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Black Bart

30 minutes to destination

30 minutes to destination

It is 4pm and the outside temp is 102.7 degrees. 53% humidity and a steady wind out of the south-south east at 15 to 20mph. It is hard to describe but the wind feels like a blowtorch on exposed skin. The water truck did a drive by 30 minutes ago to lay down the dust but it is already foggin’ again.  A load of frac sand pulls up and the driver says “Man, y’all are some kind of back in here!”  Umm, not so much I think to myself.  7 miles to the hard road; 34 miles to the closest HEB.  That ain’t all that bad.  Ain’t got the heart to tell the driver he is  still 30 minutes or better  drive time from the frac.  He’ll be finding out on his own quick enough.

This weather/environment/locale is nothing to take light.   I been out in the sun plenty this year up at the Secret Hideout but still got a brutal sunburn the first two days here….. even with SPF100 sunblock.  The coinage of concern here is water as in “You got plenty of water?” or “You need some water?” Conversely, when one of these sunbaked boys pulls up and asks “You got an extra water?”; you don’t even think about not sharing.  You go fetch two and hook the kid up.  When they ask me if I got water, I say “Yeah,plenty!  You got a cold soda?”  I gave up the 12 pack a day unleaded Pepsi habit years ago but I still yet crave a cold soda.   Most every truck has a YETI Tundra Cooler chained in the back.  Nothin’ else will hold the ice in this weather.  They certainly ain’t cheap–thus the lock and chain.  You know the other thing I been seeing chained and padlocked?  The tailgates on the pick up trucks.  I know you can unhook and lift a tailgate out PDQ but is folks stealin’  ’em?  Bastards!

Prickly pear tunas ripe

Prickly pear tunas ripe

Some hunter fellas came in here late Thursday all fired up to be out at the lease and to be gettin’ ready for hunting season.  All fired up! let me tell ya.   Saturday AM they came straggling out sunburnt all to hell.  Said it was just too damned hot to do anything.  City boys.  The Puckerbrush here averages 20 inches of rain a year;  Nashville gets 48″.  Most everything is just burnt up brown here with the only color coming from the mesquite, huisache, agarita or whatever.   I take that back, the prickly pear tunas are gettin’ ripe and that deep purple color really stands out.

The blast furnace of the late afternoon runs everything to shade but the buzzards and the roadrunners.  I enjoy watching the roadrunners no end.  They are Puckerbrush velociraptors you know. Total bad asses.  They will eat scorpions, tarantulas, black widows and horny toads all day long.  They will peck a rattler in the head ’till he is graveyard dead and eat him. Hell, they say they will jump up and grab a hummingbird if they fly too low!  I gotta check to see if that is on youtube!

Black Bart

Black Bart

So anyhow, most roadrunners are a mottled back and white color.  I wasn’t here but an hour or so when I spied an odd duck.  He was almost all black and carried his wings low to the ground even when he was haulin’ ass.   He was also out and about when most of the rest of the Enclave roadrunners were hiding from the heat. I have a 5 gallon bucket under the AC drip on the Palace and what with the wind blowing like it does and all, that area around the bucket is wet.  It attracts all manner of critters in this dry country and Black Bart picked up on it pretty quick.  He sits under the Palace by the hour looking to do a roadrunner drive by on a thirsty critter.  I don’t know what his story is but he definitely has something going on.

I am at this guard shack hour upon hour and I look out across the Enclave at the NO Princess Palace and it struck me the other evening just what a  fragile refuge it is in this environment.  Hell, I should know right????  The fist sized dents in the Big Ass Suburban remind of the Big Hails most every day.   I bought a basic trailer to replace the Old Girl because this place just plays hell on an RV.  Those folks that bring a high $$ motor home or fifth wheel in here to work for months on end are taking years off the service life of their recreational vehicle.  I hope they know this.

Don’t take me wrong on this post right here. I am not whinin’ because as we all know there is no whining in the oil patch!  I damn sure know how the cow eat the cabbage in this part of the world.  I am 10 days into what is supposed to be a 2 week fill-in and who knows if that schedule will even hold.  Things have a way of changing fast in this country.  I can’t say I would not enjoy staying here; this gate is going to be active for years to come.  The good part is I got The Man caught up and some jingle in my pocket.  Me and Tuco the Dog are good.

Everything happens for a reason.


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Dammit boy!

Webb County
South Texas, USA

62 square miles of this

62 square miles of this

Somewhere a dozen or more miles down a caliche rock road south of Catarina, TX — more or less.     Big lease here in the tens of thousands of acres and the guard setup reflects the activity level. 2 RVs here now;  a couple and me.  Sometimes it takes two people to handle the traffic or even more as they tell me there have been 3 RVs working this gate in the past.  We are working out of a guard house which makes sense and I am finding it ain’t all that bad.  Now if the Princess Palace was parked in an RV park miles away instead of this 40yds there would be a problem.  I would fret endlessly over Tuco the Dog gettin’ hurt if the AC was to go off while I wasn’t there. I am here temp as one of the regulars took a few days off.  Not ideal but you have to be in the area to jump quick when the call comes.  Mark that obstacle off the list.

So yeah back at it and the oddest thing was………….

Me and Tuco the Dog got the call late Monday and the good part was I was not on shift until Wednesday at noon and then working 12 hours.  So we started packing ASAP and then more Tuesday AM. I was thinking we needed out of the Secret Hideout by 10am.  Yeah right, it was closer to 1pm and then 450 miles to drive in 100 degree plus heat.  So I took it slow –55 or at most 60mph- the whole way.  I can’t tell you how many vehicles I saw overheated or on the shoulder with a slung tire.  That heat will mess you right up now!  We pulled in about 9pm and we were whipped!  Little Blondie used to tell me when we were traveling that Tuco the Dog NEVER ate.   Ummm, now not so much. I pull into McDonalds and I get her a Cheeseburger off the Dollar Menu and she got no problem scarfing it right down.  She will also drink good out of one of those pop top water bottles.   Gotta take care of a dog.   So the odd thing was, after such a god awful hard day, when we pulled in here it felt right;  just like being back home.  How weird is that? The first work shift was like Old Home week.  I saw beaucoup familiar faces in and out the gate!

The Enclave

The Enclave

The little enclave of guard house, RVs and equipment strowed about reminds me of those 2-pump Mom and Pop gas stations out in West Texas back before everything turned into corporate C-Stores.  Everything had a draggled, washed out, used up look about it.  Like some old fella that just wasn’t aging all that well.    The Enclave here is kinda like that.   The heat,wind,dust and the sun takes it’s toll.  Things are tattered and faded and just plain seen better days. I am enjoying being back on the tit too.  That big diesel generator is just cranking away burning fuel I didn’t pay for.  It is marvelous to run the rooftop AC, big fridge, window shaker and chest freezer willy nilly.  The fella just came in today and filled up potable water so I am set.  Life down here in the Puckerbrush is hard fought but I am thinking the off grid up there at the Secret Hideout was more trying.  It was damn sure more expensive.

I tell you right now on of the chores I am truly, truly glad I quite procrastinating about and just got done was cleaning out and servicing the roof top AC.  That rascal was last run back in the Fall and it was nasty when I shut it down.

Ain't that nasty?

Ain’t that nasty?

I armed up with a water hose, air hose and a can of  Nu-Calgon Evap Foam   before I headed up top.   It was quite a battle I am tellin’ ya!  Soon as I popped that cover,  a doughnut sized nest of red wasps was all over me and where you gonna run on top of an RV?  No bueno!  Took the better part of a day to get all of them vacated and then it was dirt dauber nests everywhere!  5 or 6 of ’em hangin’ on wires, fan blades and coils.  It took awhile to get the AC back in reasonable shape but I sure am glad I did.   It has been 100+ every day since we got here and the weatherman is just sayin’ more more MORE!  It is what it is I reckon.

File this under “you just never know”………..   First thing I did when we pulled in was to check the cell signal and AT&T was strong which is delightful.  But my internet is Verizon and there is just barely 1 bar of the 1XRTT service or whatever they call it.   That is not unexpected — AT&T will almost always be the best bet in Rural Texas.    Well, the Wilson cellular booster took care of the weak signal but the problem is the booster is in the RV — not the guard shack.   When I had my laptop in the guard shack,  I could ‘see’ my wireless network on and off but it wasn’t strong enough to do me any good.  I knew I had a C. Crane Wifi Antenna somewhere and after some diggin’ and lookin’ I finally found it in the box with the cigar tobacco.  Go figure!  The C Crane solved my problem and internet sure does help to pass the slow hours of an evening!

I reckon that is about the size of it.  The lazy days at the Secret Hideout are history and Tuco the Dog and me are back at it again!  Not sure how long they will keep me on this gate but it don’t matter!  Everything happens for a reason ya know!

No end note today–just can’t listen to the music AND get out that door at good speed to check in a truck!

Current Puckerbrush conditions Sunday

Current Puckerbrush conditions Sunday

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After all, It is just an RV

The start of the Nomad Road  ca. 2010

The Old Girl on a high ridge above Cranfills Gap, TX ca. 2007

When I bought the Old Girl, what was it?  Almost 10 years ago?  there was no cognizance regarding a recreational vehicle as a central fixture of my Master Plan.  It was a whim.  I was fat.  Crossed my mind an RV would be a nice toy.  I bought one.  Every thing happens for a reason.  I knew that then.  I BELIEVE in it now.

Most folks are going to tell you an RV is a nice place to visit but they ain’t wanting to live there.  Rightly so. 

Continue reading After all, It is just an RV

Facing the Music

"For those who still believe what happens over there does not affect us over here...."

“For those who still believe what happens over there does not affect us over here….”

On Chattanooga………  Catastrophic happenings  of the world might be held out arm’s length until some event hits home and it becomes up close and personal in less than the single beat of your heart. Folks are just funny about that.

And so it went this week when I got an email from BFF Cait “Have you got the news on?”  Well, nope.  Haven’t even got the TV on or the cell turned on.  I am at the Hideout fer chrissakes.   So I fired up the DISH

Continue reading Facing the Music

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