Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Tuesday

It seems very strange to watch a Chicago Bears football game while drinking coffee! They played last night and I stayed up for the  first half and recorded the rest of the game. And watched it this morning starting at 4am. Glad I got to watch it as it as they beat the Cowboys.
Still strange to not be drinking beer while watching the game.
Things are still pretty slow here and it looks like some of the crew will be taking off Dec. 22-25. I would think that there will still be people in and out. They have to check the wells and record readings and flows.

Gail, our fellow gate guard at the railroad tracks, made us a very nice wreath which we put in the window

Here are a couple of pictures of their site which is at the tracks. They have to get out of their motorhome and check for any vehicle coming or going and be right at the tracks for vehicles with trailers.

The road slopes pretty good and they had to put wood under their front jacks to raise the front end high enough to be level. By than the front tires were off of the ground so they put a railroad tie under the tires......
I took this picture of one of the rigs and it is unusual in that the tractor has 5 axes and the trailer 4 axles. We see a lot of 4 axle tractors but very few 5
This is the back of the tractor, 4 axles plus the front axle

And as a finish, what else, sunsets. We get to see these every day as the rear of the trailer is facing west,  so we can see the sunset out of the back window.

Hope you are having a great day
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Monday, December 2, 2013


We have been here about a week and a half now and things are pretty slow. Our busiest day was 50 in/outs and our slowest was Thanksgiving and the day after with only 8 hits. We are hoping that it will start to pick up after the holiday. One of the reasons it is slow is that it is hunting season down here and some companies close down for part of hunting season. 
Since it is so slow and I was bored this morning I thought I would give you a look at some of the tools of gate guarding.
Here you have the clip board and log sheet. We added the reading light and watch with luminous dial for night work, and of course the trusty pen. I/we do not always wear the hat. It depends on how sunny it is out.
I wanted to get a picture of the vest that we have to wear at all times while working. You will get a hoot out of these. I sure did when I looked at them. I should get some kind of reward for publishing these. I think that this is a case of the Polish American engineer strikes again!!!! (lol)

And here a sunrise picture since I have not posted any this year yet.
I think the sunrise/sunsets are so much prettier down here because of the layer of clouds that seems to hang over the area. We are only about 90 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and there almost always is this layer of clouds. Anyway that's my theory, and I am sticking to it.
 The last one is taken from the road (hwy281 alt)
Hope you have a wonderful week
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Monday, November 25, 2013


We finished our first gate, went back to the yard for a couple of days and are now on a new gate. This one is only about 6 miles from the yard in Whitsett. In case you like to look at where we are, here are the co ordinates: 28 41.226 -98 17.547 If you look on Google earth you can see the road and the pad down the road, the railroad crossing and at the end the well site.

We relieved another couple who had to head home and have no idea how long we will be here. The well was finished, but they brought a reclaim rig in to do something.  We got here Saturday and today they moved the rig out.

It has been cold and wet for the last three days. About 37-42 degrees and misty rain, or a heavier steady rain. The humidity is at 98 percent and when you go out the chill just soaks right in. We can not sit out during the day, it is just too chilly.
An interesting thing here is that there is a railroad track down a ways from us and there is another gate guard there that has to make sure no trains are coming before anyone can go across the tracks. They do not have to log any one, but do have to be at the tracks when a vehicle crosses.

I had parked the truck behind the trailer on the side of the road. It was solid at the time. But I went out to leave a little bit ago and got about 2 foot and got stuck. Tried all the maneuvers that one would use in ice and snow but no luck. Moved a few more feet, sliding sideways and that was it. Had to call the service guy to come tow me out onto the road.

Moved the truck to a spot up front that has some gravel. Hope we do not get relieved before it dries out. We would need another tow otherwise.  Remind me again why we do this......oh yes....MONEY!
Gate is pretty slow. Only about 20-30 in/outs a day. And none after about 7-8pm. But Linda still has to stay up.
Hope all is well with you
Love to ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, November 17, 2013


We have been here one week today and things have been pretty slow. A typical day would be about 15 ins/outs. It takes about 30 seconds to log someone in and about 10 seconds to log them out. That is 10 minutes of work a day. We have no traffic from about 10pm to 6am, but Linda has to stay up just in case. It looks like we will be here another 2-4 days.

They installed a key pad and camera on the gate, but we have to open the gate for anyone coming in. We do keep the gate open during daylight hours. After we leave anyone coming in will have to know the code or call the ranch foreman to come let them in.

I drove down to the rig this afternoon to get a picture of it. This is what is called a rework or reclaim rig and it came in mounted on a couple of semi trailers. They were only going to drill 3500 feet. I think they may be going a little bit deeper though. This morning I was told that they were done drilling, but when I was back there the bit is still turning.
If you blow the picture  up you can see a man standing on the platform to the right of the tower. That should give you an idea of the size of the rig. Pretty small compared to a full size drill rig. Also, they are not going to have to frac this well as they run into oil when they get to the right depth.
A full size rig normally drills about 5000 foot straight down and than makes a big 1000 foot radius turn and than drills out horizontally about 12-15000 feet. Than they frac the well afterwards.

There are other wells on this 18000 acre ranch also.  It is mostly a hunting ranch and they have a hunting manager and hunters have to have a guide to hunt. The guides tell the hunter which deer they can shoot and that way they can control the deer population better.

It was 90 degrees and sunny here today.

Hope you have a great week
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

P.S. You can reply to this blog. Just click on leave a comment and select anonymous in the pop up window and type in your reply. You can sign your name.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


We are 17 1/2 miles southeast of George West, TX on hwy US59. Here are gps co-ords if you are interested.  28.13165  -98.30581
If you look it up on Google earth it shows where the truck is sitting. Sometimes I am still amazed with this gps stuff.
They will be drilling a well, but only 3500 foot deep and will not frack it. They will bring in the portable drill rig that is mounted on a truck tomorrow morning.
We met the ranch owner, ranch foreman and the hunting manager the first day and they were all very nice. They bring hunters on, but only with a guide and hunt deer and quail and turkeys. They offered us some venison but we declined as neither of us like it......Linda says she can not eat Bambi.
This is going to be a slow gate for traffic and we will only be here 10-14 days at the outside. But, it is money in the coffers.
No pictures. We have posted lots of  "that's us at the gate" pictures....
Hope all is well
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Friday morning we got a call from the office offering us a 10-14 day job for a small company starting Sunday morning. We agreed to take it and took advantage of the time available to go into Pleasanton, about a 28 mile drive, to do grocery's. Linda also got a haircut, and of course we had to eat while we were there. Burger King, so nothing exciting. Saturday we drove back in and did laundry. That is always an exciting job....yea, right. Oh, and Burger King again.

They told us the service guy would be here between 8-9am to take us to the job site. And, we were ready to go at 8am. The guy show up about 9:30 and asks us if anyone had told us they had moved the job out to Monday.......well no they did not.  So we set back up again and hopefully we leave in the morning.

Hope you are having a great day today.
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Today made 5 days we have been sitting here. Yesterday we drove down to Three Rivers and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant. It was good, but not really good. Lots of oilfield workers there and we found out that there is a refinery in town. That was our excitement for the day.
Here are a couple of pictures of the yard area.
                                                This is us parked next to the office.
This is looking the other way. The building is where they do all the maintenance of the equipment and build up trailers. They buy flat bed trailers and add the equipment to them.
And this is some of the equipment waiting to go out to a job site.
Things are pretty slow right now. We are hoping it will pick up. We are both bored to tears.
Hope all is going well with you.
You could reply to this blog. That would give us something to read.
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Friday, November 1, 2013

Whitsett, TX

We moved today, 102 miles south to the Gate Guard Services yard. We have a water and electric hookup and are parked next to the office. The full hookup sites are taken, altho one rig just left for an assignment. We will stay here and not move to the full hook  up site.
Hope to be out by early next week at the latest.
Hope all is well with everyone

Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dinner at Saltgrass restaurant in San Antonio and the big storm

Yesterday the four of us met up with Ally and Paige for dinner at Saltgrass restaurant, There are several of them in the southwest and Linda and I ate at one here in San Antonio this past spring and the food was awesome. It was just as good last night. Everyone enjoyed their food and it was another great visit.


Saltgrass is known for their steaks, and the three men had rib eyes which were great. Linda had crab cakes, Ally had stuffed chicken and Bobbie had a crab stack.
It is about an hour drive from our campground and the trip home was slow with the tail end of rush our. We got back about 7:30-8:00 and shortly thereafter it started to rain. It was a major downpour that did not let up for about 8 hours. Linda and I were up until after 2am. We had water coming in thru 3 roof vents and one ceiling light! We had bowls under the water to catch it and kept wiping up the drips. Did not sleep even after turning off the lights and were up by 7:30 to do damage control. Went to Camping world and bought 4 vent covers and caulking and spent a couple of hours on the roof doing repairs. HOPEFULLY that will fix the leaks.
All four us commented that we have never seen rain coming down with such intensity for such a long period of time. Watching the radar the storm did not move. It just kept changing shape. And the wind and lightning and thunder were very impressive. Various local reports say that we had 12-15 inches of rain in about 8 hours!
Hope we never have to do that again.
Tomorrow off to Whitsett to see if we can get a gate guarding job.
love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, October 27, 2013


We moved about two miles to the casino campground. Very nice resort. Paved sites with patios and tables. More gambling. For those of you not on facebook I have copied a post to here:

finally a great day at the casino!!!!!!! walked out with over $260, but won a lot more. Just gave it back. Senior breakfast tomorrow.......free, under 55...$15.95. You get $10 in free play if you play $20. If you stay here, or, men on Monday, Women on Tuesday, seniors on Wednesday and Thursday. Great place. Winstar casino in Thackerville, OK. 500,000 square foot casino. Loosest slots of any Indian casino I have ever been in......
Went back to casino again and wanted to play poker. They have a large number of tables and various price ranges. I wanted to play for $1-2 dollars. Played slots for a while breaking even and then went in they had an open seat in the 1-2 game. Cashed in $100 which made me the smallest stack at the table. Got in a good hand right away and won, than won another one a few minutes later bringing me up to $270. But the big stacks were raising too much. Finally just quit $123 up.
After the post on the casino I got a reply from old friend and ex boss Sam, saying he and another old friend were in Texas making customer calls. I called Sam and we made arrangements to meet him at his plant in Carrolton, TX.  Had a nice visit with Sam and Brian  and made plans to meet in Tennessee next spring at Sam's house.
Spent the nght somewhere about 150 miles down the road and moved on Friday to the Corp of Engineers (COE) park on Canyon lake called Potters Creek. They were full at 11am, but the lady on duty said that the park across the lake (2 miles as the crow flies) had sites available, but it was a 26 mile drive.
We are now at Cranes Mill COE and it is very very nice. New park with very large, paved sites with a paved patio and picnic shelter. Jim and Bobbie are next door. Linda called our niece Ally who lives, with her husband Paige, in San Antonio. They came up Saturday and we had a very nice visit with them. We made supper, and Bobbie made an apple pie.
We made plans to meet them at a restaurant in San Antonio one day this week.
May take a day trip to Fredericksburg, which is about 60 miles from here to see what is going on.
Will move to Whitsett on Friday and stay in the yard until we get an assignment.
Jim and Bobbie will move on to Alabama for a couple of months and meet us at Bettys February 6th for the month of Mardi Gras.
Take care, have a great week
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Winstar Casino

O .K.
We got to this passport America campground on Tuesday night. Met up with Jim and Bobbie. We are staying here because it is cheaper than the casino campground and is only about two miles from the casino.
Jim and I went over on Wednesday to check things out. Now this is one big, big casino...500,000 square feet. The largest one in Vegas is 125,000 sq. ft. We walked about 1/3 of it and both lost about $10. We did find out that they have a free senior breakfast on Wednesday and Thursday. $15.95 if you are under 55. So, we went on Thursday, somewhat skeptical about the quality, but were very pleasantly surprised. They served in the events area which is huge. Bobbie thought that there was seating for about 800. They have everything you would expect in a great breakfast buffet and it was all good. Regular plates and silverware and cloth napkins and waiter service included. They even had a live, very good, band playing 50's music.
After breakfast we wandered around the other 2/3 that Jim and I had not seen. This place just goes on and on. We had some luck on the slots. I think they have the slots set a little bit looser than most Indian casinos I have been too.
We have spent a lot of time visiting and eating with Jim and Bobbie, catching up and making plans. We will move from this campground to the casino campground on Tuesday morning and spend two or three nights there. If we stay three nights we can do the breakfast buffet twice!!!
From here on to a C.O.E, park about 60 miles NNE of San Antonio, until the 1st when we will head on down to Whitsett to start gate guarding
Have a great day today
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We are back on the road again!

Spent the summer hanging out with family. Our son Jeff and wife Lorie moved their business to a new larger building. We spent time watching the grandsons, Jamie and Jordan. We also spent time with my brother Tom, wife Peg and nephew Randall. Also helped with a 25th wedding anniversary party for Linda's brother Kelly and wife Debbie, hosted by their son Brandon.

We left South Bend, IN on Monday morning heading for Thackerville, OK where we would meet up with dear old friends Jim and Bobbie. Had planned on making the 960 mile trip in three days. First stop was supposed to be in East ST. Louis, IL at a casino, but it was closed for the winter, so we kept driving and driving. Finally ended up in Cuba, MO after a 442 day trip. I think this was a record or almost record driving day towing the trailer.
Tuesday we started out with plans to spend the night in the Tulsa, OK area, but had a hard time finding a place to stay, so moved on thinking of spending the night around Oklahoma City....finally said the hell with it....and kept on driving and driving and driving some more.
We ended up in Thackerville after driving 553.8 miles, shattering any previous record. We were warmly met by Jim and Bobbie and had a few cocktails in celebration of our reunion.
Today was a quiet day, with a 20 mile trip to Wal-Mart.

I picked Thackerville as they now have a 500,000 square foot casino with a campground. We had reservations at their campground, but Bobbie found another campground a couple of miles away that was cheaper, so we are staying there.

Jim and I went to the casino tonight to check it out and play a little slot. They have a free 55+ breakfast buffet on Wednesday and Thursday, so we will check it out tomorrow.
Plan is to stay here until next Monday. We have sent for mail, and hope it will arrive than.

Glad to be back on the road again. But not looking forward to two months of gate guarding. But the money will come in real helpful.
Take care
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Another catch up blog post

On day twelve we met up with Jeff and Lorie at a campground in Egg Harbor, WI. We spent 4 days wandering around Door county exploring the gift shops and restaurants. Cherry's are very big up here and you can but just about anything with cherry's in it. We bought some cherry salsa and a cherry pie. Also bought some olive oil, that is locally made. It is good with fresh bakery bread.

From Egg Harbor we all moved about 150 miles to Green Lake, WI., which is on, of course, Green Lake. The lake is very very large and the deepest in Wisconsin. The downside is that our campground was not on the lake. It was about a 5 minute drive away. They did have a boat slip, so did not have to take the boat in and out every day. All in all pretty uneventful. Ate out a couple of times. No scenic drives as this is pretty boring country.

Than it was back to Woodstock where we are in the kids driveway again. Jeff and Lorie have been looking for a new, larger, building for about a year and finally found one that is only two doors down from their current location. They have been very busy at work and picked up a new customer that will double the size of the business. They are both working a lot of hours getting quotes, designs and quality control items taken care of. Plus, they have to plan for the move. They have to have all new electric and have footings poured for the bigger presses. And a million other things that have to be done.

Linda has been very busy looking after the boys, Jamie and Jordan. She takes them to movies and miniature golf and bike riding and anything else they come up with.

I have been to see several doctors. And after seeing a specialist on back and spinal issues the conclusion is that there is nothing that can be done. Unless the pain gets so bad that surgery would be the only way to go. That will be a last resort type of thing. Right now the pain is not bad, mostly just a dull ache most of the time, but if I move the wrong way or do something that requires lifting it can get more severe.

Monday we will be taking the trailer and heading up to the Wisconsin Dells area to meet up with Lorie and the boys. This weekend is a camping club weekend and we are not going. On Sunday, Jeff will move the trailer up to the Dells and come back home and work all week. Lorie is taking her computer and printer with them and will be working from the trailer. Jeff will be up late Friday and spend the rest of the weekend boating.

That is about it. The summer is going by really fast. We are patiently waiting for tomatoes to get ready to eat as we all love fresh off the vine tomatoes....just wish they were available all year.
Hope your summer is going well. Drop us a line if you can. Would love to hear from you.
Love to all of ya
Jim and Linda

Thursday, June 27, 2013

TEN DAYS WITH THE BOYS....day eleven

OK I have to tell you now. I thought it was a ten day trip, but it is actually a twelve day trip. Tomorrow we will meet up with Jeff and Lorie and turn the boys back over to them. We will meet them in Egg Harbor, WI.
Today we drove to Escanaba, MI and are staying in a nice campground, a county park.
We had promised the boys that we would take them to a fun park today. Go cart rides, bumper boats, mini golf. They had a great time.

I played golf, but did not do the go carts. But Gamma sure did enjoy them!
Linda leading the pack


Jamie liked this one as it looks like he is racing the mustang.

                                             Jordan complaining that Jamie is raming him.

A long driving day tomorrow, 175 miles.
Hope you have a great day
Love to all of ya
Jim, Linda, Jamie, Jordan

TEN DAYS WITH THE BOYS.......day ten

O.K. I missed a day....but it does not count. We had no cell service at Fayette.
So I will pretend this is yesterday.
Today we drove about 75 miles to get to Fayette state park. Linda and I were here about 20 or so years ago and wanted to go back.  We were both disapointed in that they have not done any recent restoration. They are in a preserving mode. I guess that is to be expected, as they do not get a lot of money to work on restoration.
When we first came here the campground was pretty new. Now it is well developed and very nice.
Here is a link to the town

And the rest will be just pictures.

The next four are photos taken when Fayette was a working town.

OK, if you want to look at the rest of the photos, go to this link
And here are some pictures of the boys playing on the beach. Altho, up here, there is no sandy beach. It is all shale rock.
And thats it for Fayette.
Moving on tomorrow.
Love to all of ya
Jim, Linda, Jamie, Jordan

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

TEN DAYS WITH THE BOYS......day nine

WE are in Munising, MI. Today we took the boat ride to see the shipwrecks.
We saw three different shipswrecks. There are two areas on the boat that are viewing areas. Each one has three sections of glass that everyone stands around while they manuever the boat around the wreck. Sorry to say, that I forgot to charge the camera battery, so we have no pictures of the wrecks.
WE did get a few pictures, thou.

This last one is of the viewing area. Each 3 window area is about 10-12 foot long, and they held all of the people on the boat.
this is one of the oldest lighthouse on the great lakes, and has been restored.
This is a bald eagle. but I only had the short lens on the camera, so not very good.
I  took this one last night. Linda is worn out, and she is trying to rest. But as you can see, she has company.

After the boat tour, it was on the "Dogpatch restaurant" for an late lunch/early dinner.
Than back home to rest up.
Tomorrow, on the road again for another short trip of about 75 miles to Fayette state park.
Hope you had a great day
love to all of ya