This post is part 1 of 2 about what you might expect if you decide to head for Texas Tea/ Black Gold country. Reading my blog, or even the majority of blogs about gate guarding, you may be under the impression that it’s a job where you guard the gate for a drilling company.
Our first 3 1/2 weeks on the job we were on a hunting ranch in Tilden, guarding water we never saw, working for a Company Man we never met. We opened and shut the gate after each truck, or stream of trucks. It was one big, heavy gate!
From there we joined FO and Lantern 16 (drilling rig). We followed them (by invitation, we weren’t stalkers :D) for 11 months. The roughnecks (which are now called employees) were a wild bunch and certainly made that first year interesting! They were good to us and we decided then that we really liked following a rig. We’d hoped to follow them right into retirement, but they stacked in November.
We subbed for some folks on a drilling rig for a couple of months over the holidays last winter.
When the gate guards came back, we joined the Winter Texans. I’ve mentioned before that Texas, unlike every other southern state in the nation, does not have Snow Birds. Texas brands everything so down here it’s Winter Texans. After a week or so of waiting, we spent 1 long week 500 miles straight south of Nowhere, Oklahoma which wasn’t near Anywhere in Texas.
I can understand why the group, Cross Canadian Ragweed, sang about Nowhere in Texas because I’ve been there.
Why don’t you roll with me baby down to Nowhere, Texas
I got nothin but time
Jump in the cab of my 70 Chevy
Leave Oklahoma far behind
My good friend told me once Texas is big enough
That a man could get lost
Roll down that window
Open that glove box
Give that road map a toss
A woman could get lost in Texas, too. I know. I do it all the time. 😀
Texas is also big enough that you may not have a tower for your satellite TV or your internet or even your cell phone, which was the case for us Somewhere that felt like a long way from Nowhere. This gate was kept shut and padlocked at night, even though we had traffic. It was kind of eerie going out at 2 a.m. and fumbling with the combination while blinded by headlights.
2 days into the job, for the first and only time ever, we called our mgr and asked for a replacement. We stayed 5 days until he found someone. I took a bit of flak here for that decision. It goes back two posts. We each have to do what makes us comfortable and we weren’t comfortable being that isolated.
Since I’d ripped off a part of the side of the brand new RV the second week we had it as I cut too close to a tiny palm tree, we left a week early for our appointment in the Houston repair shop (Bob Jones RV – really great folks to work with if you need someone in Houston).
On the way to the Texas Bayou to wait for our repair appointment, we picked up a stone that shattered the back window. Heidi got really creative at Home Depot!
My son, who lives in New Jersey, had a February conference in Houston so we’d scheduled the repairs to coincide with his trip.
After the visit, which was grand, and the repairs, which took 10 days – there was a whole lot of repainting involved – we headed back to wait for a gate. It was a long wait. By now, we knew what we wanted so we waited.
Heidi and I will never strike oil, but we do seem to have struck gold with an oil company for the second time. Before I get into that, I’d like to share a little more about some other options you may have if you hit highways and they carry you south to the unique world of Texas Tea and Black Gold. But not tonight since this already too long. I’ll close this with Dave Barry’s ever wise words:
Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic. ~ Dave Barry