Monday, December 26, 2011
Back to Gate Guarding
I've taken the liberty to use my "soap box" for all kinds of topics. My primary goal here was to hopefully enlighten people about my experiences workamping and full timing. My secondary, altruistic, goal was to give myself a place to rant, rave or whatever. If we learn from one another even better. So I thought I'd write about gate guarding. We have made almost four months in the oil patch and have somewhat settled on a routine. I say somewhat, because the hours can be irregular and are dictated by traffic. I like days and Missy wanted to work nites. After a couple of months here, and with a move coming up, Missy said she wanted to try days. So, after moving and settling in, Missy and I swapped. I wish traffic was more regular at nite, so I could just get used to being up through the shift. But it isn't and I have settled into a routine of catnapping. That's what I meant by somewhat. I elaborated on this because prospective gate guarders are always asking if we have to work 24 hours a day since we are required to have at least one person present at all times. The answer just varies, There are those that are fortunate to live a regulated lifestyle and lock their gate after certain times. I think they are the exception, though. I believe having experience at boon docking is extremely helpful. Our support generators and tanks are pretty reliable. Though it's rarely necessary, you should be prepared to be "self contained" when doing this. That is why I am extremely glad we have an on board generator. You should also be able to conserve to the point where it's a subconscious act. You would be surprised how fast 500 gallons of water can disappear. We researched quite a bit before embarking on this adventure. One thing that can be helpful, is to reach out to the people operating the rig. They can help you out a lot. You should at least know who the Company Man is along with the Tool Pusher. You'll find that most of this community will gladly answer any of your questions. Another thing we did was stock up on things to keep us occupied during the downtime. I bought a Kindle (love it), Missy bought a bunch of crochet supplies and we invested in a Mi Fi. The Mi Fi is invaluable as it allows us to get Internet out in the middle of nowhere. Once we got here and started making a few $$$, we invested in a smoker and radio controlled toys to help with the tedium. Some intangibles-you need a strong relationship as working together is paramount in this business, you should be independent and self motivated, and you have to be kind of a loner (there aren't a lot of people to interact with). You should also know that shopping can be problematic due to road conditions and length of travel. If I had it to do over I would invest in a cheap four wheel drive vehicle (we are looking around) as the roads can suck to and from the rigs. Which brings up mud and dust-both are in abundance in South Texas and you should be prepared for it. All and all we like gate guarding and I certainly prefer it to some campground work I have done.