Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014-Tilden, Texas

Christmas Eve was busy at the gate, which surprised me.  I thought they’d slow down for the holiday…but no. It was the busiest night I’ve had here.  It was chilly so I was sitting inside but got called outside about every 8-10 minutes.  My thighs are getting very toned with all this standup and sit down all night.

Christmas afternoon one of the ranch owners brought us some of their Christmas dinner.


We had planned on roasting a turkey breast, but put it aside when the owner said he was bringing us dinner.  We got ham, black-eyed peas, fried catfish and chicken livers, pecan and lemon pie, and….and…quail. In fact, two containers of quail.

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That’s half a quail

They were so small I couldn’t eat them …. Jim tasted them and said they were good, but this just wasn’t Christmas dinner for me.  We went ahead and roasted our turkey breast and side dishes.


Separately Jim and I drove about six miles towards Tilden and found a tower where we got three bars on our phone so we called family and friends with Christmas wishes.

One well has been drilled and they skidded the rigging and are drilling the second well now.  Holiday or not, drilling goes on. 

Remember, you are loved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Activities on First Gate

We don’t have internet out here on the gate, so I’m writing the blog post throughout the week and then drive into Tilden to publish it.

Sunday we spent the day and night staying up with the permanent gate guards here to get trained before they take off in the morning for a 2 1/2 week vacation to go home to Montana for the holidays.  They use an iPad on this gate, so it was learning the form …not hard, just lots of steps.

Monday-Wednesday was learning the tricks and solving the problems with the iPad.  We met the two different ranch owners on this property…friendly and nice. Jim went to find the garbage wagon and it took him 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back.

Thursday Jim got up early so I could get to sleep and then wake and go into Pleasanton to meet with other lady gate guards for lunch.  There were 15 of us and it was really nice.  We swapped stories, locations and comments on life as a gate guard. I had a good time. It seems most of the ladies and their husbands do this full time with only short breaks during the year.  That’s too much for us.  Three or four months is plenty.


Linda Mossman was there along with Monica Ray, who worked with us at Brainard Recreation Area the summer of 2013.  She and Rick are gate guarding pretty close to us.  Here is my second selfie.  Still can’t seem to master looking at the camera and clicking all at the same time.


Friday we were informed that there is a drilling rig coming in this weekend, so told to hold-on, it was going to get busy. 


The permanent gate guards here thought it had been postponed to mid-January….things change.  Some of the equipment came in Friday.


Saturday Jim and Linda came out to visit as yet another gate was closed on them…this time after only two days.  Jim and I are so grateful they are so close to us.

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I asked one of the ranch hands is we could borrow a shovel so Jim could dig out some of the dirt around the outside grey/black tank first receptacle (I don’t know the proper term) as it was too high and you know what doesn’t go up hill. 



Instead Scotty brought over a bob cat and dug out a spot for us…pretty nice.






A Goodyear repairman came by to bring in a new tire and he had the cutest double dappled miniature wiener dog (can’t properly spell dash hound). He is white with black and white spots and also brown and white spots.

Sunday started off with a bunch of drilling equipment coming in and it didn’t stop until after 7 p.m. Up and down, up and down all day long in and out of the chair to bring in and check out traffic.  These are pieces of the drilling derrick which are huge!



Monday and Tuesday we continued with a lot of incoming traffic.  Jim said Saturday we had 250 to 300 vehicles come in the gate…of course, they had to be checked OUT as well.  Sunday and Monday we had about 150 each day.  It took both Jim and I to run the gate with Jim using the iPad and I wrote down the license plate numbers of the outgoing traffic.

The hardest part is just trying to cook meals and get something to eat.  One day we just grabbed peanut butter sandwiches and heated leftovers, eating separately as someone had to be outside. 

It slows done after 7 p.m. so I usually have a quieter night than Jim has during the day.  I’ve been knitting most of the night usually finishing a project each night…mostly hats. 

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Tomorrow Linda and I are meeting in Pleasanton to do laundry and have lunch to celebrate her birthday.  That should be fun.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind this saying HERE

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Our Gate

We are “relief” gate guards on this gate outside of Tilden, Texas, so the regular gate guards can go home to Montana for Christmas.  We are here till December 31st…but a gate is a gate…so we’ll take it.

This is a long established ranch with a crude oil facility so we get a lot of oil tankers coming in to pick up crude oil.  They are also preparing to drill another well, so we are expecting the big equipment to come in over the weekend.  That will be exciting.  Jim and I really like when it is busy.  Makes the time go by faster.

We came up with a work eight hours, off for four hours and then work four hours.  It is easier when we break up the 12 hour shift like that.  So far it is working.  Interestingly enough I have only been sleeping six hours instead of my normal eight hours.  So that gives me a little more off time.

Jim has been doing the cooking on his four hours off…which is fine with me.  This weekend I’ll put something in the slow cooker before I go to bed at 5 a.m. so we’ll have something to eat without much effort.

On this ranch there are cows, horses, deer and a family of four raccoons that come to visit our rig every night. The cows and horses also have come wandering by most nights.  I have to shooo them off the road to let the truckers out.

Right now we haven’t been busy at night, so I have been reading on my Kindle and knitting most of the night.  I just started reading The Outlander series and am really enjoying it.  I read the first book way back when it first came out, but didn’t continue with the series.  It is nice to get back to it.  I really enjoy reading long books and ones in a series, so this fits the bill.

Luckily the weather has been very mild although we are wearing our orange sweat jackets because of the wind.  We’re able to stay outside during the day, and I stay outside until most of the trucks are out then I come inside and watch TV and knit.  We have rope bells that alert us of incoming and outgoing traffic…and yes, I do stay up all night.

Jim gets up about 4 a.m. and gets ready and has his coffee while I fill him in on the night.  I go to bed at 5 a.m. and with ear plugs I sleep soundly for six hours.  Then I get ready, have my veggie smoothie and take over the iPad and start logging the traffic.

Everyone here has been very friendly and those truckers are super polite…we’ve been having fun as most of them are from Louisiana around the Jeanerette, Kaplan and Crowley areas.  Those are places we are familiar with after having spent time at Betty’s RV Park in Abbeville.  Makes for some interesting and fun conversations.  One of the guys told me the H.E.B. in Pleasanton just got in some crawfish for $2 a pound.  That sure brings back some good memories of Louisiana.

Well, it is time for me to take over the logging iPad so I will say goodnight.

Remember, you are loved.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lose a Gate–Get a Gate

After we pulled in the slides, hooked up and were ready to move out to our first gate Friday we got a phone call saying to wait….changes were happening.  After about a half hour we were told the gate was just going to close…dang!  So we had to unhook, reset up, etc. and wait some more.

Luckily, we were notified this afternoon we have another gate and leave tomorrow.  It is outside of Tilden, Texas, and the best part is that we are only about five miles from the Mossman’s gate….yippee.  We drove out there this afternoon to make sure we could find it.

We are going to work the same schedule as the Mossmans so we can visit at each other’s gate and go to Pleasanton together….two at a time.

Yesterday I pulled out my sewing machine and hemmed my work pants and contoured the company shirts to make them less boxy. 


As I said before this whole area is AT&T country so we may not have internet or phone service at the gate.  But I should be able to get something in Tilden, so I’ll just have to drive in to publish our blog posts.  We’ll see.

Remember, you are loved.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We all get a gate

Jim and Linda Mossman got a gate yesterday, Thursday, somewhere southwest of here.  Then late yesterday afternoon we got “the call” and are heading out this morning to a gate somewhere outside of Tilden, Texas. This is a short assignment for just three weeks, so it must be a relief assignment to let someone go celebrate Christmas with family.  That’s good for them…and for us as something is better than nothing so we will take it.

We’ll keep you informed of our whereabouts and activities, but since Texas is primarily AT&T country, and we have Verizon, we may not have phone or internet service.  My blogging may be sparse as I will have to drive somewhere to get service.  I’ll let you know.

Remember, you are loved.
Read the story behind this saying HERE

Monica and Rick

were camphosts at Brainard Recreation Area outside of Nederland, Colorado, when we were regional managers for American Land and Leisure the summer of 2013.  They have been gate guarding during the winters off and on like we have.

Monica found me on Facebook Monday and we made arrangements to visit them at their gate Tuesday.  The big dog is Crash….for obvious reasons.

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    They also have a parrot that travels with them.


Crash is looking at Poncho like “I didn’t know they made us so small”.


Monica and Rick have a TV set just inside their basement so they can watch TV during their shift….clever.


We had a great time catching up on their travels since we saw them and to hear that they will be returning to work at Brainard this summer. Need to get them together with Kenny and Angela Harper who will also be working at Brainard this summer.

Remember, you are loved.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Adobe Deli–Deming, NM

We’ve been to Dream Catcher RV Park in Deming many times and have eaten in many of the restaurants in town.  We’ve heard about Adobe Deli a couple of times but never ventured the nine miles out of town to try it out…BIG MISTAKE. Wallace and Wanda Lewis talked to us and the Pinners about their food so we all went out there to eat last Tuesday.


This is a quirky and very unique restaurant housed in a former elementary school….and as said, is nine miles out of town in the middle of nothing….nothing.


Outside view

Huge barbecue pit on wheels used during their catering events.

Need to duck under the overhanging shrubbery

One of a few full-sized bronze (?) animal statues around the place

Then inside the sights are just as eclectic.  The walls are covered with stuffed animals, even an alligator. Off to the side is a oxygen bar perched up high reached by a ladder.

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The library remains as it was. Molly found a 1956 set of World Book Encyclopedia. She also found a set of postal boxes.

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Looking through some the books is a trip back to the 50s and 60s
Extra stuffed animals are everywhere including this two-headed calf in the library
DSCN4870Molly checking out the post boxes

When the food arrived we certainly weren’t disappointed in the presentation.

The French onion soup was divine
The Osso Bucco was tender, juicy yet crispy on the outside-wonderful
The Lewis’s ribs were presented on a large skewer
And look at those perfectly piled steak fries.

Dinner was wonderful.  Probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had!!! If you are in Deming please do yourself a favor and go to Adobe Deli for a meal.  It’s a wonderful experience.

It was so nice to be able to visit with The Pinners and The Lewises, even if for only a day.  We will see them again in March at the Escapees RV Club annual Escapade in Tucson.

Remember, you are loved.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Arizona to Texas

A week ago Sunday we went to Golden Corral for breakfast, stopped at Mesa Regal Office to pay our electricity, sewer and water bill and headed out of Mesa, Arizona about 10 a.m.

We had an uneventful drive to Tucson and settled in at one of our favorite spots, Snider Hill, BLM land out on Old Ajo Way and San Joaquin Road.  We’ve been here 3-4 times as it is very convenient to Tucson. I remember one Easter we spent here with Howie and Norah Glover and Mike and Sandy Bubar.  We closed down the street below from off-road bikers and we all served a big ham dinner to a group of vets that stayed there all winter….can’t do that anymore as they very strictly enforce the 14-day rule.  But we had a great feast with Les the Cowboy Poet, Professor Jim, No Slide Clyde, Ed, Electric Ed and Special Ed….good memories.


Monday morning we fought a little bit of traffic but got to Carl’s RV on time to have the axels aligned on the rig, as we’ve been wearing tires.  We’ve been to Carl’s RV twice before and really liked the work he did for us.  Kind people also.



We got Marty turned on to them and he finally solved his tire wear problem also.



We left Carl’s RV about 11:00 and headed out to Dream Catcher Escapees RV Park in Deming, NM. We’ve stayed here many times over the years and although not a particularly pretty park, it is serviceable for our needs and is a good stopping place…plus it is close to The Pink Store over the border and is also the home of Peppers, a really good grocery store with homemade tortillas.

On Facebook we found out Molly and Bob Pinner were coming in the next day so we decided to stay over an extra day to see them.  The Pinners are also members of Escapees RV Club’s Class of 2007 (those who “graduated” to fulltime RVing in 2007), but we haven’t seen them since 2009. Wanda and Wallace Lewis were also in the park, so we all got together for a little Maple Crown Royal.

Molly Bob Pinner Dec 2014 Deming NM            The Pinners Wallace Wanda Lewis Dec 2014 Deming NM              The Lewises

We all went out to Adobe Deli for dinner.  Although it is nine miles out of town in the middle of absolutely NOTHING, and occupies a former elementary school, it was FABULOUS!!! It’s a weird and wacky place with delicious food. I’ll write a whole separate blog post on that evening tomorrow.

Wednesday morning we left Deming and drove into Texas, stopping at are normal overnight spot at Saddleback Mountain RV Park in Balmorhea.  It is a Passport America park, but we saw they were pretty full when we arrived.  Yup, we were told there wasn’t any vacancies since all of their sites are now monthly rentals for oilfield workers.  Big oil drilling boom from here up to Pecos.  We were tired so we just stayed in their large parking lot and didn’t even put out the slides or unhook. 

Thursday we took off early and made a beeline to Hondo, Texas staying at Lone Star Escapees RV Park.  We asked and were allowed to stay on Jim and Linda Mossman’s lot, which we really enjoyed.


One night there and then Friday we drove a whole 90 miles down to a spot in the road to Whitsett where the yard for Gate Guard Services is located.  That’s one huge state flag they have flying. 

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As soon as we got set up we drove out to see Jim and Linda Mossman who were on a gate about five miles away. We haven’t seen them since March and there sure was a lot of hugs, kisses and laughter that night.  Jim M. cooked a succulent pork roast with all the fixings for us.


Ironically, the next day, just before we were going to go visit again, Jim M. called to say they had just been released from that gate because all the equipment had been removed and gate closed. So the last few days we have been able to bum around together.  It has been so sweet to be with them again.

We are sitting in the company yard lot along with The Mossmans both waiting for gates.  Usually it doesn’t take more than a week to get assigned a gate.  We bought the required navy blue work pants back in Mesa and Friday we bought the required GGS (Gate Guard Services) shirts, so we are all set. From their office we picked up a clipboard, log in pads, safety vests and company hats and are all ready to go to work….just need a gate.

That’s it….I’ve finally caught up on the blog…sorry it has taken me so long….I’m getting lazy. I’ll tell you about Adobe Deli next cause you are going to love it.

Remember, you are loved.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

Jim and I looove turkey and look forward to this day.  We go “all out” as they say, fixing all the side dishes we have had throughout our marriage…turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, asparagus/green bean casserole, two types of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  We found a thirteen pound turkey, which isn’t always easy to find and is about the biggest size we can fit into our oven.

We invited Edie and Lee over to share with us.  We have so enjoyed their company while in Mesa, AZ.

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Of course they brought their foster dog, Waldo, and he went gaga over seeing Jim again.  You would have thought he had found his long-lost mother again with all the kisses and tail wagging he did when he saw Jim.


I continued to eat reruns of turkey dinner everyday till Monday…we used up most of the leftovers by then.

Early Friday morning we had the windshield in the truck replaced as we picked up a rock on the freeway returning from the RV show in Phoenix.  The company Jim contacted is a mobile unit and they came right to our rig to put in the new windshield.

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Friday we went to lunch with Angela and Kenny to Casa Ramos for a kind of “good-by” party.  We were joined by their neighbors, Rose and Mack.  The food was pretty good and the company was great.

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Later that afternoon we all joined Edie and Lee at their park at Val Vista RV Park to share happy hour.  We sat pool side and listened to a good band and laughed a lot.  Perfect ending to our stay in Mesa.

Saturday was the day to put away the outside things, wash clothes and get ready to pull out on Sunday.  More about that tomorrow.

Remember, you are loved.