Daily Archives: August 27, 2020

Hurricanes, Past and Present . . .

Hurricane Laura Update . . .

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for the phone calls and emails from friends concerned about our safety.

And as I said in last night’s blog (actually 2am this morning), as far as we were concerned here south of Houston, about half way between downtown Houston and Galveston Island, there was no hurricane at all.

No wind, no rain, no power outages, and bright and sunny this morning.

And despite all the dire predictions of devastation from winds and storm surge over the seawall in Galveston, they pretty much escaped also.

On the island, some tidal flooding creeped into low-lying streets and wind shook the trees, but the island had virtually no damage, Mayor Pro-Tem Craig Brown said. Brown is acting as mayor.

Of course, unfortunately for the people in East Texas/West Louisiana, that wasn’t true. They got hit hard.

But one thing I haven’t not been able to reconcile is how they’re figuring the storm’s wind speeds. I was watching the Weather Channel around 1am when Laura came ashore. All evening they had talked about Laura’s 140-150 mph winds as the storm eye-wall crossed the Louisiana coast line.

But the Weather Channel was regularly displaying a screen with wind speeds and gusts of all the surrounding towns, including Cameron and Lake Charles directly in the path of the storm.

And I never saw any speed higher than 100 mph, or a gust higher than 117 mph. Note that the screengrab below is as the eye is coming onshore.

2020-08-27 21_46_44-Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams Dodges Hurricane Laura Debris

So what’s up with that.

But whatever the wind speeds, it was devastating to the Texas-Louisiana border area. Our prayers go out to them.

At Least 103 New Coronavirus Cases in 8 States Linked to South Dakota Motorcycle Rally

The above headline was posted on MSN’s website bemoaning this WuFlu outbreak. with this snarky comment . . . “many of whom did not wear masks and clearly violated social distance orders.”


But you have to read 8 paragraphs down into the article before you are told that these 100+ cases were among the more than 450,000! people who attended the Sturgis Rally.

And as far as I can find out, there were no deaths among these 100+ cases.

But we can’t vote in person, right?

In 2009 we were getting ready to head east out through Canada for a 3 week trip out to Newfoundland and back before coming back into the U.S.

August 27, 2009


Today is our last full day in Maine and the US for a while.

Tomorrow we drive about 2 miles east and we’ll be in Canada.  Then we have about a 185 mile trip to Moncton, NB.  We’ll stay there for 3-4 days while we explore the area around there, including probably an overnight trip to Prince Edward Island, while leaving the rig parked in Moncton.

After that we’ll see if we need to do anything about dodging Hurricane Danny.

Today was a ‘get the rig ready to roll’ day.  I added a charge wire to from the rig to the toad.  This will keep the battery in the truck from running low while we’re traveling.  Apparently in real hilly country, the auxiliary braking system in the toad operates so much that on long travel days it runs the battery down.  The charge wire supplies power from the rig to the toad to keep its battery charged.

When we enter Canada tomorrow we’ll lose an hour since we’ll be now be in Atlantic Time.

More tomorrow from Canada…


There’s always a lot of Gate Guarding stuff this time of the year, since from 2012 to 2017 we were on a Gate at this point.

August 27, 2013

A New Record . . .

Our first full day on our new gate and we’ve already set a record. We had 141 vehicles come though today. Our previous high score last year was 128.

We’re on a fracking gate, but they also have a couple of rigs getting ready to “spud in” (start to drill) back there too. I suspect once they get all their equipment moved in and the set up done, things will quiet down a bit. I hope.

The GGS guys came by to fill our 550 gallon water tank this morning, a little after I went to bed (7am). In the rush to get us over here and set up, they brought it over empty, and we just used our rig water for a day. A little later, Austin, our GGS support guy, came by to replace our vehicle alarm bell, which had died overnight.

Remember those old service station bells with the hoses you drive across? Well that’s what we have, with the hoses stretched out about 100 feet in each direction. When you have a problem, normally it’s a leaky hose, but this time it was the unit itself. Austin carries spares of pretty much everything, so it was a quick fix.

While he was here, I had him turn up the juice a bit on the generator. With both AC’s running, we were getting 108 volts on one leg and 110 on the other. Pretty low and not good for the AC’s. And if we turned the dryer on at the same time as both AC’s were running, it dropped the 108 voltage below 105, which means my Progressive EMS would kick off because the voltage was too low. I had him turn it up to about 120 which should be fine.

Later, when I get a chance, I’ll go out and play with the frequency setting on the generator. It’s running at about 58.5 Hz according to my Kill-A-Watt, which means our bedroom projector digital clock runs slow. I’ll just take my Kill-A-Watt out to the generator and tweak it a little and get it closer.

Speaking of the Kill-A-Watt, every RV’er should have one of these.

Kill-A-Watt 1

P4400 Kill A Watt Electricity Usage Monitor

They’re less than $20 and show voltage, amps, watts, frequency, and KWH. It’s on my Ten Things Every RV’er Needs list for the seminars I used give.

Sometime in the next few days, after things settle down here, I’ll probably go to the same every 2-4 days posting schedule that I did last year. It’s hard to do much with “a lot of vehicles came in and a lot of vehicles left”.


Thought for the Day:

One of the most obvious facts about grownups to a child is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child. — Randall Jarrell


More Gate Stuff

August 27, 2015

Shut Down . . .

For Tonight.

A little after 7pm, an hour after I went to sleep, the night Company Man came by on his way out, telling Jan that they were shut down for the night, and would resume at 8am tomorrow morning. Too bad we didn’t know we were going to have the night off a little earlier.

It sure would be nice if they went to a twelve hour shift for a while.

One thing really nice about this gate, well, maybe this area, is the weather. And by weather I really mean the temperatures. Unlike south Texas, where it was 107° on one gate today, our high was 91, and the low last night was 63°. In fact it was cool enough, that because of the slight breeze, I came in and got a long sleeve shirt and a pull-over cap

The landowner came by a couple of days ago and said if we wanted, we could hook up to the water well that’s about 50 feet out in front of our rig.


It’s coming up from about 450 feet, it’s ice-cold, and tastes really good. And it’ll save Jamie from having to bring us water as well as diesel. The only problem is that I don’t have quite enough hose to reach it, so I’ll pick up another 50 foot one when I go into town, probably tomorrow.

Unlike several past gates, here we’re far enough away to not have to worry about noise and fumes.


We can see the site from here, but not hear it or smell it, which is really nice. We’ve been so close at other gates, including last year, that I could literally throw a rock and hit the rig.

As it stands right now, I’ll go into Carthage tomorrow to scope out the town, i.e. find the Wal-Mart, and pick up some supplies. I’ll probably also bring back lunch for us.

We still don’t know when the actual fracking will start. I don’t think they do either.


Thought for the Day:

“There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the stupidest tourists.” – Yellowstone park ranger

And Still More

August 27, 2016

Any Minute Now . . .

We’re finally starting to settle in to Gate Mode as far as our sleeping hours.

A lot of couples do a 12 on, 12 off kind of thing, but that just doesn’t work for Jan and I. We split our shifts up with Jan coming out at 7am with breakfast and then relieving me. I sleep from 7 to about 11, and then I come out with coffee and sit a while.

After doing Internet Stuff, I come back out about 1pm and then work until 6pm, while Jan does her computer stuff and naps. Then at 6pm Jan comes out with supper and then she works until 11pm. Finishing up, I then work until 7am.

Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

So I work 13 hours and Jan works 11, and I sleep about 4 hours twice a day. A lot of people ask about this sleeping schedule, and all I can say is that it works for me. I can do it 3 or 4 months at a time with no problem.

The rig spent most of the day loading drill pipe onto the derrick, letting it hang off the side so it’s ready to go as fast as they drill.

Hawkwood Rig 10

One thing that was neat was that two truck drivers remembered us from 2 years ago at our North Zulch gate, which is only about 15 miles from here.

Our Internet here is still pretty sucky, but before I fool with putting up our Wilson booster, I’m going to see if I can get on the site’s WiFi. It’s showing 5 bars so it should be a good connection, but I’m going to wait for them to start drilling before I ask.

We had 74 vehicles come in the gate today, a lot of them trucks coming in to pick up equipment, cranes, bucket trucks, etc., that were used to set up the rig and aren’t any longer until it’s time to tear it back down.

That’s about it for today. More tomorrow.

Thought for the Day:

I miss the days you could push someone in the pool without worrying about their cell phone.


And Finally, A Little More Hurricane Stuff

August 27, 2017

Now That’s More Like It . . .

Well, after yesterday’s lack of rain here in Conroe, about 1am this morning that all changed.

Like you’d flicked a switch it started pouring down, heavier than any time in the last couple of days. And it continued the rest of the night and into the daylight. If it’s not pouring down hard, it’s still a steady heavy drizzle, and it really hasn’t stopped.

All of the news anchors keep comparing this storm and the resultant flooding to Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. But it seems like everyone has forgotten about Tropical Storm Claudette in July 1979.

Never a hurricane, Claudette came into the Gulf after crossing over Cuba. Then proceeding across the Gulf of Mexico, it came on land near Houston and stalled. For the next couple of days rain just poured down without stopping.

On July 25th It dumped 42” of rain on Alvin, TX, southwest of Houston, a record for 24 hour rainfall in the US that still stands to this day. Many other cities south of Houston had totals over 30”.

Here’s a traffic cam photo at I-610 just south of I-10 east of Houston

Harvey Traffic Cam

Those traffic signs are normally 20 feet above the road, which shows how deep it is over the roadway.

About noon I decided to drive around the park to see how it was faring around here. I was curious about the low area along the small creek, (or ‘crick’ as we say in Alabama) as you come down the hill from the Ranger Station.

Harvey Lake Conroe Entrance

But except for the orange cones, which several trucks drove right past, everything looked good.

Lake Conroe was definitely over its banks.

Harvey Lake Conroe Lake

I thought that might be an RV in the flood waters, but it turned out to be a pontoon boat with too tight an anchor rope. Hope it doesn’t get pulled under as the water rises.

Harvey Lake Conroe Lake Pontoon Boat

I heard later in the afternoon that the COE was going to start releasing water from the lake to lower the level.

This Great White Egret seems to be the only guy that’s happy about all the rain

Harvey Lake Conroe Egret

When I got back to the rig I checked my  homemade rain gauge. I set this kitty litter bucket out just after midnight Saturday morning and I don’t know when it overflowed, but the bucket is 16” tall so there’s been at least that much rain here since then.

Kitty Bucket Water Level

I dumped it out about 2pm, so we’ll see how much more we get.

Last minute update before I posted the blog at 11pm. We’ve had another 5 inches of rain in the last 9 hours.

A little before 3pm we got a text message from the Lake Conroe TT saying that there was a break in the 8” water main feeding the park and that the water would be off until further notice. Glad I topped off our fresh water tank the other day.

Just now, about 7:30, we got another text message saying the water line break had been repaired. Yay!

There have been dueling recommendations between state and local authorities about whether or not to call for a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas of Houston. Especially since the last evacuation of Houston was an unmitigated disaster all by itself.

In late August 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the New Orleans area. With around 1800 fatalities attributed to the storm, it was a real shock to the Gulf Coast. So when just a month later, Hurricane Rita initially made a beeline for Houston, mass panic ensued.

Originally forecast as a CAT 5, the strongest Gulf storm on record, Rita scared the crap out of a lot of people. And about 2.5 million of them headed north out of Houston on I-45, all at the same time, creating the largest gridlock in US history.


Rita Evac 1

Rita Evac 2

More than100 people died in the evacuation. Drivers were stuck in traffic for more than 20 hours, and heat stroke struck down dozens. A bus carrying nursing home patients caught fire, and 24 died. People ran out of gas just sitting in the gridlock and fights broke out along the roadway. It was described as ‘a hellhole.’

And then, still out in the Gulf, Rita downgraded itself to a CAT 3 and made a 90 degree turn to the right, missing Houston almost completely, ultimately coming on land around the Texas/Louisiana border. Down in the Clear Lake area, we got no rain whatsoever, leading to this famous photo.


Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Thought For The Day:

Everyone who wants to be the first in line for a new mRNA vaccine for CoVid that has unknown long-term side effects, raise your hand!