Adventures of Steve, Patti, Sami and Ozzie

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Where does the time go?

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.

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Seen some new birds as the weather is getting nicer – Pyrrhuloxia, Mocking birds, Green Jays and Vermilion Flycatchers.

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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!



Gate Guarding, TX

It didn’t take very long before we found ourselves crossing the state line into TX and back into CST.  The Guadalupe Mountains were beautiful and the temperature dropped to a very comfortable 80 degrees as we passed through.  This part of Texas is very sparse and there isn’t much around at all.  We were on one road for which seemed like forever, and only passed one car, oh…and drove over one snake.  It was so remote that we couldn’t even pick up a cell signal. As we got further south, it turned into more ranching area with lots of sheep, goats, cows and horses, but not a lot of homes. Here and there were little towns that time seemed to have forgotten, but a few folks still lived there in homes that have seen better days.

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It was Friday, and our goal was to be in Carrizo Springs by Sunday.  Monday morning we were to report to our new gig, Gate Guarding for the Oil Industry in Southern Texas.  We didn’t know at this point where exactly we were going; only the name of our gate and that it was somewhere close.  But we got the call the following day and everything was all set, were to report to our gate at 10 a.m. Monday.

But before reporting to work, Sunday night we stayed at one of the nicest little RV parks in Carrizo Springs – SB RV Park.  It was newer, mainly gravel with some areas of grass; however it had a pool and a new one at that!  They also offered free Direct TV, even giving you the receiver and cables to hook up your TV with.  Seeing that we were only there for one night, it just didn’t pay to set up our dish ourselves so we took them up on it.  We took advantage of the pool seeing it was so hot out and we knew it would be sometime before we had the opportunity to be around a pool again.  We will definitely head back there for a few days when we are done with our gate.  And if anyone is in this area and needs a park to stay at, you have to stay here!  The owners are the nicest people you will ever meet and most of the guests there are folks that work in the oil industry.  Besides the pool they have full hookup, a workout room, laundry room and they sell ice, which is a plus with the temps out here.  www.sbrvpark.net

So what is Gate Guarding?  Basically in a nutshell, this area is full of oil rich ranch land that companies lease to drill and frack for oil.  Each area is fenced and needs to be monitored as far as who comes in and out of the gate to the property, usually 24/7.  They hire folks who have an RV to live on site and track vehicles that come in and out and to basically keep an eye on things.

We are set up right off a pretty busy highway and inside a 10 foot high fence with a gate that is closed in the evening until morning unless we open it for trucks.  We run 24/7 off a generator, fresh water holding tank and septic holding tank.  It gives us all the regular comforts of being hooked up at a campsite.  The only thing I wish we had more of is shade.  We use our awning unless it’s really windy, but by 3pm it’s usually in the 90’s and if we can’t use the awning, it’s almost unbearable out for a while as we have no shade and it will only get hotter as the weeks pass.  Also dust gets everywhere out here….in your eyes, your nose, your mouth….we should have purchased stock in Johnson Co. for all the Pledge we are using inside to dust with and we don’t even open our windows much if at all.  The dust tornados are pretty cool to watch though, some small some really big.  I haven’t managed to get a good picture of any but have been in the middle of a few.

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Some of the days it’s quiet here with not much going on, other days it’s very busy.  Either way, it never fails, if you try to make some thing to eat, use the restroom or just cool off inside, a truck comes and you need to come out and either check them in or out.  But we are pretty used to it now.  I work days, Steve is on nights, but that will all be changing here soon.  They are about to begin fracking and that means we will be very busy with traffic in and out and also means we should be getting another couple in here to help us out.  It will be nice to have 12 hours off together and be on the same shift.

Today the last of the drilling rigs moved out.  It’s amazing to watch how they lower these huge rigs in almost one piece and then the next thing you see is it coming out in pieces on trucks to be moved to another location.  They have just about finished moving it out and the prep teams for the fracking are starting to move in.  But we have a few days before it gets to crazy.

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Other than that, we can honestly say that we now understand why they say “Everything is Bigger in Texas!”  Well at least when it comes to spiders and bugs in general…they are huge!  At least the snakes we saw were already dead (even though they were only 10 ft away from the front door of our motor home!) but the spiders, they come out at night!!!  Steve was sitting outside last night reading his book by the spot lights we have to photograph the trucks and no more that 12 inches from his foot, out marches a Tarantula.  This is the 3rd one of those we’ve seen.

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The first two met their end with the end of our broom, but as ugly and as creepy as they are, we just scoot them away now.  Plus our new buddies the Road Runners who have a nest behind us and are actually quite friendly, like spiders, so we will let them determine their fate.  The Road Runners are expecting baby RR’s, the nest is right behind our motor home.  If you look really closely, you can see the white egg in their nest in the tree.  Not sure if it’s just the one or if there are more, but I can’t wait until they hatch.  One of the workers here told us that a few Gate Guards before us actually tamed a few Road Runners and they would sit on the chairs outside with them during the day.  I love looking at them, but not looking to share my chair with them any time soon.

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If you look in the trees, at the middle of the picture and then look down, you can make out the egg(s) in the nest.

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There are lots of other cool birds around here. There is a pond up the road and Egrets hang out around there, there are Flycatchers – they have the really long tails, hawks and lots of Vultures. They like to circle around the highway in the morning and look for road kill…Yuk!

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Lots of other interesting creatures as well, spiders, bugs, beetles, rabbits, deer, armadillos…something new almost every day!

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These are like the Texas version of a boxelder bug.  They are everywhere, trying to fly into your ears, in your clothes, etc.  They drive us nuts!!!

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The different crews that work here are really nice and treat us well.  Took a while and a lot of evil looks due to the Packer plates on the Jeep and the Packer hats we wore to keep the sun out of our eyes….but they eventually came around, ha ha!  It has to be hard for these guys that work out here; they are on duty for 14 days straight and then have 14 off to be with their family.  I’ve seen the living units they live in being hauled off when the rigs moved, they aren’t anything to write home about.  There isn’t much to do around here either.  The area of Carrizo Springs is 14 or so miles away and other than a grocery store, a Wal-Mart and a few restaurants there isn’t much else.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice little town, but it’s grown faster than it can keep up with in the last couple of years due to the oil industry.  And the temperatures they have to work in are unreal.  They have these covered stations that have benches on either side with a fan that is 6 ft around that they can sit in front of to cool off….why can’t we get one of those at our gate I wonder???? Hmm…  But I’ve gotten a really good tan, from the elbow down, knees down and on the face everywhere but where my eyeglasses are…can you say Raccoon eyes!  Ha Ha!  I’ll have to work on that!  Steve doesn’t get to much sun since he sleeps during a good part of the day.  The days tend to be busier and how he sleeps with all those trucks going in and out is beyond me.  The generator helps though, kind of creates a “white” noise that you become accustomed to.

So that is it what we have been up to.  We’ve been here for just shy of 3 weeks so far, whether we will stay in this location or be moved remains to be seen,   but it’s definitely an adventure and you can’t beat the sunrise or sunsets!

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Until next time…..