Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017
Bob and Rigamarole at Texas Canyon Rest Area, Arizona, September 30, 2017

Monday, June 11, 2012

Car Wash, Scorcher, and Dairy Queen Ladies -- Mon., June 11

Cotulla, Texas:

This morning started earlier than usual for Miss Night Owl. I woke up about 7:00 and couldn't go back to sleep, even though I tried. I dragged myself out of bed.


Wow! At the crack of 7:00 Bob was washing my car. Layers of caliche dust poured off. When he finished, I had a shiny car again. For weeks my Escape pod had been wind-blown with the dust on our site and blowing across from the road. Every time we made a trip into town on two miles of dusty, graveled road to get to the paved highway, more layers of grime were deposited; not to mention all the dust kicked up by semis and pick-up trucks coming in our gate.  Bob is my knight in shining "car"mor. THANK YOU, honey, for making me look respectable in a gleaming coach when I drive.

When Bob finished my car, he washed his pickup. So nice.  We forgot what a pretty blue it is!

Today ended up being busy. Kathy--another gate guard--and I met in Cotulla. We went to the bank, the post office, did laundry, and then met Kit at Dairy Queen for a Ladies Lunch Hour. Our time was spent eating and chatting non-stop because we had only an hour before we all needed to head back to our gates. Each of us told stories and background and what it was like to part with our stuff when we gave up our sticks-and-bricks homes.

A HUGE thanks as well to Bob, Jerry and Bruce for making sure the gates were staffed while the girls had a little "get-away." We'd love to do it again!

Back to the busy day. When I returned to the 5er, I vacuumed, put away laundry with Bob's help, defrosted the refrigerator/freezer, scrubbed the linoleum floors, scraped the kitty box, did some dishes and filed my fingernails. I have to look good for my date with my honey tomorrow.

Kathy's husband, Bruce, will watch our gate for us Tuesday so we can go away TOGETHER to San Antonio for a few hours. On our list are: Costco, Walmart, a movie, and lunch out. This will be wonderful as we don't get enough dates on this job. We've always liked going out together, driving together and enjoy each other's company. (That's not to say we don't irritate each other once in a while, because we do, but we build a bridge and get over it.)

While I was scrubbing the floor, Bob went into Cotulla to Golden Chick and bought dinner: roasted chicken, dirty rice, cole slaw and green salad. It was yummy. 


The gate was slow today...Bob filled up two pages on the log.


Today was an absolute scorcher. The temperature went up to 106. They have something called a "heat index" here. The heat index was supposed to be about 109. Even the wind is hot, so no relief there. We have two overhead air conditioners cranking, a ceiling fan is on high and we have two box fans. The temperature inside is 75 degrees. "Ahhh," is all you can say when you step inside from the heat. Thank you, LOMA, for a workhorse generator.

For the past few nights, we haven't had any traffic at the gate, except an occasional semi to pick up or drop off heavy equipment. We've been closing the gate around 7:30 p.m. This morning, we had a security officer drop by at 3:45.


The battle between the mockingbirds and the roadrunners continues. If the roadrunner gets anywhere near the mockingbird nest, the mockingbirds dive bomb and peck at the roadrunner. And the roadrunner hightails it out of there.


Update on the Bewick's wren who was determined to build her nest under the slide of our 5th wheel: We kept taking her nesting material down and she left. We haven't seen her since. I guess we're not her friends anymore.


Another bird has been identified here on our site: a pyrrhuloxia. It looks a lot like a female cardinal, but it has a heavier beak that is yellow, not red. It has been suggested that the pyrrhuloxia would be more properly called a Gray Cardinal. 

We also have male and female cardinals which live right here. They love the bugs they find by the generator. 

Bowie, our Siamese, has decided that I am his cat tower. This is a most disturbing development. Twice in the past two days when I wasn't looking, he launched himself at my back with all claws out. OUCH! I now have cat claw scabs on my waist and shoulders. I don't know what's gotten into him. Luckily he weighs around 10 lb., not 18 lb. like Sunnie.

Yesterday, when he leapt on my back, I let out a screech and he jumped down. I told him he was a bad cat and he looked contrite. We'll see if he does it again. I may need to carry a spray bottle with me. Otherwise, all is good in kitty land.

Life in the "outback"/Wild West/south Texas is definitely different. When you're guarding a gate you're pretty much tied to it 24/7 unless you can find someone to swap with once in a while.

There's good money to be made gate guarding if you can handle heat, bumpy roads, bugs, snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, mountain lions, javelinas, mosquitoes, biting flies, dust, (did I mention the bugs?), the occasional heavy rainstorm that turns all the dirt to gooey, clay-like mud, and isolation. The perks are: we don't pay for our site; a generator, diesel fuel and oil to run the generator, water, black water tank and black water tank pump out are provided. Some gate guard companies provide flood lights and others ask you to buy your own. Our company provides the lights. 

If you're a truck driver, you can make beaucoup bucks working the oil fields. But you better be a good driver on gravel, caliche dust, muddy and pot-holed roads. Sometimes drivers sit and wait at the site to load or unload. They could be here anywhere from 1/2 hour to ten hours. As far as I know they get paid to wait. Truckers come here from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, and Mississippi, in addition to all the Texas truckers.

Okay, I've rambled on enough for one day. Travel Bug out.

 

9 comments:

  1. Hi Susan,
    Great post. I know what it is like to be covered with caliche dust! Say, we just set up at a site 5 miles outside of Cotulla. I love the DQ there. If y'all are planning another ladies get-together let me know. I sleep days so I'll need to arrange my schedule. Thanks!
    Vicky

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    Replies
    1. We'd love to have you join us. What's your email? (I won't post it on my blog.)

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  2. Ah yes. Good ole Texas Heat Index. West Texas is pretty brutal. Super hot in the summer, frigid cold in the winter. There should be special awards for those who work gate duty. The work is not so hard but the environment can take a toll on you. Kit and Jerry are seasoned gourd folks. Enjoy your date on Tuesday.

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    Replies
    1. Tell me how cold it gets in the winter in south Texas. Does it get "frigid cold?"

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  3. Great synopsis on what it's like guarding a gate for a couple. For solos, it's a bit harder for the 24/7 part.

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    1. Working solo at this is hard for me to imagine. You seem to be handling it well.

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  4. Count me in on the next ladies outing!! A little girl time is ALWAYS a good thing!! Add in ice cream?? Who could ask for more!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, we'll send out word of the next DQ Blast!

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  5. We gate guarded outside of Whitsett last Feb and March and the nights got down in the 30s...not as frigid as Colorado in the winter, that's for sure (yes, we're from Colorado). I worked nights and it wasn't bad at all. We'll be returning to south Texas in November for five months...maybe I'll be able to join you for a Ladies Lunch at DQ

    Bobbie
    chappytrails.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

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