TayloredRVTraveling

Musings and Info about life on the road

Workin’ in the Oil and Gas Fields of Texas! ….

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:

IMG_5859

IMG_5861

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!

IMG_5857

IMG_5855

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.

IMG_5864

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.

IMG_5868

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:

IMG_5866

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.

images

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.

Share

Deeeep in the Heart of Texas….

Let’s see….when last I posted anything we were leaving Ojo Caliente –

IMG_5807

and making our way south to the ol’ Bosque Del Apache to visit with some friends and see some birds. Well, that we did. The Sandhill Cranes were beginning to arrive at the Bosque along with some Snow Geese. Here are some of the cranes on a rather cloudy morn:

IMG_5834

Later that same afternoon the dogs came bird-watching with us, and the weather was quite nice. That’s Fiona in the foreground:

IMG_5852

It was Monday and would be the last nice weather we would see, up thru and including today.  On Monday night we went to dinner at the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, NM with some old friends and caught up on all of the Bosque gossip. There were stories aplenty.

Tuesday morning we continued on our Texas odyssey with a rainbow to bid us farewell.

IMG_5853

We went from the Bosque south to Anthony, TX  which is just over the New Mexico – Texas state line, stopping for a bit in Las Cruces to have drug tests done which the company we are going to work for requires. Then we spent the night in Anthony in a howling windstorm. The old trailer was a rockin’ and a rollin’. The high wind (+30 m.p.h.) was because of a massive frontal system that was starting to reveal its ugly head as came out of Mexico.

On Wednesday we drove from Anthony through El Paso (no fun!) to Fort Stockton on I-10 eastbound in the rain. Yesterday we went from Fort Stockton to Del Rio, then on to Eagle Pass following the Rio Grande until we swung east at Eagle Pass to our destination at Carrizo Springs, TX. Again the drive was in the rain. Texas is in a drought right ?

Map

So, here we will sit until we receive our Oil Field Gate Guard assignment. Carrizo Springs ( carrizo is a type of reed by the way) is a small, not very picturesque town located in one of Texas’ oil  field areas. The country here a bouts is very flat and brushy with, not getting too technical, a lot of oil field “stuff” going on all over the place. When we find out where our final destination is I’ll be sure to let you know. Maybe we’ll see a sunny day tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

Share

Still Heading South…..

November already….time’s changing….Old Man Winter is on the way…. and here ‘s proof!

Photo courtesy of William Kukes

Photo courtesy of William Kukes

Just kiddingActually the photo was taken by our friend Bill Kukes  whom we worked with in Yellowstone. Pat and Bill just got back from Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson’s Bay where they went to see the Polar Bears, and see them they did! I guess they didn’t see enough bears in Yellowstone.

Tomorrow we are leaving Ojo Caliente for the Bosque Del Apache. We’ve seen the Sandhill Cranes migrating south here at Ojo. I’ll keep you all posted from the Bosque. It’s kind of like going home for a while.

Share

Ojo Caliente…..

We bid adieu to Rabbit Valley and the Grand Junction area on Thursday, and  continued our way south heading towards New Mexico. From GJ we took Highway 141 through Unaweep Canyon and the Dolores River Canyon. We then swung over to Dove Creek, and on to Cortez and Durango. It was quite the pretty drive being Autumn and all. When we got to Durango we called it a day, and overnighted in the luxurious (not) Walmart parking lot.

We were up and away early on Friday….Walmart parking lots do that to you. Friday’s route was Durango to Pagosa Springs, then south into New Mexico with our destination being the Abique Reservoir where we stayed last fall for a while. But, Ooooh…the campground was closed for the season. After a quick consultation Kay and I decided to try the campground at Ojo Caliente, home to its world renowned hot springs. Ojo is about thirty five miles or so north of Espanola. It turned out to be a win…win…win situation.  The campground had plenty of vacancies, it was relatively inexpensive, and it was located in the bosque along the banks of the Rio Ojo Caliente. A pretty little spot indeed. Plus, a very, very big plus for Kay, the hot springs are within walking distance from the trailer. Here are some photos of our camp in the cottonwoods, and the surrounding scenery.:

IMG_5785

IMG_5782

IMG_5781

About a quarter of a mile or so from our site there is this rather unique round, wood and adobe, horse barn  that was built in the 1920’s and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

IMG_5774

Here is a shot of the inside second floor and roof:

IMG_5779

One never knows what will turn up when you are out and about in New Mexico – such as this meditation circle / labyrinth:

IMG_5783

So, we are going to be here for a few days longer and the we’ll head down to the ol’ Bosque Del Apache to visit with some friends.

Adios!

Share

In Grand Junction….. For Now

When last I wrote Kay and I had left Yellowstone and were headed in the direction of Grand Junction to visit for a while with Emily and our friends Carl and Sandy. Well, made it we did. After leaving Yellowstone we went Buffalo Bill State Park outside of Cody, and then on to Boysen State Park south of Thermopolis, WY., and stayed there for a couple of days tucked away  inside the Wind River Canyon at the park’s campground.

IMG_5732

IMG_5737

IMG_5728

After leaving Boysen we drove south to Craig, CO via  Riverton, Rawlins, and Baggs, WY. We overnighted in Craig and continued on to Rabbit Valley outside of Grand Junction on Monday the 6th.

IMG_7288

We camped at Rabbit Valley until this past Friday, and then went to stay with Sandy and Carl while we have some work done on our trailer.

Emily looks good and is doing well… which is always good news.

The weather has been warm here in the Grand Junction area. It is hard to believe Columbus Day is tomorrow. Yesterday we took a ride to the north up over Douglas Pass with our hosts to look for Fall colors, and actually found some!

IMG_5758

While we were in that neck of the woods we also stopped to look at some Fremont Style Pictographs that Sandy wanted to see:

IMG_5763

IMG_5767

The figure in the center of this panel is alleged to be Kokopelli, the humpbacked flute player. The figure to the right on the panel is, without question, a DALEK…..

EXTERMINATE!!! 

Share

Goodbye to Yellowstone…..

Dateline: Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, WY

Tuesday, Kay and I said farewell to the Bookstore and our co-workers after finishing the store’s end of season inventory. Wednesday, on the morning of our departure from Yellowstone, we awoke to a dusting of snow – the season’s first – which reinforced our desire to be gone. And go we did. We headed out the East Entrance of the park bound for Cody, WY and Thermopolis. From there we will continue on to Grand Junction, CO…..the land of no –

IMG_5693

IMG_5680
Buffalo!  The Yellowstone critter that both Kay and I have decided we enjoyed the most.

So, I thought I would close out the Yellowstone Chapter of our travels with these final photos that I took last week in the Upper Geyser and Biscuit Basins, and along the Firehole River.

IMG_5711

IMG_5710

IMG_5709

IMG_5705

IMG_5689

Yellowstone is a very lovely place, but when the urge for going hits it is time to be gone.

Share

Reunion in Yellowstone….

Last Monday morning Kay received a call on her fancy new electronic, magic, iPhone from her elder brother Bob whom neither one of us had seen for 20 years. He informed her that he was in Boise, Idaho. Kay told him to come and visit. And, to our amazement, he pulled into Yellowstone that afternoon. Bob stayed with us until Friday morning when he headed back home to California. Kay and Bob spent the next three days sightseeing in the park and catching up.

Here are sister and brother along the Firehole River with Riverside Geyser erupting in the background:

IMG_5657

A good time was had by all during Bob’s stay. And kudos to our houseguest for sharing the sofa bed with the dogs. Bob, you are a brave man, and you are welcome back any time.

Share

Miscellanea – Critters, Hot Springs, etc….

We awoke this sunny morn with a temperature of 18 degrees. Dear God….it’s only September 12th! Those pesky Canadians sent the cold down on us.  Anyway…..

About a week or so ago we took a drive through the northern part of the park that included a stop at Mammoth. We we there a couple of years ago about this time of year and the place was loaded with elk. So we thought we would see if they were there this year. Indeed they were. The bulls had their harems were right smack dab in midtown Mammoth:

IMG_5481

IMG_5484

IMG_5482

There was only one bull that we could spot in town. Unfortunately he was to far off to get a decent picture.

As we continued our odyssey through the northern area we saw a couple of wolves far, far away – a white one and a black one -which was quite a treat for sure. And of course the ubiquitous Bison:

IMG_5494

Last Friday Kay and I, along with Pat and Bill,and Harry and Fiona, piled into our rather then crowded Subaru and went to see Mesa Falls, which lies to the south of West Yellowstonistan and a few miles outside of Ashton, Idaho. It is a pretty and very impressive waterfall with an upper and lower section. Here is a photo of the upper falls:

IMG_5507

If you go to the falls in the morning the sun’s position in relation to the falls, and its mist, guarantees you a delightful rainbow.

Last Saturday, a bit before sundown, I went with Pat and Bill to check out some hot springs nearby that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see yet. The first was Black Sand Pool which has a neat little surprise for you when you are there:

IMG_5530

The pool sends up large bubbles from the depths of Hades and right before they reach the surface of the surface of the pool they make a very, very low booming sound. But wait! There’s more! If you are sitting, standing, or leaning against the fence that surrounds Black Sand Pool you can feel booms… like a very, very subtle earth tremor. A very neat place for sure.

The runoff from Black Sand Pool with all of its minerals creates a colorfully dramatic landscape as the sun is setting:

IMG_5532

And as it does at Punch Bowl Spring, which is quite close to Black Sand Pool as far as Yellowstone’s vast distances go:

IMG_5558

Only 18 days to go here at the Park, but who’s counting? Me? You Betcha! ;)

Share

An Announcement….

IMG_5291

Whenever an eruption of Old Faithful (pictured above) is due to take place, which happens every ninety minutes or so, the rangers in the Visitor’s Center make the following announcement :

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Old Faithful Visitor’s and Education Center! We are now entering the window for the eruption of Old Faithful. If you want to see, feel, and hear Old Faithful, please go outside and find yourselves a seat or, if you wish, you may watch from the window here in the Visitor’s Center.

We hear this announcement a number of times during the day. But, the announcement I am waiting for is:

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Old Faithful Visitor’s and Education Center! We have exciting news! We have just received word from our geologists that the Yellowstone Super Volcano is going to blow! No need to hurry and find a seat, or go outside to see, feel, or hear the eruption because we are standing on the volcano itself! And, it will erupt in TEN….NINE….EIGHT….SEVEN….

Share

The Continuing Story of Buffalo Bill…

Thanks Mr. Dylan:

Everybody’s building the big ships and boats
Some are building monuments, others jotting down notes
Everybody’s in despair, every girl and boy
But when Bill the Buffalo gets here everybody’s gonna jump for joy.
Oh come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Bill                                                                      Come all without, come all within
You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Bill.

IMG_5350

After a long absence Bill the Buffalo has made his return to the campgound. The buffalo rut is now over for all intents and purposes. Bill  must have been out chasing the ladies!

Share

Post Navigation