Home » Gate Guarding » Riggin’ Up – Day 1

Riggin’ Up – Day 1

I’m having some computer (probably user) difficulties so I’ll have to post this in sections.

The slide show starts automatically. You may want to scroll down and hit the stop button in the middle – not that it matters much. The firstΒ  picture is the last day of the last hole – capped off and ready to go.

The next few shots are of the pad they made for us. In a year and a half of gate guarding, we’ve only had a couple of pads. They usually just toss us in a field! πŸ˜€

Not only did they fill the swamp to build a pad, they had Heidi check it. It was great for us but too small to accommodate the two service trailers so they made it bigger. If you’re a gate guard, can you believe it? Wow! I think we’re going to like working for these guys!

We moved on Wednesday, one day ahead of the rig.

The pictures, beginning with the buzzards, all took place on Thursday, Day 1 of the rig move.

The derrick came in on Friday and by Saturday it was business as usual. It may take a village to raise a child but it only takes 2 days to raise a rig.

It’s disappointing to realize, looking at the photos, that I can’t give you any true perspective of the enormous size and weight of everything. We have a 40 foot RV and it looks like a toy next to much what comes onto the site.

I’ll post a second page of a few photos alone since they look kind of diminutive in the slide show.

That’s about all my weak internet will allow at one time. I post Day 2 of the move in a separate post.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


One of our young guys just ripped out of here on his way to McMillan (about 4 hours north) where his wife is in labor. This crew’s two-week tour is up on Tuesday/Wednesday. I guess the baby couldn’t wait for 3 more days!

I feel like I’m working on an oil rig right now. I’m away from home a lot.Β  ~ Hugh Laurie

21 thoughts on “Riggin’ Up – Day 1

  1. OK, well i take my comment back about seeing green at your new digs. Love the slides. WOW, lottsa dust and dander fluffin around there. Lots of guys. This truly reminds me of when i was a truck dispatcher. We had mechanics at the office too. I was surrounded by truck-guys. Is that bad. Let’s face it … nice, burly, folks. Never have i been called honey or sweetie more … and thought, “OK”. I won’t bite. πŸ˜‰ OX m

    • melis –
      We have special Texas dust, calachie, which is an ingredient in cement – that is as thick fog and inched deep. I dust every surface before I go to bed each morning so that Heidi can at least, begin the day with things looking clean.
      We’re in and out all the time – that’s the job- so even with all the windows shut, after about 2 hours, you can write messages in the dust on the counters again.
      Yes, there are a lot of men. I sometimes don’t see another woman (except Heidi) for weeks at a time. I went to Walmart and the grocery store today for the first time in 6 weeks. I was surprised to see so many women! πŸ˜‰
      I think, in the south, you’re destined to be called honey and darlin’ by strangers – especially the sales guys.
      The rig crew is all yes ma’am though. πŸ˜€
      Gotta have a little respect there!

      • Yes, i forgot about the floating cement. Lord. Can you breathe? It would be tough to clean in that environment. So you guys are pretty powerful dudes. RESPECT, yea, get it today! Oops, and the guys that call me honey and sweetie are the coal miners who call us for mediation. Course now the UWMA is condensed WAY down … in fact it may have morphed into another Union at this point. No more honey, and no more sweetie, and no more work from West VA. Anyway …

  2. Dang all that testosterone, I’d be happy to bake them somethin’. Seriously, those are awesome slides. I love big rigs and things, they amaze me. I like the picture of the guy with all of the gear on, looks like he’s going to the trenches.

    • Hi Chris – I was just telling Heidi tonight, it must be a lot like a Boot Camp that never ends but pays better.
      Long, hard, hot days (and nights) and men crowded together in a ‘bunk house’. Heidi’s made them brownies and scones. She’s working on mastering the convection oven (we’re at such an angle, in the regular oven, the brownies are about 1/8 of an inch on one side and as big as a slice of cake on the other).
      The guys do love to be baked for! πŸ˜‰

  3. Great photos, I too would love to know how to put a slide show in a blog. I know this might seem like a silly question, but please remember I’m a Jersey girl and we don’t even pump our own gas here, so is the an oil rig or a natural gas rig? In nearby Pennsylvania they are having natural gas fracing and there is much anger and debate about allowing it. Good luck and keep safe!

    • Sherrie –
      My son is a Political Science professor at TCNJ – so I now have a BIG New Jersey connection. πŸ˜€
      We couldn’t pump our gas in Oregon either. It took a little getting used to.I don’t mind pumping it. I just wish someone would pay it forward!
      Since your blog is also a Word Press blog, it’s easy to make a slide show.

      In your photo editing program (I use Picasa) put all the pictures you want to use in a folder (this is where my 87 similar shots gets to be a bit tedious) and export it to your desktop.
      Once you’ve created a folder, go to the camera icon where you load pictures and download (open) the whole folder at once.
      I haven’t found a way to work with the pictures inside the slide show – timing, order (other then ascending and descending) are all predetermined.

      We’ve always been on oil rigs since all of our time has been spent on the Eagle Ford Shale play. They do drill for both in Texas.
      Natural gas or oil, there’s always controversy.
      Although, drilling really got it’s start in Pennsylvania, it’s so prevalent in Texas, I don’t know how the state would make it without it.

      This isn’t farm land down here. Much of it doesn’t appear to be useful or able to sustain anything. Much of the land is turned into huge and very profitable hunting ranches with guests’ paid $1500 and up to take 3 set shots at trophy bucks. Personally, I’d rather see an oil well, but that’s just me.

      It’s certainly the reason (in my opinion) Rick Perry could claim the creation of so many new jobs. Towns that were all but dead, now have new gas stations (where you pump your own – diesel was $4.09 today) and multiple motels and restaurants and new grocery stores and RV parks. It’s quite a dramatic boost to the economy – in addition to those employed in the industry.

      If the rig blows, we’ll certainly go with it!
      You’ll know it happened if Good Life and Fork and Two Minutes of Grace go dark! πŸ˜‰
      Thanks for reading!
      Hope that helps with the pics. If not, email me: branson.debbie@gmail.com and I’ll see if I can explain it more carefully.

      • What a great school! One of the missed opportunities of my life was not buying a house three blocks from that school, I’ve always regretted that. I hope your son is liking New Jersey. Has he visited Halo farms yet? They have the best milk and homemade ice cream and they are right next to the farmers market so the vegetables are fresh and delicious! If you ever get up this way, I would love to meet. New jersey is a nice place no matter what the propaganda ‘reality’ shows say… Happy day 2 of rig lifting!

      • Sherrie – I’ll have to ask Dan about Halo Farms. I know they go to a farmers market that they really love! I hope to get to NJ next year (I haven’t ever met my sweet grandson whose now 8 months old).
        I’d love to meet you, too!:D
        Dan is really happy at TCNJ. It’s his first professorship. It seems to be a fine school. It’s fun to talk with someone whose heard of it!

    • Bobbie –
      It is fun – once! πŸ˜€
      We were actually pretty close last year on one site, but this time, we’re almost sitting on it. We’re really appreciative.
      They moved us back here away from the highway. The traffic for 6 sites was crazy! πŸ˜€
      Fork is a Word Press blog (also free). It gives you the option of creating a slide show. It’s not like Photo Show Gold or even Windows Movie Maker – you can’t use any effects or music or edit – but it does allow me to put up a lot of pictures at one time.
      Tonight, I’m going to post the old fashioned way so that it’s possible to click on a picture and really see what’s happening.
      Safe travels! Your New Mexico pictures were stunning!

    • Hi Deb!
      Maybe too easy – I have hundreds of pictures to sort through… but it’s fun!
      I wouldn’t want to be this close every time, but it’s an interesting way to get better acquainted with a new rig. πŸ˜€

    • Jill – We feel really blessed. They seem to like us well enough to keep us and certainly have taken good care of us. It’s early still. We’ve only been with them for 6 weeks, but I sure hope it’s a good match. I’d love the job security and Marathon seems like a really good company to be working for right now.

    • Hi Caddo!
      All sites have a number – this one is 1-H.
      There are 6 active sites here – from production through fracing.
      The sign with the name is the name of the landowner.
      Since it’s posted all over, including on the highway, I guess it’s OK that I didn’t crop it out.
      Mailbox money is what they call the checks the landowners receive after a hole starts to produce. πŸ˜€
      I don’t have a mailbox, which is why I’ll be working for a l o n g time! πŸ˜‰

      • Hi Debbie,
        I’ve been following your post for the past six months or so. My wife and I thought about trying the gate keeper position for a while, but I think we’ve given up on that for the time being. I’ve had a lot of medical problems this winter. Still in Alamo, Tx with a bum shoulder after rotator cuff repair. I really enjoy your posts. Please continue and GOD bless.

        Dell rvnpapa@gmail.com

        • Dell –
          Thank you so much for writing! It’s always a mystery to me when I see the number of hits compared to the comments. I have no idea who most of the reader are or why they read Fork. πŸ˜€
          I’m so sorry about your shoulder. I hope it’s healing well?
          Maybe this is something you might be consider down the road a bit.
          You have an advantage, already being a Texan. If you’re both interested, you could give it a try without traveling half way across the country like most of us did! πŸ˜‰
          Take care and God bless you, too, Dell.

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