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Untrammeled and At Large

Try doin' this in Austin. Cops would be there before you fair got match to paper.

Try doin’ this in Austin. Cops would be there before you fair got match to paper.

For those of you that ain’t guessed it yet………  Yes, I am at the Secret Hideout in Central Texas with My Bro. And yeah, we burn our paper garbage and such in the driveway if we feel like it.  That is all I will be saying about that.

My Bro packed up this morning to go tend to pressing business at home and that meant the contents of the ever-present-on-the-deck Yeti Tundra 45 Quart Cooler had to be divvied up. Talkin’ about long necks here people. I can now verify first hand that Yeti lives up to its’ rep. It will keep ice 5 days runnin’ sitting in the shade and is a definite case of you get what you pay for.    I pulled out my vastly inferior Rubbermaid cooler and did the deal and in the process cracked the cap on a bottle causing a breach of the seal.  Hmmm,  11am on a Sunday Morning and all the Good Baptists were suredly gettin’ settled in the pew and I had a perfectly good Cold Beer goin’ bad right before my eyes. There is that House Rule of no beer drank before 2pm and all.  What to do?  What to do?

The Church Chair

The Church Chair

Well sir, I did the only thing a man could possibly do in such a toucheous situation.  I improvised, adapted and overcame.  I drug the Church Chair out from the back corner of the shed, took a seat and cracked open that Cold Beer to save it.   It tasted so good and felt so right at the moment I decided to repeat.  Good choice I must say!   A cold long neck and a good pipe seem to assuage my soul and quiet my mind.

I had full intent this week to talk up some dry and only mildly engaging technical RV type stuff.  Mebbe the water heater R&R, or the power effect of a residential fridge and chest freezer in an off grid environment or perhaps the Little Blue Extended Run Fuel System. Yep, I got all that going on in my head along with stuff bartering and selling on eBay, Waco CraigsList, Armslist, The High Road and Texas Gun Trader.  Somehow it just don’t seem the right time to be doing all that.  Just ain’t moving me this morning.

Servicing Little Blue

Servicing Little Blue

I will tell you I have put more than 300 hours on Little Blue here at the Secret Hideout. Of course Little Blue is  the Yamaha EF2000iS 2,000 Watt 79cc OHV 4-Stroke Gas Powered Portable Inverter Generator that was purchased in November 2013.  My Bro has the same same and this time of year you can pretty much get by with no AC in these parts.  When the temps get close to 90,  it gets a little stuffy down the haunch of the afternoon in the NO PRINCESS Palace but a floor fan alleviates that.  Won’t last though.  I am going to have to figure out some kind of AC solution if I remain here long.  Little Blue don’t have the ass to run the rooftop AC on the Palace.  Of course, I knew that when I bought him. I will tell you the performance has been stellar. It is hard for me to believe such a compact, light and quiet package is turning out to be a tough little performer as well.  I had to replace the plug at 350 hrs runtime cause Blue was starting to stutter and lope a bit but that was no biggie.  Probably would have lasted longer if I hadn’t a  been running 4 year old fuel through him!  Them that say you can’t store gasoline with ethanol added for more than a few months at best are just about full of it. Another example of those Internet Commandos  spreading erroneous crap on the internet.  I hate that shit.  I have been burning that old fuel in Little Blue and the Big Ass Suburban with no problems!  I attribute a big part of that success to the fact I had the fuel stored in 5 gallon NATO Jerry Cans. Buy once. Cry Once.  Well, that and the fact I had treated all that fuel with Pri-G Gasoline Treatment. Good stuff; that.

Yamaha Extended Run Fuel System at work

Yamaha Extended Run Fuel System at work

The Extended run fuel system was a booger to figure out because unlike the Honda 2000, The Yamaha does not have a fuel pump.  I use about 2 gallons of fuel on an average day and at $2.15 a gallon that is pretty cheap living costs here at the Hideout.  I can plug in one of those Jerry Cans and run almost 3 days without worrying about the fuel. The costs and aggravation were well worth it and now that I have run it for almost 300 hours I feel confident I have worked out the bugs.  I  do need to do a post about it with the associated Amazon Links because I surely do need to boost that dismal Amazon income.  Just ain’t got it in me today.

The other little hangup here at the Hideout is dumping the black tank.  My Bro has his Fiver under the shed next to the cleanout.  I am a good 40′ away UPHILL to the cleanout.  No bueno.

Flojet Macerator Pump in use

Flojet Macerator Pump in use

Luckily I still had the Flojet Waste Water Pump from back in the day along with the Commercial Rubber/Vinyl Hose, 3/4″ by 50′.  Been totin’ these items for years with no use and now I am glad I have them.  I think I last used them in January of 2011 maybe. You just never know…..

 

The other thing good about the Hideout is the hummers.  I have always loved having hummingbirds  around the RV and have never had a problem attracting them anywhere we were at in Texas.  The Puckerbrush beat me on the hummers.  Try as I might, I couldn’t scare one up anywhere and I tried hard.

 

Hummers in town!

Hummers in town!

My bro and me were settin’ out for happy hour the other night and one of the little feathered rockets come whizzing by and startled me so bad all I could say is “WTH???”  As soon as I retired back to to the Palace for the evening I got to rummaging and looking for the Perky Pet Window Mount Hummingbird Feeder . I knew danged well it was in there somewhere. Finally it showed up way back in the dusty corner of a cupboard where it had been carefully put inside a Ziploc when I finally threw in the towel down there in South Texas years back.  The next morning they started showing up, first one brave male, then a female and then several.

 

You know it seems like I am reminded almost every week every day or two of sacrifices made down in the Oil Patch that eventually just became memories little recalled.  After a while that rough, secluded and solitary life becomes almost routine and accepted as normal.  It has taken me weeks to decompress and reintegrate into society.  Only now am I starting to question if the sacrifice was worth it and if I want to even consider a return.

Oh, oh, I just about forgot I got something going on a bit south of BCS next Saturday and Sunday that has something to do with historic bowling.  Might be a blog or might not next week.  Fill y’all in after the fact most likely

 

End Note:  Bad on Fords by Ray Wylie Hubbard from the new The Ruffian’s Misfortune.  I saw Ray Wylie and his early teen son one cold winter evening in the upstairs back room of a turn of the century hotel in Gladewater, TX several years back.  Maybe 25 people,  Ray and the boy who was still learnin’ the licks. No amps, no mics, nada.  A seminal and exquisitely recalled music memory.  Been wearin’ this new Ray Wylie out this past week and I ain’t the only one diggin’ it:

I don’t think I’ve heard a more evocative description of blues music than on the second track of the disc, “Hey Mama, My Time Ain’t Long”. He sings, “I’ll tell ‘em the tale about the songs a bluesman sings/Comes from a woman’s moans and the squeaks of guitar strings/Some say it’s the devil jingling the coins in his pocket/I’d say it sounds more like a pistol when you cock it.” Listening to him pull those words out of his soul over the moaning and groaning of electric guitar is to hear all that terrifies and appeals to people about real blues music. It’s down, dirty, and real – born out of the sweat and tears of people’s lives, and it stirs those places in your soul that supposedly only the devil knows about.

The Man is 70 years old fer chrissakes! Oh, the boy, Lucas? The licks did come to him seems like. Listen to him and his daddy guitar duel on the Down by the River cut. That is Lucas far rear in the Youtube just so’s ya know.

 

You ever wonder why I go on and on about this Texas By God Music? Gamble $11.19 on that Amazon ( The Ruffian’s Misfortune ) and maybe you will gain The Light as well. Your life will be richer at any rate.

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Unfettered

Dammit!  Where you been?

There has been rig washing.

There has been rig washing.

Involving yourself in the South Texas oil business requires more than a traditional 9-5 weekday sacrifice.  Any worm quickly finds that out.  Nothing is written in stone where a workday has no bounds and job duties have no limits.  It is the nature of the game and the measure of the man and you get it done with no sniveling.  It is what it is and what it has always been. The oil patch is its’ own special world.

For years I have been tethered by a driveway alarm that signaled my call to action.  When it chimed, I had a precious few seconds to present myself ready to do the job for which I was handsomely rewarded.  Didn’t matter if the wind was blowing so hard you could barely push the door open.  Didn’t matter if you had to sidestep a buzztail coiled by your front step.  Didn’t matter if it was 3am on a cold, bitter Christmas Morning.  Didn’t matter if you were on the pot or dead asleep.  Just didn’t matter.  When that alarm went off,  some roughneck or gauger or operator or contractor was at the entrance and they had work to do.  That meant I did too.  The driveway alarm defined my boundaries and signaled my limits.

Bowling equipment was collected from various locations and maintenance performed.

Bowling equipment was collected from various locations and maintenance performed.

After the final marathon push of 236 days without so much as one 12 hour period where I was not under the control of the driveway signal,  the ensuing days post-Puckerbrush were ridiculously predictable.  The driveway alarms were packed away in an unlabeled box  and I think I know where the box is. Maybe.  As is my alarm clock.  My cell  phone is available but not tethered readily at hand.  After months of being ruled by a schedule unnatural and foreign,  I let my natural rhythms and the task at hand for the day set my schedule.  Fortuitously,  I saw the bust coming in the shale oil fields of the Eagle Ford and prepared as well as I could.  When the word finally came down the gate was to be closed, I felt no trepidation.  None.  It was time.  Interestingly enough, I got the call when I was at Mason that they wanted me back at the gate where I had spent the last 31 months.  Troubles down there in LaSalle County, South Texas it seems; locks being cut, folks crawling over gates and other general rude behavior.  I told them I could have easily predicted that mayhem and they best deal with it however they might.  I was not available and felt no responsibility to solve their problems once turned out.

Leaky ass water heaters were replaced.

Leaky ass water heaters were replaced.

What I did feel gnawing at me was to catch up with My Bro.  He is 17 months my junior and even though we chose divergent tracks for most of our adult lives, the common thread that binds two brothers together is still very strong.  His normally breakneck schedule underwent some miraculous star re-alignment and for much of the past 3 weeks we have been hand in glove together….. and it has been a great thing.  Even though our life tracks have been separate for most of two lifetimes, seems now we have both arrived at the same place late in the game.  So we work at our different tasks and some together.  There ain’t no cold beer drank before 2pm -mostly.   There is mucho cervezas frio post 5pm along with cigars smoked and pipes filled.  We set on the porch and watch the dogs play free, listen to the coyotes howl up the draw and figure out what matters most in the world when two men are on the backside of two lives lived full.   Both of us realize we are not even close to leaving a substantial financial inheritance to any of the kids but our legacies will be rich even so.  When we talk it is apparent we have little regrets over the lives we lived.  Maybe we fell short according to some folk’s measure.  I could give a damn actually.  I never respected their yardstick of life to begin with.

Size 308 bowling equipment scorecard on the 200 yd lane.

Size 308 bowling equipment scorecard on the 200 yd lane. I am going to stretch that out a bit in the days to come.

I don’t lay abed half the day even though I could.  I have busted South Dallas wide open twice over now loaded brimful with bowling equipment and other hard goods accumulated over the years.  7 years I have had that large storage room in that hell hole south of I-20.  Two trips into that insane maelstrom of humanity was enough for me.  I have nothing left there now and no reason to return that comes to mind.  People once dear and important in my life estranged themselves by their very choice and I hung on longer than I should have.   When I turned south on US 67 that final time, I did not look in the rear view with a single regret.  Slam that door hard and  tight and get on with the things in a life that truly count.

The check that had shown up in my bank account from the folks over in Houston every week like clockwork has been replaced with old school bartering and trading.  The new money flows from CraigsList and eBay and word of mouth. Some how or the other I had ended up with 22 5 gallon gas cans (all full), nine various size propane bottles (again all full),  11 different hitch and ball combinations and enough bowling equipment to outfit any bowling alley in the land top to bottom.  Hopefully, when I finally get completely caught up with My Bro, the Yeti cooler is devoid of cervezas and I blow this popsicle stand, I will be leaner and meaner than ever.  Well, as lean and mean as a near 60 yo recalcitrant curmudgeon could be.  You know dang well you can’t be a proper nomad if you have a shit ton of goods stashed all over the State so that is coming to a screeching halt.

I have heard from lots of y’all these last few weeks mostly inquiring if all was well. It is, make no mistake. It is VERY well!  I am just running way down below that invasive and offensive radar as I possibly can.  Sometimes, late in the still evening when Little Blue is shut down for the day and the Jim Beam is out on the counter and Tuco the Dog is laying at my feet,  I toy with the idea of shucking it all.  No blog,  no continuing sharing that began six years ago with that first blog entry.  I think about it ever more often but it is not time.

Not yet.

Post script: Some of y’all have been loyal readers since nearly Day One and most likely know more about my real life than some of the 4 EXes ever bothered to find out.  I count you among the handful of truest friends on this earth.  I would welcome observations, comments and critiques of what you think.  Yeah, I would like that.

 

End Note:  Hey Mama, My Time Ain’t Long AND Chick Singer, Bad Ass Rockin’ by Ray Wylie Hubbard.   New offerings from Ray Wylie Hubbard.  The old dudes still got it and I dare you to tell me that ain’t so.  Suits my irreverent nature right about now.

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Mason County, Texas

Mason,Tx  -Gem of the Hill County

Mason,Tx -Gem of the Hill Country

I just spent the most pleasant 2 weeks I can recall of late at the Mason City,TX RV Park in the Western Hill Country. Mason’s claims to fame are Fred Gipson,  the fella that wrote Old Yeller was born and raised on a cotton farm in Mason County.  The movie premiered in 1957 right on the Square in Mason at the Odeon Theater which is still  in business.  It has been said as well that Mason has one of the Top 5 Town Squares / County Courthouses in all of Texas.

I have traveled on

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Observations of an RV Park

The DTB with the propane tanks i a puzzlement to most.

The NO Princess Palace under the pecan trees

Second week of being displaced against my will from the Puckerbrush and the giddy high of the escape has been replaced with the realization there will be no paycheck electronically transferred into my account on Thursday.  I had months to plan out the inevitable job upheaval and I thought I had it well in hand.  I had stocked up on supplies while the getting was good.  UPS Charlie was a weekly regular there toward the last.  I picked up several bowling type items in the past six months solely for barter/trade/sale.  When

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