First thing Friday morning we got a call from Shawn letting us know that there was a big possibility that we’d be moving back to the Shiner Ranch. It seems that Lew, the Ranch Manager at the Shiner Ranch, had taken a ‘shine’ to us and was not happy that we left. He pretty much demanded that we come back and since our oil company will be drilling quite a few wells on that property they thought it best to keep him happy.
Certainly won’t miss tracking all that lovely red dirt into the house!
For us…it wasn’t a real big deal other than the fact that we really like our rig crew and were sad to part ways. There are a lot of pluses at being at the Shiner Ranch – a LOT less dust, real water and electric, close to town.
And those dust clouds weren’t even bad!
We were barely back at Yarborough 24 hours and the red dirt and dust were already becoming a pain in the hiney! One of our water guys watered the road twice for us since the dust was so bad.
So we packed up and waited for a relief guard to arrive so that we could leave. A young man arrived about 10:30 am and took over logging traffic so that we could finish getting ready to pull out…which we did just about 11:00 am.
Rosa’s – little shack of a place on the outside
Michael had a hankering for a burger from Rosa’s so we stopped and had lunch before continuing on. We arrived back at the Shiner Ranch just about 1:00 pm and parked almost exactly where we’d been parked the day before. Our relief was waiting for us and once we were parked he handed over the log sheets (sheets we’d given to our relief the day before!) and was on his way.
Delicious burgers on the inside!
Funny thing: Just as we were leaving the Yarborough Ranch, the Ranch Manager pulled in and said, “Welcome Home!”. When we explained to him that we were leaving and why he was not pleased to find out we weren’t staying. So much love!
Fried Chicken…it’s what’s for dinner!
Our sweetheart of a sales person, Kelli, dropped off dinner (Church’s Chicken and the trimmings) shortly after Michael asked me what we were gonna have for dinner. Ha! Musta been our ‘Kelly/Kelli’ ESP thingie going on. She kept apologizing for having to move back but we assured her it wasn’t a big deal and that we were totally fine being here.
Here we are again!
Lew came by and welcomed us back. Told us we should have some ‘quiet’ days between the rig leaving and the frac starting. He also asked us to leave our contact information with him when we leave so that we could always come back here. Another oil company is always drilling on another part of the ranch and we could always work there. We are feelingthe LOVE!
We are settled in and prepared to ride out the Rig Move and move into a Frac…haven’t done one for two years, which was our longest frac ever – 36 days, from February 2nd to March 10 of 2015. If we survived THAT…we can survive anything.
We had a wonderfully quiet weekend! Almost no ranch traffic to speak off since they were in San Antonio to buy/sell horses and rig traffic was nice and quiet like it normally is on a weekend.
Michael got a few small projects out-of-the-way – checked the anode rod on the water heater…still in good shape, put a few things in the basement and also started trying to repack the basement so that he’s ready to move at the end of the week.
Dora and her husband Ed came by Sunday morning and we had a great visit! Lots of laughter and sharing of gate guarding stories. We’d not met Ed in person before…just via Facebook…so it was an added bonus to actually get to talk to him in ‘real life’! Unfortunately, before we knew it it was time for them to head on out as they were heading to a park for the day.
The sky opened up about 9:30 pm Sunday night and it poured, and thundered and the wind blew…and it continued for what seemed like forever, but wasn’t…but it did rain most of the night and poor Mikey had 5 casing trucks and the cuttings truck coming and going. Rain is not a gate guards best friend. However, on the bright side, the dust had been getting pretty bad and the amount of rain we got should take care of that for a while!
Michael picked up a pizza from Mabely’s Monday afternoon. The pizza’s are large enough that we had our fill for dinner and leftovers for several lunches to boot. Our last Mabely’s pizza for this season. 🙁
With our move back to the old location coming up I took advantage of being much closer to Pearsall and did my grocery shopping on Wednesday and did enough to last us 10 days or so that we’d only have to worry about going into town for groceries once more before we leave the oil patch.
Never really had to wait in line before!
Of course, with grocery day came picking up dinner and bringing it home. This time we went with ribs and brisket from Cowpokes. I’d never been there at lunch time and they had a pretty good crowd. We paired our BBQ with southern green beans and a sweet potato (It was National Sweet Potato Day!) for a yummy meal.
After lunch Michael went into Dilley to run a few errands: Mail a package, wash our filthy, filthy truck and filled the truck up with fuel.
Leaving the Shiner Ranch
Thursday was moving day for us. We ended up moving earlier in the day than originally planned as the frac/water company man needed a day gate guard for the gate too so it turned out perfect that we were moving back.
We started the morning off with a delicious breakfast croissant that I had picked up from the Donut Palace when I went into town on Wednesday. Just a minute in the microwave to warm them up…can’t beat it!
Ben our service tech arrived at about 7:30 am and planned to watch the gate until our relief got there. We were on the road at 7:42. The 40ish mile journey was uneventful and we arrived back at the Yarborough Ranch 59 minutes after at 8:41 am.
Unfortunately, as we pulled in and got out of the truck, the young guy that was watching the guy until we arrived let us know that we had a flat tire on the coach. Sure enough…you could still hear the squealing of the air as it made its way out of the tire. It seems we must have hit a rock just right coming down the road and it punctured the tire.
Always thankful for my handy man.
Michael got the tire changed while I logged traffic and nearly an hour after we arrived we were finally able to move into our parking spot. We got unhitched and then just sat in the shade of the coach for a bit while logging traffic and resting as much as possible. It was HOT and traffic was coming fast and furious for a while.
This is when we knew we were in for a busy day!
As we drove down Johnson Ranch Road we could see a frac site in the distance. It was one of the day gates that Michel worked about a month ago. As we turned onto Vesper Road (our road) we were met by a bunch of gravel trucks coming our way. Ugh…and of course, they were coming from our gate! I found out from first gravel truck driver I signed out that they were bringing 175 loads of gravel! Yikes!
Shawn came by to drop off some extra hose for the bell and check to make sure we were settling in. We were sitting in the shade taking a break when he arrived…still hadn’t moved the truck out of the way after unhitching and hadn’t leveled the house. We got a chance to chat a bit and then he was on his way…he’s so very busy it’s crazy.
Gary, Joe & Michael getting the trailer moved
Afterward Michael went to hook up to the generator to get some ac going in the house and found that the generator trailer was too far away for the cord to reach! Dang it. And…of course…we don’t have a ball hitch. Thankfully, our two Solids Control guys came by to check out the new digs and they hooked up to the trailer and pulled it forward enough so that we could plug into the generator.
It was really starting to heat up outside by the time we got the generator running and the power hooked up so that the air conditioning could start cooling the inside of the house off. It was 95 by 1:30 pm.
We’ll miss the Shiner Ranch – power, water, grass….but not the closeness to the highway or the long trek to the rig…9 miles.
We thought we were gonna have it fairly quiet here until Saturday when the biggest majority of the rig move should happen. Ha! We have a workover rig on one of the pads. A frac that just finished down the road that is bringing in their equipment and storing it on an empty pad for a few days. The waterline crew from the frac that is working at taking down all of the water hoses.
However, things did slow down considerably by mid-afternoon and we were able to cool off inside the coach. Our last truck left at 8:00 pm (it had broken down and needed a repair person to come into help them out) and our first vehicle didn’t come in until 6:27 am.
Michael’s day gate finallyended on Wednesday after 20 days….20 long days. We started out fresh and strong but by the end we were both pretty pooped and really looking forward to the gate ending so that we could get some time together and some relaxation time…not to mention a little more sleep.
We got that extra sleep Thursday night when we didn’t have any traffic AT ALL between 10:45 pm and 6:15 am. Wow did THAT feel good! They finished drilling the 4th well about 6:00 pm Thursday night so we didn’t have the cuttings truck come in and the casing crew wasn’t due in until 9:00 am Friday morning…AWESOME!
Michael and Dora during Dora’s last visit.
I had another visit from our friend, Dora, last Sunday and this time Michael got to visit for a while too since he was done at his gate about 2:15 pm that day. We chatted for several hours…about everything under the sun it seems…taxes, RVing, gate guarding, our kids and grandkids. We seem to have a LOT in common…hoping that soon we’ll be able to meet her husband, Ed, in person, as well.
One of our Directional Drillers surprised us by dropping of some banana bread he’d picked up from HEB…so very sweet. He’s not been with us real long so it was quite unexpected but very much appreciated.
We got a little rain early Monday morning but it didn’t last long at all. The wind picked up Monday afternoon and stuck around into Tuesday. However, we got quite a bit of rain early Tuesday morning but it cleared up by about 7:00 am…but the wind hung around most of the day making opening and closing our door and the gate a bit harder than normal. The wind was strong enough to blow over a couple of signs and I just left them down until the wind died down…no sense fighting to keep them up.
With Michael finally home I finally was able to make a trip into Pearsall on Thursday to pick up groceries. I’d run out of several things (pickles, cheese, bread, biscuits, bacon, fruit) and was running quite low on others (milk, eggs, snacks, lunch meat, fresh veggies) so a trip into town was warranted. Thankfully, the gate wasn’t too busy and Michael still had time to relax some.
Tasty meal rejuvenated by my new air fryer.
While I was in town one of our vendors dropped off a chicken fried chicken dinner. When I got home I used my brand new air fryer to reheat the fries, chicken & Texas toast and it did a great job! Crisped up the chicken and the toast very nicely. To go with that I also air fryed some shrimp and fish and they turned out really good too. I have a lot of learning to do with this new gadget but so far I really like it. The ability to ‘fry’ and not have to use any oil is a huge plus, in my book.
Check out this crazy MOP!
Friday Michael did his share of errands – hardware store for screws he couldn’t find, a MUCH needed haircut as he was REALLY looking shabby, the Dilley Drugstore to pick up a couple of packages and finally a stop at Rosa’s Hamburger Stand in Dilley to pick up 2 of their yummy bacon cheeseburgers. We’re trying to fit in a visit to a couple of our favorite eateries before we leave this gate.
We are projected to move back to the Yarborough Ranch around the 23rd of February. That’s the gate we were at before we moved here in early January. I think we’ll be moving the day before the rig move so that we’ll be in place before the majority of the traffic starts coming in. They’ll have to have someone back fill us here until all of the rig and its miscellaneous pieces are moved out. Then I understand they’ll frac the 5 wells here sometime in the middle of March.
Whoa! My husband was under all that hair!
We feel very blessed to be wanted/needed. We currently have 4 guys ‘fighting’ over us and telling us we can’t leave this summer. Randy our Company Man here….says we can’t go on summer vacation this year cuz he plans to ‘drag’ us around with him, Shawn our boss for GGS says he’s gonna steal our truck so we can’t leave, Junior the Company Man where Michael worked his day gate kept asking if we were going to go work one of his gates full-time and now the ranch manager here told Michael he’s gonna call the head of the company to keep us here.
Zoom…right past those power lines!
One afternoon this past week I enjoyed watching a crop duster makes several passes over the ranch right next door. It’s amazing to watch as they’re quite the daredevils…narrowly missing the power lines that border the area they were spraying and swooping down low to dust the crops and then right back up again, circling around to do it all over again. It was quite entertaining.
Gliding close to the ground to dust the crops
I recently realized that when I open the gate for someone who is leaving I have two waves. Once I open the gate I wave as if to say, ‘go ahead, come on through’ and then when they reach where I am standing we both wave as if to say ‘good bye, so long, see ya, adios’. LOL Just a little tidbit of useless knowledge.
Another little tidbit…most of the time I recognize our regulars by their license plate…and then their face. So when they change vehicles or even places within the vehicle…I’m lost. If they normally come in in a big truck and then all of a sudden they appear in a pick up truck…I’m blown out of the water and either have no clue who they are or it takes me a while. Or if they normally sit in the passenger seat or the driver’s side in the back seat and move to the drivers seat…yikes! Either way they get a big laugh out of throwing me for a loop.
Tamales! Muy bien!
As I was writing this post the owner of the construction company that is doing some work on one of the ranch camp cabins here came in and asked if we like tamales. I said ‘yes’ and he handed me a hot package of freshly made pork tamales! Oh my! Can you say, ‘Yum’? He said he got some for himself and then thought of us and got two packages. I’m tellin’ ya…we are SO blessed to meet the people that we meet here in the oil patch.
I am continuing to learn a little more Spanish. “Como Estas?” “Muy bien.” “Hasta luego.” Several of my crews and ranch hands speak only a little English so we practice on each other. I sure do get a big smile from them when I greet them with a big ‘Buenos Diaz’ first thing in the morning!
I took German in junior high and high school so this whole Spanish thing is new to me…often when someone speak Spanish to me my first thought is to respond in German…but that sure would confuse them, wouldn’t it!?!
Oh how I love my Milwaukee Brewers! Our oldest son, Zack, signed up for a chance to purchase tickets for opening day, which is April 3rd. He won! (and he did last year too!) Since he’s in Utah he was a nice big brother and gave his chances to his little brother, Dan. Dan asked us if we wanted to join he and his wife…although we weren’t scheduled to arrive at his house until April 4th…but we were able to shuffle things around and we are now scheduled to arrive in Wisconsin on April 1st and will be attending my very first Brewers season opener! I’m so excited!
The rig crew completed drilling on the 2nd well on Sunday the 5th and then casing, cement, etc was completed on Tuesday. I’m told that they started drilling again (3rd well) early Wednesday morning. At this rate they should finish all 5 wells somewhere around the 23rd or so at which time we’ll be moving back to the gate we were at before we came here…so approximately 2 more weeks here…with real running water and power from power pole. We’ve been quite spoiled here but kinda looking forward to a more peaceful existence as it can get pretty busy here with all the ranch traffic and 4 or 5 different oil companies doing work here.
‘Pit’ being dug at Michael’s gate
Believe it or not Michael is STILL working his day gate. He has worked the last 14 days out of 17 days and looks like it will take hi into the middle of this coming week when they will need to have a 24 hour guard in place as they will start drilling. It’s pretty easy work as most days he only has a hand-full of vehicles come in. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week he had 200+ loads of gravel come in….THAT helped his days go a bit faster!
It’s funny because the same company that is building the pad at Michael’s site has been building a frac pond over here so the owner of the company goes back and forth between Michael and I almost daily. We’ve been working with him on and off for over a year and have built a good relationship with him and his employees.
What an interesting visitor to our gate!
I had a ‘first’ early Wednesday morning when a truck pulling a trailer with a helicopter on it came in. I’ve had lots of trailers with cows, horses and even dogs come in…but a helicopter is a bit different. I thought maybe they were gonna use it to herd cattle (which is fairly common) but they’re actually using it to count deer and coyotes! Interesting, no?
They have a fairly large coyote problem on this 80,000 acre ranch and have even hired a coyote trapper to try and reduce the coyote population as much as possible. I haven’t heard how it’s going…but would be interested to find out. Guess I’ll have to ask the next time I see the trapper.
I was born Kelly Jean Evans. Nearly 32 years ago I became Kelly Jean Barnett. Here in the oil patch I have many names: Honey, Darling, Sugar, Doll, Sweetheart, Girl, Babe, Baby, Chica, Mama, Sweetie and Dear are just a few….my name changes hourly. Does it bother me? Nope. Why would a term of endearment bother me. I’d rather be called ‘Doll’ than ‘Hey You’ any day.
We have come nearly full circle. When I started writing this post they had just started drilling the 3rd well. They have no finished and will be running casing and pouring cement today and tomorrow.
When I opened the gate for one of my regulars Friday morning there was a wild turkey waiting to come in too! How cute! I moved aside and expected him to just waddle on down the road. But that’s not what happened. He came right for me and cornered me in between the two gates. The 2 guys in the truck hoped out and came to my rescue, shooing the bird away. But once he saw me again he chased me around the their truck until I was sitting inside the driver’s side of the truck!
That darned bird just wouldn’t go away…he hung out around our coach all day. Even after being chased around by several ranch hands, the ranch manager and the security patrol guy. He and the security patrol guy had a little tussle with the patrol guy giving him a couple of good kicks and at another point the turkey even chased the patrol truck down the road and kept up with him!
Almost out the gate…
The Company man tried ‘herding’ him out the gate but when I peeked my head out and he saw me he made a beeline for me and chased me right into the house, where he stood in front of the dining window staring at me!
Tapped inside the house…by a flippin’ turkey!
I was very wary each and every time I had to go outside and made sure I knew where he was at all times. I even left the gate open a good portion of the day so I didn’t have to go out if I knew who was coming in or going out…plus if he decided to leave the gate was open and he’d have NO problem getting out.
Ranch manager trying to get the bird to leave…
About sundown the turkey was wandering around by the fence, along the highway, and then 10 or 15 minutes later when Michael came home he was nowhere to be found. Michael walked around looking for him but he wasn’t to be found. Finally…he’s gone!
Saturday morning when I opened the gate for someone going out I noticed that that CRAZY bird was across the highway behind the fence for that property. He was pacing back and forth along the fence…frantically and the guy I was logging out commented that he looked like he was looking for a way to get back over here! That’s all I needed.
There he is…pacing like a lunatic!
I watched the bird from inside our coach for over half and hour…pace back and forth…back and forth. Then one of the rig crew came back from town and as we were talking about how nutty the turkey was we watched as he flew up and over the fence across the highway, over the highway, over the fence to our property and land right behind our coach….I coulda swore he was coming straight for me and I think Josh was prepared to jump out of his truck and defend my honor! However, by that time I was already on the other side of his truck hiding!
The turkey continued to lurk about, being the subject of many conversations and focus of lots of pictures. He seems much calmer today than he was yesterday…even taking a nap on the berm behind the coach. He disappeared for several hours during the afternoon but reappeared mid afternoon…just in time for Michael to finally see him.
Michael’s turn to try to shoo the darned bugger away
Michael tried shooing him away but the bird is determined to stick around and only leave when he’s good and ready. Which he did about 6:30 pm or so. I happened to see something fly past the living room window and sure enough…he’d flown over the fence and was walking down the middle of the highway….and that’s the last we saw of him.
Michael didn’t work Sunday which was awesome (and was done early on Saturday) as it gave us time to get a few chores done, get some extra rest and spend some time together.
Tacos and enchiladas!
Michael went into Pearsall and brought home dinner from Jalisco as one of the guys had said they had good food. It was ok…nothing special, in our opinion. We’ve had trouble find really good Mexican food over in this area though so we take what we can get.
After dinner we sat down to enjoy a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and munch on popcorn…per Michael’s request. A nice quiet ‘date night’ while working in the oil patch. Ahhh…ok..so their were a few ‘ding, dings’ but it was still nice!
Michael is still working the same day gate he started on Thursday 1/26. He didn’t have to work on Sunday and took off on Thursday so that I could go to the grocery store, he could do a few errands and we could get a little extra sleep in.
He starts at 7:00 am and works anywhere from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. He has very little traffic. When he first started they were building a gate just a little bit away from the original gate and have since finished that gate so that is where he’s working now. And now he pretty much just has 1 or 2 vehicles come in as there is just one person working there and he is pushing dirt around to build a pad where a rig will be coming in to start drilling soon.
I had a wonderful visit from a fellow gate guard, Dora, on Saturday. She and her husband work out of a shack not far from us and when her shift ended on Saturday she came by so that we could do some visiting. It was so nice to have ‘company’!
One of MANY cattle trailers that passed me by
There was a stock show in Pearsall last weekend so a lot of the ranch hands were busy with that so traffic from them wasn’t too bad. Come Monday…that all changed! The ranch manager told me early in the morning that they’d be moving a lot of cattle back to this ranch so I could just open the gate and leave it open all day. Am I glad he said that! I ended up counting 79 vehicles pass through the gate…just from ranch hands moving cattle and horses back and forth!
Most of the ranch hands don’t speak very good English so I’m learning a itty bitty bit of Spanish. When they speak to me in Spanish I have a hard time not responding in German! Buenos Diaz, Mucho frio, finito, poquito…those are my favorites at this point! LOL
Early Wednesday morning we got a call from Shawn asking if Michael could check out our other gate guards (7.5 miles down the lease road) generator as it had stopped working. Anything we could do to help…so I got dressed and Michael headed out to see what he could do. Michael was gone about an hour and a half (takes 1/2 an hour to get there!) but was able to get the genny running once he added some oil. We got about an hour more sleep after he came back and then he was off to work his day gate.
The old dryer is out and now in comes the new
Last week our dryer stopped tumbling…it still heated but wouldn’t turn. Michael called GO RV right away and he worked with our extended warranty program. They would only pay to have it repaired but we decided to pay the difference and have an entirely new unit installed. It’s the same model as the old one just newer.
Wednesday morning Kenny and Brandon brought the new dryer and installed it after they removed the old one. They’re so good to us. They’ve been to 3 of our gates, the yard when we were parked there waiting for a gate and to Ft. Sam while we were staying there. Just can’t say enough about George (owner) and his crew.
Most mornings I have someone drive by on highway 85 and honk as they go by. It’s still dark at that time and I had NO idea who it was….until a couple of morning ago. Turns out it has been, Joe, one of the guys that we’ve been working with for over a year now. He’s an older man who is a heavy equipment operator. He was working here until a few weeks ago when he got sent to build a new pad for another rig that our oil company is bringing up here in the next couple of weeks. Now when I wave to my mysterious honker, I know who it is!
Since Michael didn’t work his day gate on Thursday we decided to get a pizza from a place in Dilley that has really good reviews. Mabelys Bakery is a Mexican bakery that also makes pizzas…and it was really really good! And super affordable at just twelve something for a big old pie. Michael has already said we’ll be going back…and since we probably only have roughly 4 weeks left here at this gate before we move BACK to the previous gate…it won’t be too long before we enjoy some more yummy pizza!
I have a couple of new posts available for you to read that I wrote for the Heartland website. The first is a list of our favorite National Parks & Monument – click HERE to read. The second is about two websites I always use when planning our sight-seeing adventures – click HERE to read that one.
They’re drilling a total of 5 wells here. First they drilled what they call ‘surface holes’ which I kinda like starter holes for each well. They finished the last of the 5 surface holes (drilled, ran casing down the hole & cemented) on Thursday. Now they’ll have to rig down, skid the rid over to the 1st surface hole, rig up and then they’ll be able to start drilling the actual well. I would think they’ll start drilling again sometime this weekend.
I ran into town on Monday to pick up some groceries…the weekly pilgrimage. It’s nice to get out but sometimes it’s just a pain. I placed an order online at the China Buffet and it was ready to pick up at the time I’d designated. It’s not the best Chinese but when it’s your only option…it’s pretty darn good.
The innards of the old plug…
While I was out on my pilgrimage Michael took the time to replace the plug-in on the power cord to the coach. When we had electrical issues last week he found that one of the prongs was loose so he ordered a replacement. It took about an hour to complete the small project and while he was doing it one of the screws broke off of the new end. He contacted the company and they’ll sending him a new piece to replace the defective one.
…the innards of the new plug
The valve and sprayer for our Dometic 320 toilet have been leaking so Michael contacted Dometic for replacement parts. Since the toilet is under warranty all Michael had to do was provide them with the serial number, model number and our mailing address so they could send out new parts. We were surprised that they didn’t ask for purchase information.
We have a new set of gate guards at our second gate. I guess the old ones were requested on another gate so they left on Tuesday and were replaced later in the day by another couple. They’re probably in their late 60s/early 70s and they seem MUCH more friendly than the last couple. It would be nice to ‘swap’ time…one of them comes here while we take a couple of hours to go out for dinner or something and then one of us goes there while they do the same. Cross your fingers!
Michael had a couple of follow-up appointments at the VA in San Antonio on Tuesday. It’s about a 75 mile trip but all on good roads and much closer than any other gate we’ve been working.
His appointments went well and he now has appointments in November and December for follow ups. They did order him a new ‘mask’ for his CPAP…one that’s a little smaller than what he has now. It wasn’t in stock when he went to pick it up so they will be sending it to him.
While he was in San Antonio he also stopped at the DAV office which is just down the street from where he had is appointments. He’d filled for a percentage increase now that he was issued a CPAP…back in November and we hadn’t heard anything really.
Checking with the DAV office over the phone he was told that they had no record of him in their system. Hmm? Come to find out the VA periodically purges ‘old’ forms and they must have purged his ‘old’ Power of Attorney giving the DAV the right to work on his behalf. He signed a new Power of Attorney and we should now be back in business.
Drying the clothes while our dryer is on the fritz
Doing some laundry on Wednesday Michael found that the dryer wasn’t working properly. It would heat up but it wasn’t tumbling. Oh oh!
He contacted George at Go RV right away and George is contacting our extended warranty provider to get authorization to repair or replace the dryer. In the meantime, we’re putting the damp clothes in the dryer and manually tumbling them every now and again until they’re a bit drier and then we’re hanging them up or laying them out to let them finish drawing.
Michael is, once again, working a day gate today (Thursday). He’s in the same area that he’s been working most of his day gates. It’s nice since he’s familiar with most of the guys that come and go so I’m sure that that helps the day go by a little bit faster. It sounds like they may only need him today so we’ll see.
My latest post for the Heartland RVs website is a product review for the GlowStep Revolution steps we’ve been asked to product test. We’re very happy with them to this point and would highly recommend them if you’re tired of feeling like you’re on a diving board when you use your RV steps. You can read my review by clicking HERE.
We’ve had a few things come up recently that needed some maintenance. The first on that list was the handle on the screen door. It cracked after repeated use and was in danger of just breaking right off…especially if we had to fight any sort of wind when trying to open the door.
The crack is at the very left side toward the top
Michael purchased a new handle on Amazon. Click HERE to see the model he ordered. He tells me that this is the second one that he’s replaced although I don’t seem to remember the first time…but that doesn’t say much as my memory is failing fast.
Removing the old handle and installing the new was as easy as removing 2 screws, lifting off the handle, putting the new handle in place and then screwing in 2 screws. Voila! Done! If only ALL projects were that easy!
Horses! So near and yet so far….
Finally! Some animals to view! I noticed 6 horses across the highway today. Too far away to talk to but still pretty to look at. Some of the ranch hands have been doing some work with horses here the last few days so they’ve trailered 2 to 4 saddled horses in each morning and then out again in the late afternoon. Being the good ‘neighbor’ that I am I tell them ‘Good Morning’ every morning as they go by…they seem to appreciate it. 🙂
We have, once again, been over run by Japanese Lady Beetles. Not nearly as bad as last year when we were in Wisconsin visiting Dan and Amanda but enough to be annoying. Michael finally had enough and pulled out his shop vac and sucked up what he could…but they continue to come out of the ‘woodwork’ so we will have to be diligent for the next few days.
We have now been at this new location for 10 days and now that the rig move is over and things have calmed down we’ve settled into a nice routine and so has the traffic. We’ve been averaging about 73 vehicles a day…total. However, we have a lot of ranch traffic which ends up being anywhere from 24 to 40 vehicles…but we don’t have to log those at all.
Night traffic is almost non-existent. There are the exceptions, of course, like when they run casing but for the most part we don’t see any traffic after 10:00/10:30 pm until 6:30/7:00 am.
Each gate is the same but different
With traffic the way it is, it makes it much easier for Michael to work a 12 hour gate elsewhere…like he is right now. He got a call about 7:30 am Saturday asking him to work a gate over near our last location for the same oil company, Texas American, that we are with here. With his ‘go’ bag already in the truck I just made him a quick lunch and he was on the road by 8:00 am and then back home about 6:30 pm. He was needed back by 7:00 am Sunday but that’s all that we know at this point. He should know by the end of the day if he needs to go back on Monday.
One pretty cool thing here at this ranch is the amount of deer hunting that goes on. (we had hunters at the old gate too) Since we’ve been here we’ve had Wounded Warriors come in to hunt and on Saturday we had 3 kids (10-12 years) come in for a hunt. Plus there’s just the plain old regular hunters….one left with 10 deer in the back of his pick up!
If you look in the distance and see that ‘blur’ that’s the dust kicking up…it did that ALL day!
The wind really picked up Saturday evening, blew hard all night and continued to whip into Sunday evening. The temperature was actually pretty mild (70s) but with the wind blowing so hard it felt much cooler. Wind is the only ‘dislike’ I would say I have about living in an RV. If the wind really picks up we just pull in whatever slide seems to be being affected the most. We’ve even pulled in both of the big slides in the middle of the night.
Check THAT out!
At one point in the middle of all that wind I had a vehicle ‘honk’…and there he was sitting at the gate waiting to come in…but no bell had gone off. I could see that the hose that stretches across the drive was in several pieces so after logging him in I went to check it out. I found that where the 2 pieces of hose were spliced together had shredded and come apart. What to do? I couldn’t go without a bell all day and Michael was at his gate. Hmmm…well I found out where the electrical tape was and grabbed it and stuck the two hoses together as best as I could with as badly shredded as they were and I wound some tape around them to secure ’em and hoped for the best. I was rewarded with a ‘ding ding’ the next time a vehicle came in. Go me! I am woman…here me ROAR! Michael will need to fix it correctly but I was happy that it was working.
My latest post for Heartland RVs is all about Gate Guarding and you can read it by clicking HERE.
One of the many pieces to the rig
We had no traffic from midnight to 6:30 am. Thank goodness…we were able to get some decent sleep!
There are restrictions for oil field traffic (guagers, oil trucks, water trucks etc for the existing wells). They’re not allowed to come in before 8:30 am and have to be out before 4:00 pm due to hunting restrictions. Come March 1st those hours change to ‘daylight hours’. Meaning that traffic can be on the ranch road from daylight to sundown. However, there is an exception for our drilling traffic…they don’t have to abide by that curfew.
Whatever the case, it makes it nice for us as we know that the majority of our traffic will be gone by 4:00 pm and since the drill pad is a 30 minute drive from our gate we won’t have to many unnecessary trips in or out…people will really needto make the trip or they won’t hassle with it.
We were treated to a Mexican dinner (enchiladas, tacos, rice & beans) by one of our sales people. It sure was a shock when she told us she’d brought us lunch! So very appreciated and very very tasty too!
We were just finishing up our delivered Mexican meal when the ranch manager and one of the landowners came in and gave us a box filled with a HUGE pecan pie. Being from Wisconsin they had to ask me how to pronounce the ‘things’ on the top. Ha! I immediately said,”Pa Cons….not Pee Cans. A Pee Can is something you put under the bed and use in the middle of the night!” Boy, did they get a kick out of that!
All rig move traffic finally pulled out – yeehaw! The rig went up on Friday night. Although we’re 6 miles away as the crow flies so we can’t see it…but we can see the tiny specks of light when it’s lit up at night. We’re hearing that they’re supposed to start drilling early Sunday.
I went and got pampered. I got my toes & fingers done while I was out to pick up groceries. It was very welcomed. It is just 15 miles into town and I made the trip in less than 20 minutes…that’s compared to the last location where it took about 50 minutes! Life is Good!
We have a hard-wired Electrical Management System (EMS) and it will turn off the power if the voltage is too high or too low. This evening the power kept going off and coming back on. Michael checked the readout on the EMS and it was showing that we were receiving 132 volts rather than the normal 120 volts. He decided to unhook from the power pole and hook up to the generator until we figured out what the problem was.
It was a quiet but windy day.
I’m not much of a football fan but we watched the Packers/Cowboys game. Our sons are big Packer fans and since Michael was born and raised in Dallas there’s always a bit of a rivalry but since Michael has lived in Wisconsin more than any place else he has become a bit of a Packer backer as well. He said he was a winner either way…go Packers!
Ready to start the day!
The morning started off at 6:30 am with 11 caliche trucks lining up on the shoulder of highway 85 to wait until daylight so that they could enter the gate. The rule here is no oil field traffic in before 8:30 am and they have to be out before 4:00 pm. Except for Drill Rig traffic…they can run 24 hours. However…there is a frac pond construction project going on and they can work sun up to sun down…and that’s what these caliche trucks were here for. Confused yet? Believe me…we get that way too! LOL
I started working on making some reservations for the start of our ‘summer adventure’. We’ll be leaving the oilfield March 19 to begin our trek to Utah, where we’ll be camphosting again. However, our route is kinda crazy. We’ll make our first stop in San Antonio (as usual) and then move on to Hot Springs, AR where we’ll visit Michael’s mom. Then we’ll head north where we’ll visit our son, Dan, and his family for a few weeks. From there we head even further north to North Dakota (gotta fill in our map!) and then west toward Utah, stopping at Yellowstone on the way.
Troubleshooting the electrical issue
The ranch manager sent an electrician out to check out the issue with the power. He checked everything and found the voltage coming from the pole to be fine. He and Michael deduced that the plug on the coach was a bit loose (Michael will be replacing) and that the EMS might be faulty. Michael made a call to the company (Progressive) and they’re sending a new unit out.
Bah Humbug! Rain in the morning. Windy and cool (high 50s, low 60s). Rain still sucks for a gate guard but this location makes it much more manageable since we have grass and concrete to walk on. No tracking mud into the house.
The only way I get to see animals on this ranch. 🙁
Michael drove into Dilley and picked up a package from Amazon that we had delivered to the Dilley Drugstore. The business is good enough to allow us to have mail/packages delivered there and were even good enough to give me a call when it arrived.
One of our rig crew, Josh, went to town last night and was sweet enough to take our garbage back to the rig with him and threw it in the trash trailer. Michael was not looking forward to making the hour drive down just to ‘take out the trash’. Then on top of that…he brought us an entire pepperoni pizza from Little Caesar’s.
Happy 95th Heavenly Birthday to my dad, Robert Evans!
Michael was back at the Ironwood gate again today. They didn’t work Sunday because they needed Slick line to come in and they couldn’t make it until today. He ended up being released about 5:45 pm getting him home before 7:00 pm with was nice.
While I was sitting outside waiting for the pipeline crew to leave about 5:00 pm 1 white truck went flying down the road past our gate. Very shortly after a Border Patrol vehicle flew by….then just a few seconds later came another but this one turned into my gate, rolled down his window and asked which was the white truck had gone. I told him past our gate and down the road…which is a dead end. He turned around and sped off down the road.
I walked to the end of the drive to see what I could see and all I could see was the two Border Patrol vehicles at the end of the road. They were down there for half an hour or so before one of went flying past my gate again. So, once again I walked to the end of the drive to see what I could see. The second vehicle was slowing coming my way but then stopped in the middle of the road and walked around a bit.
When he finally got back in his vehicle he drove my way and then pulled over to talk with me. He told me that the white truck had blown through the fence at the end of the road and driven off and they thought he might have come out somewhere on the ‘other’ side but weren’t sure as they won’t drive through where they’ve broken through a fence…they’ll only use gates and roads.
Since the property we’re on is next door he came in and drove around to be sure that they didn’t end up on this lease but he didn’t find any evidence of them making their way onto this property. Wow! That was exciting!
The rig crew TD’d (reached total depth) around 9:00 pm which means that should start moving various parts & pieces to the new location (about 32 miles one way to the gate and then 8 miles back in on the property, with a very strictly enforced 20 mph speed limit for the last 8 miles) sometime Wednesday, I would think.
We still aren’t sure when we’ll be moving…at this point it’s either Wednesday or Thursday and we’re both thinking more along the lines of Thursday but who knows?
Something a little different today. We ended up having 26 students from Texas A&M come in to tour the rig. I guess there wasn’t a whole lot of notice but it turned out to be a good day for it since they’re done drilling and starting to rig things down.
Since we didn’t move today Michael was back at the Ironwood gate. He was done just before noon and they weren’t sure if they’d need him tomorrow or not but would give our sales person, Kelly, a call if they need someone.
Since Michael was done early he stopped and picked up our mail from Ace Hardware (they’re good enough to allow gate guards to use their address to have mail sent to) and stopped at Taco Palenque to pick up lunch. We’d had several guys tell us the food was good and they were RIGHT! Yummo! I had the matamoros tacos and crispy tacos and while they were cold (the cooler in the truck was full of ice and we normally put hot food in there to bring it home) they still had excellent flavor. Can’t wait to try them when they’re hot! Michael had enchiladas and a chicken taco
Traffic here at our gate was quite steady…barely getting time to sit down between opening and closing the gate, coming in the house and logging the vehicles….and they’re not even really moving any equipment yet! I expect the next few days will be just as busy if not busier.
Go me…I was actually very comfortable driving this time.
Move day! We left the gate we’d been at for 5 weeks (and 1 day!) about 8:00 am and I drove (yes…I said I!!) the 42 miles to our new location which is right on highway 85 east of Dilley. It may not have been far but it wasn’t a straight shot on an interstate like the last time I pulled the coach. I wasn’t nervous at all and did darned good if I do say so myself!
The new location will make for a much quicker grocery run as were are now just 15 miles from shopping rather than the 48 miles from the old gate AND it’s all on paved roads where it wasn’t before!
After some confusion we finally got the coach parked in its new home for the next 9.5 weeks and began to set ourselves up amid logging in the various trucks coming and going.
Nicest spot we’ve had to date, I think.
Our spot here is quite nice. We are on a level grassy area with a huge concrete pad right in front of us for the vehicles to drive over which mean a little less dust perhaps…and no broken windows? We also have a power pull that we’re able to plug into rather than having to use the generator…which means my clocks will keep the correct time! Woohoo!
We have another set of gate guards that are about 7.5 miles down the road from us and with a very strict 20 mph speed limit it takes about 30 minutes to get from here to there. We met the guards yesterday (I only met the gentleman) and unfortunately we didn’t get warm fuzzies. Too bad.
To help out GGS, because someone called in sick, Michael worked from 4:00 pm to 12:30 am driving between the two gate guards sites just patrolling to make sure that no one was lost or going where they shouldn’t. This ranch is 80,000 acres and there are roads everywhere….very easy to get disoriented, especially in the dark.
I had a breath of fresh are when a fellow gate guard we know through Facebook stopped by yesterday afternoon. She was just the medicine I needed during a long, busy, hot, windy, frustrating day! Dora and I chatted for well over an hour and I look forward to some more time with her as their gate is just 11 miles from us.
One of MANY of the pieces to the puzzle that is the drill rig
After a long crazy day yesterday and a little bit of sleep last night we’re starting to get familiar with the comings and goings of this ranch. There are 4 or 5 different oil companies with wells on this property so it will take some time getting to know everyone. Plus there are quite a few ranch hands, ranch managers and land owners that come and go as well.
Michael went into town, stopped at 4 different places and was back in less than an hour! That’s how conveniently located this gate is! One of his stops was at Rosa’s Hamburger Stand where he picked up a couple of bacon cheeseburgers and fries. We’d gotten burgers from there once before, a little over a year ago, and they were still just as yummy as then….GOOD burger!
The Rig Crew and their house arrived this afternoon so that means we’re really getting somewhere….the crew will all sleep here starting tonight.
The rig had a Spud meeting today and lunch is always served. Coyote Catering brought in today’s lunch and their food is always very good.
Today’s menu: Shrimp, fish, Mac and cheese, corn nuggets, green beans, corn, hush puppies, fries and banana pudding! I just heated up some oil and reheated the shrimp, fish , hush puppies, fries and corn nuggets and then zapped everything else in the microwave and we had a ready-made dinner!