Moving Day: San Antonio, TX To Sulphur Springs, TX

Buttoned up and ready to roll…

I was up at 6:00 am so that I had some quiet ‘me’ time before Michael got up at 6:30 am.  With most of our chores done yesterday all we had to worry about this morning was making the bed, unhooking the power, bringing up the stabilizer jacks and bringing in the slides before we headed off for Michael’s 8:30 am doctor’s appointment.

We picked up a couple of breakfast sandwiches from Whataburger on the way and arrived at the VA clinic about 8:00 am.  We ate our breakfast in the truck and then went inside to check in for the appointment.  We only had a short wait before we were called back to an exam room.

The doctor went over Michael’s lab results and listened to his heart and lungs and then recommended that he make an appointment with the pulmonology and allergy clinics when we get to Salt Lake City.  We’ll be calling next week to set up an appointment for the end of April/beginning of May when we first arrive in Utah.

We made it back to the Ft. Sam FamCamp at 9:45 am.  We used the bathroom, hitched up the coach, checked the lights and did a pull test and were heading out of the park at 10:00 am.  Not bad.

Fill ‘er up!

Just 30 miles into our drive we stopped at Buc-ees in New Braunfels to fill up the fuel tanks.  With diesel at 2.13 per gallon you just gotta.  Plus, we picked up some Beaver Nuggets for some friends, a package for ourselves and some of their yummy fresh beef jerky.  It was a quick stop so it wasn’t long before we were back on I-35 heading north.

What’s behind door number 37??

Even though it was a quick stop I took a moment while in the rest room to tame my curiosity.  The women’s room has door upon door going into individual stalls and I had to count how many in all.  Are you ready??  There are 40 individuals stalls in the ladies room at the Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels, Texas!  That’s a lot of potties!

As bad as it got…no thunder, no lightening…just some rain.

The sky had been pretty dark from the time we came out of the doctor’s office until we got to the north side of Austin.  We got a short sprinkle shower just north of Austin and then we hit blue skies.  Those blue skies didn’t stick around long.  Just before reaching Jarrell the sky turned dark and then the rain began.  It continued to rain until just before we got to Waco…a good hour or so.

We stopped at Kelly’s Kitchen about 25 miles north of Waco.  Today’s special?  A snacking platter of different cheeses, meats, crackers, fruit and nuts.  We rested, ate and surfed for nearly an hour and a half before getting back on the road.

The famous Texas Blue Bonnets

I’ve never been up close and personal with a big patch of Texas Blue Bonnets and they’re all over in this area…lining I-35 and there was also a big patch just outside Kelly’s Kitchen so I took a walk over to snap a few pictures.  So pretty!

We made another stop not real far down the road at the Blue Beacon on the southeast side of Dallas to get the oilfield dust and dirt removed from the truck and coach.  We had planned to on our way to San Antonio but the line was so long we decided to wait.

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

Today’s line was fairly long too, but it was two lanes and moved pretty quickly.  We had about five trucks ahead of us and the line actually moved pretty quickly.  We waited about 40 minutes before it was our turn to get washed.  We had them wash & Rain-X both the truck and coach and the total charge was $59.00…not bad, not bad at all.

Getting back on the road once the coach & truck had their bath it was about 5:20 pm and there was an accident down the freeway from where we were but we stayed on the service road until we exited onto I-45 where traffic was moving well.  We followed I-45 to I-20 and then headed east.

Site 2 – Walmart, Sulphur Springs, TX

We had intended to spend the night at the Pilot Travel Center in Sulphur Springs but the Inn was full so we opted to grab some sandwiches from the Arby’s there and then head to the Walmart just three miles down the road.

We nestled ourselves into a spot next to a semi on the side of the store by the garden center and settled in for the night.  We got settled about 8:00 pm, ate our dinner and then hit the hay.  Tomorrow we have just 200ish miles to travel.

 

 

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Kong and Cancellations

I was up about 7:00 am again and enjoyed welcoming the day in quietly and slowly…no bells to invade my quiet time.  Michael followed about an hour and a half later.  Sure does feel good to sleep and not have to worry about getting up to an alarm clock!

Movie Time!

We didn’t have much to do today so we chose to take in a movie since it had been a while since we’d been to the theater.  Michael chose Kong:  Skull Island and we headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse about 11:30 for the 12:30 showing.

Ready for the movie to start!

We liked the movie but it didn’t do anything special for either of us.  The story line is a little bit different from the traditional King Kong movies but still the same overall idea.  Island.  Big Monkey.  People come to island.  People and Monkey meet.  So on and so on.

I had originally had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday afternoon but got a call on Monday rescheduling the appointment for Thursday afternoon so after the movie we planned to head south to the Metropolitan clinic where my doctor’s office is located.  However, while at the theater I got a call cancelling the appointment as the doctor had an emergency.

Not a big deal really as it was just an appointment to do my blood work and refill my prescriptions.  They wanted to reschedule but since I won’t be back in San Antonio until November they will put an order in with Labcorp to have my blood work done and the results will be sent to them.  Labcorp is all over and there is one in Madison so I’ll get it taken care of while we’re visiting Dan and Amanda (and the grandbabies!) in Wisconsin in a few weeks.

On our way home we stopped at Walmart to pick up some DEF as the truck was telling us it was craving some.  Michael added it to the tank when we got back home.

I made pulled pork sandwiches for dinner, using the pulled pork I’d frozen from last week’s pulled pork baked potatoes and accompanied it with the rest of the potato salad I’d made earlier this week to go with hot dogs.  A nice, easy dinner with not much hassle involved.

Since we’re pulling up stakes tomorrow we got the majority of our ‘move day’ chores out of the way this evening.  Michael has a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 am tomorrow (Friday) morning on the northwest side of the city.  Check out time is noon and we’re pretty sure that we’ll be back by then but to be on the safe side we got the OK for a late check out.  We’ll have the coach all buttoned up and ready to hook up to make our departure easier.

 

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New Window, New Friends, Newly Spiffed Up Toes

I was up a few minutes before 7:00 am and got to enjoy a peaceful morning of surfing the internet and blog writing before Michael got up about 9:30 am.

Mighty fine breakfast

I made some Eggy Opa’s for breakfast.  That’s what we call ’em…scrambled eggs, diced up jalapeno & cheese Opa’s topped with some shredded cheese in a flour tortilla.  Good stuff!

While I was making breakfast Michael started working on removing the hall window that was broke back in December when it got hit by a flying stone.  We’ve had the replacement window for quite some time but decided to wait until we got to Ft. Sam to replace it.

Out with the old…

After breakfast we got down to business and made quick work of the replacement job.   It took us a total of about an hour from start to finish and was actually pretty easy.  Remove all of the screws, lift out the window, apply a gasket to the new window, insert replacement window into opening and screw in place.

…in with the new!

This is actually the second window we’ve replaced on the coach.  The first one was one of the long slender windows that flank the coach in the living room.  That was back in May of 2014.  We were here at Ft. Sam again and Zack was here to help that time. Click HERE to read about it.

We finally got over to the office to pay for our stay here at the park.  Baker, the campground manager, took care of us, stamped our book and saved us $20 by accepting our camping coupon for a free nights stay.

While we were at the office I donated some games and a couple of music CDs to the lending library.  Last time we were here I picked up a couple of jigsaw puzzles.  Didn’t find anything I wanted/need this time.

Looking forward to getting back to The Pearl…very cool place

We met fellow Heartland Owners, Dan & Lisa, (also a fellow Heartland blogger) for ‘lupper’ at Southerleigh, which is located in The Pearl.  The Pearl is a shopping and dining district with lots of variety.   The Pearl is built on and around the old Pearl Brewery which was established in 1883.  After a couple of different transactions/acquisitions over the years, Pearl beer is still around and currently produced by Miller in their  Ft. Worth facility.  Click HERE for a little history of the Pearl.

I asked our server to take a picture….LOL…this is what I found on my camera

Southerleigh was recommended to us by a couple that we met while we were dining at Rebecca’s at the Lodge  in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.  You can read about that dining experience HERE.  So glad we took them up on their recommendation as we really enjoyed the restaurant’s atmosphere and the food.  We’d also like to go back to The Pearl and spend more time as it’s a very interesting area.

A great way to spend an afternoon…with new friends.

This was our first meeting with Dan & Lisa and we had a good time swapping RVing stories.  We also share a history with the military as Dan and Lisa both served with the Coast Guard, with Dan retiring from service a few years ago.  We really enjoyed our visit with both of them and will look forward to seeing them down the road.

We had a 5:00 pm appointment for pedicures at The Spa at Ft. Sam so we cut over visit short…it probably could have gone on quite a bit longer.  We only recently realized that this facility was on post and decided to check it out.  Being on post and right next to the PX and commissary it’s quite handy.

This was the first time, in a long time, that I had an English speaking pedicurist…which was nice…except for the fact that she spoke TOO much.  She was very friendly but talked non-stop to me and to Michael.  She was a youngish woman whose husbands military career was mirroring Michael’s (Army Reserves, Active Duty, AGR) so it was interesting to talk with her…but just a little less chatter would have been great.  Oh well….you can’t have it all.  LOL

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Crazy Busy Day in San Antonio

After turning off the light around 8:00 pm the night before you’d think we would have been awake pretty early….NOT!  When the phone rang at 10:00 am we were out cold.  I got up at that point.  Michael, however, slept 3 more hours…getting up at 1:00 pm.  I’m guessing we needed the sleep as we went to bed that night just before 10:00 pm and had no trouble getting a full night’s sleep.

As planned, we did absolutely nothing on Monday other than piddle around the house.  I stayed in my jammies and worked on my laptop mostly while Michael did some putzing outside.

We had hot dogs and potato salad for dinner.  The hot dogs were a HEB brand with cheese in them…very tasty…so good that I will be picking some up before we leave Texas so that we can enjoy them while we’re gone.  I made the potato salad in my Instant Pot and it turned out just as good as the last time and it’s SO easy.  If you’d like that recipe you can click HERE.  It can also be made without a pressure cooker just boil the eggs and potatoes the conventional way.

It’s a good thing we took it easy on Monday because Tuesday was a crazy busy errand day.

Our first stop of the day was at the VA clinic on the northwest side of the city so that Michael could get labs done and the results would be available for his appointment on Friday morning.

Spraying her down to get rid of the dust

Since we weren’t able to get the truck washed at the Blue Beacon the other day we hunted down a place today and Michael used the sprayer to knock off the oil field dirt and dust and will have it washed when we stop at the Blue Beacon on our way north.

Jim’s – just a diner type place

Michael had to be fasting for his labs we stopped at a local chain, Jim’s, for breakfast.  These restaurants are all over San Antonio and it seemed like a good time to give it a try.  The place is nothing fancy kind of like a larger Waffle House or a Country Kitchen.

Under done Eggs Benedict

I got my favorite – Eggs Benedict which would have been much better if the eggs were cooked more.  Michael went Mexican and ordered Migas which came with refried beans and hash browns.   The air conditioning was cranking out cold air right on us so we didn’t waste any time finishing our meals and hitting the road.

After breakfast we hit Walmart and Sam’s Club, which were in the same parking lot.  We’ve been waiting for Sam’s to start stocking their outdoor folding chairs again and Michael saw that they had them in stock again so we picked two up along with a few other items. Walmart was just your basic household items:  Paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper (that’s a lot of paper!), razors, laundry detergent, furniture polish…that kind of stuff.

Since Home Depot was next door we made a quick ‘in and out’ so that Michael could pick up a couple of five gallon buckets that he plans on using for storage.

The Pilot Store

Michael wanted to pick up some more of the RV Wash Wax All that he’s been using so we headed to a local place that carries it. He purchased the Wash Wax All when we were at the last Heartland Owners Club rally in Goshen back in 2015 and absolutely LOVES it and swears by it.  So when he found that he could purchase it at a store in San Antonio he was pretty happy.

Another quick stop was made at Walgreens to pick up some sunflower seeds…a great travel day snack and Michael likes their ‘Nice!’ brand over most other brands.

Our last two stops were for groceries.  The first was at HEB to pick up items that are kind of HEB exclusive:  their brand of hot dogs, string cheese and yogurt and a couple of rolls from their bakery to make pulled pork sandwiches.

The commissary was our last stop of the day (whew!).  We did the majority of our shopping there which didn’t amount to much as I’m trying to clean out the freezer/fridge as much as possible as the coach will be ‘sitting’ while we stay at Dan and Amanda’s home in Wisconsin for 2 weeks.  We’ll still have it hooked up to power so we don’t have to empty it completely.

Turned out great! Tender juicy steak and fluffy potato.

Finally back home Michael unloaded the truck of all of the days purchases while I got the task of putting the groceries away while trying to start dinner too.  I utilized my air fryer to create a pretty darn yummy dinner.  First, I ‘baked’ two potatoes and when they were done I made two ribeyes  in it as well.  Partnered with a Caesar salad it was a great dinner to end our long day of errands.

We have not missed the sound of the bell going off.  It’s nice to be able to sleep without the sound of trucks going by, use the bathroom without having to hurry, watch a television show without having to push pause every few minutes.  Freedom is nice.

While I have not been hearing any phantom bells I have been dreaming about gate guarding.  Not bad dreams…just dreams.  The last two nights I’ve woken up after dreaming of working the gate and I have to remind myself that we are not working any longer and then I have to ‘turn my brain’ off to get back to sleep.  Sure hope that doesn’t last long.

I mentioned when we first arrived here that we’re in a section of the park that we’ve never been in before and that I thought the train’s passing by might be a nuisance.  Nope…doesn’t bother us one bit.  Sometimes we hear it…sometimes we don’t.   But even when we do it’s tolerable.  I think the dual pane windows help and the fact that we’ve been in some place where trains can be REALLY annoying.

 

 

 

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Moving Day: Dilley, TX To San Antonio, TX

How cool is that??

I forgot to mention the awesome ‘Welcome’ sign that Dora gifted us with when she came by for one last visit yesterday.  It’s hand painted by Dora, herself!  She mentioned putting it outside but I don’t know that I want it to get dirty and/or wet…might just have to find a place for it in the house!

I got up at 3:00, an hour earlier than normal, so that Michael could get an extra hour of sleep since his sleep was cut short due to us leaving at 10:00 am.

Move day chores were minimal since we’d tried to get everything done yesterday.  Outside we just needed to unhook from the power and hitch up the truck.  Inside we just needed to make the bed, put away a few last minute items and pull in the slides.

Taken outside…it was FOGGY!

Fog rolled in right around 7:00 am but, thankfully, it cleared up well before it was time for us to pull out and we had a beautiful blue-skied drive to San Antonio.  Traffic moved freely with no back ups whatsoever.

We normally stop at the Blue Beacon on the southeast side of San Antonio to rid the truck and coach of all the oilfield dust and today was no different.  However, we were both very hungry so we got some breakfast/brunch at the Iron Skillet at the same location before making our way to the back of the parking lot where the truck wash is located.

We were stunned to see 10 or more trucks in line for a wash.  It didn’t take us much time to decide we’d bypass the wash today and stop somewhere on our way to Arkansas at the end of the week.  Back on the road after breakfast and finding the truck stop too full we only had just 9 miles left for today’s journey!

Beautiful site. Lets just hope that the trains aren’t crazy loud since we’re so close.

We arrived about 1:00 pm and got checked in and were assigned to site 49.  There are basically 4 different sections here at the FamCamp and with today’s assignment we have now stayed in every area!  This site is pretty close to the train tracks that run along the back of the park so we’ll see if they bother us or not…they haven’t in any of the other sites we’ve stayed in.

The FamCamp has recently started participating in the Air Force’s Frequent Campers program (which we joined last year when we were Colorado) and we wanted to use one of our coupons for a free nights stay but the woman who is the normal person checking people in is off on the weekends and the volunteer wasn’t 100% sure what needed to be done so we’ll need to go back tomorrow or the following day and get things taken care of.

I don’t know why….but Michael really has trouble getting the satellite tuned in here.  Only here…nowhere else.  Just here.  It’s really quite strange.  So we were prepared for a couple of hour struggle (not kidding!) but the struggle didn’t happen!  He got it tuned in on the very first try.  Amazing!

After getting everything set up we just sat and vegged.  It felt so good to just relax with no bells or trucks to disturb us.  We have worked the last 109 straight…no breaks, no days off.  This is the first time we’ve worked that long with no break whatsoever. Usually, a gate ends and we go back to the yard for a day or two before getting a new gate.  We’ve never left in the middle of a gate either…we’ve always seen a job to the end so that felt a little strange.

Interesting…no?

Today is the 32nd anniversary of our very first date.  That date wasn’t much to speak of…riding up and down Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas, eating french fries and drinking rum and coke…that pretty much sums it up.  In honor of that very first date and finishing up this springs gate guarding gig we decided to have a nice dinner out.

We chose the Magic Time Machine restaurant in San Antonio.  We’ve driven by it many times and it looked quite interesting plus a gate guarding couple we know speaks highly of the place.

Fun!?!

The building is quite eclectic looking both outside…and inside.  However, the inside is much more intriguing with each table kind of in it’s own little nook and each area has it’s own theme, in a way.  We were seated in a Mexican setting, which was kind of boring.  We would prefer to have been placed at the Christmas table, a thatched hut, the attic or even the sweethearts table.  In the center of it all is a red roadster that was made into a ‘salad car’.

Nacho made sure to help Michael with his mashed potatoes

The staff are dressed up as various characters…Thor came to our table to see how we were doing, Rapunzel was at the hostess station and Nacho (a character from the 2006 movie Nacho Libre…we had to look it up!) was our server.  There are many other characters but these are those that we saw and recognized.  Certainly a fun place for kids…but we adults had a good time too.

The salad car is a pretty cool way to display the soup and salad.

We bother ordered surf and turf.  Michael got the filet with a lobster tail and I had prime rib and lobster, both of which are served with mashed potatoes and trip to the salad car.  We both ordered one of their ‘bubbling potions’…how could you not!?! I had the blue while Michael went with the red potion.  Just a fruity soda with food coloring and dry ice….fun nonetheless.  We were happy with our meals and left with full tummies.

Filet & lobster tail…..yummm

We were home right around 7:00 pm and in bed by 7:20.  We read for a short while but were both so tired it didn’t take long before the light was turned off and we were out cold.  Out cold until 10:00 am this morning when the phone rang!  I got up at that point but Michael went back to bed…who knows when he’ll come up for air.

 

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow…

…I love ya, TOMORROW!!

Jerry & Penny, our replacements came by on Friday afternoon to check the place out.  They came inside the coach and we chatted for a while explaining the lease rules and giving them any information we could that might make the transition a little easier.  They should be here by 10:00 am on Sunday morning and we’ll be ready for them!

Started getting a new sand truck company today and they have some NICE trucks.

We had a bit of drama here on Friday night just as I was getting ready to go to bed.  The ranch manager and the people who drive the patrol vehicle, that roves the road between us and the other gate guard, had issues and they ended up quitting on the spot. There was a flurry of phone calls between the ranch manager, our sales person, our service tech, the Company Man and us but everything got worked out an within a few hours there was someone here to continue patrolling the lease road.

Once everything calmed down, the ranch manager made a point to come to the house and thank us and tell us goodbye as he’s not sure how much he’d be around before we leave tomorrow.

How nice of this man to go out of his way to message us after duty hours??

If that weren’t enough drama just before we hit the road, the darned light set (that they just replaced a couple of days ago!) stopped working about 10:00 pm Friday night.  Michael ended up working in the dark for the last 6 hours of his shift and then I did the same for the first 3.5 hours of my shift.  Not fun trying to read license plates in the dark!

Michael had planned to take a drive into town to get rid of our garbage today but a crew came in to pick up the trash trailer down on location so on their way out I just added our garbage to the trailer…worked out great!

Our friend, Dora, stopped by for one last visit this afternoon after she got done with her shift at the guard shack that she and her husband have been working.  They’ll be leaving the oil patch soon as well, and will be working a campground for the summer too.

We have really been blessed this ‘stint’ with a great group of guys to work with.  One of the guys from the rig stopped by this morning to say goodbye.  We got a text message from the production field supervisor thanking us, the ranch manager went out of his way to stop and say goodbye so he didn’t miss us, the Company Man and the VP of Drilling made a point to come from the frac location to send us off, several of the guagers and regulars have made a point of wishing us well knowing that we’ll be leaving and even a couple of the sand truck drivers had made sure to tell us that they’ll miss us as we’re some of the best gate guards they’ve come across.

1 Day Until We Hit the Road!!!

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Hitch Itch Has Set In…Badly

I’m hoping this isn’t too soon to say….but…believe it or not…we have not seen hide nor hair of any mice the whole time we’ve been in the oil patch this go ’round.  While we were at the Yarborough ranch we were in a pasture but the area we were in was free of grass…maybe that helped?  Here at the Shiner ranch we’re parked in a well manicured area (although it the grass is really started to grow now and could use a good mowing) so maybe that helped?  I don’t know but I hope that now that I’ve said something we don’t get inundated with the little critters.

Before the frac moved in the frac coordinator was here and during our conversation he told us we’d have 96 sand truck every 24 hours as they were going to be doing nearly 100 stages.  So far, to date, we have had roughly 630 sand trucks (yes…we keep track!  LOL) bring in loads and I don’t think they’re quite half way done.

It’s getting harder and harder to get up in the mornings , I feel my spirit lacking.  These last few days seem to be endless.  I don’t remember being this ready to be done in previous years.  But I’m sure I was.  Even Michael is started to get restless as he’s been counting the hours until we leave.  LOL

A ‘sweet’ gift!

Our day Sand Coordinator brought me a cinnamon roll from Cinnabon Tuesday morning.  Which I thought was very thoughtful…maybe it was because I sympathized with him about getting a speeding ticket the morning before?!?!

The actual frac crew is made up of a bunch of young guys (early to mid 20s) and they normally come in in a van.  One of the drivers of the day crew van is Jeff Fountain.  

The first time I met Jeff he was driving one of the big frac trucks while they were moving all the equipment in.  He said his name was “Jeff Fountain like a fountain pen”…to which I replied, “or a water fountain.”  Then I said, “…unless you’re from Milwaukee, Wisconsin then it’s a bubbler.”  Of course, he got a kick out of that.  So then I told him I’d always be able to remember his name by calling him Jeff Bubbler….and I haven’t forgotten it yet.  

One morning he came in and I had trouble seeing him due to the glare of the light set and said, “You’re not bubbler”. …and he said “Yes.  I’m bubbler!’  I got ’em trained good!  LOL

Shawn called Tuesday morning to confirm that he had a replacement gate guard set up to be here Sunday morning at 10:00 am. However, he started the conversation out with, “Sorry, I have to veto your request to leave.”  Nice to know that he’s got someone lined up to replace us and also good to know he still loves us!

As the day gets closer and closer for us to pull up stakes and leave the oil patch we’re both in ‘get ready mode’.  I’ve been working on de-dusting the house, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming, defrosting the freezer, cleaning mirrors and TV screens, laundry etc.  And of course, Michael is doing his part too…he gave the shower a good cleaning, cleaned out the bed of the truck and then took it to the car wash for a bath, repacked the basement to make it travel worthy and replaced the spare time under the truck.

Had a workover rig come in Wednesday morning, which is really no biggie as it was just the rig and 3 pick up trucks.  They went to work on one of the wells for an oil company other than the one that we’re here for.  They made fairly quick work of it as they were done and moved out well before noon on Thursday.

Grading the road and wrangling up the dust!

Paco and Francisco (father and son team) worked on grading the lease road.  I guess it’s gotten pretty bad in some spots. Although here by us it was still in pretty good shape.  And now that they’ve done the grading and stirred up the dirt…the dust is crazy when the trucks come down the road on their way out…leaving BIG plumes of dust in their wake…and if the wind is blowing in our direction…ugh!

We planned on enjoying a pizza from Mabely’s Bakery one more time before we left but it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out.  On Tuesday, Michael drove into to pick up a pizza and do a few errands but Mabely’s was closed.  No sign on the door, no explanation, no nothing.  Strange.  We decided to try again on Thursday but called first.  No answer, no message and the voice mail box is full.  Still strange.

I made some Monster Cookies on Thursday.  They’re a good travel snack and I wanted to package some up for the ranch hands who have been so nice to us over the 9 weeks that we’ve been here.

Michael finally took the plunge and changed our Verizon account over to the new ‘unlimited’ plan.  It looks like it should be cheaper than what 40G plan we had…but we’ll see once that bills start coming.

I’ve been forgetting to share my Heartland blog posts with you!  Just click on the links below if you’re interested in reading any of the posts:

RV Water Heater Maintenance

Door County, Wisconsin

Staying Connected the RV Way

2 Days til we Hit the Road!!

 

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Rain…Not a Gate Guards Best Friend

Thursday 3/9

Not fun logging vehicles in the rain. You learn to do a lot of shouting! LOL

I get done with my shift at 2:00 pm.  About 2:15 pm it started sprinkling.  About 2:30 pm it started raining a bit harder.   About 2:35 pm it started thundering.  About 2:40 pm it started pouring, the power went out briefly and lightening happened.  I think someone up above was looking out for me!  Funny thing is is that our friend is at a gate 10 miles west of us and it only rained for a short while by them.  LOL

Traffic has picked up from what we experienced during our stint with the drill rig but it’s still quite manageable.  We’re still able to watch TV, cook, clean, etc but might have more interruptions…but that’s the nature of the business.  In the first two days of frac we are averaging 220 vehicles in a 24 hour period while we averaged only 105 vehicles with the rig….and that includes the rig moves from when we moved in and when they moved out.

Perfect with a side of cranberry sauce.

I tried another new recipe for my Instant Pot and we were both very pleased as to how it turned out.  It has a very comfort meal feel to it and is very easy and quite tasty.  You can click HERE to be taken to the recipe for Chicken and Stuffing with Green Beans on my recipe site, Kelly’s Kitchen.

Friday 3/10

Started raining about 12:10 pm…pretty darn hard…enough to make puddles again.  It rained for about 15 minutes before slowing down to a drizzle and then drizzled for most of the day and night.

Michael is still dealing with his asthma flare up but it does seem to finally be getting a bit better.  The doctor did tell him that it would most likely take 2-3 weeks of being on the steroid breathing treatments and inhaler for his lungs to clear up fully.  It will be two weeks this coming Monday that he started the new meds.

The light set in the rain…before it died.

Shortly after Michael turned the light set on tonight it starting making terrible noise.  Michael went out and investigated and found that it was very low on oil.   We both noted that while the company had been really good at keeping the light set oiled it had been a while since we’d seen anyone do any maintenance on it.  Michael called the Company Man and told him the situation and asked him to contact the company that provides and services the light towers.  They brought a new light set a couple of hours later.  It wouldn’t have been quite so bad but Michael had no light source other than our scare light and front porch light neither of which was of much help.  Just glad it wasn’t much more than the couple of hours he had to wait in the dark.

Saturday 3/11

It was Mikey’s 53rd birthday today.  Not a whole lot you can do to celebrate a birthday out in the oil patch but I did bake him a cake and gave him a couple of extra hours off.  I actually mixed up two cakes.  The first was a chocolate cake that I put a cup of oil in rather than the 1/3 of a cup the recipe asked for.  Of course I caught my mistake right after I started mixing the batter.  No way to save it, I tossed it and was thankful I had another box of mix in the house…white cake not chocolate (his favorite).  But you do what you’ve gotta do.  I spiffed it up by tossing some colored sprinkles in the batter.  Topped with a dollop of whipped cream it was pretty tasty.

Sunday 3/12

Sand truck drivers have always been considered the bottom of the oilfield chain, it seems.  But then again you have those that really live up to that reputation and give a bad name to everyone.  This job has been no different.  We had two sand truck drivers get ‘run off’ because they drove over the frac water line and then drug it down the road. Effectively shutting down the frac until the line could be repaired.  Then there were a couple of drivers that decided it was okay to use the ranchers pasture as a turning around point after all the rain we had (even if there’d been no rain…it’s just not something that you do to someone else’s property.)

Monday 3/12

I never did update you….there is no catering on this job.  Which is fine as I really need to get our freezer cleaned out and I enjoy cooking! Catered meals is just one of those little extras that is appreciated , not expected.

Gate is left wide open in rain for sure!

Traffic is still very manageable.  Still getting around 220 vehicles per day with a 100-110 of those being sand trucks passing through the gate.  Keep in mind that that is just 50-55 loads of sands…we keep track of them coming in and going out.  So if a vehicle comes in and goes out that counts as TWO vehicles as they have to be logged both coming and going and when we were opening and closing the gate it was two times we had to open and close it.

Although with the increase in traffic we’ve been leaving the gate open and the ranch manager hasn’t said anything.  I think he knows we’re on top of it and nobody’s come in that doesn’t belong here.  Plus there are no cattle or horse in this part of the ranch to worry about getting loose.

6 Days until we HIT THE ROAD!!

 

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…And We’re Fracin’!

Monday 3/6

Here they come!

After Michael’s busy Sunday night dealing with sand truck after sand truck my morning started off pretty quiet….that is until nineteen vehicles arrived at the same time about 8:00 am.  Fifteen of those were big frac trucks (pumps and such), 2 were supervisors in pick ups and 2 were vans that transport the frac crew back and forth.  In this case they were here to take the drivers of the big frac trucks back to pick up MORE big frac trucks.

Thankfully, I got them all off the highway (thanks to one of the supervisors), lined up in two rows and logged in pretty darn quickly…under 10 minutes!  Traffic the rest of the day was very manageable, still quite a bit of traffic (175 vehicles) but no more big rushes like that one.

A sweet gift from my ‘cousin’!

One of the sales guys from the rig stopped by just to say ‘hi’…which was pretty darn sweet.  He had a hat for Michael that I made him sign as we’ve decided that we’re honorary cousins…and actually that could be true.  His last name is Schuette and my great great grandmother was a Schuette.  She came from Mecklennburg, Germany sometime in the early 1800s and Randy’s Schuette ancestors came from roughly the same area.  So…we’re cousins!  🙂

I made our final grocery shopping trip into Pearsall.  We have no idea whether this frac crew gets catered meals or not so I just shopped like the don’t…and if they do…we’ll be blessed.

New shoes for the coach!

On the way home I came back through Dilley so that I could stop at Cervantez Tire Shop to pick up the two tires Michael had ordered for the coach.  They already had the new tires mounted on the rims, had removed the TPMS sensors from the old tires (which they handed to me) and will dispose of the two old tires.

Next stop was at Pacho Garcia’s to pick up dinner to take home.  We’d been there once before…last year in January or February on our way home after working a day gate.  Michael went Mexican with the enchilada dinner, which came with a crunchy taco, beans and rice.  I had the stuffed hamburger steak and that came with brown gravy, fries and salad.  Our meals were filling and hit the spot.

Tuesday 3/7

The Frac crew worked til 6:30ish on Monday doing maintenance.  Tuesday they came in between 6:00 am and 6:30 am and  got everything set up so they could start fracing on Wednesday.  They worked mostly til 6:30ish with a few stragglers holding out til later in the evening.  Had to make sure everything was just right so they could start fracing in the morning.

Wednesday 3/8

Michael had four sand truck come in between midnight and 3:30 am Wednesday morning.  They had 6:00 am appointment times so they just came early and slept until there appointment times.

The frac crew starting showing up about 4:00 am with the biggest majority coming in about 4:30 am.  They start work at 5:30 am and with the half hour drive from here to the location they need to arrive a bit earlier.

I got two more sand trucks about 5:15 am…once again with the 6:00 am appointment time.  The frac crew planned to start fracing about 6:30 or 7:00 am so those sand trucks were able to unload once the fracing process began.  By 8:00 am we had fourteen sand trucks down on location.  Thankfully, the frac location is almost 9 miles from us so we don’t see hide nor hair of anyone or anything until they appear at our gate.

I’m so glad I was able to capture a picture!

While checking in a sand truck I noticed a helicopter flying low on the other side of the highway (still part of of this ranch…just a different member of the family runs that portion).   A little later there was a guy on a 4-wheeler (I don’t think they’re called that anymore, are they!?!) who I’m assuming was herding cattle on the ground while the helicopter herded from the air.  Although…I guess they could have been herding deer…as I saw one of those fleeing the scene!  LOL

Received another ray of sunshine when James stopped by again…on his way to a rig which is nowhere near here.  Such a sweet, sweet man.

Michael went into Dilley today to throw away our trash, pick up a couple of things (I forgot) from the grocery store and to have the two new RV tires rebalanced as the weights they applied when they balanced them fell off.   Since he was out he decided we HAD to have one last burger from Rosa’s before we leave…who was I to deny him??

Getting the job done!

After we enjoyed our delicious burger lunch Michael decided to get the two new tires on the coach…which went very quickly. While he was at it he checked the pressures in the tires and torqued the lug nuts…so…the coach is ready to hit the road!  Woohoo!

10 Days til We Hit the Road!!

 

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Gearing Up for the Frac

Switching out tires

Michael did quite a bit of errand running last week trying to get things accomplished before the frac has it’s hold on us.  One of the things he did was take the coach tire that we had a flat on to a shop to see if it was repairable…it wasn’t.  So he left it there and came home.  We still have 2 of the original 2010 tires on the coach so he took one of them off and took it back to the shop and had them order 2 new tires.  When the new tires come in he’ll replace the other 2010 tire with one of the new ones and use the other as a spare.  So that will leave us with two 2014 tires and two brand new ones.

Our nights have been awesome.  Pretty much NO traffic between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am and the days have been fairly quiet as well.  There have been a few exceptions, of course, but not many to speak of.

We’ve started trying to get our sleeping schedules altered so that we’re ready to work our frac shifts.  Michael will once again work the night shift and I will work days.

Good stuff! I’d have it again.

Thursday morning Michael slept in so I waited to make breakfast and it’s a good thing I did because someone dropped of four breakfast sandwiches from Whataburger.  We’d never had breakfast from Whataburger so weren’t sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised as the sandwiches were pretty tasty.

We had a workover rig move in Thursday morning and they moved our Friday evening.  They were just here to ‘turn off’ the wells that are already in production.  The fracing process  can mess with the flow of already producing wells that are nearby so it’s common practice to turn them off.

This guy had a REALLY rough time getting into the gate….but FINALLY made it!.

Three sandcastles came in Saturday morning.  We had been told to expect them so when they got here we weren’t surprised. Two of the three had a rough time getting pulled into the gate without taking out a power pole or the gate because they didn’t make a wide enough turn.  The third guy learned from the mistakes of the first two and made a wide enough turn making it possible for him to pull right in.

We’d been told that the sand to fill the castles wouldn’t be in on Saturday….but that wasn’t the case.  About noon three sand trucks showed up.  I got them logged in and they headed down to the location and about 15 minutes later they were back! Considering it’s nearly a half an hour drive to the location I knew something was up.  It seems that they were having trouble getting the sand castles erected down on the location and weren’t ready to load the castles with sand.

These poor sand truck drivers didn’t know if they were coming or going.

About an hour later back came those same three sand trucks.  They’d gotten another phone call and were told to come back as they’d finally gotten one of the sand castles erected.  They came back out a couple hours later…still loaded.  I guess they were still having issues raising the castles so they decided to wait until the following day.

The problem seemed to be that the ground that the sand castles were supposed to sit on was very unlevel and with the rain and mud they just couldn’t get the sand castles in place.  Not long after the sand trucks came back, Joe, one of our favorite heavy equipment operators came in to give the area another good ‘go’ with the grater.

It started raining Saturday morning and pretty much rained all day. It didn’t rain real hard…but it was steady enough to be annoying.  Thankfully, we just opened the gate and put out the awning and were able to log people in and out from under the awning…for the most part.  A good soaker like that will help keep the dust down.

Meet James…better known as Smiley or Happy

We were treated to some ‘sunshine’ during the otherwise dreary day when one of our favorites from the rig stopped by.  James works with pressure control and normally came to the rig once a week or so to check things out and make any adjustments.  Since we’re kinda located in between the rig that we were with and a new rig that Texas American brought up (he works with both rigs) he made a quick detour just to stop by and say ‘Hi’.  He’s the kind of person that is always smiling and laughing and he’s infectious so his visit was more than welcomed!

Three more sand castles (or silos) came in Sunday and a few hours after they arrived the sand trucks started trickling in.  It usually take about 5 trucks to fill up each silo but these must be larger than normal as it took 8 trucks to fill up one silo.  Michael ended up get 48 truck loads of sand between 2:15 pm and 4:13 am.  Yikes!  And that’s just the beginning.  We’ve been told to expect 96 sand trucks every 24 hours throughout the frac….which averages out to 4 or 5 an hour which is what we’ve done in the past.

Apparently this is a double line…Michael was able to hitch a ride on the back of a pick up to reach the first truck.

About 4:00 pm Michael got hit pretty hard when 9 trucks caring frac equipment, 1 pick up truck, 2 vans & one sand truck all arrived at the same time.  It wouldn’t have been so bad if they could follow instructions…but they couldn’t.  Michael told the first vehicle to pull forward a ways and stop.  And then the second vehicle was told to make a second row so that everyone could pull behind the two lead vehicles and he could get everyone off the road.  In the long run they ended up lining up single file and Michael had to walk half a mile to catch up with the first vehicle.  Although…Michael’s goal was to get them off the highway and that was accomplished!

13 Days until we Hit the Road!

 

 

 

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