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Shifting Gears.......

Gate guarding set up- shade, water, clipboard and a good dog.

I figured it was gonna wind down sooner or later — this oilfield gate guard assignment outside of Muenster, TX.  All the pads have been drilled and fraced.  The work over rigs have drilled out all the plugs and left. All that is going on now is flowback and completion. Now I am not saying we are not busy.  The flowback – 9 separate flowback crews on site  generated 289 loads of water this past Thursday.   578 tractor trailers in and out the gate in 24 hours.  Can you say DUST??

Word is the site will get busy again in late winter when the new fiscal year rolls around and the new budget kicks in.  I think we will just stick around here for some more o’ that.

In the meantime, West Texas is calling….. and then some.   I called our supervisor this week and informed her we were ready for some time off;  3 weeks to be exact.  That is one of the real perks of this job.  If you are doing a good job and prove yourself to be a low drag hand, you can pretty much call the shots on time off and come and go on your schedule.  I know, I know.  We are just one itty bitty little gear in a giant machine but it gives me some pleasure that we are not accruing leave according to some company policy. We control our schedule. It is a small battle won to find a job like this.  Yeah, a small battle won but so important to our self-esteem and so counter-intuitive to the way the general job market is these days.   I will take that small victory, yes I will.

Once Miss K and I  decided it was time for a West Texas Ramble, things changed.  I went from hoarding small tasks and meting them out a little bit at a time, day by day, so I would have some piddling to do to full blown mission mode.  Miss K says to that– ‘ You better not get all caught up in mission mode and be an ass.’ with a stink eye look to go along with it.  Yet another pressure on an old guy. (sigh)  The 4 miles of ungodly rough gravel road we cross to get here has managed to beat the stuffing out of the Suburban.  It needs some fairly serious front suspension work, the AC has quit and the radiator is leaking.  Luckily, we have PACO (Piece of Crap Camry), the beater Camry, to drive while I get the Suburban back up to snuff.  The West Texas Ramble is going to be a full blown RV escapade unlike the Tucson vakay. The Tucson deal was all about visiting Cait and getting her all hooked up.  We packed suitcases and stayed in motels (gasp!) — it was unusually surreal.   I gotta get the Old Girl ready to roll out some miles if we are gonna do this Ramble.  Oil and filter changes are in order on the recreational vehicle since it has been a year since last done.  Add on to that I am trying to buy 2 more Desert Tan Babies .  My Dad and brother in law decided they needed one down in that Houston and I am going to convert one into a Terlingua Support Unit.

Our morning view in Terlingua -- I could wake up to this every day!

Well alrighty then,  I gotta get that done just to get to Terlingua.  Once there Miss K and I have a healthy agenda that includes septic, electric and land clearing.  It would make my brain hurt super bad to even add that to the mission list at this point.  Luckily Miss K has taken on the point work for several of those tasks.  She tends to handle small town bureaucrats with a winning smile and calm voice.   Beats me how she deals with those maddening, self-important little bastards but she does it damned good.  Just add that to the growing list of her desirable talents.

Man oh man,   do Miss K and I need a re-alignment!  It has been 11 months since we made the previous West Texas Odyssey. All sorts of excuses….   gotta work, gotta make money, gotta buy tires yada yada and more yada.  Fact of the matter is there is NO EXCUSE. We can always make more money.  We can always find work.  I could blow out a brand new tire or an engine or a million other niggling little things.   Can you believe 11 months????  Christ on a Cracker!  That has to be against the law somewhere  or at least it should be.

So we are a-going.  Count on it.  All of you folks who have grown tired of reading about the same ol’ stuff day after day; dust,heat and noise, that is oil field gate guarding. Some things just have to happen and I musta been sleeping at the switch to let matters progress to this advanced state. The only, ONLY way to escape this nonsense is to head west at a good clip.  Blow that accumulated caliche dust off the roof of the Old Girl and hope the stultifying cobwebs in my brain follow good after.

“The great concepts of oneness and of majestic order seem always to be born in the desert.” (John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley)

End Note: Rolling By from West Textures by Robert Earl Keen, Jr. Back in 1984, the first album. REK was still REK with the Jr. When you get in that West Texas state of mind, nothing does it like REK
And Lyle Lovett covers it.  On that Front Porch at BCS,  he was always the better singer but REK turns the words like no one else.

 

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8 comments to Shifting Gears…….

  • Joel

    This remains my favorite REK CD. However, “The Road Goes on Forever” is my favorite cut.

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    • admin

      Knowing every word to TRGOF is de rigueur in Texas. One of Cait’s musical epiphanies was early on when we went to a Ray Wylie Hubbard concert. He started into ‘Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother’ and the entire audience of several thousand burst into spontaneous song. She had never heard the song prior to that. You shoulda seen her face.

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  • Joel

    Heh. Did you ever take her to a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show? Cults exist in most genres.

    I almost ended up in Texas. But that’s not why I learned all the words to TRGOF.

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  • Joel

    BTW, Rollin’ By ain’t on ‘West Textures.’ It’s on ‘No. 2 Live Dinner.’

    Deduct two culture points.

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  • don

    You’re right, 11 months after buying your place is a really long time. Hell, I couldn’t find it after going there once 11 months ago! LOL But having some money helps; tires & diesel & all that good stuff needs it.

    Loved the video. Thanks for finding it & sharing it.

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  • Ron

    Ah yes… Forgot to say… When I get back off this tour I will be buying a desert tan baby. Makes me nervous though because they are all far from Warner robins afb in ga and with my luck I would go out to get one and it would have bad wheel bearings or something. I wish I could preview them.. I see some green ones here for sale in ga but I really want a tan one with a tarp. Thx for posting that info I signed up with them to get an account. Ron

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    • admin

      Hi Ron,
      The trailers are pretty foolproof. About the only thing wrong could be the surge brakes are frozen–usually in the OFF position or you could have a bad wheel bearing. I see them quite often on Craigslist for just a little higher than they go straight from surplus. Advantage being you could preview in person. A bottle jack to get the tire off the ground, spin it to make sure it rotates freely, shake it for side-side wobble, pop the grease cap and you oughta be good to go. To me, a top cover in good shape is more of an issue than the mechanical condition of the trailer. Everyone I have ever see appears to have nearly new 10ply tires.

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