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Counting your chickens

Last night on the gate

One thing you learn early on about the South Texas oil patch is all plans are subject to change.  The plan was to work until 12/21 and then take 30 days off.  That time frame would have put me working 14 months 24/7 .  But the plan changed……   All oil companies have rules.  Some are more restrictive than others and some allow some latitude as far as strict enforcement.  There were two oil companies on this lease and one of them had a ‘No Pet’ policy.  Of course, I have never made it a secret that I had a dog.  My thoughts were that if it ever came down to choosing between my dog and a job I can always find another assignment.  Good dogs are precious.

So it came to pass there was an incident involving a dog on another gate (that I had nothing to do with)  and because of  one negligent pet owner, word came down from above that the ‘No Pet’ policy would be strictly enforced.  The landowner is not a happy camper right now about me being removed from the gate and there has been plenty of back and forth between them and the oil company.  I just decided to take my vacation early while they worked out the particulars.  They want me BACK on station 1/2/2017.  Suits me and let’s see how it works out.

Leaving the gate

Blowing out of McMullen County , the Bar M RV Park in Pleasanton was my first stop.  I had scouted it previously buying propane and liked what I saw.  Nice and quiet with a good laundromat, I decided it would be a good base while I caught up some chores that were not possible when I had been sequestered down south.  It was a good choice.  I washed blankets that had been stacked away dirty and not washable in my Panda Mini Portable Compact Washer . I rented another climate controlled storage room because the one in San Marcos is much less accessible and very full.  I ate junk food and drank cold beer.  I hit the liquor store for some good whiskey because my next stop is the Secret Hideout and you need to fill your hands for happy hour when My Bro is around.

At the RV park

But I get ahead of myself a bit.  A couple of nights before we left the gate, Vela Von and I came back into the NO Princess Palace after settin’ outside for our evening quiet time and I smelled something that was familiar but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  Next day, the smell returned with a 100X vengeance and ran me and a dog outside because it was so strong.  I didn’t have any trouble identifying it this time.  It was ammonia and as most seasoned RVers know this smell means your RV fridge has shit the bed.  Luckily I have the residential fridge and will lean on it until I decide if I want to replace the cooling unit – to the tune of $700.00

El Rojo – the new Honda EU2000I

I pulled Little Blue out of mothballs to make sure it would run.  I haven’t been the best about exercising it monthly – probably last time was August.  I ran it  dry of fuel etc and etc so I figgered good to go.  Not so much!!   The only way I could get it to hit was with starting fluid and then it would only run for a second.  Well sir, that means problems with the carburetor and I did not have time to muck around with a sick generator especially this useless albatross.

The Secret Hideout is off grid and bein’ as how I had no propane fridge and a freezer full of food, having power ASAP after 6 hours on the road was paramount.  My Bro had reported good luck with his Honda EU2000I 2000 Watt Inverter Generator. He said he thought it was better built and stouter than the Yamaha line and I had to go with what he said.  Pokin’ around on the internet I saw the local John Deere house had them on sale for $879 which is a smokin’ deal even if I do have to pay tax.  I just didn’t know I would have so much trouble gettin’ them to sell me one.

I waltzed in to the Pleasanton John Deere place and asked if they had the Honda genset in stock.  After 10 minutes of siftin’ around in the computer he said ‘No, not in stock’.  OK so I am going down this road of extreme and undue hassle so I asked him what price he showed……. $1149!  Uh no, so we went around for another 15 minutes about how their website said it was on sale for $879 until 12/24.  I guess it would have continued in an endless loop had not this beardy fella at the other counter chimed in and said he thought he remembered seeing an email about the sale.  Sure nuff, he pulled up the email and printed it out.  Sale price established but still the problem of no stock available.  I asked the question they shoulda already considered and said ‘How about one of your other stores?’  5 minutes later he said they had one at the Alice store.  I was not about to drive off deep in the Valley so that was out.

This is how Vela Von looks on vacation

Beardy Fella saved the day again when he piped up and said ‘I show one in Pearsall.’  Oh hell yeah, Pearsall is 30 miles away and doable.  I asked them to call ahead and hold it for me and verify the price.  Then I asked for a copy of that sale email (just because) and I was out the door.

I walked into Pearsall and saw the generator sitting in the corner so I knew that part was good. Walked up to the counter and asked for Carlos (from the call ahead) and we went into the Groundhog Day loop.  Carlos had to verify the generator was in stock when it was sittin’ in plain view 5 feet away.  Then he said the price was $999 and I thought to myself ‘That phone call from the Pleasanton store was wasted time.’   Alrighty then, If he wanted groundhogs, I would give him my best Bill Murray.  I fished the copy of the email out of my pocket and said ‘It is on your website on sale.’  Bad move -maybe- since he had to pull up the website and then spend several agonizing minutes looking at each and every page.

You know, it is probably a good thing I am newly returned from hermit seclusion and find actual human contact to be refreshing and novel.  No stinkeye from me and no if looks could kill, there’d be lifeless bodies littering the streets.  I hummed to myself and looked at clevises and hydraulic cylinders while Carlos and 3 other counter folks each had to read the email copy and then each had to look at the website.  The consortium ebbed and flowed. They put their heads together for a caucus and then broke apart so each could go look at identical web pages on separate computers; only to re-caucus once again.  ‘Did they not want to sell me the generator?  Were they scared to sell me the generator?  Did they think maybe I was unworthy of this generator??’

At some point a decision was made and Carlos asked me for my name and then asked me if I had ever bought anything from them in the past since I was unknown to their omnipotent computer..  The answer was ‘NO’  and I remember thinking ‘Will that disqualify me?’    Sometime in the next 30 minutes the decision was made I was, in fact, worthy and they would, in actuality,  accept my money in exchange for the generator.  I am not going to say Carlos and crew was worthless as the white crayon in the box but then again……….   All I gotta say is life takes up a whole lotta my time.

At Discount Tire – San Antone

The last task before bidding adieu to the puckerbrush was gettin’ some new shoes for the NO Princess Palace.  I pulled in here to this gate last fall on a wing and a prayer and some mighty dry rotted trailer tires.  Made it one more year on the dry rots but that pushed my luck even farther than a normal gambler could be comfy.  I did upgrade to 10 ply Load Range E tires.  Hope that proves to be a good move.

At any rate, I am safe and sound at the Secret Hideout and El Rojo is purring away providing the electrons for this blog post.  One of the hateful things about takin’ time off is not having enough money to do anything.  In a weeks time I managed to spend a crap ton of money but then again, it was all needful stuff.

Adios y’all. More later

 

End Note: Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones from the 1969 album  Let It Bleed.  This versions with Lisa Fischer is phenomenal.  Wish I knew which year  this 9 minutes of bliss was from.

 

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12 comments to Counting your chickens

  • Don M

    I have a Honda 2000. It’s good. But it is also finicky about keeping the gas fresh. I use Sta-Bil and make sure to start it every few months. Seems to be a good program.

    We just had to use it due to a power outage. It was running a little rough. The gas was fresh but I think the Sta-Bil itself was real old. Anyway I decided to try some new black magic stuff called Start Your Engines by the maker of Sta-Bil. Supposedly it cleans up a cruddy carb right now. Short story, it worked like a charm. It’s expensive crap for a little bottle. It might resurrect your Yammie without needing disassembly.

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    • Andy

      Thanks Don
      I mixed a heavy dose of Seafoam with the gas in there now and it is soaking. If that doesn’t work I will try your stuff. I sure don’t want to tear into that carburetor.

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  • Larry S. Worsham

    Last year my Yamaha 2400 wouldn’t start. I forgot to shut off the fuel intake before not using it for a year. I pulled the carb off and soaked it in sea foam and drained the gas replacing with fresh with sea foam added and all is great now. Replacement carbs are very expensive so I will do my best to do keep treated gas in it from now on. Are you going to look into the Amish company that does the refer rebuilds. There is an outfit in Texas that sells them.

    Enjoy your vacation and Merry Christmas!! Larry

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    • Andy

      Thanks Larry!
      I ordered some of the magic stuff Don recommended but I also know the wonders of Seafoam! I am looking at the Amish units at rvcoolingunits.com. $650 plus $50 for the shipping.

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  • Rich

    Off the 24/7 skids and recharging your batteries. Merry Christmas to you and Vela Von.

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  • Vince Emery

    Morn’n Andy,

    So two oil co’s on same ranch. One says pets ok and the other says no pets. Who signs your checks?
    Seems the check signer would be the one dictating pet/no pet. But, I don’t know the in’s and out’s of it.

    Enjoy your time off and stay healthy.

    Vince

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  • Vince Emery

    Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

    Vince

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  • coal

    Good call on the Honda, they work very well for me and I hope you receive the same experience.

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    • Andy

      Hey Coal,

      An EU3000IS is on my radar. I will have to go back to work to afford that one.

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      • coal

        Yes the 3000 is very good unit sometimes they pop up on the used market fairly cheap. The pup looks great too. We’re going into a deep freeze up here in Toronto

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  • Randle

    I have had and eu3000 for, i think over ten years now and use the shit out of it. it supplied power to the horse trailer originally. Then to our 5th wheel while we full timed, now it stands guard in case of a power outage. Its a great generator, just a heavy little sob.

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