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Lonestar Beer is for Tourists - Part One

When I mention our home base is/will be Terlingua,  most Texans have a general idea of where and what I am talking about.   Texas is a whole ‘nother country you know.  That is what they say anyway.  Terlingua is even another country beyond that.

Texas is not for the faint of heart nor the easily cowed.  Discount the Metro areas of the state which exhibit the same metro-ness of any other heavily populated area in any other state.  Throw out the interstate enclaves which spring up at any heavily traveled interstate exit.  Franchise America has rubber stamped that sameness whether it be San Marcos,TX  or Savannah, GA.   The Out Country, Texas is what it is different and I observe  the struggle to survive in that environment every week.

Typical oil field gate guard view

Emails and blog posts from newbie gate guards  who read every thing they can on the subject but still are ill prepared for the reality are weekly events.  ‘Where you are going, everything either sticks or bites’ I say.  ‘What do I need to bring with me?’ they ask.  I really want to reply ‘some grit in your craw’ but I don’t.  The wind is gonna blow your spotless RV interior full of dust the first week.  Some days, the wind is gonna blow so hard even pushing the door open is going to take all ya got.   The sun is going to be hotter than the Sahara and it will be the same-same tomorrow and next week.  If a Blue Norther blows up, that 35 degrees of pure Canada Coldness will be as cold as you have ever been– and it was 70 degrees when you got up.  Some realities I hesitate to share….  ‘Watch that little dog of yours.   A bite on the nose from a Timber Rattler will kill that little dog deader than 4 o’clock.   Ditto on a stealth coyote or opportunistic Great Horned Owl. ‘

It is 4 miles of cloying caliche cloud to the hard top from where I sit right now.   Slow driving on that road  I swear was built atop a bed of railroad cross ties, I get to actually look at the scenery.  One of the neighbors down the way built a new tank (tank =lake in Texas) and he is following the template for the wannabe rancher recently transplanted from Suburbia.  They all want water and a big iron gate at the road.   So I watched the progress of the newbie rancher week to week as I drove by.  The tank shaped up pretty good and the little bridge spanning a narrow squeeze was a nice touch.  A new John Deere tractor bigger than the ones at Home Depot made an appearance as did a new Dodge Dually.  All according to an oft repeated script

Somewhere along the end of May,  the iron gate was in place and I watched the newbie work two solid weekends landscaping that front entrance.   Elevated berms were built out of amended soil in pleasing curves and expensive plants were bought.  Looking mighty good feller —   Along about mid-June the water buckets and hoses made their appearance and the battle was on.  I could sense the frustration because I had been there and done that.   It was a new house for us back in the mid 90’s and I could not wait to get busy digging in that North Texas blackland clay.   The onslaught of Summer caught me off guard.  The wind actually felt like it was burning your skin and no amount of water could save the recent transplants.  The wannabe rancher fought the good fight- day after day of watering but I knew the outcome was inevitable.  By mid-August, the Texas Summer was the victor and Johnson grass overran the berms. The little bridge spans a dusty hole.  So much for the dream of looking like an arboretum. Try it again in January dude– you gotta sneak up on the weather here to get by.

Being an oilfield gate guard  is like anything else in life.  It mostly about attitude and how you roll with the flow.   It is not hard but it ain’t exactly easy either.  The job is not for everybody.  If I have said that once I have said it a hunnert times.

For some folks, I guess it takes more than the words on a written page for it to really hit home.  Here is Miss Kathy starring in her very own youtube video.  The traffic volume is heavy for an average oilfield gate but it is what we have come to expect at our location.  Keep in mind this video was shot at around 8pm on a midsummer’s evening.   Most folks are drinking their third beer of the evening about this time as the day’s work is long over. Noise, dust, big trucks and pretty girls– oughta just about cover it.


End Note: Hard Gettin’ By by Nathan Hamilton from the Live at Floore’s CD.  It is a Nathan Hamilton start to a new day..

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1 comment to Lonestar Beer is for Tourists – Part One

  • Carol

    You said it all…Gate guarding is not for everybody. You have the winter Texans that think it will be a “fun” thing to do and make some money, too. Well, I wonder what they think when the dust eats them up standing out there checking in 10 trucks in a row or they realize that their RV will never be clean again-inside or outside. But then there are some of us “weird people” that like it no matter what. We’ve been out here for a year and probably will be doing this for several more years.

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