FREEZING . . . Texas Style!
One advantage of having your house on wheels is you can “attempt” to always be in moderate or pleasant weather climates. I say “attempt” because no matter how hard you try, it doesn’t always work out as planned. So after enjoying a mostly moderate “Florida” winter, and a pleasant “Maine” summer last year, we thought we were pretty good at this weather thing. When we decided to accept a job in Port Lavaca, TX for a year beginning in November we were a little concerned about the hot “Texas” summer. We hadn’t even thought about the possibility of the winter season on the Gulf Coast of Texas being on the cold side.
The weather during our first couple of months at Texas Lakeside RV Resort has been mostly seasonal. As we coasted through the Holidays and heard of ice and snow events in our old home of Pennsylvania, we were mostly satisfied with the fact that we could go outside with a sweatshirt or light coat on most days. We may have seen a little more rain than we had hoped for, but, hey, rain is good for the crops, right?? As we moved into mid-January, the 10 day forecast started showing overnight temperatures that started with a two, and daytime highs that weren’t getting higher than a first digit of three. Now wait a minute! We didn’t sign up for this! We had survived overnight lows in the teens during our stay in Kentucky in December of 2016, but that was Kentucky. We drove the whole way down to the Gulf Coast of Texas. We were two hours SOUTH of Houston. And it certainly didn’t make us feel any better for the locals to say, “Geez, this cold weather sure is unusual for this time of the year.” So we had to do it. We had to get the electric heater, that was safely tucked away in the Big Tow’er, and put it back in the trailer. We had to make sure the propane tanks were full for those nights below freezing. We had to pull our heated electric water hose out of the truck and attach it to the trailer again. The heated water hose that had been safely packed away since we left Kentucky in December 2016.
Well, the middle of January arrived and we started seeing those nighttime low temps dip into the low to mid 20’s. Even with the heated water hose and some insulation wrapped around the water connections, we still had our brass water regulator freeze one night. There’s nothing worse than getting up in the morning and learning that you don’t have water to flush the toilet, wash your hands, or shower. Ok, it only happened one night, but we weren’t happy about it. Yes, we burned through a little more propane during those nights in January, even with the electric heater running to supplement the heat.
The “colder than normal” stretch in January probably effected me more at work than it did in our home. Ok, let’s be honest, when I was working for Verizon cold weather meant I would feel a chill going from our house to the car, or the car into work. I was fortunate to not have a job where I was working out in the elements. Well, that is true no more. A below freezing morning going to work now means that I’ll be outside in a golf cart performing my job. Which may include, lawn care, painting, bug spraying, pool/hot tub maintenance, trash pick up, or any of a variety of other things. So the cold matters to me now. The good news is that once Betsy makes the short walk to the campground office she’s pretty much inside for the day. She may venture out to clean the rest rooms on the outside of the building, but for the most part, she’s inside. The next way the cold impacted my job was back on the subject of propane. So one of my duties here is to pump propane when customer’s need it during our shift. These customer’s may or may not be staying at our campground. Well, when the temps get that cold, people tend to use the propane-fired furnaces in their RV’s a lot more. Thus the demand for propane was high! As much as the customer’s hated paying for propane, they hated being cold a little bit more. The other impact of the cold spell was in the beautiful lake we back up to in the middle of our campground. It is about a four acre lake that is stocked with fish and serves as a catch and release lake for our guests. I have been told that there are a lot of fish in the lake, but you can’t really see any of them from the banks of the lake. Well the morning after it dipped into the low 20’s, I discovered at least how many tilapia there were in our lake. You see, apparently, tilapia are sensitive to the cold and usually don’t fare too well. On this morning it looked like every tilapia in the lake was now floating on the surface of the lake. It was so sad! Over the next couple of days, one of my tasks at work was to gather up all of the dead tilapia and dispose of them. Being a numbers guy, I kept track of how many tilapia I picked up. Over the course of a couple of days I picked up 1,021 tilapia from the banks of the lake. Our owner surmised that was probably ALL of the tilapia that were in the lake. It may be time to buy some more tilapia and hope the cold is done for the winter.
Oh yea, all of this work talk reminds me that we hadn’t really officially written anything about our jobs here at Texas Lakeside RV Resort. Since this workamping job is planned to last a year for us, we decided to write quarterly updates so as to not bore you with our work details. So look for our first update on our current job in mid-February. I realize that some of our readers reside in colder parts of the country, so us complaining about a couple of nights in the 20’s may fall on unsympathetic ears. And that’s ok. I wish all of our cold-weather friends and family a mild winter and an early Spring. Have no fear, camping season for the entire country is right around the corner!