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Industrial Boondocking

Casa Bonita

A 60’x80′ pad of white caliche rock,  black holding tanks for the waste, a diesel generator disturbing the quiet,  halogen work lights that burn from dusk to dawn …. Not boondocking in the purest sense of the words by any definition but boondocking none the less. Oilfield gate guards usually find themselves in remote locations with the notable exception being the Barnett Shale around Ft Worth.  Hell, over there you might find yourself at a gate on the backside of a subdivision or smack in the middle of DFW Airport.   I guess ‘Industrial Boondocking’ fairly describes our situation.  We are 6 miles back from the pavement on a caliche rock county road that will jar the set out of your ring.  8 miles from the smallest town and 17 miles from the closest Super Wal-Mart. Without the Wilson 801245 Bi Directional Amplifier we have a frustratingly slow internet connection to Verizon.

With all that said,  it ain’t so bad; for me anyway.   I don’t have to haul water, I don’t have to worry about fueling the generator and somebody comes along real regular and totes all the poop away. Not bad. Not bad at all.  Miss Kathy had some initial problems adjusting to the work schedule and like to wore me out until she decided what hours worked best for her.  Over the past 2 weeks we have pretty well got set on a 12 hour shift.  She works from 5pm to 5am.  Getting adequate sleep has been her biggest problem.  She is not hard of hearing as I am and the trucks rolling by 30 feet from the master bedroom of the Old Girl was not a good thing for her. …  and that generator running continuously was bothersome as well.  So the past few days, I have taken to sitting outside during the morning hours so I would not disturb her going in and out the door to check folks through the gate.  It has been cool as well of a morning so the generator gets a rest and gives Miss K some additional quiet.

Tuco the Dog keeping a watchful eye on her running buddy

So  me and Tuco the Dog set out most mornings.  Tuco the Dog is absolutely thriving in this environment.  She thinks being outside with her people is the greatest.  It took about a week to dissuade her from smelling every tire that came in.  I knew if she got mashed in traffic I would have to disappear to Guatemala to escape Miss K’s wrath so we have been working on that real hard.  She is a great companion and it does me good to see her enjoying the life of a happy dog.

This job just takes some getting used to- that’s all.  The fine caliche dust coats everything and everywhere.  I bought Miss Kathy an Industrial Hoover ( Hoover Commercial Portapower Vacuum Cleaner, 8.3 Lbs, Black)  like they use in the hotels that will just about suck the carpet up off the floor.  Thankfully, her OCDness doesn’t include an aversion to dust.  The dust seeps in past the doors, sifts in around the windows and falls from the roof vents.  The very best you can hope to do is keep it at bay.  The dust was so bad the  first few days that I had to take allergy medicine for a runny nose and sneezing fits.  I have never been allergic to anything and dust has never bothered me in the past – ever.  That is just how bad it is.  The lease operator here musta felt sorry for us because they put 10mph speed limit signs 200′ on each side of our pad to slow everybody down and it did help.

Dust and Trucks, Trucks and Dust

Sitting outside all day has taken it’s toll on my 2 camp chairs as well. They are years old and the UV rot has finally gotten the best of them. I did some shadetree repairs with some zip ties but it ain’t gonna last. We made some good scratch this last 2 weeks and maybe I will just order me one of those fancy outdoor chairs to sit in. I have always wanted one but could never justify the cost. Now I can write it off as a business expense. Gotta love that.

The creepy guy that was supposed to pick up the military trailer he bought off eBay from me finally showed up 10 days late. This is the guy that is going to use it to haul around the crystal that you can see faces in, ok? He had asked me what he needed to bring to pull the trailer and I told him a 4 pin flat connector for the lights and a pintle hitch that was at least 24″ off the ground. I knew from talking to him he was a city boy and sure enough…. He showed up in some sorta urban sissy SUV that I never could tell exactly what it was. I took one look at it and said– ‘Your hitch is WAY low’ and he just looked at me like I had something growing out of my head. I bet that hitch wasn’t 12″ off the ground. I was more than a little peeved because they had taken advantage of my good nature to start with. If he would have picked it up as promised, it would have happened back at the old job site north of McKinney. As it played out, I had to make a special 170 mile round trip to go back and get it and drag it over this way. He said ‘ What am I supposed to do?’ and I pointed to the Suburban that has a hitch riser on it. ‘That is what you need’ I replied gruffly. Well, let the whining commence. I cut him short by getting out my tape measure and measuring his hitch height — which was 13″ off the ground and reminding him I had specifically told him he needed twice that. He said he wanted to hitch it up as is and head for Taos. I just throwed up my hands and said ‘Whatever’. Before he left he gave me a brochure on the crystal that had faces in it. The brochure sorta explained everything and told the folks where it would be playing next. I showed it to Miss K and she went all Condition 1 Red Alert and hollered at me to get that thing away from her because it had a bad aura or bad karma or something. Those Left Coast girls can get all hinky in a minute, let me tell ya. I had no problem with her fit. I didn’t like that silly man anyway.

Well,   Miss Kathy is up and just stuck her head out the door and said ‘Coffee’.    That means I gotta go fire up the generator.  Her Keurig coffee pot takes enough amps to make the inverter howl so its’ best to fire the generator.

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8 comments to Industrial Boondocking

  • That silly man was a complete Wing Nut. Bad, bad voodoo.
    Your telling made me laugh so hard I cried.

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  • TomT

    I just had to respond and let you know how much we enjoyed your Industrial Boondocking article. We are currently gate guarding in N. Texas out of Alvord, in the back 40 somewhere. We previously working down south in Carrizo Springs, Hell’s earthly furnace.
    Yes, you really have to love doing this (for the $$ of course) to snort the caliche dust 24/7 and watch the UV from the sun eat away your roof. LOL.
    We are driving our beloved 1998 National RV Dolphin 5350 with one slide. Just installed a new 5.5Kw Onan generator. Have to admit that the FHU’s this company provides is great. If you want to send me an email we can compare notes on the companies we work for.
    Happy days…
    Tom

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  • Larry

    I would appreciate the names of some companies and or sites were I might sign on for Gate Watcher jobs ??? . . . Am out of San Diego Ca and going to be Texas bound shortly ! .

    Thank you for you informative post : Larry Dutra

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    • Andrew

      Larry
      Take a look at the menu at the top of the page where it says ‘Oilfield Info’.

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  • Jerry Campbell

    I would like to get a name or two. If you have the time . Thanks Jerry

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  • Montana Mel

    It sounds like I could be Kathy’s sister, OCD and all. I’m an accountant and am just too many years short of Social Security and too young to have to deal with the new kid above me who can’t stand that I know more than he does. A merge can do that to a really good accountant.

    So, me and my hubby have been thinking of gate keeping as we still need enough $$ for health insurance & retirement savings. Health insurance is nice as things is starting to need removing or replacing and it’s expensive. You know knees, gallbladders, sagging hehind’s and the like.

    Speaking of my hubby, he’s an old truck driver turned dispatcher and he can work the nights! Good thing for me cause the only thing I’m good for at night is sleeping. And I guess if I can get used to the huge trains that come by my RV now, I can get used to generators and trucks.

    So, more research and more blogs and who knows where we will be in a few months!

    Best to all of ya!

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  • Melanie Mull

    Hi my name is Melanie I am wanting to get into rig watching I know basically nothing about doing this but need the money. Im not sure what companys need people if any one could help me with some company names or rigs that need watchers would be greatly helpful.

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