December 28, 2010 Day 1 of our Gate Guarding Adventure by Heidi
On December 28th we dropped the trailer at the local U-Haul and feed store combination in Junction, Texas, 120 miles north of our original destination in San Antonio. It was a relief not to be towing the Jeep any further.
57 miles later, we stopped along Interstate 10 to confer about directions. We were trying to find the best back road way to a beautiful respite campground with trees, river and grass. When I pulled away from the busy roadside and checked the mirror, I found Debbie disappearing behind me. I pulled over again and called Debbie. She said the Jeep was dead. Just clicking. So I locked Henry in the RV along the road and walked back to see what we could do now.
It was apparent that the battery was dead, not having run long enough after being inactive for 10 days on the trailer behind the RV. What to do? I called 911 and the lady on the phone wanted to know which mile marker we were on. I offered to walk the portion of a mile back and find one, but really, didn’t she have my location on some device at their end????
After calling 911, we waited for a cop car to find us. Debbie had set the odometer when we left the feed store so we told them that we were exactly 57.5 miles from Junction. Using that, not some tracking device (this is Texas), Mike from Kerrville PD, pulled up behind us about 10 minutes later.
Just after I hung up and was trying to figure out how to get out of emergency mode on my cell, the phone rang and it was Jamie from Gate Guard Services. He had a job for us if we could make it to Tilden about 100 miles south of San Antonio. I was grateful and excited. Sure!!! As soon as the cops come and rescue us and we get escorted across an emergency police ditch crossing and back West on Highway 10 to the car parts store in Kerrville.
We bought a battery and a tail light, which the cop pointed out that we needed. The helpful auto store personnel also routed us to our new assignment in Tilden, using back roads and avoiding San Antonio traffic. An hour later we went back to Highway 10 East 5 miles South of Kerrville where Henry was locked in the RV and used another emergency police ditch crossing to return to Kerrville and our new route.
When we reached Jordanton, we realized we were 30 miles from our destination and decided to stock up on groceries and water. We parked in the large parking lot at a Catholic church and locked Henry in the RV once more while we set out to find a store. The one in Jordanton looked pretty small, so we went to the adjoining town of Pleasanton to the WalMart.
Getting turned around in the parking lot, we lost our way, lost Henry and the RV and had to Google the Catholic church in Jordanton to get back to them again! What would we do without our Droids???
I called Jamie and got instructions for how to get to the new job site. 30 miles later we lost phone service, which meant we couldn’t call Jamie and tell him we were running late, couldn’t notify the campground that weren’t going to be showing up for our reservation and couldn’t call my mom for the second night in a row.
Following the directions from Tilden, we turned on a dirt road (now mud because it was raining all day), right after the school on a curve in the highway and watched the odometer. Our site was supposed to be 3.5 or 4 miles back into the country. At 5 miles, I waved down a pickup and asked the man if I could use his phone, which of course, I couldn’t because it was smarter than I am. Handing it back to him I asked if he’d be willing to dial it for me. He chatted with Jamie for a while. Turns out, the man I waved over is a land owner and has wells of his own out here, so he was a good person to talk to. He led the way down the road another couple of miles (now we’re at 5.8) and then waved me over to the right gate.
Jimmy was in his flatbed truck with the generator and water tank waiting for us. He showed me how to check the oil on the generator. Stepping out of the Jeep, mud went over the top of Debbie’s tennies! I was leery about putting the RV in the mucky clay, but that’s where we had to park.
We got an 20 minute crash course on gate guarding, advice on weapons and keeping the site clean … etc. He hooked up the water and left. Shortly thereafter, we discovered the water didn’t work, but we have a little in the RV and will be able to ask someone soon, hopefully…
We had hot wings and poppers for dinner. It seemed like a good initiation to this Texas life.