After spending six days in the Carrizo Springs area of Texas, which seemed quite a bit longer than six days, we received a call from our boss at Guard 1 Services. He had a gate assignment for us nearby at a place called Vivian Ranch in Catarina, TX, a virtual ghost town, which is about 20 miles or so southeast of Carrizo Springs. We would be guarding the entrance to the ranch, 24 hours a day, which has active oil and gas leases on it. The company working there is called Rosetta Resources who was going to be doing a coiled tubing at one of their well sites. What is a coiled tubing you ask? Well, a coiled tubing is like a colonoscopy for a gas or oil well. A very long metal tube that is coiled on a huge spool and sent down into the well to perform any number of functions. Here is an article about the process if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coiled_tubing.
So, last Wednesday we left Carrizo Springs and drove the Casa over to Catarina, found Vivian Ranch, and settled ourselves into our assigned post. The owner, Eddie Vivian, who is a warm and friendly man in his 70’s came by and welcomed us to the ranch. Later on about sundown, Nick our boss, whom we met for the very first time, showed up and gave us a quick lesson on what gate guarding consisted of : having one or both of us at the gate to check-in and check-out everyone who comes through the gate 24 hours a day. Photographs, and various other information is entered by us into an iPad and then synced off to Guard 1 Services. After our boss Tony was there for a while another man from another company came with a big diesel generator on wheels to power both our trailer, and a rather large four light tower for nighttime illumination of our dirt road and the vehicles coming in and out. It was a very busy evening to say the least. The next morning, on our 1st official day of work, we were also brought 200 gallons of potable (sort of) water in a tank to which we quickly added a filter, and a large septic tank to attach to our toilet. Here are some pics of the sight. Both day and nighttime views:
We were set as the trucks, after trucks, after trucks started to stop and check themselves in. The came in all shapes and sizes, pickups to eighteen wheelers. Cranes, tankers, flatbeds with the coiled tubing on them. Workers from Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma; all of whom have been very friendly and polite. A lot of “Yes Mam”s and “Yes Sir“s. Nice!
The data entry in the iPads took some getting used to as the training was brief and then we were on our own. But, we managed to catch on fairly quickly. It is the working twelve hour split shifts that really takes some getting used to. My loyal dog Harry and I have been doing the Graveyard Shift this week. I try to stay awake while he sleeps, but I suppose it’s the thought that counts. Fiona likes to sleep in the bed with Kay. Kay’s turn for the dark of night starts tomorrow.
Vivian Ranch is a no hunting ranch…. in Texas….how can that be??? They certainly have their share of critters and birds. We saw Crested Caracaras, Cactus Wrens, Roadrunners, and Mockingbirds. There were also deer, rabbits, jackrabbits, coyotes, javelina, and I got to see my first armadillo.
This past Monday evening one of the bosses from Rosetta stopped by to tell us that they were finished with the coiling, and the next day at 8 a.m. we were to leave from Catarina with a convoy of “coilers” for a new spot on the Springer Ranch ( a hunting ranch…ahh,… that’s the Texas I’m familiar with) right outside of Encinal, TX. Tuesday morning we were up early, packed, and on the road by seven-thirty for the 40 mile drive to our next station. Our directions were good and we found our current gate. Soon after we arrived the convoy of coilers started to roll in to their new job and our new home.
Not long after the coilers arrived Tony appeared as if by magic with a GenPac for Kay and I. Its a small utility trailer with a 30 amp diesel generator, fuel, and potable water tank all on the trailer. Very compact and easy to set up.
The gate sight is right off of Highway 44 and I-35. There is a constant flow of traffic, mostly oil an gas related, that goes by day and night. I know this because I am writing this at 2 a.m. I took this picture at sunrise yesterday morning:
A Texas oilfield sunrise. Aaah. Very picturesque.
With the sunrise came some excitement. Kay spotted two Mexican Green Jays. They are a neotropical species of jay that range up into this part of Texas. It was quite a treat for her, and I got to see 6 more of them around sundown. Here is a stock picture (rather small, sorry) of one of the little beauties if you have never seen one. I wasn’t able to get a picture of one…. yet.
So, that’s what is going on here in Texas. We expect the coiling here to refinished by the weekend, and we will then be following the crew off to another site on the Light Ranch which is somewhere in the area. Or, so rumor has it.
Now, Goodnight Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Kay will soon be arising for the dawn patrol and I’ll be off to bed.