It’s been six months since we returned to Texas and back to the exciting life of gate guarding. Figuring that the summers here are around 120 degrees, we thought it would be a great place to spend our winter and stay warm. But I honestly can say I don’t know why snowbirds come down here for the winter. Florida, California or Arizona, that’s the place to be. Southern Texas….it just gets darn right cold down here!! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating some….there were some nice days in there.
We’ve been on 5 different gates since we returned and celebrated most major holidays working – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Valentines day.
There is no time off in the oilfields! The guys out here are very nice and bring us treats every now and then.
We have had some nice breaks in between gates, most recently at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. This was a pleasant surprise to find in the Laredo area. Most RV parks cater to the oilfield workers and aren’t much more than a dirt lot.
This park actually had grass and a nice lake. It was George Washington’s birthday celebration in Laredo while we were there. It’s a big deal here, they have their carnival, parade and a huge fireworks show. We could see the fireworks show right from our site! Bigger show than a lot of the 4th of July fireworks we’ve seen.
As I said before, winters here can be on the cool side. Highs during the day can linger in the lower 40’s and dip below freezing in the very early morning hours. It also foggy most mornings and it rains/drizzles a lot! The rain makes things worse as most of the oil lease roads are made of caliche, which is made of lime stone. It’s a nice hard surface when it’s dry, but turns almost to a clay type mud when wet. We worked on one gate where we had to wait a week for the road to dry out and be re-graded before we could even leave. Poor dogs – we had to carry them into the shower every time we took them out to clean up their paws.
Even with all the rain and mud, it dries up really quickly and the amazing sunrises and sunsets make up for it all.
Now the weather is warming up nicely. But along with that, so is the illegal immigrant traffic. We see Border Patrol often, have even called them a few times ourselves. The last gate we were at, 4 young men came up to the gate most likely looking for food and water. It’s a difficult situation to be in when you’re in the middle of no where and you would love nothing more than to help someone in need, but you also do not know what their intentions are. We’ve been advised that if any illegals approach us, to not engage them if they are carrying backpacks or are in large groups, as they more likely part of drug or human trafficking.
I don’t know how the Border Patrol Agents know when illegals are in the area, but out of the blue the helicopters and horses arrive. They track them by their foot prints in the dirt. We’ve heard some of the illegals actually wear carpet on the bottom of their shoes to throw Border Patrol agents off their trail. These agents are really brave though, they will go off searching on their own, not knowing what they could run into. But I guess if I was armed like they are, I’d feel pretty safe too.
Seen some new birds as the weather is getting nicer – Pyrrhuloxia, Mocking birds, Green Jays and Vermilion Flycatchers.
At the last ranch we were at had these friendly guys come around to say hello.
At this gate we have Jack Rabbits everywhere! Coyotes, javalinas, deer and even a wolf hang out down the road. A year ago that would have totally freaked us out, not so much anymore. But soon we will be back into tarantula and snake season…that we’ll never get used to. There is a Road Runner that has been hanging out here so that’s good. He eats both of those!
This gate will probably be coming to an end soon and we find our selves wondering what’s next. The oil industry is not doing as well as it was last year, a lot of companies are laying off and shutting down gates. So if we don’t get another gate right away, we’ll probably hit the road again.
Until next time…here’s Ozzie and his buddy sending you a big hug!