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The sun sets behind Pikes Peak as the city lights up. Night view of Colorado Springs. (Photo by Mark Reis)

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On a cold New York afternoon in 2003, I shared a struggle with a friend.

I had been offered a job at The Gazette but wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the leap. He listened patiently before shouting this response.

“But,” he said, “you can wake up every morning in Colorado Springs!”

Point made.

Each morning you wake up this summer, remember there are throngs of fellow Americans who wish they were waking up in Colorado Springs. (This is especially true of those waking up in Texas and Oklahoma.)

We dwell in a fantastic destination. Perfect? No, and my email box is sure to fill this morning with complaints about our city and our region. Please, tell me more about why you despise bike lanes.

Still, we can agree on this: The Springs is an undeniably beautiful destination, especially right now.

Here are a sample of reasons to cherish summer in Colorado Springs:

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No serious heat: A few years ago, I was walking to dinner in Las Vegas with a friend and griping about the heat.

My friend said it wasn’t that hot. I said it was.

I was right. It was 113 degrees, down from the day’s high of 117.

Colorado Springs is a rare American city. Many homes don’t feature air conditioning because air conditioning is only needed in the Springs for a half-dozen days a year.

My daughter moved from the Springs to Dallas in 2011. At the end of the summer, she called to complain of oppressive heat. Some checking revealed astounding truths. From June to August, the average high in Dallas was 101 degrees and the average temperature was 90.1 degrees. Meanwhile, the average summer temperature in the Springs was a soothing 73.2.

I offered her a simple question:

Why did you move?

You can run, hike or bike here and not worry about ending the romp drenched in sweat. When summer temperatures soar, humidity remains low.

Even those days that soar close to 100 degrees feature comfortable nights. By 8 p.m., it’s comfortable to sit on a back porch or outdoors at a restaurant.

And while you’re relaxing outdoors on a glorious summer night, consider this truth:

Few bugs: You know the routine. A long hike in a far-away destination and you start feeling the itch. In most American destinations, summer bugs are a plague. They attack with frightening aggression and expertise. They circle ankles with itchy bumps. They ruin many a summer night.

During five years of exile in Texas, we sat behind a screened porch in the afternoon and watched the insects fly by. It was quite a show. These nasty creatures owned the day and, especially, the night.

Not here. This is my 17th Springs summer, and I’ve seen only a few dozen mosquitoes in city limits and have seldom, and maybe never, been bitten by one.

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Friendly drivers: On Thursday, on a return drive from Cañon City, the downside of summer awaited at Tejon and I-25. Yes, a serious traffic jam. The summer hordes now dwell among us, which means full hotels, fat tax receipts and, alas, commutes that resemble crawls.

But here’s the encouraging slice of slow rides ahead. The Springs is filled with (mostly) courteous drivers who obey the laws, drive close to the speed limit and (usually) decline to offer angry one-finger salutes. I’ve driven in 49 states, and I’d put Springs drivers close to the top of American drivers.

Please, take the time to savor the best time of year in our city.

I’m serious about this suggestion. When feeling oppressed, take a long look at Pikes Peak, soak in the gentle temperature and say to yourself, “Thank God I’m not in Houston.” The oppressed feeling will dissipate. Trust me on that one.

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