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Blurred Days

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

The days run together with little notice after you have been slogging it out for weeks on a gate.  Is it Monday?  Wednesday?  Is is it September??   I usually figure out Thursdays because that is when payroll hits my bank account.   Usually I remember Sundays because that is Laundry Day.   I am still using the Panda Portable Compact Washing Machine; this one for almost a year now after I killed its’ predecessor by drowning. The wet clothes get hung out on the Octopus Hanging Dryer and drip dry on the porch. Since I can only wash usually 2 items at a time unless it is drawers or socks, wash day can stretch out for hours.  I do it on Sunday because that is my lowest traffic day and the grit raised up by passing traffic is at the low point for the week.  I tried washing during the week but that was about as smart a thing to do as hunting skunks underwater.  If you want to know what it is like to wear clothes made out of sheets of sandpaper, give it a go.  Hey, the washer works!  Saves me a trip to town to do laundry!

I said somethin’ last week about driveway alarms.  If you are going to be a gate guard down here in the Puckerbrush,  you are needing you some driveway alarms.  Most of the gate guard companies will supply the driveway alarms if you don’t have ’em and most of them will be those pneumatic hose dinger alarms like you used to see at a service station.  Those alarms drove me bat shit crazy with their loud ding ding! ding ding! and the range was limited since they would only pressure up so much hose.  I replaced them with the Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm and I gotta say these are probably the best value for the dollar.  Someway over the years I ended up with 3 sets of them.  I lost one set to fire ants that eat up the electricals in the transmitter and a second set to the sharp blade of a maintainer that cut the probe line even thought I had orange surveyor flags marking it.  So I still have parts and pieces enough to make 3 sets.  The two failures I had with the Mules was definitely not their fault.  The only thing I got going on now is on my original 5 year old set.  The sheathing on the probe wire is starting to disintegrate and little surprise; 5 years of constant UV will do that to you. Two pertinent characteristics of the Mule are it is an electromagnetic alarm and only a vehicle will trigger it.  Second being you can set different channels to run multiple alarms but there is only one alert tone and it is not very loud.

Dakota Alert solar powered transmitter

Dakota Alert solar powered transmitter

When Little Blondie bailed out south,  I survived a 24/7 gate on my own by grabbing a catnap whenever I could.  I relied on the Mules to rouse me from exhausted sleep and that just didn’t work out so great since I have a pretty profound hearing loss.  Folks were starting to question why I didn’t respond when they came in or out of the gate and that was definitely no bueno!  I picked up the Dakota Alert Break Beam Alarm and Receiver within a week of going solo. I had to! The Dakota Alert was supposed to be the Cadillac of driveway alarms.

  • Solar powered so no batteries in the transmitters.
  • 1/2 mile range
  • multiple alarm chimes for up to 4 transmitters
  • Adjustable chime volume which is LOUD on its’ highest setting.
  • Will detect vehicles, people or animals if they break the beam.

These units are pricey but my job was on the line!  I had to have an alarm that was near 100% accurate and loud enough to wake me up.   I ordered up a set with the receiver  and put them in place on the more important inbound side of the gate.  What can I say?  I was overjoyed with the near perfect performance and they also caught the sneakers!!!  (sneakers = those lost truck drivers and illegals who would walk in off the main road in the middle of the night and scare the willies out of me)  I thought enough of the product I ordered a second set of transmitters  to cover the soutbound side of the gate as well.    Both sets worked flawlessly until I  carefully packed them away when the gate closed in February.  I had no occasion to open the box back up until we hit this Porch House Gate 5 weeks ago.

Setting up the Break Beams is a little dicey.  You have to “pair them” so the receivers gee haw with each other across the road and then you got to line them up just right so the little red beams are pointing straight and level at its’ partner across the road.   I got the inbound pair set up PDQ and I was thankful for that!  It was a hot sumbitch and I had already broken down camp and moved and now I was having to set everything back up again.    I was a wore out pup and I knew I couldn’t call it quits until the driveway alarms were set up but I couldn’t get that second set to pair up to save my life.  I finally gave up and put the trusty Mule out for the night on the outbound side of the gate.

Over the next few days I tried to pair the recalcitrant units with no success. I researched online to see if I was doing something wrong,  I emailed Dakota Alert with no response.    It bugged me quite a bit a company headquartered  in South Dakota did not respond to multiple emails.  Maybe it is company policy but I think it is poor practice when you are paying top dollar for a premium product.  In the owner’s manual it says  the warranty period is one year and to send defective units to SD along with the purchase receipt and description of the problem.  Alrighty then, what other option did I have?  They received the bad pair a week ago and I have heard nothing so far.

Dakota Alert Motion Detector (PIR)

Dakota Alert Motion Detector (PIR)

But that left me hurting on the outbound side of the gate and I did not think it was prudent to spend another couple hundred bucks on a 3rd set of break beams. Dakota Alert also makes electromagnetic probes like the Mule and motion detectors which all work with my receiver.   I figured I would try out their motion detectors which are not motion detectors at all per se.  They use passive infrared radar (PIR) to determine changes in temperature across a sensor.  They are gonna pick up vehicles, people, wild hogs, deer, javelinas and even road runners if they aren’t scootin’ too fast.   If the sun shines right in that little lens like late of an evening they get stupid.  If the dust boils across the road they get stupid.  I will have to give them a B+ overall because they just miss a vehicle every now and then.

I did buy a second PIR unit and I will tell you why.  My service trailer sets on the back side of the NO Princess Palace and it is in the shadows at night due to the angle and placement of the light tower.  The water tank on the trailer has 2 spigots on it which is convenient.  One is connected to the water hose going to the Palace and the other one is available for whatever.  I have had some standard run-ins with illegals here. It is to be expected  being as how I am just a few hours hard walk from the border.  The other night – way past oh-dark-thirty- Tuco the Dog woke me up with the insistent cold nose on my leg that means I need to wake up to attend to something A Dog finds important.  I figured maybe she was pukey or had a missile in the tube but when I told her to “Show Me” what she wanted, she jumped up in the seat of the dinette instead of running to the door. I peeped out the blinds and saw a group of illegals drawing water out of the spare spigot on my tank.  Banging the door open, hollering and setting Tuco the Dog loose on them barking like she was a rabid Rottweiler put them in a rush.  All I saw was ass holes and elbows beatin’ feet out into the brush.  Good enough!  I mounted a second Dakota Alert PIR unit beaming over at the water tank the next day.  I don’t mind sharing a little agua but I ain’t gonna have folks skulking around my stuff in the middle of the night.  Not without me knowing at any rate.

End Note: Get It While You Can by Danny Barnes from the Dirt on the Angel cd.

 

 

 

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3 comments to Blurred Days

  • Vince

    Morn’n Andy,

    Have you ever felt threatened or been threatened by illegals?
    Believe I read in one of your posts or somewhere that weapons are not allowed at the gates.

    Vince

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    • Andy

      Hi Vince,

      We worked a gate not far from here about 4 years ago that had a fair share of narco traffic. That made me very uneasy.

      You are correct about the rules. No firearms, whiskey or drugs.

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  • Vince

    Think’n that’s kinda one sided for the gate folks. Think’n most folks wandering round there afoot are carrying firearms, whiskey or drugs.
    Rules is rules I suppose. I was stationed at Ft. Bliss couple years in early 70’s. Partied over the bridge lots. Never had a bad day. Don’t
    remember anything bout drugs and gangs then. Don’t be ass don’t get ass kicked. Good times.

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