First Time Gate Guarding – Days 75 – 78

Day 75

I was thinking this morning about a drinking game we used to play in college called “I Never.”  The way it works is each person takes a turn stating something they have never done and anyone who HAS done it has to take a drink.  No one is allowed to ask followup questions and explanations can be volunteered but are never required.  The game starts as fun and relatively harmless when it starts (never had a parking ticket, never been to Vegas etc), but as the alcohol flows and people loosen up you can learn some interesting things about people.   The trick by the way is to pick something you haven’t done that you think other people have.  That’s what makes it fun.  So because things are still slow (6 days left!!) I thought I would list all the things that are off the table for me since  becoming a full timer.

  • I never saw a grizzly bear in the wild
  • I never went to Alaska
  • I never walked on a glacier
  • I never saw a bald eagle in the wild.
  • I never stood inside a giant waterfall.
  • I never watched a full moon rise over the ocean.
  • I have never been to New Orleans.
  • I have never been to a rally.
  • I have never seen wild horses.
  • I have never heard coyotes.
  • I have never  touched a Redwood Tree.
  • I have never been to Lake Tahoe.
  • I have never been to Hearst Castle.
  • I have never seen the Rose Bowl Parade.
  • I have never seen an Intaglio.
  • I have never been to Quartzsite.
  • I have never been to Tombstone.
  • I have never visited a plantation.
  • I have never been to Wall Drug.
  • I have never soaked in a hot spring.

There are more, of course, but those are the ones that easily come to mind.  I can’t wait to see what we can knock off the list next.  It might make the game harder, but I think I can live with that.

Oh, and I forgot; I have never seen a road runner!  I guess I can mark that one off the list as well.

Our friend was preening the other day for his girlfriend. I never saw one all fluffed up like this before. He spent a long time, fixing his feathers.  It was pretty cute.


Day 76

I’m feeling pretty groggy as I attempt to change my sleep schedule.  I am now going to bed at 1:30am and getting up around 9am, with 5 days left that’s pretty close.  Since we are going to be traveling the next month or so, I found a place somewhat nearby that sells wood and Lee left as soon as I woke up to pick it up.  Texas, in general, is a pretty good place to buy wood, and Arizona is, in general, not, so we are stocking up.  I found a guy on Craigslist who appears to have well seasoned and split oak and mesquite for $15 a wheelbarrow or 3 for $40, which is a pretty good deal.  Wood prices vary wildly from place to place, and it’s not always based on the availability of the wood.  Demand for wood also comes into play, so April in Texas is a good combination.  Plus we love the way mesquite smells when it burns. As an added bonus there was a haircut place in the town Lee went to and he finally got a haircut.  I know, it’s his hair and I shouldn’t care, but I find long hair on him a little disconcerting.  Too many years together where he had a very specific hair cut.

Oh, and the paperwork for Amazon is complete, so we are on the list for Campbellsville, KY!  It doesn’t appear that they are going to have any work kampers in Texas, which is a little disappointing.  The idea that we could do Amazon in Texas and then start gate guarding is appealing.  There was high demand for the Texas locations from work kampers and we saw help wanted signs at the distribution center in San Marcus all through the holiday season and beyond, so we were a bit surprised to hear that.  Maybe it was the lack of decent campgrounds in the area?  Since Amazon pays for your site, to some extent they own issues that arise from those stays.  I’m sure word on why will get out though, it’s a pretty small community.  Since many of those people won’t necessarily want to travel back east for the season some of them could spend that time gate guarding which would increase supply of employees and drive down daily wages.  There are a ton of ifs in that statement, but the important point to realize in gate guarding in particular is availability of people who want the jobs (along with oil prices)  absolutely drives the amount that companies are paying.

We have seen positions ranging from $125 a day on the low-end to $300 a day on the high-end, although right now the average seems to be $150-175. As the temperature gets hotter though, and snowbirds start to head north we are seeing wages go up. Once you are locked into a contract you are locked into that rate and it’s too small of a hiring community to be jumping around for a better deal.  You could try it of course, but I wouldn’t.  Either way the wages aren’t as high as an Amazon position, but the work is also much easier and there are vacancies year round, so you wouldn’t be limited to working just the holiday season.

While Lee was gone our account manager and ranch owner stopped by.  It has been a couple of weeks since I have seen either of them, so I took the time to thank both of them for the opportunity.  They both thanked me for the great job we have done, and the account manager said to be sure and contact her when we were ready to work again.  It’s really nice having a work option that isn’t tied to a particular season, and something we both find palatable.  She also mentioned wages were going up and hopefully that trend will continue into next year.

Day 77

I thought I was making good progress on changing my sleep schedule, but that came to a halt last night.  I went to bed a little after midnight then slept for 20 minutes and was wide awake.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t, so I finally got up and read a book.  I was near the end, it was a good book, and when I was done I saw it was past 3am.  Still awake, I took a couple Tylenol PM’s and slept until 11am.  I needed to sleep, but now I am back to the drawing board which changes things around.  The weekend traffic has been non-existent so we took the day and just chilled. Lee watched John Wayne movies (yes he is a huge fan of westerners and The Duke in particular) and I wrote a bit and read.

One of our readers was kind enough to let me know I had misspelled dessert several times in the cookbook, and I was trying to figure out how to handle that.  The Kindle version can be updated pretty easily, for an additional $9.99, the hard copy for an additional $5.99, but the iBooks version cannot be updated at all.  The only way to fix that one is to delete the book and resubmit for approval.  Since the approval process worries me, I may just have to leave it in the iTunes version, but that bums me out.  The whole thing bums me out actually, because that is a stupid mistake to make.  Spellcheck didn’t catch it because desert is a legitimate word, and obviously my copy editor (Lee) didn’t catch it either.  I know many people would say “leave it” because of the additional cost, heck that was Lee’s take on it, but leaving a known error out there isn’t really in my nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I know this blog has spelling and grammar errors despite my our efforts, but a blog audience (at least in my mind) is a little more forgiving.  After thinking it through I am going to bite the bullet and fix what I can.  I don’t know if Kindle allows for free downloads of new versions like iTunes, but if it does, a new version is out there.

Day 78

The weather has gotten really warm, well over 90 every day, and there are so many butterflies out it’s crazy.  I have never seen so many in an area where there are hardly any flowers but they are abundant.  When you walk outside they land on you and when I sit outside they land on me as well.  With the butterflies are a ton of new birds and the most exciting for us was two pairs of scissor-tailed flycatchers.  We have never seen these before and they were having a field day eating all the bugs.

Lee took this one right before it flew away

And this one. Great “Bird on a wire” shot

Day 79 

Last full day.  Our relief is coming tomorrow, and we are definitely ready to leave.  I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular posts that are based more on when things happen than a daily accounting.  I think it’s important for some jobs to give a day by day description but when things are slow as they have been I know its all a bit tedious.  So I will just leave you with our final tracking sheet and look for a summary of the experience, which will show an overview of all of the numbers.


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13 thoughts on “First Time Gate Guarding – Days 75 – 78

  1. You are aware that in many states transportation of firewood across the state (or even county in some states) line is illegal, right? And it’s even prohibited by a lot of campgrounds. The reason is various pests (ash borer is the big one on the east half of the country) that get carried in by RVers and possibly infect the local trees with whatever the particular pest is. I would be very careful about hauling a bunch of wood around with me.

    • I was going to mention the same thing. I was thinking that was a federal law but I might be wrong. You guys might want to check though.

    • Hey Neil. Yep we were very familiar with that back east and solved the problem by buying pressure treated wood guaranteed to be pest free. If you carry the paperwork never had an issue. The only time we did was crossing into Canada

  2. Since several people already mentioned firewood, I’ll skip it. It’s great the manager has invited you back next time you want to work in Texas. It’s a good feeling when you are appreciated, especially if the wages are increasing. I’m with you, I couldn’t leave an error like that in a book. Love the butterflies. We won’t be seeing them around here any time soon – they are calling for more snow Fri-Sat. I wish we could leave now!

  3. You two are definitely due some time off! Go somewhere and pamper yourselves! Oh! For Lee’s hair you might want to check into getting a “Flowbee”. Full-time RV friends gave us one when we first hit the road and I have been cutting David’s hair ever since. It’s so easy and it really looks good. It’s saved us a lot of money as his hair grows so fast. Hope to see you guys again soon. Be safe in your travels.

    • Lee had this one person cut his hair for years and it was hard for him to give that up when we went on the road. Since she knew how to cut it perfectly. I think he thinks I am under qualified for the job Lol. We all have our vanities 😉

  4. I am freaking out that you burn pressure treated wood. It contains arsenic! Please be careful. The ashes you leave behind could be lethal to the next person.

  5. Welcome to the world of ebooks! Mom is an avid Kindle book reader, reading best selling to first-time authors in many genres. If it is any consolation, she finds typos, missed edits, etc in almost every ebook she reads! It’s a common occurrence in e-publishing. I know you strive for perfection, but the typo won’t hinder the outcome of the recipe, so even more reason for no worries! Just be proud of your accomplishment of being a published author!

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