Sunday, March 31, 2013

Anniversaries in Texas

Today is the three year anniversary of full-timing.  It has gone so fast!  And we are still loving it. 

Most importantly, Gary has been spot free and healthy for a year now, and is doing so well. Finally enjoying this lifestyle to its fullest. Of course, work is a four letter word, but you do what you gotta do. We're getting fuel money for a year of travel pretty painlessly.

Our plans for this year include visiting the home area of our friends, Donna and Ron in Missouri then heading east to see our three kids spread down the east coast.  That will bring us to winter in Florida, but we will really try to get to Quartzite the end of January 2014.  As every RVer knows, it's all in pencil.  Hopefully, it will work for us.   

This is a pic of our new site (since last week) just off Rte 37 near Three Rivers.  The highway is at the white guardrail behind us.  The traffic is not too annoying, more soothing when sleeping.

Gary's decorations
 It has been very busy night and day during the week while fracking three wells.  Fracking is a very controversial issue these days, mainly concerning the safety of the process and especially the fluids used.  Environmentalists are concerned that these chemicals will pollute the ground water.  Yesterday, a worker told me what was in the black barrel on his truck.  A chemical so potent, that if it touched the skin, it would eliminate all the body's good bacteria.  What was that used for, I asked.  It is used to keep the water/sand mixture bacteria free.  Hmmm.

There are stricter standards being developed between environmentalists and oil companies to monitor and protect air and water from pollution.  These energy sources are going to be tapped one way or another, so people need to work together for the good of the planet and population.  And sooner than later, in my opinion. 

On the beautiful side of things, a few of our thousand prickly pear burst into bloom yesterday. 

Friday, they finished up the fracking, so now we enter the work-over phase.  Nobody ever knows for sure how long we'll be at a site, but we're hoping we get to stay another two weeks and get to sleep at night. 

I am continually amazed at the size of these rigs.  Thank goodness we don't have to drive those!

We wish you all a very warm and Happy Easter.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back at Work

Well, our little vacation didn't last long.  We were assigned the next day (Thursday) to a new site just 8 miles away.  Gary likes this spot.  There is a streetlight outside over our paved road, neighbors with a horse (although the horse disappeared yesterday), and puppies that run around.  They make me crazy with the huge trucks in and out of here.  I couldn't bear it if one got hurt.

Since we're on a fracking job again, there will be loads of sand trucks in and out night and day.  So Gary is on night duty, but is happy we are not so remote, so he feels safe.  I loved our last remote spot, however I did catch a glimpse of a scissor-tailed flycatcher this afternoon.  The trees are all in leaf and it happened practically overnight.  It makes it so much more attractive around here. 

I don't think we'll see any bobcats, but I did see a scissor-tailed flycatcher (a first for us)

And a beautiful spicebush swallowtail on a newly opened thistle. 

So Life is Good today!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Change in Scenery

Yesterday a guy named Tim came to our gate and asked if Lisa was here.  No Lisa.  He was supposed to deliver a portapotty to this location for a new gate guard.  Ugh oh. 

A few calls later, he decided to leave it set up behind our coach. Well, OK. We hadn't heard from anyone about leaving the site, so we carried on.  Just a few interesting items arrived...

This morning Lisa shows up in a uniform and says she and Craig are surprised to see us here.  They are supposed to be working for Pioneer.  Then Pioneer shows up, says we're good to stay, and tells Lisa and Craig to leave.  Lisa argues, makes more phone calls; I make phone calls. And the result is nobody knows anything or will say anything.  This is very typical.  But we're pretty sure we're leaving (sadly) and are glad we did most of the packing up yesterday.

About two hours later, our utility guys show up and say we're to leave this site and head back to the gate guard yard for a new assignment.  Well, OK, then.  We finish packing up and head over to the yard, back into our spot and visit the office.  We convey our wishlist to Diane who listens, and says she'll be in touch.

Off to Walmart to get a long-needed haircut for me.  That done, we get gas, watch the yellow engine light come back on (did I mention it went off briefly?) and drive back to our filthy, dirty Bella.  But it's Q-U-I-E-T.  No bells, no trucks going over a cattle guard and no generator 5 feet from our bedroom. 

Tonight we will have some fabulous Choke Canyon Bar-B-Que ribs and brisket.  Fabulous.  And then maybe we'll sleep to noon tomorrow, just for fun.

It is quiet.  It is not dusty.  No bells.  No trucks.  No writers cramp.  Relaxing.  Breaks are good, but we'll head back for some more cha-ching soon, I hope.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Still Here in Cambellton, TX

It's been three weeks today and I can't remember what civilization is like.  Which is OK with me, not so much with Gary.  This big blue sky everyday (it hasn't rained more than six drops) is one of my favorite things.  The sunrise and sunsets are spectacular, but it is getting warm (up to 94 tomorrow), and that sun is HOT.  So Gary rigged up a tent for sitting outside, because the constant wind is very cooling.

The fracking was finished on Monday (hooray!) and the ratholing was begun.  All kinds of wierd equipment rolled in:

And this is what they built:

 I like the American flag on the top!
Yesterday is was moving day for Pioneer Energy Resources.  Their home is a little larger than Bella.

 Basically, the job is logging people in and out - easy.  Fracking is usually turned down by gate guarders because it is all day and all night.  When that finished, Gary got some sleep during the evening.  Now that we're in the completion stage, he will be able to sleep all night, getting up at 6 am (now that it is daylight savings - booo) it is dark for an hour later.  This weekend will seem like a vacation, as hardly anyone will be here.  Monday, completion starts and we may be finished, or we may stay to guard some equipment on the new pad.  What would be perfect is if they decide to drill on the new pad.  Then we could stay as long as we wanted.

Unfortunately, our friends decided to take another job 350 miles away, and left yesterday.  They keep telling me that they're near twin cities further east and there are real stores and restaurants!  We will continue to mark our territory at our local Walmart each week. 

I even had time to finish the taxes today.  So, here's to cha ching and blue skies!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy, Busy

The last couple of days, I've had time to take pictures of some flying visitors to our site.  Beep-Beep, the roadrunner, was chasing around a 'friend' yesterday.  I don't know what exactly was going on, but it was fun to watch.

A crested caracara flies down the road every morning looking for breakfast.  He's really fast, and the only shot I almost got of him sitting still was missed because of a truck.  But here are some new firsts for us:

Golden Fronted Woodpecker

Pyrrhuloxia (female)

Gary has been regularly busy at night except for last night, but he still didn't sleep between trucks.  He's afraid he'll miss one, even though we've hung the bell right by the window near the chair where he sits.  It's been unseasonably cold at night, too, so we have to keep the windows open only a crack. 

But I went on duty at 6:30 am and quit from near exhaustion at 6 tonight.  A new drilling company is laying a 'pad' which involves 300 trucks of gravel delivered.  Every minute there were trucks coming or going.  The dust was so bad with the 15 mph winds that we needed three rounds of a water truck to calm it down.  Now we have mud.  Poor Bella, she's so dirty.  And I'm so tired.  Poor Gary got no sleep because of all the racket.  He's now on night duty, but it's been very light so far.

Our regular caterer has disappeared, but we did get a plate of  delicious BBQ from the new caterer, so I haven't had to cook yet. 

Our friends, Donna and Ron finally got an assignment and they're only 15 miles away!  The site is drilling at the moment, so they could be there many weeks.  So even though it is tedious work, the days are flying by. 

Some new equipment followed behind a pilot truck.  He drove slowly so that I could snap a picture:

This little hand can stop 87,000 pounds of truck!  I just hold it up!

 The various equipment that goes past Bella is mind-boggling.  It's another whole world and language (of which I can't understand a word).  The drivers are polite, and we have many women in this business, too, as drivers and roust-a-bouts.

We have almost finished 2 weeks of work, but it feels like a lot longer.  I did get out to Walmart yesterday (whoo-hoo!) with Donna for some milk and TP.  And, yes, it was a whoo-hoo!  Since I hadn't seen anything but trees, dust and trucks for over a week, it was exciting to get in the Jeep and drive somewhere!  Well, allright, it wasn't that exciting, but still...

We are hoping that the new drilling will keep us here for a while longer, but no word yet.  Until then, cha-ching.  It's a good sound.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Gate Guarder

My day starts at sunrise, something I don't often see.  And look what I've been missing!

 When I'm up and dressed, Gary goes to bed for his 'night's' sleep.  It's been terribly busy since they've begun fracing, with van loads of workers and truckloads of sand in and out every 10 minutes or so.  We need to record every person and vehicle in case there's a accident, the records will reveal who is on site. 

He's pretty wiped, no time for snoozes between trucks. 
Meanwhile the sun is shining, and between rush hours (shifts change at 6 am and pm) I get to do my things:

Practice my violin

Fill the birdseeder (no birds yet)

Check in trucks
Read a book

Dust Bella (useless)

 And then there are the sunsets...

This little guy runs across the road frequently.  He has a buddy, too.  First time I've seen a real roadrunner.

We hear reports that there is another well opening behind ours, and then it turns out to be construction.  We like our oil company, and hope we can stay with them, but really hope that we don't have to move at the end of this job.  We'll see when we find out more. 

It's all good.