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Guarding McKenzie

While I enjoyed much of my stint guarding on the Calvert ranch with lots of cow fun and wonderful owners, it became too much for me to handle. It got to the point where there was no time at all for sleeping. I was a wreck. I had to call the cavalry to come out and relieve me for a night which helped temporarily but the situation did not improve so I finally had to ask to be released from that gate. There are some limits to single gate guarding. I was replaced by a couple of gals working together out of a motorhome.

By then I was terribly burned out. I was immediately put on another gate but it was one I shared with another couple of guards so I only had to work 12 hrs. then I could sleep all I needed and even go into town when not working. I took some time to get in some shopping, geocaching, sightseeing, unload items not needed at the local thrift store, picked up my first smart phone and new phone service, and I tried out a new game called Munzee that is similar to geocaching and uses a smart phone. That was my first 12 hr. gate and I really enjoyed it while it lasted. Unfortunately, the time came when the work slowed down just enough for them to pull the other guards and put me on it 24/7. I have done several other gates 24/7 with no problems but this one was not only very active all day and night, I also had to open and close the gate each time and they moved my RV farther away from the gate. That makes for a lot of walking and no sleep again. I had to get released as quickly as possible but hung in there a few days until they could find someone else. Now before you start thinking it was just me, the couple that left was not keen on doing it alone either nor was another single person who was asked to do it. There are some gates that simply must have a couple and some that require several couples due to the traffic. Throw in 100+ degree temps and mosquitos also and well, I think you get the picture. There is one ranch that many of us (including couples) refuse to work because it is so hideously busy that they constantly have to replace worn out guards.

I finally got a gate sort of near Pleasanton, TX. It’s actually quite a drive but still the closest to get groceries. I have been hearing other guards talking about working out this way but only now got a gate out here. Finding it was fun since my GPS has the wrong spelling for the road name and while my smart phone had the right spelling and directions, it ran out of power. Oops! I actually passed the road and had to call the other guards for more directions. I am again working with another couple but this time we both work 24/7. On the plus side, I am the second gate so I don’t have to log anyone in or out. The first gate guards do that. I just have to see who is coming in or out, smile and wave, hand out directions and maps as needed, keep the gate lighted at night, and document when someone hits the gate which is very narrow. While that isn’t a lot of work, this is a busy work area so I get woke up a lot at night. Last night they woke me up constantly from 2-3 AM then started the regular work day at 5:30 AM. Other nights they might keep me awake from 11 PM – 2AM depending on what is going on or once in a while I get to sleep most of the night. I spend a lot of time sleeping on my couch. From what I can tell, I will be here for quite awhile. There are numerous work pads and wells here and lots to be done yet.

Mckenzie gate 2Oil rig

The cows have just started to come by and warm up to me. A huge cougar came very close the other night I hear. Bunches of turkeys have been by and some wild pigs went across the road and down the ravine. No illegals have shown up… yet.

This seems to be the place where generators come to die. I have had constant generator issues since I got here and several replacements. I really need a good large one of my own but I just can’t figure out where to carry one. The small 1000 watt one I do carry is only good enough to run the gate lights and recharge my batteries. I’ll keep thinking on that. Maybe if I move my trailer spare tire into the truck bed, I could attach a carrier to my bumper for a 3000-4000 watt genset. I could buy two Honda 2000i’s which might fit in my truck bed with their low profile but they are very pricey at 3 times the cost unless I get lucky on Craigslist. Having a generator or two in my truck bed also creates security issues. It’s always somethin’.

2 comments to Guarding McKenzie

  • Chris

    Sleep is important and I hope you get more rest. I only know one other couple that have done this full time without long breaks (like several months off). Honestly, I don’t know how you do it. My hats off to you though.
    Happy Thanksgiving! We head to AZ right after Turkey Day. So ready to get there.
    Take care!

    • I take lots of little naps and four 1 week vacations. I do get to sleep a lot of times at night and sometimes even all the way through the night. I have just had some bad luck with gates recently. See you made it to your “dirt”. Congrats and enjoy!

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