First Time Gate Guarding – Day 10 and 11

Day 10

Today was a busy one as they started to bring in the equipment for the drilling rig.  Lee also met the “company man”.  As a side note I am really not crazy about that term everyone uses for the oil company rig boss.  It’s a little 1930’s for me, but hey when in Rome,  He was actually someone different from we were told would be our contact, but that was fine.  He introduced himself and made it very clear he did NOT want the heavy equipment trucks logged in.  Lee said sure no problem, everyone is pretty clear never upset the company man, but I did call our Account Manager to verify since it was never mentioned to us in our orientation.  She said, “Whatever he wants” and told us how to put it on the tally sheet.  It’s actually less work for us, I just wanted to make sure we didn’t have a problem down the road.

So we spent the late morning and early afternoon watching a parade of very interesting equipment come by. We had 88 equipment trucks and 105 regular trucks for a total of 193 vehicle entrances/exists.  Not as busy as gravel truck day, but still pretty busy.  Lee took some pictures to share and we don’t really know what much of it is, but thought we would pass it along.  It made the day a little more interesting that’s for sure.

To give you a feeling of the scale

To give you a feeling of the scale

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They did run a water line near the gate though and we got to see that.  Not sure why when they are drilling a well around the corner, but they are bringing water from 2-1/2 miles away for the drilling.  Watching them run this hose it was extremely clear these folks had done this before.  Very efficient.

Giant Hose spool pulled on a flatbed by a pickup truck

Giant Hose spool pulled on a flatbed by a pickup truck

Then hose pushed into place vy a CAT

Then hose pushed into place vy a CAT

And buried in dirt where it cross the road. No trench was dug though

And covered with dirt where it cross the road. No trench was dug though

At the end this "pump?" was left here

At the end this “pump?” was left here

The coolest thing is I had read a black hose was a great deterrent to rattlesnakes, but we don’t own a black hose.  Look what’s behind our rig now though!!  Not sure if it will help, but didn’t cost me a dime and since it’s so big hopefully the snakes will continue to stay away.

Runs all the way across behind our rig

Runs all the way across behind our rig

Between trucks I noticed that the Harris’s Hawks were pretty agitated so on a break I started to walk over.  I didn’t think it was the trucks, because they haven’t really cared up to this point, but wanted to see why they were screeching.  Fair warning the next pictures are nature graphic, so if that bother you please scroll down quickly until you see  Day 10.

 

Boy these guys are camera shy but I got this pic

Boy these guys are camera-shy but I got this pic

The were flying around.

The were flying around.

So beautiful

So beautiful

As soon as I got close, I could smell something dead.  This is recent by the way, because I walked over a few days ago and smelled nothing.  Initially it was hard to see, but there was a deer torn apart and it was on two sides of a fence pretty far away from each other.  The back-end was on one side, and the head and front was near me.  Not much was left, but I could tell why they were making so much noise.  Scroll NOW if you don’t want to see.

The body on one side of the fence

The body on one side of the fence

Head

Head

And legs pretty far away from each other on mine

And legs pretty far away from each other on mine

Why I am even showing this is I am wondering if these birds are powerful enough to have done this or have coyotes been in the area and this is what remained that the birds were fighting over.  I’m not even sure how a deer got here.  Our ranch has high fence designed to keep deer in, but the ranch across from us has a lower fence.  I guess it could have come from there, and I have heard coyotes in that general direction, but this was right next to the road.  Could have been hit by a truck I guess, but it’s a good 20 feet between the front and back half.  These are powerful birds so maybe they did this.  I just kind of want to know if coyotes were that close to the rig.  Anyone know if a raptor could do this?

Anyways, sorry about all that.  On the one hand it was gross, but it was also kind of cool.  We think these birds have a nest in the clump of trees right across from us, and there are several congregating over there. It’s like Wild Kingdom!!  You need to remember this is the closest to nature I have been in several months, so I may be obsessing a little lol. Update:  Our gate guarding neighbor said it might have been a cougar.  In December a “beautiful one” was killed right down the road from where are gate sits.  I knew there were coyotes, but it’s good to know about the cougars, since I am going out at night to open and shut the gate.  Generally they don’t mess with people though, but still good to know. 

Day 11

So what have I done over the last couple of nights.  Worked on the taxes some, added a couple of recipes, mopped the floor (wow was it dirty), carpet cleaned the couch (wow did it need it), and answered a slew of emails.  I also played some computer games and watched a little TV so it wasn’t all work.  We are starting to see a little more traffic at night, but between 2-4am it’s still no trucks.  That’s the hardest time of the night for me, but when I try to sleep I wake up groggy and then have a hard time getting back to bed. For right now at least I think it’s easier to just push through.  I like my 4pm – 4am shift, although dinner time is a bit of an issue now that we are getting busy.  Lee covers for me while I cook, but then I am getting up several times during dinner to check guys out.  That’s their dinner time as well and many of them leave the job site to go into town to get something to eat.  Overall the shift itself is fine,a nd I really like going to sleep while it is still dark out.  I worked thirds shift for a year when Kay was a baby and I always had a hard time falling asleep when it was light outside.

Thankfully the generator noise isn’t bothering me, because first thing this morning they started the water pump and it is loud.  Thankfully it is a temporary solution until the well onsite is completed, but I am not sure why they had to put it so close to our rig. Our generator purrs like a kitten in comparison and we have to raise our voices now to talk to each other outside.  IT was another busy day of big equipment coming in and Lee got some pics to share.  Again, have no idea what much of this stuff is, but it was huge and kind of cool. He had another busy day with 199 trucks and 111 of those were large vehicles.

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It was hot when I woke up (close to 90) and since the sun shines in between the awning during 1pm and 3pm, Lee was getting roasted.  Our account manager and ranch owner stopped by around that time and they were ok with him putting up a tarp to help block the sun.  It’s not pretty, but it helps a little and is way cheaper than the $189 side sun screens, which don’t look like they would work that great anyways. We took it back down at 3pm when I took over and the sun went behind the rig, so it wasn’t up for that long.

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Plus it got crazy windy, and quick. So much so that the awning had to come in as well, but luckily both the wind direction and sun were on the other side of the rig.  It was crazy gusty though, so much so that at one point our carpet blew up and knocked over both chairs and both tables.  Lee staked down those corners of the rug and we got things set back up and about that time the generator started acting funny.  At first we couldn’t figure out was it was, but then Lee realized it was running out of diesel!!  That was surprising since just the day before I mentioned to our Account Manager we had not gotten any diesel, but she said our supply should last a month.  I took her at her word, since what do I know, but we had been told it would last 1 week, 2 weeks, and now a month by three different people. In all fairness to them, the company is going through a major restructure and lots of people are taking on new roles.  Still it was not great since, no generator, no light, and it was now fully dark.

We texted and were told a delivery was on the way to “all locations”.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones having this problem.  Two hours later our delivery showed up and in the meantime I ran the gate in the dark.  We still had lots of trucks coming through, so I used the flashlight to show them where the grates were.  Especially the trucks who were leaving because they needed to make a left turn and on this moonless night you really couldn’t see where the gate was.  Like I said not great, and I left the gates standing open, because I wasn’t going to mess with trying to open and shut them in the dark.  Eventually the fuel game and the generator (and location lights) were back on which was a good thing.

To end on a positive note though, one funny thing happened.  We are on a road that dead-ends into another ranch and were surprised when a big Class A pulled into our driveway.  Lee went out and talked to them and the poor folks were lost, so we let them pull into the yard and then turn around and Lee gave them directions.  It was just really surprising, and kind of funny, to see a Class A out here, and I am glad we had a place big enough for them to turn around. Being able to help someone really lifted our spirits on an otherwise challenging day.  The work is still not hard, but the heat, wind, loss of power, and traffic volume all combined to give us a tougher day than we are used to having. Still nowhere near as stressful as trees of as physically hard as beets, but definitely not the nice, calm days we have gotten used to.  Hopefully most of the big equipment is in now and we can go back to regular truck traffic.  The wind is supposed to continue into tomorrow though so we will see how that goes.

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9 thoughts on “First Time Gate Guarding – Day 10 and 11

  1. I found your blog a few months ago and have been enjoying this so very much. It’s good to hear all the different aspects of the various jobs. I hope to get an RV and hit the road in a couple of years, and I’m learning so much about Workamping from you. Thanks

  2. More than likely coyotes were feeling on the deer first at night and then the birds at daylight. Coyotes could have taken the deer down live and health. But more likely it was hit by a car or hurt somehow before they took it down. That is just my thoughts on it, but who knows 🙂

  3. First, I agree with the above that most likely a car or coyote took down the deer, coyotes scattered the body parts and birds scavenged the rest.

    Second, I have a question. Do you happen to know WHY it is important to log in/out these trucks? I mean, do you know what they do with the info?

    • Honestly in this case I think it’s to justify our existence. Our real purpose in this case seems to be making sure the deer don’t escape the ranch. You need a gate for that so you need a gate guard. Since we never turn anyone away, we aren’t securing the place from people

  4. Trace, have you ever used Melatonin to help you “reset” your clock? We use it for our son with DS when he gets to the point where he is awake at night when he should be sleeping. It works well. For me, it makes me too sleepy though. You can get off the shelf and it is also available in a tea.

    Yes, “circle of life” can be gross, but it is a necessary function.

  5. Have been following your blog since a link was put on RV Dreams blog. Went back to the beginning and read every one to catch up. Really enjoy it. Now for the question. How far are you from where the rig is being set up? The noice from a drilling rig can been quite loud at times. Really enjoyed your posts on the time you spent in Alaska. We made a trip in 2002 and after reading yours makes me want to go back.

    • Thanks Mike that’s so nice. And I am glad you went back and read them all. I worry that folks who jump in the middle won’t get the full picture of how this life has been for us for two years. The drill is about a mile away and so far we can’t hear it at all

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