This last week and a half has brought much change. On Friday, Sept. 11, we were still 16 miles from Carrizo Springs Tx. gate guarding an oil well. We were Gate 3, and our neighbors next door were gate 2. They were a married couple and her twin sister and 3 dogs. Down the road was gate 1. The new couple had just come in on Wed. and taken over, as the other couple left. They were new and were going to get their license. We had a really hard rain on Thur. nite and their awning was torn off the trailor. Well, if you remember, my last blog the crickets were so bad. Well they just got worse. Friday nite, we all got the call around 9:30 that all 3 gates were closed………….Wow………..Now were were expecting it but, to have all 3 at the same time….rather surprising…..We were to be off duty 6am. Saturday morning and pack to leave. So this is what we got up to……
More Crickets…….Horrible Horrible…..the smell was getting so bad. They were everywhere…..Piles under the wheels. So Rich got out the Raid and sprayed the screen. Then we pulled our patio rug out the the road and sweeped and dumped all the crickets.
They were so Gross………Grrrrrrrr……..We actually were very glad to leave. Then the worst part, when we put in our slides, Rich chased the crickets off the bottom, but when they were in, Guess What…………..Crickets came in on the top of the slide……….Oh No………We ended up killing Crickets the next several days…..We even went to bed at nite hearing them in the Motor Home…..Yuck….
We had asked Chris our supervisor if their were any other jobs. He said their were 12 hour gate jobs in Tilden. It was 2 hours away straight east. We could also have free hookups. It wasn’t what we really wanted, but we decided that we would go. We stopped to see the neighbors and Carol came out and said, “See what happened”…..They started up their 1986 Motorhome and a huge pile of liquid came out underneath. We felt bad, but had to leave. Their car and broke down on Thursday, in town. The parts couldn’t be ordered till Mon. and now this. I text them on Tue. and found out they had to be towed to San Antonio and they were in a motel, waiting for one of the vehicles to be down. I hope they are doing well now.
We arrived in Tilden and found it to be a small town of 450 people. It is the County Seat, and is also the home of Boot Hill Cemetery, one of the 2 authentic cemeteries of its kind in the southwest. It was so named because many of those who were interred there died violently, “with their boots on.” I will be investigating this before we go….Sounds so interesting. It’s main income now is due to the growth of the oil industry. It is the home of many of the employees of the oil or pipeline company’s in the area. The area is full of wells, but now it is really slow as the Oil boom has really slowed down. They have lots of housing, and trailer parks for the employees.
Here is some of the housing.
But this is the nicer one. Right now, many of these units are empty. We found our place to park and hooked up……Not really nice at all………..but FREE………everything we needed. Our new supervisor came, John. Here we find out its a gas pipeline and he is going to give us not only one, but 2 gates…………Yea…..Double Money………..”The catch”….its 32 miles from town. He gave us directions……travel 23 miles south, turn left, after 7 miles turn on San Diego Road……drive approx. 3.5 miles on gravel road. You’ll find 2 gates across from each other……..Be their 6 AM. Monday………….What!!!!………..its dark out at 6…No lights on the gates……Their are NO NUMBERS on the gates either…….How do we know?……No signs……lol….We decided to go out the day before and find it…..Thank Goodness…It is a horrible gravel road the shakes the truck from front to back…..You cant go over 15 to 20 mph for the 3.5 miles…..It is desert, cactus, mesquite trees, and they call them ranches………..lol….
Wild Turkeys, roam the roads and ranch property. Groups of a dozen or more….
We found it….It turns out this pipeline is gas and is nearing done. The pipeline is over 32 miles long. It is connecting 2 gas plants that are 32 miles apart. Right now they truck it over and it is over 90 miles one way. So this will be quite a savings. Our gates are right in the middle.
Richs’ Barbed wire gate……he has to open it for each truck and log their plate and signature
My Gate on the left. It is a double swing nice galvanized gate….lol…This is our canopy were we hang out. The Guy is Bruce…..We called him Louisiana for most of the time. lol..We didn’t know his name. He was from Louisiana, lives in Arkansas, but works for this company in Texas. He is a welding inspector. He spent more time washing his truck and talking than working….lol….But that’s where we learned a lot of info. He was very nice and loved telling us all about the industry.
Gate 15 and 16 are right across from each other on the country gravel road. The pipe is a 24″ pipe, that is already buried. They are right now cleaning out the pipe and getting it ready to fill with gas. It is quite a process. My gate is the center of the project and is where the valves are. They are cleaning them out with Styrofoam “PIGS” as they call them.
They are the same circumference as the pipe and some have bristles. They are shot threw the pipes under pressure, from the plants to the valves. They clean out the inside. It takes one, 3 hours to go 15 miles. When they come out at the valve area, their is a big boom and lots of dust is stirred up in the air.
After filling with water, they also build up the pressure for 8 hours to make sure it is sealed. Then after draining they have to shoot more pigs through to dry the inside of the pipe. They said the pipe held 2 million gallons of water in the pipe. It was then drained into the ranchers pond and the remainder over the next hill. During the drying process, they told us it could take up to 150 “pigs” to dry the pipe. Now the drying process is over and they are connecting the 2, 15 mile sections and welding them together at the valves. We have maybe 2 weeks tops here and it will be over. My gate will be last, as it is were most of the activity is.
Heavy Equipment crossing the road on tires, from gate to gate…
They are now grading and cleaning all the areas of the pipeline. Some places will be reseeded as to what the rancher wants. Then all the gates the contractors installed, will be replaced with new fencing.
The 2 ranches that we are on have the most interesting, beautiful iron works on their gates. The rancher gates are left undisturbed and the contractors installed their on gates about 50 ft from them. The ranch on my side is owned by a man from Houston. He uses it for hunting. He has a pond, deer stands, and his house trailer for his stays. We were told he has over $800,000. worth of white tailed deer on his property. Hunting is quite an industry in this area.
The owner was down last weekend and was Quail hunting on his property. Other wildlife in the area are Turkeys, Javelinas, Wolves, some Bobcats, lots of Ground Squirrels and Road Runners, and of course the dreaded Rattlesnake.
Now on Richs’ side is the most beautiful Proud Deer standing over the gate…..Standing so tall and Proud….
This rancher feeds his deer with a product called “Record Rack”…..We have seen deer, but only the young ones.
All in all, this has been a long 2 weeks but we’ve learned and experienced so much. And of course above all me made some nice money so far. In 2 weeks or less, we will be done and on our way….Don’t know where Yet……lol…..That’s the Adventure……lol….
Until then, we are getting up at 4 am. Packing lunch and coolers, leaving to buy a bag of ice every morning. We arrive at our gates at 6 am. We stay till 7 pm. and then head back home, arriving by 8 pm. Eat and to bed by 10 or earlier. It gets to 95 in the afternoon…..we drink lots of liquid….I eat ice and run water over my head also….lol….and the worse part is ….NO PHONE SERVICE….NO INTERNET .until we get home….So not a lot of time to write this blog….But the wildlife is breathtaking. We are spending everyday in their environment and can watch their daily activities…..We have lots more stories to tell….