The SNL season runs from September through July on the second Saturday of each month, with a "sweeps" contest in the August slot. Practice starts at approximately 6:45 p.m., and live balls roll at 7. Each team has four members, and one must be female. The cost is $26 per person up-front to cover the first and last weeks, $13 for each month thereafter (not counting the cost of shoe rental and other incidentals).
The SNL atmosphere is loose and fun, with much more camaraderie and friendly competition than you'll find in a weekly league. And -- most important -- the beer's cold and cheap.
Music videos from such artists as Pink, and The Vines (but, oddly enough, not Bowling for Soup), and psychedelic light shows are projected onto two gigantic screens over the alleyways while punky skate bettys fling glowing balls alongside spiky-haired gym rats quaffing pitchers of Amber Bock, and clubwear-clad Scottsdale fembots smoking Parliament Lights.
Sure, you could save a few bucks by throwing gutter balls with Flo and Jethro out in Apache Junction, but why miss out on getting taunted by frat boys exclaiming, "Rolled a 239, bitch! Beat that!"?
For us, there's Speedway Raceway, where racing is so intelligently miniaturized it gives you a super-size thrill at a teeny-weeny price. At Speedway, you'll be driving 270cc Honda-powered Indy-style go-karts around a tightly hairpinned quarter-mile indoor track. In other words, you're six inches off the ground going 50 miles an hour through turns with only inches to spare. In still other words, your adrenal glands will be squirting like high-performance fuel injectors. All this for $20 for 16 laps. Or much less with the special discounts frequently offered by the raceway. Get racing.
These are just some of the sights you'll peep if you head up to Speedworld in Wittmann on most any Saturday night for the come-one, come-all drag-racing program. All vehicles are welcome, from that '67 Camaro with the big block, to your sister's Scion fresh off the lot.
For $20, you can pretend you're Darrell Waltrip, or Danica Patrick if you're chickalicious. And about once every other month or so, After 9 Events (www.after9events.com) sponsors a racing extravaganza out there that includes a bikini contest and foam party and lasts until 5 a.m. Think you got a car that can do that quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds? Then you better be there, buster.
For the return trip, take State Highway 69, a less technical road with sweeping curves. Still a lot of fun, and a chance to relax after spending the last hour carving canyons. The road meanders for 60 miles before linking up with Interstate 17 for a fast blast back to the big city. It's a 200-mile round trip, and as fine an afternoon in the saddle as you'll find in these parts.
State Highway 238 on the eastern outskirts of Maricopa County is perfect. The sparsely populated stretch between the town of Maricopa and the Sonoran Desert National Monument is scenic, unincorporated and rarely patrolled by police, who have better things to do than scout for speeders on a highway that leads nowhere. The biggest obstacles are garbage trucks going to and from the Butterfield Landfill, but once you're past the dump, you can really open it up. This isn't twisty territory, nor is it a yawner straight shot -- there are just enough turns to keep it interesting as the roadway's width shrinks in direct correlation to your speed. An ideal side trip on the ride to Tucson.
For FOGs (surfer slang for Frickin' Old Guys) who remember the lagoon when it first opened in 1969 as the world's first inland wave pool (pictures of the park's original layout still hang in the front office), it's hard to see so much of the gnarly water going to waste on pintsize kooks and hodads. During regular operating hours, the deeper third of the lagoon remains roped off, as are the stairways surfers used to descend at the deep end to short-cut paddling out from shore.
But at least once a month during the summer, Big Surf returns to its glory days by offering an after-hours run of the entire lagoon to anyone itching to really catch a wave. For $35, anyone over 12 can grab one of the old '60s longboards the park still hangs onto and ramp it up on a series of 10 extra-big waves that Big Surf's patented plunger sends curling down the entire two-and-a-half-acre length of the pool. Call early to reserve your spot, though; even ocean-lapping Californians are known to show up for this way-cool after-hours pool party.