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Surviving the Texas Heat

It’s hot. It’s very hot! It’s only May but still it is hot. The snowbirds have abandoned Texas to head to cooler climates. I am very happy they have flown away and left behind more jobs for me and everyone else but staying and surviving this heat isn’t easy. After a few short months here, I have learned the daily cycle of heat and various ways to stay cooler while guarding gates down here.

Mornings in summer in Texas are not really cool but they are certainly cooler. Up until around 10-11 AM they are pretty decent. Then things start heating up until the hottest time of day from 3-6 PM. That’s when you feel like a lobster in a pot. It’s a daily struggle to stay cool enough during these times.

If you have ever seen pictures of gate guards, you will notice most of them are wearing shorts and short sleeved shirts. I thought my long pants of very light material would work but they are still too hot so shorts it is for me too along with comfortable yet professional-looking polo shirts. For shoes, sandals are not allowed due to the possibility of stubbing your toes while running to the gate which I have done many times already. Close-toed shoes are required. Slip-ons work the best to get in and out of shoes quickly. I use good solid slip-on shoes with padded inserts for most of my work which can be hard on the feet. In the early morning or evening though you may see me in Crocs™ as I am gearing up for or chilling out from work. They do protect the toes as required  and are fast to get into but are terrible for walking in all day, especially on caliche rocks. It is rather amusing at the end of the day to watch the truck drivers stop while waiting in line to leave or just outside the gate to change into sandals for their drive home.

A wide brimmed hat is also a necessity both on sunny days and rainy days. Whether you like to wear hats or not, you can’t handle the heat in Texas without one. You may want some sunglasses too.

Gate guard staying cool

I have a “keep cool” towel which I have used successfully elsewhere but it doesn’t work quite well enough here. It is made out of a special cloth that you wet down and shake to activate its cooling properties. I like it because it doesn’t get your clothes wet when wearing it. What is working better for me is rolling up 2-3 ice cubes in a wet bandana and wearing it around my neck or forehead. You can also put either of these or spares in the refrigerator for an extra boost. Some folks also use a mister if they get enough water for that from their company or they may just use a spray bottle full of water. During the hottest hours of the day, I have been known to go soak my head in the sink or shower. It may be messy but it gets me over the afternoon hump. Wet hair keeps you cooler.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the day. Those buckets of sweat must be replaced to stay healthy. Be sure your pets are also getting enough water and are being kept cool.

Keep lots of sunscreen on hand and use it, especially if you are guarding or work outside. It doesn’t take long to burn and it is very hard to work outside or stay cool once you are burned.

Cover for your RV is important too. RV refrigerators cool better and the RV itself really does stay cooler when the side is shaded so get that awning out. The awning will keep heat off the windows and may allow you to sit outside during some periods of the day. If you don’t want to risk your expensive awning in the belligerent Texas winds, get a cheap Easy-Up™ canopy to use instead and sacrifice if necessary. You can also put foil or the bubble foil material found in RV stores to cover windows and block the heat.

Awning out and secured from wind

Don’t count on air conditioning alone to survive. There is only so much they can cool and breakdown or loss of power is always a possibility. Have some DC fans on board to help it along and use alone if necessary. A good vent fan such as a Fantastic Fan is also an excellent one to have to circulate the hot air out of the RV.

You may want to put a shade cover over the provided water tank (big black tank) on the support trailer to keep it cooler. Otherwise, you will need to wait until later at night or early in the morning to get water cool enough to shower. Water sitting in your lines will be cool but new water coming in will be very hot during hot weather.

Utilities support trailer

Plan your meals to avoid using the gas oven on hot days or cook and eat later in the evening. Microwave ovens are better. Using crockpots, portable ovens, and rotisseries that can be moved outside while cooking are great for keeping the temp inside down. BBQing a lot is also an excellent option.  Making cold salads, etc. of course is best and should be part of your planning but who wants to eat only cold meals?

You can survive the heat of a Texas summer if you pay attention, learn the daily temp zones, dress for it, and prepare both yourself and your RV for it. Don’t forget to prepare for the unexpected as well. There’s always sumthin’!

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