I was mentally prepared for the South Texas August Heat Blast. I really was. What choice was there since there is no snivelin’ in the Oil Patch? August rolled up and sure ’nuff the temps were a hunnert degrees every day. Along about the middle of the month there was a week in there that it topped 105 every day. But then something happened…………
That same storm system that drowned Louisiana stopped off here first and we got about 3″ of rain out of the deal. Something about those low pressure systems spinnin’ done from up North with cool air and they hit this warm heavy wet air outta the Gulf and BAM! – monsoon time. So it has been raining and much cooler on and off for the last 2 weeks. Matter of fact we have had 5″ of rain in the last 24 hrs and the overnight low temp was in the 70’s. More like early October than mid August but I am not about to complain.
With the temps being tolerable outside, it gave me the want-to to get some piddlin’ crap done that had been hangin’ over my head all summer.
30 amp RVs are pretty common animals and that is all I have ever had. They seem to be extry hard on the power cord connectors. I do not know how many I have replaced over the years that just burnt up and melted. Bad thing being they always burn up on a cold Saturday about dark or at midnight in a pouring rain. I know why the get hot and melt – it is called resistance. Resistance is caused by a loose connection or a corroded plug and there was a time I thought I could beat this problem. I bought the best plugs a man could buy and religiously used a little steel wool on the prongs to keep ’em bright and brassy. Didn’t do no good – they still melted. These days I just lay a hand on ’em to see how warm they are and when they start runnin’ hot I know a replacement is not far off. I just keep a supply of the cheap Chinese Camco Replacement Plugs on hand and swap ’em out like I would changin’ dirty socks. The last swap out was a 50-30 amp adapter pig. One tool that makes this job lots easier is a set of cable cutters. I bought a set of Chinese Channellock Cable Cutters 3 years back and they have worked fine. If I was to do it over again I would get the SK Made In the USA Cable Cutter because Made in the USA.
The other thing goin’ on was a leaky slideout. It started leaking right down the outside corner back in May or something but when it don’t rain, why worry? The problem come to a head when that first little drab of rain came and washed 2 months of caliche dust off the roof of the NO Princess Palace into the rain gutters. It was just a trace of rain and then the sun came back out hard. That caliche set up like concrete in the gutters making the rain comin’ off the roof just go helter skelter every which way. The leak just got worser with that.
With two reasons to get up on the roof, I had to swallow my pride and ask one of the ranch boys to borrow a step-ladder. Told him it was not urgent but true to fashion, he was back in about an hour with a ladder in the back of his Dodge. These are truly good people here and it is a blessing for me. I use the awning hook to clean out gutters and it was easy peasy once I got up and equal with ’em.
I inspected the bad corner of the slideout and as expected there was no glaringly obvious hole where the water was gettin’ in. The RV builders caulk all the joints on an RV with good intention but years of South Texas UV is goin’ to mess with that in a bad, bad way. Eternabond tape is the answer. Funny thing – I see posts pretty regular on the RV Forums about needful things you should pack with ya when you set out to full time on the road. I have yet to see anybody mention Eternabond tape. Let me tell ya – the eternabond is a Top 5 on MY list; right up there with the Alabama Chrome and a good multi-meter. I put eternabond tape on the end caps of the Old Girl and it was still doin’ the job 5 years later. After the Big Hails, the eternabond saved my ass as far as continuing to live in the battered hulk until the insurance settled up and I could get a replacement onsite. I fished out the tape and put a strip along the edge of the slideout about 2′ and then another strip down the edge. It had one hot day to bake and set up good and then we got 5″ of rain overnight which I reckon is as good a test as you could have. The dinette is dry as a powderhouse today. Do yourself a favor and spend a few bucks for a goodly roll of the stuff – this EternaBond 4″wide 50′ roll RoofSeal Tape is what I keep on hand. Just sayin’………
I still haven’t made a supply run. Vela Von food is coming in via Amazon Prime because a good dog gotta eat. I am fishin’ the last bit of chicken and ground beef out of the bottom of the chest freezer. Pretty soon it will be empty and I reckon I will defrost it for the first time ever. Some of those frozen goods was put in FoodSaver bags back in 2013 and it is eatin’ just fine! The Foodsaver folks say chicken and such is good for 3 years – I just proved that up for ’em. I am eating mac and cheese with 2015 expiry and it is tasty. I have been using OvaEasy Powdered Whole Egg #10 Cans) and condensed milk to cook for the last two weeks and the substitutions work just fine. Down to ’bout enough flour for one more loaf of bread and I ate the last of the bacon and sausage yesterday. It is good to rotate out my old goods and it has been a grand experiment to live off what I had on hand. Ain’t gonna be much longer until I am forced to make a supply run as it has been 87 days since I ventured offsite. Looks like 90 days is a good test don’t it? I have learned plenty during the ordeal for sure!
A GATE GUARD HINT – Had a wannabe gate guard email me a few weeks back and ask for advice……. This time of year I tell ’em all the same. Folks with no experience and no license in hand are at a disadvantage competin’ against the Winter Texans who have been down here and done that. I told him he needed to be in proximity somewhere along the I-10 and ready to work by Labor Day. He informed me boldly that time frame did not even work for him and he had plans to be down here around Thanksgiving. Good luck with that fella. I figger he will still be waitin’ on a gate when 2017 rolls around. Get serious or go home. This ain’t no pic-a-nic; I don’t care what those internet commandos spout on the internet forums.
As an example – My buddy Greg over at Our RV Adventures does it right because they know! Greg and his bride like to set a gate during the South Texas winter. They got their papers and they have experience.
The gate guard business is way leaner and meaner than it was in 2014. Gone are the $200/day gates and the waitin’ yards where you could suck off the tit of the GG company while you waited on a gate. Greg got in position last week, wrapped his business up so he was clear to work and put out the calls to the gate guard companies. He told ’em he was in the area and he was ready to go to work. Word from his blog is they got a gate starting tomorrow in an area they prefer. Sure, he is gonna have a few more weeks of summer heat and dust to deal with but he has his foot in the door workin’ before most of the Winter Texans head this way. If you are dead serious about working an oilfield gate in South Texas, that is the way you do it. There ain’t no fat nor slackers left down here these days. Heaven help those good intentioned folks who figger they are gonna roll in here late November and get to work. I hope you got a pocket full of jingle to live off of while you wait!
End Note: After All These Years by Ray Wylie Hubbard from the Eternal and Lowdown cd.
One memory stuck in my brain is the first time BFF Cait saw RWH Live. We were standin’ down pretty close to the stage and she was diggin’ the set and bein’ all cool and stuff like 16 year olds be. He started “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers” and well it was – ummm – uplifting for her. She had never heard this Anthem -ever- and when the large crowd spontaneously started singin’ out loud every single lyric because that is just what you do when Ray Wylie sings this song; she looked at me with the damnedest “WTF????????” look on her face ever. I just sorta smiled and kept singin’.