Gate 15 Officially Closed….Just In Time….

Last Wed. was our last day at the gate.  On Tue morning Rich went in, and we had hopes it would be the last, but no.   Now the maintainer (road grader) broke down.  The had brought in several loads of rock to spread around the valve area and the ranchers gate.  The maintainer broke down in the middle of the ranchers gate.  They managed to back it up behind the gate to lock it.  The operator waited all afternoon for the mechanic to come, but, no avail.  Theirs always tomorrow.  So Rich came home and told me Wed was my day to close.    lol.  So Wed morning I went to the gate at 6:30 as usual.  The guys started coming in by 7 am.  They finally all drove out around 7:30 to begin to dismantle my gate and replace it with a tall fence to match the existing fence.


They had to take off the 2 – 8, sections of aluminum swing gate and replace it with 8′ rolled fencing.  Finally around 8 am. or so the mechanic came in and fixed the maintainer.  They began to finish their spreading and grading of the gravel.  Now they had around 7 guys to help with this gate.   How hard is it?


After quite awhile they finally had it up, laced the new piece on to the existing poles.  Then they had to put in the 2 metal poles…….Lets back up the truck, put the shortest guy up, standing on the top edge of the bed, and have him pound in the poles with the pounder….lol….The rest just stood around and watched…….AND THAT IS HOW THE WHOLE MORNING WENT……LOL….


My Gate ……….2  8′ swing aluminum sections…..

Finally at 1:05 Pm.  The gate was FINALLY OFFICIALLY CLOSED…….


My Gate after closing………took almost 6 hrs. and 7 men……lol….and this is what they were doing as I left………….sitting…..nothing…

This has been quit and experience for us.   Will we do it again?    OF COURSE….next spring we plan on being available in April.   It has definitely been challenging at times.  Learning how to sleep at the 24 hour gate, learning how to handle 100 degree heat, the attack of the crickets in Carrizo Springs….and now we are infested with ants in the RV, because of where we were staying in our FREE spot.   It was good as it was free, with all hook-ups, but it was not mowed.  Basically it was the back of a service yard that was tall dead critter infested weeds, with tires etc.  stuff people had thrown out and was never cleaned up.  The ground was all rutted with tire marks.  When it rains, the soil turns to a horrible mud.  So glad we got out when we did as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia are now upon us.  We left Wed. afternoon late, and stopped at Walmart and bought 2 back tires for the pickup and Thur. we arrived at East Gate in Harlingen.  ……OH HAPPY DAYS..…Glad to be back…..Of course it started raining, we left last spring in the rain, so I guess it should rain when we arrive.  lol.   Now the last 2 days it has been pouring because of Hurricane Patricia.  We only got around 2-3″ yesterday, but up north, parts of Texas including where we were, are getting 10″ – 12″ or more.  It is so good to be back, just like coming home.  Everyone is so glad to see you and we are to see them…….  Familiar Faces……Friends……Already went and played pool with the girls yesterday, and Rich is playing with the guys this morning…….OLD TIMES……Rain doesn’t stop anyone here.  One good thing that I love, which most people hate………..were back with the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles……lol…In the desert it was total silence…..Nothing….but here we are only a mile from the airport and on the flight path.  I have always loved watching the planes in the air.  At home in Illinois we are around 90 miles from Chicago, but on the flight path for O’Hare and Midway.  The planes are already descending.  Sometimes you can tell the color as to who the airlines is.  Right behind the park there is a train track.  Many times a freight train comes through.  We are also on the main drag in town and less than a half a block from the main road to turn to the airport.  So in the evening, you hear the sirens of the police and ambulance.  But here in the park we are secluded in our own little world…….Love It…..

But the silence of the desert is a good thing also.   We would spend around 12 hours everyday for 6 weeks, just sitting.  Many times we spent hours before someone would come or go to sign.  So we would sit their and become in tune with the area.  What we thought was a horrible desert with nothing but cactus, mesquite trees and nothing, became a beautiful area full of nature.  I have wrote about the turkeys, the Mexican ground squirrels, the quail, deer, but not the Road Runners.


Now we seen many of them.  They are so cool to watch.  They are not as personable as the ground squirrels, but they are not afraid of us either.  They would run with their head forward and I would say, “Hey Mr. Road Runner”.  They stop and look around, and then continue their mission.  Always looking up the road and around for a bug or food item.  As they run, they hold their lean frames nearly parallel to the ground and rudder with their long tails. Roadrunners eat poisonous prey, including venomous lizards and scorpions, with no ill effect, although they’re careful to swallow horned lizards head-first with the horns pointed away from vital organs. Roadrunners can also kill and eat rattlesnakes, often in tandem with another roadrunner: as one distracts the snake by jumping and flapping, the other sneaks up and pins its head, then bashes the snake against a rock. If it’s is too long to swallow all at once, a roadrunner will walk around with a length of snake still protruding from its bill, swallowing it a little at a time as the snake digests.  Did you know they can our run a Human?


Roadrunners reach two feet from sturdy bill to white tail tip, with a bushy blue-black crest and mottled plumage that blends well with dusty shrubs.  They are really a beautiful bird.


The first weeks we were their, they would be climbing on our truck.  They would hop on the hood and peck at the window.  He would also try pecking at the windshield wipers.  Then he would hop to the back of the truck and peck at the back window.  We had the windows down all the time, and thought he might hop inside.  He would hop on the outside mirror and then in the window but never inside.  He would do it over and over.   Quite an interesting bird, but always with a goal in mind……running…..stop…..look…….run again…..


Another animal that is prevalent here is the Javelina…pronounced with an H…..We seen several of them dead on the road from being hit.  I only seen them once.  I was going to the gate on the gravel road, and came over a rise and right in front of me was a small herd of them.  I don’t think they are too smart as they didn’t seem to know what to do.   I had thought about it, I would have been able to take their picture.  They are a medium sized animal that resemble a pig.  Its eyes are too small for its head.  They are a social animal and run in herds. They are 2′ – 4′ in length and are 20lb – 40lbs.

As we sat their everyday, I began to realize, the oil and gas company’s that come in and dig up the land, really don’t do that much harm.   Yes they do destroy some of the habitats, but they strive to put it back as is was.  After an area is done, the rancher has contracted what he wants done with the land.  It is seeded with native grasses, and it then becomes a great grazing area for the cattle.  The ranchers that have deer, set up their feeders in the clearing.  Then it is a great spot for there blinds for hunting season.  All the little animals and birds adapt during the construction process.  Have you ever just sat outside in the woods are fields, or even in your back yards?   Do it sometimes……Listen to the sounds of nature……..As we sat their, I would close my eyes……


I would hear the birds overhead in the trees….even flocks of geese going south…..


I heard the turkeys in the brush about a block ahead of me……


then from behind, a little soft sound of peeps….the quail were coming out and going across the road.  and the my little ground squirrels….


.Their high pitch chatter….to the left………then to the right in the cactus patch far away…..they were communicating…..I was sitting in their environment……This is their daily life…..Now the gate is closed…….We said Good bye to all the Ralphs…….lol…..


Our first Ralph was sitting by his hole the day before we left, just observing again……Now he can return to his life without humans…….

………Life goes on in the desert……


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