Friday, May 16, 2014

The Last Gate Before Leaving Texas

Before heading north for the summer we decided to do one last gate guard job.  We waited in Medina Thousand Trails RV park.  This time of the year, a lot of people are heading back up north so we thought we would find a job pretty easy.  But, we were wrong.  There didn't seem to be anything available.  I called about 10 different companies and we just waited and waited.  Our first call was for a 12 hour gate.  This is one where you don't take your rv and you work out of your vehicle.  They are usually pipe line gates and they are short term.  The short term didn't bother us because we didn't want to work that long anyways.  We were not sure how working out the Jeep was going to work.  The first thing I asked was where you go to the bathroom.  They bring in port-a-pots.  So there was one thing I didn't have to worry about.   I just didn't want to have to use the bushes.  So we took the job.

Me working the gate.

Since we didn't take the rv to the site, we had to find a place to park it.  I looked on the internet and found several places in Cotulla, Texas, which is where we were going to be.  The company didn't know the exact spot but said when they got more information they would let us know.  Well the place we picked was 3.8 miles from the gate.  I considered that a "God thing".  It was so nice being close.
This was the road to our gate.  We had 2 miles of this
everyday.  There were a few spots we wouldn't have
made it without 4 wheel drive.

The more the road was traveled the looser the dirt became and
the harder it was to drive.

Ed closing the gate.  The only problem was I was on one side and he is on the
other side.    I was just waiting for him to catch it and he didn't
until he had it closed.  It was a long day, anyway that was his excuse. 
Our first day on the job we found out we had to wear hard hats and jump suits.  The first couple of weeks weren't bad but the last couple the temperature was in the 90's so they were very uncomfortable.  If you have never worn one, you can't imagine how hard they are getting off to go to the bathroom.  You struggle and struggle to get the arm off.  Than being in the port-a-johns, you don't have any room.  When I first started, I found my sleeve in the urinal, another time down the toilet. (Thank God it wasn't full, but it still seemed nasty).  So after that I tucked my sleeves inside the suit and when I was putting it back on I made sure the toilet seat was closed, and I stood sideway to keep it out of the urinal.
This was our corner, when they put the gate up we were able to
move into the corner, thus getting a little farther away from the johns. 

Don't we look official.  When the temperature hit 90, these suits are extremely hot.
The soil really isn't this red, must have been the sun or camera.

When, the job started they didn't even have a gate there.  The rancher wanted the guard there on the first day so we just sat there and watch them build the gate.  Now a 12 hour gate can be manned by one person but we decided to do it together.  That way one person can go to the bathroom, eat or take a nap and not worry about the gate. 
This is the machine that cleared the land.  Amazing to watch.
The area they were clearing.  The chipper is behind the tree

The chipper just runs right over the tree and chops it up.

The land being cleared of trees and brush.

How many men does it take to put up a gate.  There were so many times
there were so many people standing around while a couple men worked.

 This was an unusual gate because the rancher wanted every vehicle coming on his property to be washed off.  He didn't want any contaminates from somewhere else coming on his property.  Not quite sure how he kept the wind from blowing it over, but they had to appease him so they set up a wash station.  When they started they were washing the vehicles about 20 to 25 minutes.  By the time they were done they were taking about 2 minutes.
This was the platform into the gate.
The guy in the gray hat was the boss.  It was funny to watch him.
He was right there watching them and a few times he even
took the sprayer away from them and did the washing himself.  So many times
he was right there taking over.
They took some big machines in .

They had to wash them down from front to back.
When we got there Ed set up our easy up tent. There were some days in the 90's so the jeep got pretty hot, so it was nice sitting outside esp. if we had a breeze.  We were told we would work from 6 am to 6 pm.  But it ended up being 7am to 7 pm.  But there were days we were able to get off early.  I think there was one day we worked until 7:30.  But most of the time it was between 5:30 and 6.
We have thought about whether we would do this again, and we came to the conclusion we are not sure.  lol The pros about it are you only have to work 12 hours and make the same amount of money.  Which means you are only dealing with traffic for 12 hours. We get to spend the evenings together and not pass each other in the hallway while one is going to bed.  Also there were days we didn't even work 12 hours.  Those were nice.  Also sitting outside on the days it wasn't extremely hot, was nice.  It was like sitting in a park eating lunch.  The cons about it was we had to drive to the site every morning, even though it was only 4 miles.  I had to pack a lunch every day, and that had to be enough to last us 12 hours.  Wearing the jump suits weren't fun.  I don't know if that is required on all pipe lines.  Since they are short term gates, you could end up losing a long term one while working it.
We had some cows come to visit us on a regular basis.   It was sad when we heard one fell in the pipeline trench.  It happened at night so the next morning when they found her, she was dead.  Plus she was with calf.  I heard they had to pay the rancher $20,000.  They also found some wild hogs in the trench but it didn't kill them.  They put in some planks and let them out.
The little ones were very curious

Notice the burro in the middle.

The were very friendly

 Well we are done and heading our way back up north.  Plan on taking our time and being there in June.  We are meeting up with the kids at a Thousand Trails Park in Tennessee.  Looking forward to that.

We visited my sister and husband.  This was the morning we went to
church.  They must have all been on the same page because
they all had on orange.  Dave and Ed's shirt was the same shirt.
We both shop Sam's Club. haha

Happy Trails.   Love Ed and Lyn