Beating the Texas heat

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- It's getting to be that time of year again; the temperatures are starting to hit the low 90s, black or red flags are flying and 4:45 p.m. finds you sitting in your air-conditioned dorm room, wondering "what can I do when it's so darn hot outside?"

Some of you have realized this is a year-round question, as well - after all, there's only so many nights you can go dancing at the club before you start getting shin splints - but I've found, during the summer, I want to get out of my dorm room more.

There's quite a bit to do in San Angelo, and in case you don't have a car, there's plenty to do on Goodfellow as well. It's likely that the people who are still reading this article fall into the category of "young and worried about finances," so whether you're a technical training student, a first-term Airman on a budget or an NCO or young officer trying to think of something fun to do with the kids, I've got a list of suggestions.

10 things to do around Goodfellow Air Force Base (on an Airman 1st Class' budget):

10. Sleep: Cheesy as it might sound, take some time to catch up on your sleep - or other important things that are often overlooked in our busy life. As Airmen (and Soldiers, Sailors and Marines), we tend to be constantly on the go. Take the time to relax. Even if it's only for one day, you'll feel a lot better.

9. Movies: Goodfellow's Chaparral Theater hosts movies Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights for the best prices in town - and the theater is air conditioned, too. Students - looking to catch that movie you missed because it came out while you were in basic military training? The base theater is your best bet. Though some might balk at taking up weekend time that might otherwise be spent clubbing, the showings are early enough that catching a movie won't interfere with your nightlife too much. Check out the listings in the community section of this paper, or call the movie line at 654-3206.

8. Local Activities: This one will require you to leave base, but you can make a day of it if you're creative. Take a tour of Fort Concho, visit historic Fairmount Cemetery or take a walk in one of San Angelo's many parks - all for free. Yes, these are outside activities, but better to try them on a sunny day than during the pouring rain. For more information, visit http://www.sanangelotexas.org.

7. Bowling: The Thede Bowling Center on base is just another one of the air-conditioned benefits of being a servicemember. Open bowling is available every day for a reasonable price, and the short-order food is a welcome change of pace if you only eat in the dining facility. For more information, call 654-3227 or visit http://www.goodfellowservices.us/Bowling.htm.

6. Volunteer Work: It might seem crazy, but getting outside and volunteering does tend to make working hard on a hot summer day seem worthwhile. Get involved with the Rising Six, NCO Association, Air Force Sergeant's Association or the Air Force Association to help with Air Force-related projects, or contact the Airman and Family Readiness Flight at 654-3893 to ask about volunteer opportunities in San Angelo.

5. Ice Cream: An old staple of hot weather, cold treats make any summer's day better. Whether it's store-bought at the Base Exchange or the Commissary, restaurant fare from Thede Bowling Center or the Event Center or just a bit of soft-serve in a cup from the dining facility, take a few moments and enjoy it in the summer heat.

4. Gym / Sports: While it might be difficult to muster the energy to head to the gym when the thermometer reads 98 degrees, both Mathis and Carswell Fitness Centers are a lot cooler inside than the heat outside. Work out in a group by taking some of the fitness classes, or get a group of friends together to play basketball. If more organized fare is your game, try joining one of your unit's sports teams.

3. Get out of town: Information, Tickets and Travel offers trips to theme parks, vacation spots and other destinations across Texas - as well as some local recreation - at prices that won't bankrupt you. Whether you've got use-or-lose leave to burn or you're just looking for a good way to spend a weekend, ITT could fit your needs. For more information, call 654-3247 or visit http://www.goodfellowservices.us/ITT.htm on the Web.

2. Barbeque: What would summer be without a barbecue? If you haven't done this at least once already, you are missing out. The Commissary offers everything you might need for a good barbecue (meat, marinade, sauce, charcoal, burn cream), and the Equipment Rental Center (654-3254) can loan you the grill if you don't have one.

1. Pools: There's a reason this is number one. Nothing beats the heat like a dive into cool water. The 2007 swim season has started on base, and pool passes are available for the rest of the summer. Call McGarr Pool at 654-3225, China Beach at 654-3226 or the Goodfellow Recreational Camp at Lake Nasworthy at 944-1012, or check it out on the Web at http://www.goodfellowservices.us/Pools.htm.

Hopefully, these suggestions can help you beat the heat and make the most of a West Texas summer. Be smart, stay safe and most of all, have fun. You've earned it.