Watch Out for That CURVE BALL!

Posted by on December 2, 2014

What an interesting day yesterday was!

Michael had just finished making breakfast when I got a phone call (9:19 am) from Kevin, one of our service techs, asking if I’d gotten Austin’s (another service tech) text message.  I had not checked my texts and told him so.  He proceeded to tell me that we were being relieved of our gate.

Encana, the oil company, requires everyone to be drug tested to work for them.  We were aware of this and had signed forms consenting to be drug tested when we got to the gate.  However, Gate Guard Services decided to use another couple that had already been drug tested already and were good to go.

Not very happy with this turn of events we told Kevin we wouldn’t be ready to leave for a couple of hours as we had food on the table, needed to clean up the dishes and get everything packed up.  Remember we had been told we were here for the 3 weeks we have left before vacation so we were ‘dug in’.

Kevin and the new guards (not in required uniform) showed up less than an hour from the time I spoke with him. We weren’t anywhere near being ready to pull out but hurried ourselves along and pulled out about 10:45 and headed to the Whitsett office.

Kevin had told Michael that they had another gate for us right away but it was near Tilden and we’d need to go to the Whitsett office for directions and further details. Michael didn’t ask for any details regarding the gate as he figured we could handle anything for 2 weeks.

We drove to Whitsett, stopping at the Shell station next to the office to fill up with fuel (darn good thing we did!) and picked up some of the fried chicken they have that we like so much.  (First good thing of the day!)

At the office we were told how to get to Tilden and given the phone number of our new service tech, Jeremy, and told to call him when we turned onto highway 72, which we did.  I called him and made arrangements to meet him at the intersection of highway 72 and 97 west of Tilden.

Cameron Rd - otherwise known as 'War Zone Rd'

Cameron Rd – otherwise known as ‘War Zone Rd’

From there we followed Jeremy just a few miles before turning off of 97 and south onto Cameron Lane – a dirt road that Michael compared to the war ravaged roads of Desert Storm.  Cameron Road will forever be known to us as ‘War Zone Road’.  There isn’t really a road just a dirt path that vehicles seem to drive wherever/however they want – with ruts, holes, rocks and bumps.

We had a road runner run across the road in front of us….our first!  (Second good thing of the day!)

Our gate is 2 miles down this road - past 1 other gate guard

Our gate is 2 miles down this road – past 1 other gate guard

We took our home down this hell hole of a road for roughly 7 miles (took roughly 45 minutes) before turning right onto another dirt road, although this road was in MUCH better shape.  We traveled down the second dirt road for about a mile before coming to a gate guard.  We stopped here, got a bit of information, the guys chatted for a bit (I ran back into the house to go to the bathroom) and then continued on for another 1/2 mile or so before arriving at our new home.

In all, we traveled about 95 miles from one gate to the next.

When we arrived at the gate we found an old dilapidated camper with a single female with no vehicle.  We pulled to one side and waited for about 30 to 45 minutes while another gate guard came to pick up her camper and move her to her new gate.  Wow! Just can’t understand why you would hire someone who can’t move their own RV!  Let alone put a single person on a frac gate….and this being her very first gate job…ever! She lasted 2 days before the oil company said, ‘no more’ as a truck had to honk its horn and she never did come out.

Once the guard and her camper were gone we were able get the coach moved into its new home for the next 13 days.  Michael pretty much did everything by himself as I was busy logging vehicles starting shortly after we arrived.

We are out in the middle of NOWHERE with absolutely NO cell service whatsoever. We have a booster for our internet but it is still iffy at times.  I used it, with absolutely no problems from 3:30 am to 5:30 am this morning but then it started giving me difficulties so we’ll see when I’m actually able to post this post.  Posts may be few while we are on this gate.

The nearest decent ‘civilized’ community is Pleasanton, which is roughly 50 miles due north.  There are other smaller communities closer but they don’t have much to offer. So we’ve decided that I will drive up to Pleasanton today to pick up enough groceries to last us the remainder of our time in the patch.

Closed for business

Closed for business

The tricky part of my journey to Pleasanton today will be that our gate has ‘closing hours’…as does the gate that is on the road ahead of ours.  The landowner allows hunting on his land and it is hunting season.  It sounds like he is being pretty difficult but he and the company man came to an agreement on when the gates would be closed to allow for hunting.

That’s where the tricky part comes in.  I’m figuring my travel time to and from Pleasanton to be 3 hours…add on shopping time…I will need to plan for at least 4 hours away from home and to be sure to be back before 4:00 pm or I will be stuck outside until 7:00 pm.  Better bring my Kindle….just in case!

So until further notice we must close the gates and not allow anyone in OR out unless there’s an emergency.  It’s kinda nice to have a few hours ‘off’ during a shift though.

5:30 am – 9:00 am – CLOSED
9:00 am – 4:00 pm – OPEN
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm – CLOSED
7:00 pm – 5:30 am – OPEN

We haven’t fully figured out a schedule for ourselves yet.  We could stick with the 3:00 – 3:00 that we worked during our last frac or we could shift hours due to the gate closing stuff…who knows.

Now for a little information about this gate.  We are now working with Hunt Oil.  This is a completion gate and they are currently fracing.  I believe that they just started fracing Saturday or Sunday (gotta get more info).  There are only 2 wells to be fraced so we’re thinking they should be done fracing by the end of the week.  The company doing the frac is Halliburton and there are no catered meals.


4 Responses to Watch Out for That CURVE BALL!

  1. Lynette (netters) McHenry

    Kelly, sounds like y’all have been through it…we’ve been on some roads like those.

    We worked some fracs with Haliburton and never received any Catered meals. They took a pay increase instead of the meals….

    Hope all goes well and you can get back before you are locked out 😉

    • Kelly

      Thanks, Lynette! For some reason Debbie gets lucky with Halliburton but we’ve always had the crews that choose the per diem over getting fed. I got home with a little less than an hour to spare! whew!

  2. Jan White

    We went thru 3 fracks on our last gate with 3 different fracking companies. I was very impressed with Halliburton. Very well run frack and with a lot less people involved than the other two companies. So there was abit less traffic with Halliburton. They didn’t have catered food either. Oh well. Good luck to you, hopefully the rest of your time will not be as stressful.
    The Pleasanton Walmart and HEB are both good, especially the HEB,

    • Kelly

      Hi Jan! So glad you commented…been reading Greg’s blog for a while and had no idea you were reading mine as well! We’ve worked with both Halliburton and Schlumberger and they both seem to have their pluses and minuses for sure. Things are going very smoothly so far which is very nice. We’ve been to the Pleasanton area in the past so I had no problem finding anything…which was nice. Just didn’t much care for the 100 mile round trip.

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