paint Your Wagon ….

Elizabeth: Then simplify your life, Jacob. Sell me.
Jacob Woodling: But Elizabeth: you don’t know what you’ll get.
Elizabeth: But I know what I’ve had.

It’s a line Al and I share regularly when discussing a change, a change of any kind, “I don’t know what I’ll get, but I know what I’ve had“. Sure, there’s always that fear of the unknown, but Al and I have never allowed fear to hold us back. Although, I assure you there was a fair amount of fear with an incident or two crossing the Rockies in the middle of January with two small children and a dog in tow.


The highlight of that cross-country move happened in Colorado. The Eisenhower Tunnel located 60 miles west of Denver, Colorado on Interstate 70 is over a mile and a half long and sits at an elevation exceeding 11,000 feet. The moment we exited that tunnel, we were greeted with the most spectacular sight. Laid out before us were stunning snow-covered mountains in all directions along with the brightest blue sky I had ever seen. I’m sure my mouth dropped open in awe.

On Interstate 70 near the town of Frisco, Colorado, is a scenic pull-out. (I highly recommend this stop when traveling westbound on Interstate 70) We stopped here to stretch our legs and take in the amazing scenery. We no sooner exited the vehicle when all fourΒ three of us started complaining, “The sun, the sun! I need sunglasses!”Β  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such brightness in nature. I started seeing spots like I’d been hit with the flash of a camera.

Although, Mr. Aviator sunshineHusband always sported cool dude aviator shades, the kids and I rarely found the need to wear sunglasses in the mostly overcast Chicago suburbs. Ah, little did we know, but this lack of sunglasses habit was about to change 😎

Three days and 1,800 miles later, we arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada, and our introduction to life in the desert southwest began. We went from an average of 189 days of sunshine a year to over 300 days. Β Oh yeah, bye-bye seasonal depression …Β bring on the sunshine!

But is there such a thing as too much sunshine? It’s a question I’ve recently been asking myself. Now that the forest fire is contained and the air has cleared, I’m getting back to exploring the Prescott area with my camera. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d return to the RV complaining to my husband about a boring blue sky. But that’s exactly what happen the other day.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t dare swap these lovely blue skies for the grey gloomy ones in the Midwest. It’s just nice to change it up every now and then. We’ve gone over six weeks without a drop of rain and hardly a cloud in the sky. I find myself collecting sunglasses and stashing them in all the necessary locations …. a pair in the car, one or two in my purse, another pair on my desk. They seemed to have multiplied and partnered up with my old eye cheater glasses that I also have lying around every where πŸ€“

Prescott Arizona Willow Lake

Ah, so much sun, but patience is a virtue. I keep my eye on the sky. I’m longing to photograph one of those amazing desert sunsets, and I need a smattering of clouds to fulfill my quest. Considering it is officially “monsoon” season here in Arizona, I shouldn’t have to wait too long. I keep the camera at the ready.

Monsoon season in Arizona

Willow Lake Prescott, Arizona

And finally a storm rolls in. It didn’t exactly produce the shot I was envisioning, but I’ll take it. The storm passed through rather quickly, but it smelled wonderfully refreshing while it lasted. And now that I’ve had that quick little fix of storm clouds, bring on the sunshine. Yeah, I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much sunshine or having too many pairs of sunglasses 😎

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!

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59 thoughts on “Too Much Sunshine?

  1. Wow! Amazing photos. I want to visit the west side of the country so bad. I can relate to your family, as my wife and I have a 6 year old and a little one turning one in 2 months and a beagle. I have dreamed about just packing everything up from our home in the suburbs of Detroit and heading west. How did you do it? What brought on the move? How can I talk my wife into doing? I am so jealous. Let’s chat.

    • We left Illinois in the early nineties due to a job transfer. Our kids were 3 and 6 at that time and although we missed family, we fell in love with the west. We didn’t sell our house until our daughter graduated from college but we know lots of families that travel full-time and home school. Good internet connection and a location independent job and you’re good to go. Tons of info on the internet these days about families full-time RVing.
      In the meantime, enjoy the gorgeous MI fall colors. That is one thing I miss about the Midwest. We don’t get the colors in the west.

  2. I like your sense of adventure Ingrid … heading out West with a hubby, 2 kids and a dog – classic!
    Living in the Vancouver,BC region has its benefits – Mountains, Oceans, Lakes, Rivers – but we could use a lot more Sunshine for sure! Right now it is awesome – good for the tourists, although now there are lots of forest fires in the interior of British Columbia, and campfires are prohibited everywhere. From November thru March – lots of Cloudy Overcast, Rain and this year – tons of snow! I think March had 29 days of rain!! I’ve lived here all my life and still not used to it. However, the desert sun would be a little extreme for us. The best weather is – big blue sky with lots of interesting clouds and mild temps. PS – Love your photos as usual!

    • Thanks – the beauty of a home on wheels is I get to travel with the weather, even though we’re not moving around too much this year, there’s always next. Hmm, where ever shall we go πŸ˜‰

  3. Great post and I agree with your sentiment…sun is wonderful but blue skies all the time is boring. One of the reasons I do enjoy Florida is the weather changes always keep it interesting.

    Rick grew up in Upstate New York and has shared with me the gloom that comes part and parcel with the lack of sunshine. Though it does creat the perfect atmosphere for some pretty good “blues” writing.

    When he went to Italy in January and the weather was beautiful -chilly but sunny, he realized he’d had enough of the overcast skies. It’s what caused him to jump ship and move to Florida. He’s never regretted it.

    • Those overcast skies get old real quick. Whenever we return to the Midwest to visit family, I’m usually ready to move on after about a week. Love my skies in the west but those coastal skies are pretty amazing as well. Lucky me, I get to enjoy both ☺

  4. I love pure blue skies, but then I long for clouds for some photographic drama. Beautiful shots of Willow Lake! Truthfully, I think that too much of almost anything eventually becomes too much. It’s a good philosophical point to ponder. πŸ™‚

  5. No you can’t get too much sunshine! πŸ™‚
    Ever since we left Raleigh, NC the end of April I feel like we have brought the rain to every place we visited. It rained on us in Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Even the Saint Lawrence River was five feet higher than normal.
    But, hey, I’m not complaining. Even with the rain we have had some of the best front yards anyone could ask for.
    Home is where you park it!

  6. The photos are wonderful, but the message is better! People are so afraid of change, and yet change is relentless. I suggest links be changed so they open a new window and then we can just close that window to return to your post when we are reading. The Paint Your Wagon link took me away (sob).

    • Hmm, I’m not sure how to add links so they open in a new window. I guess I’ve always hit the back arrow to return to a post. Sometimes this computer stuff gets the better of me πŸ˜†
      I’ve always embraced changed but I know so many folks who don’t!

  7. Well, what can I say, we are having too much sunshine for now that it is no longer funny. I know i know, my next complaint would be its raining cats and dog here πŸ™‚
    Beautiful photography capturing the mood of the lake and the wildflowers. We could have been photography buddies had we made it to Prescott and learn from you.

    • I was thinking of you as I wrote this as I know the sun has been beating down on you two. The last two days we’ve had storms roll through cooling things off and keeping me RV bound. I wanted to photograph the storm but didn’t want to get caught in it and ruin the camera ….. although, I do have a new camera on my ‘wish list’ πŸ˜‰

      Learn from me? Hardly! You do quite well on your own but it would’ve been fun shooting together like we did in Galveston in those freezing temps πŸ˜€

  8. Love the lighting in your photos. I grew up in Thailand (=I avoided being in the sun) but lived in Oregon when I went to Oregon State University (=I need more sun). So I am not sure what to decide. 😢 But since our house on wheels have solar panels, I guess lots of sun is a good thing.

    • Thanks Keng. Yeah, it’s difficult finding that perfect fit or balance when it comes to weather. Guess diversity is what keeps us travelers traveling 😎

  9. You always manage to capture the mood in your photographs, you have such an amazing gift with your camera and I’m just glad you chose to share it with us. Just made my first brussel sprouts salad – I like it! Who’d a knew?

    • Glad you enjoyed my photos. I’m so impressed with you and how you’ve embraced this new diet. You’ll need to share the Brussels sprouts recipe. I usually only cook the stuff.

  10. Interesting, I never thought about having too much sunshine. We have had a very rainy few months here in southern Ontario & I must say, I sure miss the sun! Send a little our way, will you?πŸ˜‰

    • In our younger days, we used to vacation in western Ontario just north of Lake of the Woods. We never knew what kind of weather we would encounter in July. I guess that added to our adventures. I’ll be sure and send you some sunshine, since we have more than enough here in Arizona 😁

  11. Having spent the last years of my career in Holland, Michigan in gloomy weather, I have to say it is not possible to have too much! I dreamed of busting loose and seeing the desert in those days. 😎

    • Holland MI …. all I can think of is fields and fields of glorious tulips. I used to love visiting during the ‘tulip festival’. But I hear ya on wanting to bust loose. Those gloomy skies get old real quick.

  12. We moved to Florida in 2004 – for MORE sunshine! We also said it could never be HOT enough. But we are changing as we age….We meet our match last summer in Kentucky when we actually went to see an IMax movie at 2:00 to get into a cool place! This summer, we are in Wisconsin and it’s been perfect. I’ve actually wanted a day of rain so I can get caught up on so much….So today it is finally got us rained in and I don’t feel like getting caught up on anything!!! LOL
    Your pictures were fabulous as usual. I lived in Colorado Springs as a child and we used to drive up to Glenwood Springs (hot springs pool) for my mom’s back therapy in the winter…..oh that was fun as we slid around on the little highway now a NICE interstate! You’ve brought back good memories.
    And you know, we want to know the rest of the story! How long were you in Vegas????

    • Haha … so you want to hear more? My husband says I need to write a memoir. Perhaps, one day. We lived in Vegas for four years and then moved to Colorado Springs. Fortunately, we lived in Las Vegas during the ‘kid friendly’ years in the early/mid 90’s. It was awesome. Be sure and keep us posted on your campgrounds in WI. We may need to make the Midwest our summer destination in ’18, although the PNW is pulling.

      • Yes, your memoirs!!!! With lots of photos! LOL
        Those were the “good ol’ days” weren’t they. My parents took us kids there on vacation several times.
        We are enjoying Wisconsin so much – no time to blog….wondering how I will capture it??? It’s been nearly perfect….I am posting what we are doing regularly on FB but not so much on the campgrounds. One problem for us is the lack of full hook ups and 50 amps. But somehow we have managed to do pretty good. At some point, I’ll get them listed with some info….We spend little time in campgrounds so we just look for safety and 50 amps. We’ve blown two compound circuit breakers – due to the age of the campgrounds and not our over usage….We have an all electric residential fridge and three ACs – not that we needed them…we have only been using one most of the time. During the day and a heater at night!

  13. I grew up in Belgium without sunglasses as well. That changed when moving on a boat and sailing in the tropics. Then, when I left French Polynesia forever, I donated my pair of sun glasses to a homeless guy in Tahiti! πŸ™‚ I love blue skies and I only complained about them when in the tropics and being battered by heat and humidity for weeks on end. It’s the sweating, I hate… It hasn’t rained once here in Oakland, CA in the three weeks we have been house sitting here. Very different from the wet and chilly spring! No complaints, though. The weather has been lovely.

    • Yep, definitely need sunglasses while sailing. Glad to hear the weather has been agreeing with you lately. I sent you an email the other day. Hopefully you received it.

  14. I understand what you were feeling with too much sun. I lived in Huntington Beach, CA for a year when I was 20. I remember wishing for a rainy, cloudy day. I never dreamed you could get tried of seeing the sun every since day, but I did. Good your sunshine returned without those smokey clouds:)

    • It’s rare for me to complain about blue skies, but due to the forest fire, I hadn’t picked up my camera in days and I was getting antsy to capture something fun. I do believe ‘monsoon’ season has arrived. The last two days have brought some strong storms keeping me RV bound. Although if I was a die hard photographer, I’d a been out capturing the drama πŸ˜€

  15. Well, I think there CAN be too much sushine. I do like the sun, but too much is too much. IO don’t mind the dry heat that much, but I do when it’s hot and humid. And, of course, we always need rain here in southern Texas.
    Have a great Sunday,

    • The last two days, we’ve had some rather strong storms roll through and the heavy rain was so needed. It was refreshing as well. It brought in some cooler temps and relief from the extreme heat. Enjoy your day!

    • That is so true. As a fellow Illinoisan, we sure appreciate the Arizona sunshine, don’t we? Yesterday’s storm was refreshing!

  16. In Alaska the problem its not too much sunshine its too much daylight. 21 hours of daylight right now but who’s complaining. Clouds give our photos texture and depth and yours certainly are of a high degree.

    • Thanks Tim. Yeah, I can only image 21 hours of daylight. Hard to schedule sunrise or sunset photos, huh! I remember our canoeing days in northern MN when the sun wouldn’t set until 10:00 p.m. and I thought that was late 😏

    • I’m with you – we’re never interested in camping in/near trees. I like the open skies and lots of sunshine. Glad you enjoyed the post ☺

  17. I wholeheartedly agree… such thing as too much sunshine! Admittedly I’m from the east, on the east side of those great lakes and am very familiar with months of grey skies, sigh. Now, when I visit the eye dr. for a prescription change, I only get sunglasses!

    • Oh those Great Lakes, aren’t they great? Great for snow. Great for extreme weather patterns. And great for gray gloomy skies πŸ˜† Although, you have set up a nice little home on the water that if it weren’t for the location I would gladly take off your hands πŸ˜‰

  18. Nope! There’s no such thing as too much sunshine! Although sunrises and sunsets sure are prettier with a few clouds. We are in the middle of afternoon and evening thunderstorms most days. Sometimes they pop up out of nowhere when you least expect them. But they do cool things off a bit.

    • I think we are officially in the ‘monsoon’ season. The last two days we’ve been graced with storms that have been quite refreshing. Although the lightening and downpour kept me RV bound. I can’t seem to find a happy medium 😏

    • Thanks Brenda. We’ll see if I can get out and about without destroying my camera. Although, I do have my eye on a new camera πŸ™ƒ

  19. It’s funny how we who take pictures would rather have a few clouds, or a dramatic sky. When we winter in Arizona I start scanning the skies about 4pm. If there are clouds, I say “Could be a sunset tonight.” If it’s clear, it’s usually blah.

    • Like minds! Arizona produces some of the most amazing skies and as photographers, we just need to make sure we’re there when the magic happens and I know you sure have.

  20. Love the quote from Paint Your Wagon! It’s my all-time favorite movie. Enjoyed your stunning photos, too!

  21. OMG! What a great story! As a Midwesterner, I can totally confirm the lack of sun here. I feel like the only time I don’t have SAD is July – September. That’s sad! πŸ˜‰ I’m gearing up for my change… trying to create a job I can do online. Hopefully, things will change before I get too old to do them!
    Awesome pix as always! πŸ˜ƒ

    • Thanks H. I’ll need to shoot you an email and see what you’re up to. Hubby and I are trying to figure out next summer and I think it might include a Midwest visit even though the pacific northwest beckons. I always have mixed emotions about returning to the Midwest 😏

      • I’d love to visit again when you come up. Clearly, do it during a sunny month πŸ˜‰
        Got your email and will answer today, I just need to get to a real keyboard, too much typing for a phone…
        I love that you can plan a year in advance… I can also, however it seems we’re rare. Most of my friends can’t even commit to the next weekend πŸ˜›
        We could easily meet up camping! That would be a blast! We plan / reserve in January.
        We are also going south for xmas…. maybe Texas/Louisiana ish area. If I remember, you hit Texas about that time. Let me know!

        • Summer …. duh! Yeah, you won’t find me in Illinois any other season πŸ˜† We’ll be in Rockport TX on the 30th of December and staying until the end of Feb. Not sure if that’ll work with you guys and your plans. We can certainly share a lot with you two on the Corpus Christi area. We loved Galveston but weather can be unpredictable. Be sure and let me know if I can offer any suggestions for your trip.

          • I’ll let you know what we’re thinking. We need to do it asap. I know Christmas time camping can get dicey with getting reservations, especially in good parks. Texas is a pretty long drive… we may need a day or two in Arkansas. I’ve already wanted to see/experience the hot springs.

    • Thank you – with the forest fire behind us, I’m taking full advantage of the smoke free skies and getting out as much as possible.

  22. Beautiful photos! At times, living in Wyoming, I find myself wishing for more clouds but not often.

    • Thanks! Having called Colorado ‘home’ for over twenty years, I do love those blue skies, but a few clouds are nice for a little dramatic drama in a photograph.

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