On Tuesday Michael celebrated his 50th birthday! I pulled ‘guard’ duty from 5:00 am until 7:00 pm so that Michael enjoyed the majority of the day off. I grilled ribeyes for dinner and we enjoyed them with few interruptions.
Wednesday I met with five other female gate guards for lunch in Yorktown. We met at Aunt Di’s Kountry Kitchen, the same place the guys met a few weeks ago. We had a really nice visit. We had the same 5 ladies as our first luncheon with the addition of a new woman who we’d all met via our gate guarding page on Facebook so it was nice to chat with her in person.
Just before I left to go to the luncheon we found out that we should be on this gate until mid-April at least. This news was quite welcome as we plan to leave the oil patch on May 5th so that will bring us almost all the way to that date. Not having to move so often is always a plus too!
There are 3 pads on this gate. The oldest pad is the one right behind us and has one producing well. The second pad has the rig occupying it currently and I have yet to find out how many wells they’re drilling on it. The third pad is about a mile down our lease road and has 2 recently drilled wells. Fracking is supposed to begin on those 2 wells next week, Tuesdayish. The company man and his trailer moved in yesterday morning and there’s been an increase in traffic to that pad. The rig is supposed to leave around the 21st.
So it sounds like we’ll be dealing with traffic for 2 operations for a few days. It shouldn’t be too bad until the frac actually starts. But while the frac is going on and the rig begins its process to move out we should have some pretty darn crazy days.
Since this is the first rig that we’ve been on while it’s still drilling we’re trying to learn as much as possible and as usual the guys are super friendly and willing to answer our questions. New terms are in abundance: mud logger, mud engineer, floor hand, derrick man, pit man, tool pusher, rig manager, casings, cuttings, etc.
The day that we arrived I started hearing a horn going off now and again. I finally asked one of the guys coming in the gate what it was for and he explained that it was a way of calling certain workers when they need them. 1 blast means that the motor man is needed, 2 blasts for the derrick man or pit man and 3 blasts for the floor hands. I LOVE learning this stuff!
Since we’re so close to the rig we’re able to see things going on and with the help of Michael’s binoculars he’s really able to follow things more closely. It’s fun to watch him as he’s like a kid in a candy store…no lie!
We’ve also come across several familiar faces from past gates. Since we’ve only worked with StatOil many of the same guys come through the gate. We also have dealt with the same crew of guys from I&E on every gate (except the one). They’re a great group of guys from Louisiana and have been recipients of the treats I’ve made. One of the guys, Jay, surprised us one morning
with breakfast! He brought us sausage, cheese & jalapeno kolaches! We ran across kolaches when we were in the Texas Hill Country back in October of 2012 but never tried them. Wikipedia says they’re basically fruit-filled pastries but here in Texas they’re often a breakfast food – stuffed with eggs, sausage, cheese, potatoes, bacon, etc The kolaches that Jay brought us were very yummy….but also very HOT! He promised he’d never bring the jalapeño ones again! .
Another one of the familiar faces is, Kelsey. She’s a young engineer, new to the field and learning the whole process hands-on. We met her on our first gate and were happy to see her name on the log in sheet when we got here. I only got to visit with her briefly as she left the day after we got here. She was going home for a week and then to Australia where she will be working on a rig in the Outback as the night company (wo)man! So excited for her and hoping to see her this fall when we come back for another stint.
We’ve found that things are done a little differently here on the rig. Our service guy used to haul away the sewer trailer and bring it back when it was empty. Here on the rig, we just have to ask the driver that comes to empty the sewer for the rig to empty ours as well. Our sewer was left full by the previous guards so we’ve been waiting for the sewer guy to come…he finally came yesterday! They come weekly on Wednesdays so that will be nice and handy!
Our first day (Monday) was kind of quiet (86 vehicles passing through the gate) but that number almost doubled on Tuesday (171) and Wednesday (143) was fairly decent as well. Interested to see how those numbers grow as we get closer to the frac starting on the C pad.
We’ve been starting to form a plan of action for this summer. We have some tentative dates & places set up but as I said before quite a bit is up in the air until our son, Zack, gets is PCS (permanent change of station) orders from the Army. I was able to make a few reservations at parks for places that we’re sure we’ll be able to make. Those were in San Antonio at the Ft. Sam Houston FamCamp (May 5-12) and at Old Mill Marketplace in Canton, Texas (May 12 – 15) so we can visit Michael’s aunt and uncle for a few days. I also went with a long shot…I made reservation at West Bay Camping Resort in Rhinelander, Wisconsin (August 13 – 27) with the hopes that everything works out as planned and we can get up there to visit family and friends.