Cement sucks, literally! At least the caliche they use on the roads here in Texas does!
By now, even if you aren’t a gate guard, if you’ve read any of our blogs, you know most gate guards live in a caliche covered world. They mine caliche right here in Texas. It’s a significant ingredient in cement. During the months and months of drought it covered every surface and swirled about, filling in everything, including my eyes and ears and floating it’s way into my sinus cavities. But in December, last year and this year, the caliche became confused by the rain and began to think it’s supposed to be cement!
The third day on the job, there was some confusion among the truckers. I apparently spent too long at the gate waiting for them to decide whether to come in or not. When I tried to move, off came one Keen (a great beach sandal for Oregon, not quite as appropriate in Texas), followed by the other. Then the greedy grey sticky caliche took off my right sock. I was a bit off to the side so I nonchalantly rushed (if it’s possibly to rush in a nonchalant way) back into the RV, retrieving my buried footwear after the traffic cleared.
As the days of whine and caliche continued, we took to rotating pairs of shoes. As soon as a pair got dry, one of us would take a hammer to it and dislodge all the caliche and enter that pair back into the rotation.
The hostile cattle continually straying to our gate, caused a problem for the ranchers. They announced it was round-up time. Yippee! A round-up! Now I felt like I was really on a ranch (even though the ranchers drove 5th wheelers)!
But no, they didn’t use cowboys. Cowboys run $75 an hour and it’s another $100 an hour for the horse (I thought they came in sets).
It would take quite a few cowboys and horses to accomplish the task. A helicopter, on the other hand, is only $200 an hour and could get the job done in less than 2 hours! So we had a round-up, helicopter style.
In addition to no cell phone service, no TV reception, no internet and no dry shoes, our 6th day in Tilden meant no RV access. We’d been having a little trouble, from time to time, with the door latch randomly locking itself. But on this particular January morning it was like a poltergeist swept through.
Heidi was at the gate. I started to go outside to find I was locked in. I mean locked, latched and there was no budging it, in! I hollered out to Heidi to see if she could open the door. Nope. She couldn’t get in. Henry and I couldn’t get out.
We started passing things through the kitchen window: keys, a screwdriver, tea, advice. After completely disassembling our door mechanism and finding it still stubbornly locked, we migrated to the front window. First came the step-ladder; then the pricey Camping World leveling blocks that we don’t use for leveling but that have come in handy several times for other things, like making them into a giant yellow Lego platform that day; and finally the little collapsible step which usually serves as a seat but converted into was a much-needed step.
Next in the window was Heidi, who examined the door, made a sweep through the RV, evaluating, and then like Santa down the chimney, back out the window she went. She made a few practice runs in and out in case we had to keep using that option for a few days.
We called the county sheriff’s office to get the name of a locksmith, but the sheriff was ‘in the field’ and didn’t have a phone book. He thought the only one was Pop -A-Lock in San Antonio – not open on Sunday. We called the mobile RV repair guy in the area and got his answering machine – also not open on Sunday!
So, after passing Henry in and out of the window to go to the bathroom, Heidi sat outside in her Gander Mountain chair with a book and some tea and opened and shut the gate. A couple of hours later, Bob, a fellow gate guard from down the road, stopped by to see if we needed anything from town since he was headed in. He took a look at the door and made an attempt to let me out or Heidi in but he couldn’t figure it out either.
When he got home, Bob called to Larry, our field supervisor, who came roaring in a few hours later. Sugar, why didn’t you call me for help? Larry calls everyone Sugar but it never seems inappropriate. Of course I call everyone Honey, so what do I know. Sounds like the lyrics to an Archie’s song, doesn’t it?
Anyway, Larry crawled in and out of the window for about an hour and a half with his wrench and screwdriver and one of our butter knives. He finally just busted the whole kit and caboodle.
By night fall, we had a nice square hole where the door latch used to be, a crack in the door, a very bent butter knife we used as a temporary latch and a dishcloth to keep the flying things out. It had been an interesting first week. Oh, and I forgot about the disappearing dump. I’ll add that tomorrow and finish up the Tilden Tales.
By the way, I’ve added two more Gate Guard blogs this week – The Razz Chronicles and RV Texas Gate Guard, which bring the count here to 10, including Fork. Happy reading and Happy Trails, folks!