Reporting for duty…


After spending two months fixing the rig, the car, enjoying kids & grandkids, shopping where there was actually a large selection and eating at restaurants (together… as a couple… imagine that) and moving Bob’s elderly mother to a personal care home in Katy, Texas we are back at a gate, deep in the heart of the south Texas brush country.

This little fellow (a horny toad) was our welcoming ambassador… at least it was not a rattlesnake!

This little horny toad came out from under the sewer trailer to greet us. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Thursday morning for us started like any other morning. After getting up and having breakfast, we planned to get the Silver Bullet ready to roll and head out Friday morning to our home resort (membership campground) in Canyon Lake and enjoy some R&R before heading down to work on June 13th or so.

That was until we got a call from a GGS service guy in the Cotulla area. He sent us a text… he knew it was a bit early but he had a gate he needed to have a guard at ASAP. He knew what we were looking for and this one sure fits the bill after our first gate over the winter. I’ll explain…

We can now see behind the rig with our newest toy… a closed circuit camera. This is the newest of the two rigs we have been assigned to. Sunset Saturday night.

After spending three months guarding a gate, for two fracing wells, that was 9.2 miles (45 minutes) from the highway, this one is a dream come true being only a few miles just outside Cotulla and about 100 yards from the hard road. Yee Haw!

I like the little town of Cotulla. There is not much there, but the Dairy Queen is a really good one to go to and I can have packages delivered to the Ace Hardware store which is right across the road from the Post Office. It’s so great that the Ace store does this service for the workers out here. I do a lot of online buying and would be lost without it.

I don’t like Super S as well as HEB, but from here, Pearsall is quite a ways to go for groceries. I admit I do get Whole Foods Market and Central Market withdrawals around this area. I filled up my fridge & freezer on Wednesday with grass-fed beef and great organic foods.

I intended to have this blog post done our first night here. I was going to take a nap after we got set up on Friday. I did not want to do the 24-hour staying up gig like last time. Takes too long to acclimate to being a night person this way. So like I said, I was going to take a nap.

We arrived at about 3:00 pm on Friday with a new GGS service guy waiting for us. He’d been watching the gate until we could get there. I’d warned Bob to drink plenty of fluids on the drive down because it would be hot and I did not want him to dehydrate while he was setting things up. You see, Bob used to be a traveler who did not like to make stops while he was traveling… said it would slow him down too much… too many stops. But, I remind him often that we are now retired (semi-retired anyway) and we can stop as often as we want. We are not on a tight schedule anymore.

The stage is set…

As I was finishing getting the inside all set up (slides out, 5-gallon water bottles moved, chairs put in their places, and sensitive electronics all removed from the bed and put in their places) Bob came in with a very red face and sweating profusely. He was getting pale and clammy. He was drinking outside but not replacing any of his salt or electrolytes. I gave him some Powerade but I forgot about the salt.

I got the blood pressure machine out and had him take his vitals. Blood pressure was pretty high, especially for him, but his pulse was fine. So I had him keep drinking and he laid down for a bit.

A little later he got up and was even more pale. He had a coat on and could not get warm. As he took his pulse & blood pressure, his BP was down to normal, but his pulse was 161. Alarm bells sounded in my head!

You see, in 2004  Bob developed an atrial flutter and his pulse was around 161. An electrocardiologist in Dallas did an ablation on his heart and it corrected the problem. Only restriction is he cannot have any stimulants, including regular coffee.

It was looking like he had developed heat exhaustion (just short of heat stroke thank goodness) and that had thrown his heartbeat out of whack. I immediately called 911 to have an ambulance sent. Bob thought we could drive, but I was not sure what we were dealing with and did not want anything to go south on the drive to the hospital. David, with GGS, came to watch our gate until we could get back. This was around 10:30 pm. Thanks so much to David for his help.

The ambulance showed up and evaluated Bob. They decided he needed to go to the hospital in Dilley. Now I am a city girl and used to big city hospitals. I’m not sure I’d even consider this a real hospital in many ways, but at least it was a starting place to get Bob properly evaluated and treated or transferred if needed.

They gave him four baby aspirins and a nitro pill and ran his blood work and EKG. After about an hour his pulse began to level out and got down to a better rate. At 2:00 am they released him. His lab work all came out fine, no heart attack! We were back at the gate by 2:30 am. We released David. Poor guy had been up since 3:00 am and was exhausted himself.

Of course when we got home I let Bob get to bed and get some much-needed rest. By the time I got to bed later I had been up about 26+ hours. I was beat! While Bob was sleeping and the next night I could not keep my eyes open. I hate it when I can’t stay awake. Fortunately, this gate is not very busy right now. What a blessing!

Then today, I got up at 7:00 pm and proceeded to get ready to go on duty. As I was getting ready, our GGS generator died suddenly. Oh crap… it’s hot out there! We called for a GGS service person to come. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones with a dead generator. Help would be coming… but not any time soon.

We started our on-board genset and 10 minutes later it died. Oh great… now what??? Of course, this is when we got a slight rush at the gate with no lights and the RV is getting hotter by the minute. We found candles for light (which also produce more heat) and turned on the inverters to keep the fridge blowing cold.

The GGS guy finally got here a couple of hours later,  another one was already taking care of two other generators that died in this heat. He hosed off the radiator grill and it started back up–thankfully! He also said he’ll give us the name of a mobile mechanic that the rigs use for their generators so we’ll call him and see what is wrong with our generator. I gotta tell ya, I don’t like being out here in the middle of nowhere and no operating back up generator. Doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling… not at all!

One more blow, our dishwasher died again. This happened last time we got on the company generator… first use after getting on the generator. It blew the control board, $170. OUCH! Bob found out how to replace it with a new board. We just need to order it. It seems these boards are very sensitive to megahertz fluctuations. It happened on the first use on the generator again this time. This is getting expensive!

If any of you fellow gate guards has had a problem due to the external generator fluctuations, please send me a message and let me know if you were able to do something to resolve it. We have a surge protector, but this is not a surge problem. It’s due to the megahertz fluctuations. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks 😀

I’m still dozing off so I’ll wrap this up for now.

Till next time…

Vicky

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14 thoughts on “Reporting for duty…

  1. Just reading the blog on hubby’s bp issues. I am be far a medical professional but wanted to share my husband’s experience. Many years ago he had severe high blood pressure that was uncontrollable. Doctor had him stopping into office daily for a check. FINALLY the doctor was dumb founded over the newly developed problem and made hubby give him a run down of everything he had eaten or drank that morning. You guessed it! He was grabbing a bottle of gatorade and downing it!!! Can’t remember if gatorade contains caffeine or what stimulant but the doctor forbidded him for drinking another drop!!! Not a problem since. Might want to check with hubby’s doctor and see if he should have gatorade!

    Enjoy reading your blog and hope to live the dream in January 🙂

    Ruth

    • Thanks for your input. I will look into this for sure! Keep in touch. We’d like to know how you are doing on getting ready to live your dream in January. Are you thinking of gate guarding?

  2. HI Vickey & Bob, my husband also has A-fib, and we were on a gate outside of Fowlerton last month. His BP was too low, took him to Jourdanton Hospital,,on Sunday night after test he had a bleeding ulcer, That was corrected on wednesday after 5 units of blood and 3 units of plasama. During a sonogram they found several massess on his kidneys. We wanted to come to Scott & White in Temple – close to our home/children versus going to SA. – reluctaually they released him on Thursday night. We are waiting for him to recover from the ulcer procedure for them to do kidney surgery So “tell” Bob to keep alot of water down him daily. If you need a good hospital WE can’t say enough about the hospital in Jourdanton. The doctors (he had 3). and nurses were great. Heart doctor was Dr. Mench (sp) . We hope to be back on a gate sometime this winter. Take care.

    • Hi Mickey (I’m assuming your husband is Woody… if not please correct me). I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s problems but grateful you found a great hospital. I’ll have to look up how close Jourdanton is to Cotulla.
      Hope the kidney surgery goes very well. Good luck & enjoy your kids!
      See ya this winter 😀

  3. A surge protector is not what you need with these generators. You need an EMS. They plug into the 50 amp plug on the generator (or whatever power source you’re using at the time) and then you plug your shore cord into it. Ours monitors all electric functionality and immediately shuts down power for any fault. Progressive Dynamics is the maker.

    • Thanks for your input John. We knew a surge protector would not do it, we already use one of those anyway. Will an EMS monitor and help us out with the megahertz problems? The usual line conditioners will not address the megahertz problems, we called TRC and asked. I’ll pass you info on to my resident engineer… Bob 🙂
      Does your EMS shut down for irratic Megahertz?
      Vicky

  4. Oh my gosh – I don’t know where to start!
    What a nightmare.
    We have a pretty weak internet signal here which seems to fade as the night progresses so I had no idea all this was happening to you. I’m so sorry to hear about Bob – thankful he’s better and I’ll be praying for you both.
    Of course, you already know that I know NOTHING about the electrical problem since my only solution to everything is to unplug it and plug it back in. :p
    A couple of the GGS guys told us that you can’t really run a dishwasher w/these generators – at least not when it’s hot and you have a lot of other pull?
    I don’t have one. I am one 😉 ! so I have no idea if that’s contributing to your problem or not.
    Maybe John’s idea will help?
    Keep in touch.
    Debbie

    • Thanks for your prayers Debbie. Bob is doing very well now and being careful in the heat. Unfortunately, Onan generators are made for RVs and the safest ones to use to avoid problems. The GGS gennies are hard on digital electronics. Another thing that can be a problem is newer appliances, like digital works on refrigerators and washer/dryers. We will have to run the dishwasher on our generator when we need to use it. Right now ours is starting, but we have not tried to use it much since we got here. We use it all the time on the road, so not quite sure what happened the other day??? I hate problems 😦
      Vicky

  5. Hey Vicky,

    Sorry to hear about Bob, I hope he is feeling better now. I did some research on the hertzs fluctuation problem. The previous reply is correct on the EMS (Electrical Management System) This is a device that you plug into the generator and then you plug your cable into it. It is made by progressive and will do a lot of things. On the hertzs problem it will monitor it and if there is any more that a plus or minus 9 hertz (51 to 69) then it will shut the power to the rv off. If you look up Progressive Electronics .net (I think that’s it) you can read for yourself. I found one for our rv at camping world for about $235 but I think for 50amp its a bit more. I hope that this helps some.

    Nick

    • Hi Nick,

      Bob is fine now, thank goodness!
      About the herts issue, we have learned that these generators are not made for RVs, rather they are designed to run equipment and there is a difference. Apparently, if you have newer, digital appliances and electronics, these generators can kill them. I know people with digital washer/dryers are having problems and we just killed our second controller board for our dishwasher. We have learned that if we want to run the dishwasher, we need to shut the GGS generator off and turn ours on. The GGS gennies just are not made for the newer electronics. Oh Bother!!! We have checked and those power conditioners and they do not address the hertz issue… they can’t regulate it like they can the volts. Thanks for your input!
      Vicky

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