IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?

Just re­mem­ber Man­teca has 25,000 square feet of stacked Dreyer’s Ice Cream wait­ing for you

Riverbank News - - 209 LIVING - DEN­NIS WY­ATT 209 Liv­ing

Hot town, sum­mer in the city Back of my neck get­ting dirty and gritty Been down, isn’t it a pity Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city All around, peo­ple look­ing half dead Walk­ing on the side­walk, hot­ter than a match head —Sum­mer in the City lyrics by The Lovin’ Spoon­ful

The first time I ac­tu­ally re­al­ized some peo­ple have no idea how hot it can get in the Cen­tral Val­ley was in Jan­uary of 1992.

I had moved to Man­teca the pre­vi­ous year from Lin­coln which on av­er­age is two de­grees hot­ter than Man­teca from where it is sit­u­ated on the eastern edge of the Sacra­mento Val­ley plus has the added bonus of not ben­e­fit­ting from Delta breezes.

I had done a story on a new Kauf­man & Broad neigh­bor­hood in Man­teca for the real es­tate sec­tion that men­tioned new homes were start­ing at $ 119,999.

A real es­tate agent called up and wanted to know how that was pos­si­ble given the me­dian re­sale price for an ex­ist­ing home at the time in Man­teca was $ 125,900.

Check­ing back with the sub­di­vi­sion sales as­so­ciate pro­vided the an­swer. Air con­di­tion­ing was a $ 4,000 op­tion. Some un­sus­pect­ing buy­ers from the San Fran­cisco Bay Area ac­tu­ally bought new homes with­out air con­di­tion­ing. I’m sure af­ter one sum­mer that was no longer the case.

Be­ing a fifth gen­er­a­tion Val­ley boy — the Cen­tral Val­ley and not the San Fer­nando Val­ley — I was raised to live with the heat.

Given the stretch of 100-plus de­gree days we just sur­vived that hit 12 in a row be­fore the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice fore­cast the high to dip slightly be­low the cen­tury mark, you might won­der whether the heat has fried my brain along the way.

The se­cret is to em­brace and re­spect the heat while con­di­tion­ing to it. That means min­i­miz­ing ex­treme swings — think of go­ing from a 70 de­gree build­ing to 104 de­grees out­side to a 140 de­gree car you cool down to 75 de­grees and then back out into 106 de­gree heat. That puts stress on your body.

It also helps that I take on more wa­ter than the Ti­tanic. Dogs pant to stay cool. We sweat.

And while sleep­ing with­out air con­di­tion­ing can be a chal­lenge at least it’s not what pi­o­neer min­ers had to do in Death Val­ley. They slept dur­ing the day in the shal­low wa­ters of Fur­nace Creek and worked at night.

And if you re­ally want to know how peo­ple 100 years ago sur­vived sleep­ing in the Val­ley heat, they re­lied on Mother Na­ture’s air con­di­tion­ing — the Delta breezes. Screened in sum­mer porches to keep the in­sects out and let the cool­ing breeze in was the norm.

As a kid grow­ing up in Lin­coln, on days when the mer­cury topped 100 de­grees, we slept in the back­yard at night on chaise lounges. It was a lot cooler and you had the added bonus of gaz­ing at the stars and pon­der­ing all sorts of things. Af­ter mid­night you’d have to pull a blan­ket over you as it felt that cold. No alarm clock was needed as the sun hit­ting the blan­ket brought you out of your slum­ber.

I oc­ca­sion­ally re­peated the out­door sum­mer sleep­ing dur­ing the three years I lived in Lau­rel Glenn apart- ments in a sec­ond floor unit that had a balcony. The only thing that’s thwarted me from do­ing it at my cur­rent homes is Dal­ma­tians that seem to think they are lap dogs all of a sud­den at 3 o’clock in the morn­ing.

There are those who say they’ll never get used to the heat and that the Cen­tral Val­ley is hell on earth.

Per­haps they should book a week’s stay in Down­state Illi­nois dur­ing a sum­mer “heat wave” when the high is at 90 and so is the hu­mid­ity. Af­ter seven days we’ll com­pare notes.

If you want to wear a sweater at mid­day on Aug. 1 then drive to San Fran­cisco. While our high is push­ing 104, the top num­ber in The City is 76 de­grees.

Mark Twain nailed it. The cold­est win­ter you are ever go­ing to spend is a sum­mer in San Fran­cisco. But then again on those rare oc­ca­sions when the ma­rine layer goes AWOL and the tem­per­a­ture in San Fran­cisco shoots up to 90 de­grees it makes Dante’s In­ferno feel like a walk- in freezer in com­par­i­son.

As for grand­par­ents that will tell you to quit com­plain­ing that it was hot­ter when they were a kid, turn off their air con­di­tion­ing and ask them to re­con­sider their stance.

The de­bate over global warm­ing aside, it is hot­ter to­day than it was 70 years ago and it’s re­flected in overnight lows that aren’t quite as low as they once were. It’s be­cause there’s a dearth of trees with mas­sive canopies, swim­ming holes cre­ated by ir­ri­ga­tion canal over­flows are gone, and con­crete and as­phalt have trans­formed our liv­ing en­vi­ron­ments. Rocks — that con­crete and as­phalt em­u­late — have an un­canny abil­ity to ab­sorb heat and as the tem­per­a­ture cools to re­lease it. That doesn’t even men­tion the fact the sur­face can heat up ef­fec­tively in the sun­light. Cold- blooded rat­tlesnakes are smart. They get how na­ture works. Warm- blooded hu­mans aren’t, given how they keep try­ing to defy Mother Na­ture.

As for how you con­di­tion your­self for the heat, more than a few fire­fight­ers I’ve known over the years get it. They will plan their runs be­tween 3 p. m. and 4 p. m. on a day that will be in the triple dig­its. That’s be­cause it is when the peak heat of the day hits.

These are folks that have to deal with heavy turnouts and will deal with work­ing con­di­tions at times that make a 104- de­gree day feel like a brain freeze af­ter de­vour­ing an Icee.

No one is ad­vo­cat­ing or rec­om­mend­ing that’s how to start an ex­er­cise pro­gram or that ev­ery­one should try it, but it does il­lus­trate how con­di­tion­ing makes sense.

Heat can be a dan­ger­ous thing. I get it be­cause it al­most got me once.

It was back when I was into bi­cy­cling big time rack­ing up 10,000 miles a year. On a two- day jaunt to Chico where my sis­ter was at­tend­ing col­lege and back to Lin­coln, I plot­ted a 121- mile first- day trip via Oroville. I planned it when I had no idea what the tem­per­a­ture would be. It ended up be­ing a record 108 de­grees. That wasn’t the is­sue. What was hap­pened to be an un­sched­uled crash near Ta­ble Top Moun­tain where I shat­tered two large wa­ter bot­tles I had filled in Oroville. By the time I re­paired the rim and re­placed the tube I had al­most drained what was left in the third bot­tle that I had been drink­ing on since de­part­ing Oroville.

Long story short since my planned route had a long climb ahead, I was out of wa­ter and it was 108 de­grees with no breeze, I con­sulted a CSAA map and al­tered my route — big mis­take. Had I stayed the course I later found out that af­ter 1,000 feet of climb­ing in three miles I would have come across a gen­eral store. In­stead, I turned into a dry, hot wind. An hour later I was see­ing things. In this case it was a beer dive. I fig­ured I could at least get wa­ter there. But when I re­al­ized it wasn’t there, I did the only thing I knew to do that could help — find shade. Af­ter an hour I got back on the bi­cy­cle at 3 p. m. and within a few miles reached a busy cross­road that hap­pened to have a con­ve­nience store in the mid­dle of nowhere. I got a 42- ounce cup filled to the top with ice along with soda ( the soda wasn’t a good idea), dug out a cou­ple of dimes and called my sis­ter ex­plain­ing the sit­u­a­tion. While I waited I pol­ished off the ice and soda and got an­other.

She ar­rived with a small jug of ice and wa­ter. Af­ter I put the bi­cy­cle in her car, I ended up down­ing the wa­ter on the way back to Chico. Once there I fig­ured I should take a cold bath to cool my body down. Be­fore I did that I raided the fridge for ice wa­ter and asked if I could have an un­opened con­tainer of ice cream bon­bons. I pol­ished them off while I was soak­ing in the bath tub. Af­ter I got out I stepped on her scales that claimed that af­ter guz­zling wa­ter I weighed five pounds less than when I left home that morn­ing.

So I did what any sane per­son would do — the next day I rode back to Lin­coln on a longer route cov­er­ing 130 miles.

It is why I rarely go any­where with­out wa­ter. And when I hike on what should be a five or six hour round trip, I al­ways take enough wa­ter in case I get stranded for a day or so.

Fear is a good thing. I don’t leave any­thing to chance.

But at the same time I don’t let fear con­sume me from not em­brac­ing sum­mer.

That said I’m nor­mal com­pared to my cousin Larry Wy­att. His per­son­al­ized plate for years read “MECRAZY”.

For three years Larry ran the Western States 100 Mile En­durance Run. It’s a nice mid-sum­mer jaunt from Lake Ta­hoe to Auburn that the goal is to “run” in 24 hours or un­der.

In or­der to stay in the race, par­tic­i­pants had to stop at check points and be weighed. If they lost more than 7 per­cent of their body weight they had to sit out un­til they re­gained it via hy­dra­tion and such.

Larry would do al­most daily 20- mile train­ing runs in June heat car­ry­ing peanut but­ter sand­wiches he would eat when he ran so he could keep weight on.

Near­ing the end of the race in the Amer­i­can River Canyon where heat ra­di­ates from rocks at night, they’re al­lowed pac­ers to cover the last 10 miles. Of­ten times the pac­ers have to be “res­cued” be­cause of the heat and el­e­va­tion gain.

And Larry thinks I’m crazy be­cause of my an­nual week- long hik­ing trips in Death Val­ley and other hikes I take.

As for the fact we will likely have more stretches of 100- de­gree days, will that bother me?

My an­swer is sim­ple: That’s why Dreyer’s cre­ated Nes­tle Drum­stick Sun­dae Cone Ice Cream. Work­ing out on a day like this is the best ex­cuse I can think of to pol­ish off a half gal­lon of ice cream in one sit­ting. If it’s lucky, the half- gal­lon will last for 20 min­utes tops.

Say what you want about Man­teca and the heat, but I wouldn’t want to live any­where else. That’s es­pe­cially true since Dreyer’s Ice Cream’s 25,000-square- foot cold stor­age dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter is in Spreck­els Park less than a half mile from my home.

Back in 1967 when cen­tral con­di­tion­ing for homes was in its in­fancy win­dow units were all the rage as il­lus­trated by this Whirlpool ad.

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