Home » Gate Guarding » There (But Not) Back Again

There (But Not) Back Again

He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  ~ J.R.R. Tolkien



And that’s just about what happened next (picking up from where I left off last time). We came to another Fork, we stepped into the Road, and we could never have guessed where we were about to be swept off to!

I thought we had the ideal situation. We had a 2 bedroom apartment on the resort property in exchange for being the night managers. That meant we were on call every night from whenever the office closed (8 in the off-season, 10 in season) until it opened the next morning between 7 and 8. As Guest Services Manger (me) and Assistant Manager (Heidi) we both worked full time but had 2 days a week off (although we were on still on call every night).

We pulled the slides in and parked the RV behind an empty building at the resort.



I sort of expected to be doing this for years. We loved the area. We joined a wonderful little church. We liked our boss. We worked well with the staff. And we had a steady income. If we weren’t working, we were on the beach.



Henry became the resident celebrity. He was even the ring bearer – off leash, no kidding –Β  for a couple who got married barefoot on the beach, just like in a movie. πŸ˜€



But the fame was fleeting. Tourist season ended and Heidi’s hours got cut from 40 to 7 per week. The proverbial writing was on the wall, or at least in the checkbook.



When Heidi began having chest pains, I knew we had to start looking at other options. We were sinking, just like the Mary D Hume.



During our time at the resort, Heidi and I had done the majority of the hiring and firing.Β  Well, I didn’t actually do any firing, but I did participate in the hiring! πŸ˜€

One woman I’d hired to work the front desk on weekends left mid-summer to take another job. She and her husband were also workamping at the same private RV park Heidi and I had started out in. They ran into the same things there that we’d encountered, only they chose to leave mid-stint.

I called Joanie one late afternoon in October to see how they were doing. They were working as gate guards on a ranch in Texas. She really encouraged me to look into it. Jumping ahead – this is during a visit. She and John subbed for 5 days last month on the same ranch we were on in Cuero! Small world!



I’d read about gate guarding in the Workamping magazine and it didn’t sound too appealing, to be honest. But at this point, I was past appealing slipping into better just take anything that’s honest and pays. We were making payments on an RV we weren’t living in. We were already working or on call almost 24 hours a day. With Heidi’s hours slashed, we had a diminishing bank account and she was having stress induced chest pains.

We called the Gate Guard Services office in Corpus. They sent a packet. We decided to follow through. Back then, you did everything from wherever you were. We went to the county jail in town and got our fingerprinting done. We did our best on the Level II Security test and waited.



Like many who are considering gate guarding, we searched for all the information we could find. Two years ago, we couldn’t find much. We did find Kit and Jerry’s blog. Unlike my rambling stories, Kit writes more of a daily diary. Reading Kit’s blog and talking to Joanie gave us some idea of what we might be getting into.



The Fork in the road seemed to be pointing south. We called the company after 2 or 3 weeks and were told we were approved. Then came the next wave. There was no guarantee of a job. Patty said just get to Texas and we’ll call you when we have something for you. Hmm… That’s not how I like to roll, but roll we did.

It was another gut wrenching time. We loved Gold Beach and had made many dear friends there. We were a long ways from There and Back Again.Β  We were so far that we knew if we cut our ties this time, there would be no going back (my apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien for using his lovely words in such a sloppy way).



We talked. We prayed. We packed up.

We said many more tearful goodbyes and hit the highway once again. This time we headed for Texas. I was pretty sure I’d stepped in the Road and failed to keep my feet



β€œFarewell,” they cried, “Wherever you fare till your eyries receive you at the journey’s end!” That is the polite thing to say among eagles.

“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks,” answered Gandalf, who knew the correct reply.”  ~ J. R.R. Tolkien

25 thoughts on “There (But Not) Back Again

  1. Pingback: How We Got LIT « FORK IN THE ROAD

  2. Hi Vicky!
    I’ve been having trouble getting back to it. Interesting nights as of late!
    Right now we’re rocking in the 35 mph sustained winds with gust up to 50. We’ll see how long the internet last. Nada with Verizon – 2 bars with AT&T.
    It sounds like most of the app work is done in Corpus now.
    Guess we’re already among the ‘old-timers’! πŸ˜‰

  3. Hello Bigbird!
    Well they had to know they would never get so fortunate as they did when they got you. You’re the ONLY gate guard that I know that has weekly cookouts for the guys!
    Sounds like you’ve got it made there. πŸ˜€
    I’m really happy for you!
    Thanks for the update!

  4. Yes it was very sad day when u 2 left for sure. I knew it was something u had 2 do. Do with much sadness I said good bye and sent luv & hugs with u both. Heart Hugs that is:)

  5. i’m a quarter-back. I wish. I could be on vacation forever.

    FIRST, thank you for the pictures … and NOW, i want to go to Oregon, like, NOW!!!! You have to go back (after lots of praying and soul-searching: The Usual) … and when i’m swinging again, and in FULL swing i expect great details about your love for Oregon, and your advice to find rainbows and all the riches in Oregon.

    Henry, here’s a note: Arf … i love you just about as much as Earth Angel, here. πŸ˜‰ You are a great photo dog … and you look so cute i’m giving you a virtual hug.

    I know you are loving your adventures in Fort, Texas, but when you’re ready … maybe you could find better hours at a different resort.

    Awesome pictures of you babes. LOVE LOVE LOVE, mel m

    missing you … and just touching the surface now … still on a cloud … BUT with better internet service …. πŸ™‚


    • Hey Mel!
      Welcome home!
      If you haven’t already, take a look at the post before this one (In a Land Far, Far Away). You don’t even need to read it – just look at the pictures.
      Those are some of my better Oregon shots!

      We’re thinking a few more years doing this full time and then, hopefully intermingling some other adventures!
      Maybe you and Jen and Heidi and I can have a cook out on a southern Oregon beach. Henry would love you to death!

  6. I don’t know why my eyes well up throughout this story (maybe I don’t really want to know…). I agree with Deb–such a faith journey; “just get there” is a phrase that definitely tests your mettle–and on some days, I’d have burrowed into a hole upon hearing them; but others, well who knows? I might have followed you! I totally can’t believe that I’m falling more in love with Henri everyday–I don’t even LIKE pets! Thank you for taking us on this incredible journey (which, by the way, is another great animal story–are you familiar?) Love to you, sis Caddo

    • Caddo –
      Well, it would have been a privilege to have had you Hitch Your Wagon to ours…
      Yes, I did see the Incredible Journey – a really long time ago!
      Henry loves me, but not that much – plus I think he’d be almost instantly lost (and found by someone who he would instantly love if they were nice). πŸ˜€

      It’s funny that I write about him because I’m not that much of a pet person either. Henry is just unusual which kind of fascinates me, I guess.
      Plus he’ll pose for pictures. πŸ˜‰
      Love to you, too!

    • Sherrie –
      Taken a day at a time, the whole adventure didn’t seem like such a deal. Looking back at the past 4 years, I think we might both have been a little bit off balance the whole time! πŸ™‚
      And thank you.
      When we were in the seminar business, Heidi was the teacher (as you can tell from Good Life) and I was just the entertainment.
      I have the gift of making what should be a very short story, really really l o n g! πŸ˜‰

  7. What a huge faith growing journey! “Just get there”? But, but, but . .. .haha! You and Heidi are my heroines. If I could only draw (wait . . .there’s Mel!) we could do a comic book of you two. And of course, the faithful Henry!
    Thanks so much for sharing this with us! love and prayers!

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