Battening Down The Hatches . . .

Although it’s still possible that we might evacuate up to Brandi’s if Laura makes an unexpected move to the west, more than likely we’ll just ride it out here.

When Harvey made a much more direct hit here in 2017, the park here had no flooding or real damage to the facilities or rigs. So that looks good too.

I did go outside this evening and store away all of our yard chairs and other stuff in our storage shed. Anticipating this possibility I used screw-in anchors and straps to fasten the shed’s plywood base to the ground, and then lag-bolted the shed base to the plywood using steel straps. So we’ll see how it works.

I will also let in the awnings tomorrow as the winds pick up, and then wait and see about the slide.

And if this wasn’t enough, in the middle of all this I had to replace the battery in the truck this afternoon. I had to use my battery charger to jump it off this afternoon when we left the rig, thinking I just left something on. But then I had to get another jump when we were out and about later. So I picked a new one up at O’Reilly’s on the way home and swapped it out this evening.

Looking back in the blog, it was about  4 years ago that I installed the last one, which is pretty good in the Texas heat.

Watching the 10pm weather tonight it’s looking  more and more like Laura is going in around the TX-LA border, but we’ll know more tomorrow morning when I decide if I’m going into work or not.

Stay Tuned.

 


August 25, 2009

My Brother’s Place…

Today was another travel day.

We left Pumpkin Patch RV Park a little before 11 am and headed northeast on I-95 to Houlton, ME,  located right on the Canadian border.

But before we got on the Interstate, we stopped off at a truck stop to top off our propane tank.

The last time we filled up with propane was in Whitehorse, BC,  last October on our way back from Alaska.  In warm weather the only thing we normally use propane for is to power the frig while we’re on the road, and for hot water when we boondock.

But since we just dropped below 1/2 tank last week,  I wanted to be sure we had plenty of propane before heading into Canada and colder weather, since we do use it for the two gas heaters in our coach.  And it’s supposed to get colder very soon.

Tomorrow night it’s supposed to 46, and the night after, 40 degrees.  We have two electric floor heaters, but sometimes we still need the coach heaters.

We pulled into My Brother’s Place RV Park about 1:45 pm, and got set up.  An hour or so later we headed out to drive around the area and grab a late lunch.

After dropping off some mail at the Post Office,  we stopped off at a couple of parts places to pick up a spare fuel filter and engine belt before we cross the border.  It can sometimes be hard to get parts over there.

Before heading back to the coach we stopped for dinner at the local truck stop, since we were looking for a place that served breakfast all day.  Jan had some great blueberry pancakes, and I had a meatlover’s omelet.  All really good.

The park here is pretty nice, with big pull-thru sites and plenty of space between each coach.

My Bother's Place

Tomorrow I’m going to fix some stuff around the coach and kind of take it easy.  Jan’s just gonna take it easy.

  

In 2011


August 25, 2011

64.8 pounds . . .

or 2 pounds and 2 inches. Take your pick.

The first one is how many pounds of stuff Jan has proudly thrown away in the last week, mostly old magazines and brochures.

The second one is how many pounds and inches Landon has grown since his 9 month checkup.

Brandi called this afternoon and said Landon had his 1 year checkup today, He’s doing great and growing like crazy. He’s grown so tall he’s been wearing 18 month sizes for a good while now.

NBA here we come.

After early morning coffee, we headed out about noon to drive about 15 miles away to Paris, IL. I wanted some more ‘F’ connecters for my satellite system upgrade, and Jan wanted to hit the Wal-Mart again.

But our first stop was at Los Tres Caminos, a local Mexican restaurant that was listed in the top ten restaurants in Paris. Of course there may be only ten restaurants in Paris, since number 10 on the top ten list was Wendy’s.

But in this case. the listing was right. This place was GOOD.

Jan had a combo plate that included a Chile Relleno. She said it was almost as good as Esther’s Taco House. Almost, but not quite. (Gina and Miss Terry will know how good this means it was.)

After lunch we drove right down the street to the Wal-Mart Supercenter. Although we were just at Wal-Mart this past Monday and spent about $140, somehow Jan found she needed another $144 worth of stuff today. I think she’s trying to fill up that 65 pound hole she made this week.

Coming back into the downtown, and after dropping off three bags of clothes at the local Goodwill, I stopped to take some photos of the beautiful Edgar County Courthouse. Built in 1891, it looks as good now as it did when it did then.

Paris Courthouse 1

Paris Courthouse 2

Here’s another shot from the Internet.

EdgarCounty_Illinois_Courthouse

We noticed a number of other buildings, like churches and schools, built in the same style and probably, time period. A very nice little town of about 10,000 people.

And on a trivial note, besides their beautiful courthouse, Paris’ other claim to fame is that Carl Switzer, who played ‘Alfalfa’ in the ‘Our Gang’ comedies, was from here.

Our last stop before heading home was the local True Value Hardware for some other things I needed.

Getting home, I started back in on my chore list.

Later Jan fixed a great dinner of Potato Skins and Jalapeno Poppers, with some more of her Cherry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert.

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Thought for the Day:

Always remember you’re unique, just like everyone else.

 


August 25, 2013

Gate Guarding and More . . .

I’ve had some more inquiries about gate guarding and how to get started, so here’s a repost of the info.

When we started last year, we just showed up at the Gate Guard Services yard in Whitsett, TX and told them we wanted to gate guard. We did not call ahead.

We had heard to do it that way because they get so many calls and requests for info that they really don’t pay any attention until you get there in person.

We got there on Thursday, April 5th about 5:30, but every one had already gone home at the office. But the guy working the shop showed us where to park. They have 5 FHU sites and a number of places with power and water. There is no charge for parking there while you’re waiting for a gate or coming off a gate.

The next morning. I went to the office and got our info packets and fingerprint cards. We then drove over to Floresville about 20 miles away and got our fingerprints done at the Sheriff’s Office.

Then we had to drive down to Corpus Christi on Tuesday, April 10th to process our applications and take our security guard tests. We had to wait until Tuesday because they only process apps on Tuesday and Thursday.

Five days later, on Sunday, April 15th, we were on our first gate.

Doing it this way will work in the Spring and Summer, but probably not as well in the Fall and Winter when the all the snowbirds are down in south Texas wanting to gate guard for the winter.

Gate Guarding pays $125 a day or more depending on how busy your gate is. And just to be clear, the $125 is per couple, not per person. The company furnishes you a 11KW diesel generator, diesel to run it, a 500 gallon water tank that they keep filled, and a portable septic system. So even though you are usually out in the middle of nowhere, you have full hookups.

The one real downside to gate guarding is that most gates are 24/7. So one of you has to be on the gate at all times. Some couples do 12 hour shifts, but Jan and I prefer to split it up. She works the gate from 7am to 2pm, I work from 2pm to 6pm, she works from 6pm to 11pm, and then I work from 11pm to 7am. This seems to work for us. Your mileage may differ.

But one thing to keep in mind is that although you’re working 12 hour shifts, you don’t actually WORK that much. Last year we averaged about 80 vehicles a day, and never had more than 130. Based on about 30 seconds per vehicle, you only actually work about 30-45 minutes a day. The rest of the time you’re sitting in the shade reading or playing on the computer. Jan read 84 books in 4 months last year.

For more information you can go back on our blog starting April 5th, 2012 and read about our gate guarding adventures last year. Or just leave me a comment.


Here’s a list of Gate Guard Companies. The first 4 are the main ones, with GGS the biggest.

Gate Guard Services, L.P.- 361-949-6992

LOMA Rentals, LLC – 817-964-1828

Time Keepers – 830-816-5059 Toll Free – 877-851-7676

Site Watch Gate Guards – 800-561-7202

KC Services – 956-236-5255

Pro Gate Security – 830-776-8666

Oil Field Support Services – 361-815-7050

Trinity – 956-241-1675

Primo Gate Guards – 361-563-9272

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Later in the afternoon it was time for another maintenance chore. Although I clean and wash the AC foam filters every month, it’s been awhile since I cleaned the coils.

Despite the filter, some dust and dirt always gets through and lodges on the fins of the evaporator coil and blocks the air flow, thus reducing the cooling. And with another month of 95+ temps on the gate, we need all the cooling we can get.

AC Coil Cleaning 1

Removing the plastic grille shows the air intake over the coil. The screen wire is my addition. I found that because of the wide-open holes, the filter material would get sucked into the holes and deform, letting air leak by. So a couple of years ago I got some coarse screen wire and just taped it over the vent holes to provide some support for the foam filter.

AC Coil Cleaning 2

AC Coil Cleaning 3

Pulling the screen off, I used the brush adapter for the vacuum to clean all the dirt off the coil.

AC Coil Cleaning 4

Then it was just a matter of putting it all back together and then doing the second one.

Still no new news on our gate. Tentatively we’re supposed to move tomorrow about 2pm, but we’ll see.

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Thought for the Day:

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” – H.L. Mencken



August 25, 2014

Counting Down to the Gate . . .

After we had our coffee this morning, I got on the phone to Jamie of Gate Guard Services to see if he had any gates available now, or maybe in the next few days. But he said he didn’t have anything on the horizon right now, but that of course things could change every day. I told Jamie that I was going to check with Diane down at the Whitsett office and that I would call him one last time before we did anything.

When I checked with Diane, she said that they had sites coming up pretty much every day, and to come on down. So as it stands right now, we’ll leave here Thursday morning, going either east or west.

I’ll call Jamie Thursday morning to see if anything’s come available. If so, we’ll head east and north to Buffalo, TX, about 200 miles away where Jamie’s yard is. If Jamie still doesn’t have anything coming up, we’ll head west and south to Whitsett about 175 miles away.

Since we now have a leave date, this Thursday, about 12:30 I went down to the park office to re-up for 3 more days. We were originally going to be here until the 30th of August, but I cut it back when we got here. But just in case I have two weeks booked at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails starting the 30th, to be sure we had somewhere to be for the Labor Day weekend, in case the gate guard thing got delayed.

Lowell send over some photos that Landon’s grandmother Sonja had taken of Landon at Katy Mills Mall yesterday.

Katy Mills Bouncy Slide 1

This is another favorite of his, the Inflatable Bouncy Crocodile Slide.

Katy Mills Bouncy Slide 2

Although that Croc looks pretty realistic to be inflatable.

A few months ago Brandi and Lowell moved Landon to a new school. The Goddard School is highly rated, and talking to Landon it’s easy to see why.

While we were at Rainforest Café yesterday afternoon, Landon started talking about the large animated butterflies (about 3ft across) in the trees around our table.

Rainforest Cafe Butterfly

He told us that butterflies are insects, and how insects, like a lot of other animals, use their colors to ‘camouflage’ themselves from things that want to eat them.

Landon at Rainforest Cafe

So here’s a 4 year old that knows all about butterflies, insects, and camouflage. A 4 year old (just barely) that knows the word ‘camouflage’ and knows what it means.

That’s just scary.

Tomorrow I’ve got some stuff I want to do around the rig before we head out on Thursday. Luckily, most of it is inside, out of the heat.

_________________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.” — Groucho Marx

 


August 25, 2015

Carthage Gate . . .

Jan and I were up early this morning, 6:15 early. We wanted to be on the road by 7:15, leaving Henderson for our gate location about 20 miles away. We were supposed to meet Jamie, our Gate Guard Services supervisor, there at 8am.

Our new gate turns out to be about 1.5 miles off the highway, and close enough to Carthage, TX to have good cell service and good Internet. We normally name our gates by the nearest town, so this is now officially the Carthage Gate.

Jamie had already logged a couple of trucks in before we got there, but as is our usual method, Jan took over the clipboard and started logging while I got us parked and set up. Actually I got us parked twice, because after I had parked, leveled and put the slide out, the Company Man came by and asked us to move forward about 15 feet so we weren’t under the high-tension power lines overhead. Jamie and I looked, and we weren’t really under them, but we moved anyway.

The forecast was for thunderstorms this morning and they showed up with a vengeance about 9am, with lightning strikes all around and very heavy rain. One strike was so close, the hair on my arm stood up. Jan worked out of the truck during all this so she stayed pretty dry. By about 10:30 the storm had passed and the sun was out, making things nice, but humid.

We’re actually in the middle of a cattle ranch, but we haven’t seen any yet, just little reminder piles of their presence. But all in all, it’s a nice site.

Carthage Gate 1

Carthage Gate 2

We don’t have a prepared pad this time, so we’re just parked on the grass. Since we’re on kind of a rise, it should stay pretty dry.

We hope.

_________________________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” – Milton Friedman

  



August 25, 2016

Maybe Tomorrow ?

Well, we’re still on vacation as it were, with no definite startup time. Which is fine with us.

They had the derrick in place early this morning but nothing much else seemed to be happening for most of the day, except for a lot of guys mostly standing around in hard hats.

Blue Moon  Gate Derrick Raising 1

This morning Jan cooked up 5# of ground chuck and 3# of chicken breasts, then later in the afternoon we packed and vacuum-sealed the the hamburger in 1# bags and the chicken in 4 bags. So it will be quick and easy for Jan to fix meals for us on the gate.

I spent the late morning and early afternoon getting our canopy frame up and tied down in place before getting the covering on top.

Next I laid down a couple of pallets over the rocks leading out to the roadside. Jamie brought them with him when we delivered our sewer trailer,

Hawkwood Parking Site Rocks

After I saw the large rocks that they used on the roadway, I knew we’d need something to cover them, since walking on them without twisting your ankle is not easy.

And I’m going to have to get some plywood to cover up the gaps where the mats are bolted together.

Hawkwood Parking Site 2 Mats 3

Another ankle twisting possibility.

Around 4pm I went onto the pad to drop off our phone numbers with the Company Man. When I got back, Jan wanted to know if I asked him when he wanted us to start logging vehicles in.

I said No, I didn’t want to give him any ideas. When he wants us to start, he knows where to find us.

Finally, about 30 minutes later, they started raising the derrick.

Blue Moon  Gate Derrick Raising 2

Blue Moon  Gate Derrick Raising 3

Blue Moon  Gate Derrick Raising 4

And about 90 minutes later they were done.

So I guess sometime tomorrow we’ll finally get to work.


Thought for the Day:

“Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” – Benjamin Franklin, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

2 Responses to Battening Down The Hatches . . .

  1. M W says:

    Praying for your safety during the storm.  Take care!  M.

  2. Lloyd V. Jackson says:

    Greg, have you ever looked at space city weather.com  ?  It’s a very good look at weather in this area.  I am in League City also.

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