Thursday, February 9, 2012

First Night of Gate Guarding

We had gone to sleep Monday night, so when we got notice that we were going to our first gate by 9 a.m., I knew it was going to be a long, long night for me.

I went back to the Whitsett yard to get some more forms and learned The Mossmans were also getting their own gate.

I stopped by the Chevron station that also has a barbecue cafe inside.  They make the best beef brisket, so I bought a pound of it for only $8.50 as I had no idea how we’d find time to eat.  Jim and I stood over the sink dipping brisket into barbecue sauce and eating it with our fingers.  No, not very elegant, but it satisfied the hunger and tasted real good--we hadn’t eaten any breakfast or lunch by this time. 

I tried to take a bit of a nap but never could sleep and ended up only resting.  Jim turned in about 10 p.m. and I did OK until about 1 a.m. but then I hit the wall. From 1 to 3 a.m. it was a struggle to stay awake, especially since I didn’t have any traffic after 11 p.m.  (Oh, how I wish we had good internet service because I could pass the time so easily by surfing the net, so I busied myself playing Mahjong Titans and Spider Solitaire.  Texas is AT&T country and even with a booster and antenna you can’t get but one bar with Verizon MiFi.  I’ll have to drive about five miles to get better service to post this blog, check email and facebook.)  Jim woke up at 4:30 a.m. and we waited until 7 a.m. to see if we’d have a rush of arrivals, but we didn’t so I went to sleep.  Unfortunately, I woke up at 11 a.m. wide awake.  So I helped Jim work the gate until 2 p.m. than I crashed for 3 hours. Hopefully, this will get me into my night shift sleep cycle.

I don’t have any problem sleep during the day because of the noise.  I got some ear plugs and they really shut out even the clanging rope bell. I use a cloth over my eyes so I don’t see any daylight.

So here are some photos of our gate.  The land owner was kind enough to offer a set of steps he had.  It really makes it so much easier to go in and out of the RV.  The land owner breeds a special strain of deer, so each of the three gates on this ranch have gates that have to be opened and closed for each vehicle.  We had about 50-60 vehicles the first day/night, but nothing after 11 p.m., but I still have to stay awake “just in case” as we are hired for 24/7.

The previous gate guards leaving

Nice steps and my “snake killer” hoe
View from inside the gate looking out-walk of about 30 feet from RV to gate.
Our daytime set up

During the day we sit outside and watch for traffic coming to the gate.  It’s easier than going in and out and up and down the stairs of the RV all day. Jim usually gets up early as most of you know, and now that we know we don’t get much early morning traffic, I’ll go to bed as soon as he wakes up and get up between 1-3 p.m.

With little traffic after 11 p.m. it gives me a lot of time to read (just finished Nick Russell’s Big Lake Lynching and it’s so good-even better than Big Lake IMHO) and I’m knitting.  Luckily there is pretty good TV at late night with David Letterman, Craig Ferguson or Jimmy Fallon and then Carson Daly.  Then I tune in CNN or see if there is a movie or something. 

Well, right now it is 1 a.m. on Thursday morning and I’m doing pretty good. Just had a truck delivering a big piece of equipment leave through the gate. Interestingly enough, women usually work the night shift. So if I get bored I can always call and chat with one of the other gate guard ladies I have met.  Of course, I have to go outside and point Jim’s phone to the south, put on the speaker and make my call.  Sometimes I have to put out my tongue and hop on my left foot to get a signal LOL.

The “work” isn’t hard, you meet a lot of good folks and the other gate guards we’ve met have been very welcoming and helpful.  The job consists of opening the gate and determining if the person has a need to be on the pads, then you log them in with their pertinent information. Then when they leave you log them out and open the gate for them.  It’s a large gate--about 15 feet wide--luckily it swings easily.  The RV sits about 30 feet from the gate but that is about as close as we could get and have room for the truck to hookup when we leave and not hit the fences. So we get a lot of exercise going up and down the RV stairs and walking back and forth to the gate.  Those thigh muscles are going to get strong.

Remember, you are loved.


  1. What's the hoe by the front steps for? Glad the owner provided some good sturdy steps for you. Should not wear you out as much, safer. Sounds like once you get your sleeping schedule worked out it will be a good gig for you. Keep us posted.

  2. Good status update. Did Jim And Linda get a gate anywhere nearby ? Hope you guys enjoy the warm weather and new workamper jobsite.
    We are still in S/W Arkansas since it is so mild this Winter, and are getting to the lake most weeks and sometimes twice a week. Work on our docking port is going slow.
    harm & bett

  3. Hope you do not have to use that snake killer. Doesn't sound like to bad a job except for the lack of Internet. Stay safe.

  4. Howdy B&J,

    Thatz a mighty fine looking set of steps the owner sent you(no falling on HIS property(LAWSUIT)!! Better make sure you are SQUARE & BALANCED when 'working' the gate, alittle off-balance and you'll pull a muskule.. Be careful!! You are loved!!

  5. Hi Bobbie and Jim! This is Holly & Brian Karbo...we met last June in Colorado at a nice little campground at the base of Wolf Creek Pass. You gave us some invaluable information and we are about to buy our first fifth wheel. We will keep you posted.


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