Here's a couple photos of a teeny tiny Texas Horned Lizard I found the other evening when I was out walking. He's the same color as the dirt road, so it's amazing that I even saw him. You can see how little it is compared to David's hand, photo above, and my hand, photo below.
Pictured below is what he'll probably grow up to look like. The Texas Horned Lizard pictured below is one that our Grandson Caleb caught last summer when he was visiting. I think they are adorable. They are a protected species and it's a violation of Federal Law to even take them into your home.
Yep, we're still here, west of Catarina, been on this same ranch since October of 2013, and yep, it's still hot. Some nights it's still 99 degrees at 8 o'clock at night And it's still windy and dusty. We still have a drilling rig in, coil tubing and flow back and . . . . same stuff, different day. Next month marks 3 years of gate guarding in South Texas.
Back in 2008 when we were planning to run away from home and trying to find out all we needed to know about full time RV'ing, we knew we needed a surge protector so we have always used one. Recently, due to so many horror stories about generators burning up appliances (and not just generators, some RV Park electrical systems as well) we decided to upgrade to this bad boy, pictured above. It's an Electrical Management System by Progressive Industries. It wasn't cheap, at $350.00, but it sure is cheaper than having to replace all our electrical appliances.
In the photo of our set up, pictured earlier, you can see our canopy tent. This scissor tail fly catcher built this nest in the small mesquite tree right above our canopy, so we have been able to watch the birds sit on the nest and feed the babies.
We have signed up for another cruise, this one a 5 night cruise in September, so that gives us something to look forward to on these HOT days.
I want to add a cautionary note. A number of Gate Guard Companies are advertising for help because everyone in their right mind went north for the summer. A couple of years ago one of the gate guard companies made their employees sign an NDA or Non Disclosure Agreement. It seems that someone was blogging about gate guarding and giving actual production numbers and close up photos of the drilling rig and bad mouthing an oil company. Several bloggers had to take their site down. If you are a blogger and a gate guard, please be aware of the unwritten rules which are don't give out too much information, please.
Our RV is a 2005 that we purchased in Florida in 2010, so it's 9 years old and in need of repairs . . . all the time it seems like. I mentioned in the last post that we had ordered a solar powered refrigerator fan to help keep a good temperature in the refrigerator when the temperatures reach 100 + degrees. David installed it, per the suggestions in the reviews, as low as he could get it. That wasn't working well so David Burkhart, of DCB Solutions RV Repair, 254-562-5513, suggested he raise the fan to about as high as we could get it, in order to create a vacuum. Having done that, it seems to be working well. Because it is solar powered and only runs during daylight hours, we may end up installing a "round the clock" fan if this one does not do the trick. We shall have to wait and see. So far, so good, but the temperatures have been mild so far.
The sewer vent fan was really easy to install and is secured with a screw, so it does not need to be removed when we travel and it also seems to be working well.
In October of 2012 we moved to a gate about 22 miles west of Pearsall. That's where the bees attacked our slide seals/slide sweeps and absolutely ate holes in them and chewed them up. David contacted the Crossroads Factory to obtain replacement parts and they were no help at all, but they did refer him to Tiara RV Center. Tiara was very helpful and we were able to order the parts from them, who in turn ordered the parts from the Crossroads Factory!!! I guess there just has to be a middle man! The hardest part was figuring out the right parts, as there are so many different slide seal/slide sweep configurations. Ours are the two piece variety. Anyway, $572.00 later we received the replacement parts and David is in the process of installing them. They're actually very easy to install, the ones on the side are screwed in but the ones on the top are stapled in, so he needs to go to the hardware store for more screws. Once installed they need to be caulked along the edge.
Something was leaking as there was a pool of water on the ground under the RV, a few feet back of the stairs. It would dry up during the day and then appear again the next morning. David was convinced it was the shower leaking, however, after taking the shower completely apart, taking the door and walls down and sealing a small crack and then putting it back together and re-caulking, the pool of water still appeared each morning. David finally discovered it was actually from a very small little hole in the water heater tank around the heating element. For a tiny little hole it sure was leaking a lot of water into the basement and onto the ground. Since you can't buy just the tank, but have to buy the entire water heater at a cost of $600, the two David's used J.B. Weld and patched the hole. The hard part was getting it re-wired the next day after it dried completely, but that was finally accomplished.
Our gate isn't busy currently, but they are due to drill about 8 new holes and should be here to do that in a week or two, so we are taking advantage of the slow to
Next on the list of repairs:
Bathroom sink faucet is leaking and needs replaced;
4 of the ladder steps (actually the little plastic end pieces) are broken and need replaced, if we can ever find the needed parts (no luck so far);
Grey water tank valve cables need replaced and those parts are on order;
The underskirting needs replaced and we are looking at different options;
The dining room floor needs replaced (not a small task).
Now we just need to win the Lottery!!!
On Sunday our thermometer read 103 degrees in the shade. One of the drivers who came in said his truck was reading 106 degrees and on the news they reported that it was 109 degrees in Laredo, just south of us. And it's not even summer yet! When it gets that hot our poor refrigerator just can't keep up, even with the small battery powered fan that stays in the fridge to distribute the cold air. The refrigerator thermometer was reading in the danger zone at about 45 degrees and we really don't want to run it on propane all summer, so we ordered a Camco 42165 Refrigerator Solar Roof Vent System ($79.98) from Amazon.com. The solar panel powers a fan that draws the hot air from behind the refrigerator. David's had his eye on it for a while (some good and some not so good reviews) and he finally bit the bullet and ordered one. In the meantime we are freezing bottles of water and putting them in the refrigerator and David made a temporary makeshift shade using the ladder and a tarp, since the refrigerator is on the side of the RV that gets full sun all day.
While he was at it he also ordered a Camco 40595 Cyclone Sewer Plumbing Vent ($16.38 through Amazon.com). It uses the power of the wind to draw holding tank odors out of the RV, rotating 360 degrees to follow the wind. It says it attaches easily to any RV plumbing vent and doesn't require any drilling into the roof. Some gate guard friends have one and they said it works well.
While I'm at it let me mention what we ordered from Amazon.com and received a while back and REALLY love. It's the Oxygenics 52333 Power Massage Hand Held Showerhead ($42.65). Why do we love it so much? It provides LOTS more water pressure while using 30% less water. Another gate guard friend has one and she loves hers. It's one of those things that, after using it for a while, you don't know how you got along without it before.
Sorry if this post sounds like a plug for Amazon.com, but we sure do rely on them when we need items that we can't get way out here in the oil patch. Later.
I just found out that my "subscribe" feature on this blog is apparently not working correctly. I am no computer geek, but something to do with "bots" and "ping" and "style". All that is Greek to me, so if you are a subscriber and not getting the posts, I apologize and hope it will fix itself. Isn't that what you're supposed to do when you don't know how to fix something? Give it time to fix itself and if that doesn't work, I'll try to learn some Greek.
In other news we have scheduled a Men's Carrizo Springs Lunch for Wednesday, May 14th at 11:00 a.m. at Lee's Steakhouse in Carrizo Springs (across the street from the baby Wal-Mart. If there is an interest we'll plan on having one each month, on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.
Do you ever look at images while on the internet? You know, you put in, for example, "Lee's Steakhouse" and click on "images"? Well I did that, quite by accident, (I was looking to see if they have a menu on-line) and, among other things, up came this picture, (above). I looked at it and then at the bottom of the picture it said, "www.WanderingWendels.com". That's when it dawned on me that was a photo that I had taken a couple of years ago and posted in my blog. NOW I know where those images come from, they come from photos, etc., that people post on the internet, for example, on their blogs. I was told a few years ago that any photo found under "images" on the internet is okay to use in a blog post and I wonder if that is true. Anyway, I found that interesting.
Why is the type on this blog post so small, when I usually use a larger font? From the little bit of information that I have been able to glean about my blog subscription problems, it may have something to do with the size of font I used. So, in a sense, this is a test, first of all, to see if it has any influence on whether or not any subscribers receive this post, and second, to check how good your vision is. So please let me know. Goodnight all.
Our gate traffic has slowed down and we're sure not complaining about that. The wells have been drilled, worked over and fracked. All 3 flowback crews are gone. The tankers are still hauling salt water out, but not as many tankers now as before. We're not sure what's going to happen here next, we're guessing more drilling. In the meantime this slow down gave us time to get some needed repairs and preventative maintenance done on the RV. David purchased the Dicor products and, with the help of the local RV Repair Guru, got several coats of roofing applied. This South Texas sun can be pretty hard on the RV, but hopefully this won't need to be done for another 5 years, since they got several coats of good quality roofing on it and did the necessary prep work.
Here is David Burkhart's card and we give him the highest recommendations for not only his work but his work ethics and his fair billing practices. Part of the time I think he stays over by Dilley, so he's not too far away. He's going to come back another day and work on some other of our RV issues. They seem to never end.
I've been busily baking brownies and cookies to pass out to the drivers who have to work this Easter weekend. I mended four pairs of blue jeans for one of the guys who works on the ranch. David and I cleaned out the closet today. UGH. Not something anyone looks forward to, especially on Easter, but we are taking advantage of the slow down in traffic. Not much else going on here right now. The only wildlife we see is mostly rabbits, Mexican Ground Squirrel, rattlesnakes (we've had two already this year), scorpions and BUGS!
Here's some more wildlife, this photo is from our April Gate Guard lunch in Carrizo Springs. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month and we sure have a good time!
Happy Easter to you and yours from the Wandering Wendels.
We had a wonderful time on our first cruise. We docked in Roatan, Honduras, where we took a tour of the island and got to pet the monkeys, then to Belize where we went snorkeling and then on to Cozumel where we did the touristy things like shopping.
This little monkey was the sweetest guy ever. I just wanted to put him in my purse and take him home with me!
Neat Mayan and Aztec things to see . . . and purchase.
Yeah, this guy was a bit scary. When he said something about how he wanted to make me his princess, it was time to pay him for the photos and get outta town.
This is the ship we went on, the Carnival Magic.
David's Sister and Mother with us in Roatan, Honduras.
Of course it was very different from the desert that we've been in the past few years. Everything was lush and green with beautiful trees and flowers everywhere.
Okay, no more monkeying around, its back to work for us! But we sure had a nice break. The food, the shows, the Comedy Club, it was all wonderful. Can't wait for our next vacation!
We're still fracking here. (frac or frack, either one is correct). They projected 45 days of frac since they are fracking 11 holes. We've been pretty busy with the frac and the work over rig and the flowback all going on, not to mention the facility and a new facility under construction. We turn in our numbers every day and I think our busiest day so far was 410 vehicles and of course that was when we were having really low temperatures (into the upper 20's at night) with a cold, wet and chill-you-to-the-bone wind. We're thankful for the return to normal South Texas temperatures. This is our third winter doing this Gate Guard gig in South Texas and this winter has been the pits!
The truck drivers from various states and various companies have hauled in about 460 loads of gravel and countless loads of salt and sand. The trucking company names that tickle us are, "Real Mamma's Boys" and "Slobber Dog".
Coyote Catering has been supplying us with tasty meals and that has been such a blessing during this busy time.
We're leaving the gate on Friday, headed to Houston to pick up relatives at the airport, then down to Galveston to catch a seven day cruise on the Carnival Magic. We'll be docking in Belize, Honduras and Cozumel. Then back to this gate for some more frac action.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the day is seeing the beautiful Texas sunset.
Come join us on Wednesday, February 19th at 11:30 a.m. at Esther Rose BBQ. The address is 505 North 1st Street in Carrizo Springs, Texas. The restaurant is located right beside McDonald's on the main drag through town.
Any and all gate guards, male or female, are cordially invited to join us. There is no agenda, we just like to get together every now and then and share good food, visit with old friends and make new ones.
There will be people in attendance who work for different Gate Guard Companies, i.e., TimeKeepers, LOMA, Riata, KC Services, Gate Guard Services and maybe others as well. Shoot me an email at WanderingWendels@yahoo.com if you'd like to join us so I can tell Esther Rose how many of us to expect.
David (my partner) is planning to attend the February lunch, gate traffic and weather permitting.
For future reference we are planning to have a gate guard lunch get together in Carrizo Springs on the third Wednesday of every month.
We've been receiving a number of emails lately from people interested in gate guarding and from people who have received their Texas Department of Public Safety Private Security Level II license but continue to wait for a gate. Now does not appear to be the time to get into this business, as most of the gate guard companies are full up and not hiring. It seems more and more people want to gate guard and the market appears to be getting flooded at the current time. Come April most of the snowbirds and winter Texans will be headed north for cooler, more tolerable climate and that would be the time to get your feet wet in the oil patch.
Some of the gate guard companies give priority to their former employees, which is nice.
We get asked quite often which is the best company to go with and my answer at the present time is whichever company has a gate available. There's nothing wrong with contacting all the different companies and either getting put on their waiting list, if they have one, or calling them on a regular basis to let them know you are still here and waiting. Most companies will require you to be in the general area if you are serious about getting a gate, and a number of the companies have yards where you can hook up for little or no cost while you wait for a gate to become available.
If you go to the main WanderingWendels.com webpage, there is a tab called "Introduction To Gate Guarding" and I have included a number of gate guard companies there, along with their contact information. There are many more that I have not listed, as new companies seem to pop up every day.
If you have mobility issues or other health issues THIS IS NOT THE JOB FOR YOU. Don't think that you can come down here and sit on your hands because that probably won't happen. Most of these gates are busy and require the gate guard to be in good health and be able to get in and out of the RV and up and down the stairs many, many, many, many times a day. Sometimes its so busy that we have to sit outside in the cold and wind. It's been down into the 20's here several times at night lately. Two days ago I was wearing two coats and a sock cap and a scarf and today I'm wearing a T-shirt, so you just never know what the weather is going to be like, and it's supposed to get cold again next week. It's a wonder we're not all sick all the time with the weather changes we've had lately.
Anyway I've prattled on too long now, so good night all and good luck. Penny