Monday morning we slept in until almost 9:15 and were lounging in our recliners when we got a call from Shawn just after 9:30. We were needed to fill in for a fellow gate guard who’d mom had fallen and hit her head and wasn’t doing well.
We made quick work of packing food, clothes, bedding, games, laptops, chargers etc and were pulling out of the yard in Carrizo at 10:25 am.
We arrived just a few minutes before noon and relieved the two elderly Mexican men that had been there since Saturday when the normal gate guard had to leave. The gate they were on had been closed for a few days but now it was open again and they had to get back to work.
It just so happens that the gate was the third gate on the same road as two of our other gates. This particular gate was where the drilling rig moved to when it pulled out of the gate we left a few weeks ago. It had finished drilling the two wells and was ready to move on.
Being used to our nice, airy, spacious coach it was tough to deal with our overnight accommodations – tiny, dark and cramped. Also being someone else’s didn’t sit well with either of us either. So we chose to sit outside most of the time. Thankfully, it was a nice day…albeit a bit warm with a high of 92…we were thankful there was a breeze.
The biggest drawback to sitting outside was that the gravel pit down the road must have had a fairly large order as the gravel truck were on the move….back and forth….back and forth…and most of them have no clue (or just don’t care) of the amount of dust that they were throwing up as they flew past our gate. I was eating sand/dirt more than I cared for and we had fine layers of dust/sand covering everything and us too!
With the rig moving out we had a fair amount of traffic but nothing we couldn’t handle. And since it was in the same area we’d worked in before (just 1/2 a mile down the road from the previous two gates we worked for US Energy) we knew many of the people who came and went….which is always a nice plus.
We had a group of about 4 javelinas that crossed over the lease road several times but, of course, they moved to quickly for me to get a picture and were a bit too far away for a decent picture with my phone anyway.
Michael made a run into Dilley to pick up ice and Dairy Queen for dinner around 5:00 pm while I watched the gate and ready my Kindle. He brought back a chicken strip dinner and a small blizzard (strawberry cheesecake for him and Snickers for me) for each of us.
Thankfully, by this time the gravel trucks had stopped running and we were able to eat dinner without ingesting a ton of sand with every bite.
We ended up going inside the camper about 9:00 pm to retire for the evening. We’d brought a flat sheet, which we laid over the top of the bed and then just slept right on top of that with our pillows and blankets from home. We were only woken up once when Mike, the guager, came in for his nightly rounds.
Michael was up about 5:15 am, ready for the big trucks to come in to haul out more of the rig while I stayed in bed until almost 7:00 am. Not that I slept that whole time since you can hear and feel everything going on inside and outside a little tiny camper like that….especially a big ol’ semi passing by 25 feet away!
Our friend got back to the gate just before noon. His mom is doing ok…but not the best. There wasn’t really anything more they could do for her at the hospital so they were sending her back home. He felt there wasn’t anything he could do for her at home and since he’s gate is likely to be closing soon he plans to finish up there and then I think he will go home to be with his family.
Thankfully, our stint as ‘relief gate guards’ was brief as we learned one thing from our experience: Filling in for another gate guard while living in their camper is not for us…just too uncomfortable.