Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas "Vacation"

I have been re-posting content from other blogs lately and thought I would change it up a bit today.

Lacey came down from Missouri to spend a little time with us over the Christmas Holiday. She and Toie went into San Antonio yesterday to do a little shopping and started sending me pics that I can only assume were applications to join "The Big Floppy Hat Club". I do have to admit that the sombrero picture is quite compelling but since they didn't actually purchase said chapeaus, nor did they bring me one, I can't approve any such application. 

I just found out yesterday that my parents are planning to visit from the Phoenix area in the next few days.  We are going to have a full and fruitful Holiday!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas

The Daily Bell: The Astonishing Ron Paul

The original article can be seen in its entirety here

The Astonishing Ron Paul
Friday, December 21, 2012 – by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Lew Rockwell
As 2012 draws to a close, it's hard not to be reminded that 2013 will begin with Ron Paul retired from Congress. For all those years he was a fearless truth-teller, who exposed and denounced the horrors, domestic or foreign, of the regime. His farewell address – something practically unheard of for a congressman in the first place – will continue to be read years from now, as future Americans look back with astonishment that such a man actually served in the US Congress.

For most of his career, those speeches were delivered to a largely empty chamber and to audiences of modest size around the country. A man of Ron's intelligence could have grown in stature and influence in no time at all had he been willing to play the game. He wasn't. And he was perfectly at peace with the result: although he wasn't a major political celebrity, he had done his moral duty.

Little did he know that those thankless years of pointing out the State's lies and refusing to be absorbed into the Blob would in fact make him a hero one day. To see Ron speaking to many thousands of cheering kids, when all the while respectable opinion had been warning them to stay far away from this dangerous man, is more gratifying and encouraging than I can say. I was especially thrilled when a tempestuous Ron, responding to the Establishment's description of his campaign as "dangerous," said, you're darn right – I am dangerous, to them.

Some people used to tell Ron that if only he'd stop talking about foreign policy he might win more supporters. He knew it was all nonsense. Foreign policy was the issue that made Ron into a phenomenon. There would have been no Ron Paul movement in the first place had Ron not distinguished himself from the pack by refusing to accept the cartoonish narrative, peddled not only by Rudy Giuliani but also by the luminaries of both major political parties, accounting for the origins of 9/11.

How many bills did he pass, right-wing scoffers demand to know. A successful Republican politician, in between his usual activity of expanding government power, is supposed to have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic five or six times, by means of bills with his name on them. At best, the bills these politicos boast about amounted to marginal changes of momentary significance, if even that. More commonly, even the bills they trumpeted turned out to be ambiguous or actually negative from a libertarian standpoint.

What is Ron's legacy? Not some phony bill, of zero significance in the general avalanche of statism. For his legacy, look around you.

The Federal Reserve, an issue not discussed in American politics in a hundred years, is under greater scrutiny now than ever before. Austrian economics is enjoying a rebirth that dwarfs the attention it received when F.A. Hayek won the Nobel Prize in 1974 – and when you ask people how they heard about the Austrian School, the universal answer is Ron Paul. One man brought about this intellectual revolution. How's that for a legacy?

And that's not to mention how many people Ron introduced to libertarian thought in general, or how many hawks reconsidered their position on war because of Ron's arguments and example.

Even the mainstream media has to acknowledge the existence of a whole new category of thinker: one that is antiwar, anti-Fed, anti-police state, and pro-market. The libertarian view is even on the map of those who despise it. That, too, is Ron's doing.

Young people are reading major treatises in economics and philosophy because Ron Paul recommended them. Who else in public life can come close to saying that?

How many bills did he get passed? Talk about missing the point.

Where are the hordes of students dying to learn from Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, or Mitt Romney?

Remember, too, that in politics there's always some excuse for why the message of liberty can't be delivered. I have to satisfy the party leadership. I have to keep the media off my back. The moment is inopportune. My constituents aren't ready to hear it – so instead of explaining myself and persuading them, I'll just keep my mouth shut, or minimize my position to the point where I sound like any old politician, except ten percent better.

And all the while, would-be donors are assured that this is all a facade, that the politician is really one of us and not what he appears to be. For the time being, you understand, he has to contradict his core beliefs in order to ingratiate himself into the favor of those whose support he will one day need.

Once elected, he still cannot really say what he thinks. Don't you want him to get re-elected?

Ron never acted this way. At times he would explain the libertarian position in ways likely to resonate with a particular audience, but he never compromised or backed away.

It's been said that if you ask Ron Paul a question, he gives you a straight answer. That's an understatement. All through his presidential campaigns he sent the guardians of opinion into hysterics. Why, he can't say that! That wasn't even one of the choices! To the gatekeepers' astonishment, his numbers kept on growing.

No politician is going to trick the public into embracing liberty, even if liberty were his true goal and not just a word he uses in fundraising letters. For liberty to advance, a critical mass of the public has to understand and support it. That doesn't have to mean a majority, or even anywhere near it. But some baseline of support has to exist.

That is why Ron Paul's work is so important and so lasting.

Ten years from now, no one will remember the men who opposed Ron in the GOP primaries. Half of them are forgotten already. But fifty years from now (and longer), young kids will still be learning from Ron: reading his books, following his recommendations for further study, and taking inspiration from his courage and principle.

With Ron's congressional career drawing to a close, we should remember that we have witnessed something highly unusual, and exceedingly unlikely to be repeated. And we should also remember Ron's parting advice: The real revolution is not in Washington, DC. It's in the world of ideas.

That's what Ron is devoting the rest of his life to, and it's one more thing he has to teach us. So watch for news of Ron's new work for peace, his new homepage, and his new TV extravaganza. Far from retiring, he is stepping up his work for liberty. And there is a place for all of us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ole Remus and the Woodpile Report

http://www.woodpilereport.com/

Duty

We lost the republic long ago. Within Remus's lifetime, loyal constitutionalist patriots have gone from the majority to a tolerated minority to a designated hate group and now, presumed terrorists. Meanwhile, the collectivists—the Democrat Republican Progressive establishment—are openly consolidating their power, strutting on the national stage like Mussolini in front of a mirror, their witless minions shouting down deviations from DC's two party one-party line.

DC has taken on the classic structure of totalitarianism: feuding official fiefdoms with fuzzy and overlapping authorities, all burrowing into the formerly private lives of the populace, legal cover provided by a Byzantine tangle of laws and impenetrable codes, a form of lawlessness in itself, as it's meant to be. In this pervasive fog and fear they needn't be lawful other than by their own calculations.

Socialists cannot be and never have been bound by law, or said another way, under socialism the legality of an act is determined by its compliance with collectivist theory, retroactively where convenient, and not by a body of law that can be known in advance. The citizen is quantified, society is qualified, i.e., the citizen's actions are measured against the putative good of the "masses". In the republic now gone, society was measured in terms of the good of the citizen. The republic's sole purpose was to guarantee the citizen's liberty against all enemies, foreign and domestic. This was the Constitutional basis of the legal system, the reason for equality under the law, and the only justification for war.

But this is in the past, we are well into the collectivist 'personality cult' phase. There's no longer a question of retrieving the republic, it must be rebuilt. What lies between now and then can't be known. What is known is this: collectivists can mount an insurgency like no other, ruthless, patient and unwavering, but once successful they remain insurgents and without exception descend into a Darwinian orgy of power lust, visiting excesses on each other and the populace until the nightmare consumes the realm.

There's no need for ol' Remus to flog the best among us to do this or that in response, even if he knew what to do. Besides, they aren't the best because of what they do, they're the best because of what they are. What needs to be done flows from that so it's enough that they are what they are. They're an anonymous and nameless and timeless meritocracy with a provenance that predates the republic—they need the internet like Jefferson needed the newsreel—and they shall rise among us, the republic shall flourish anew. Just how, ol' Remus hasn't a clue, but he doesn't have to, Thomas Paines and Benjamin Franklins and Thomas Jeffersons have ever walked among us. Their time has come again.

. . . . .

"There aren't any great men. There are just great challenges you like men ordinary that circumstances to meet. Admiral William "Bull" Halsey via survivalblog.com"

. . . . .

Ol' Remus has been many things and one thing he was was a card-carrying worker in Mexico. He and anybody who's familiar with Mexico's underside will tell you nothing is what it seems, mostly because outsiders willfully misinterpret everything to their own advantage. They'll tell you of colorful poverty and curiously honorable small-time corruption and wary openness to strangers and simple food, in short, all the stuff that makes them feel right at home.

Point is, from time to time during conversations with his fellow yanquis Remus would mentally append something like this:

Look around, look closely, remember what you see. You only imagine you're looking at a people trying to achieve what we've achieved, and failing. You'd like to intervene and say they must do this or that, but stand in a different place and you'll understand you're looking at our future. You speak of what is sustainable. This is what is sustainable in this place at this time. This is one workable balance with the realities of life, not our balance perhaps, not in detail, but in kind.

We're standing in a very different place now, and it will be yet more different soon. Folks are getting, um - expedient, to strike their balance with the rapidly shifting realities of life. But be of good cheer, civil collapse isn't an unalloyed disaster in all places for all people. There's good news. The over-delicate among us will have succumbed, and succumb indelicately, largely by way of their delusions. A subset of the over-delicate will have imploded from sheer dissipation, as:

This cute little cabinet comes from a shop in La Paz. It was made entirely with hand tools. Can you believe that? I had this room built around it. I just adore it.

They're a bearable loss.

On the other hand, the career posers will go from zero tolerance to infinite tolerance between heartbeats because adapt-prepare-execute-adapt is the more viable plan, meaning when all you have is a nail everything looks like a hammer. There's a pressing need to sort things out, and until things are sorted out, ugly doesn't begin to describe the interval. Nothing focuses the mind like a life-or-death moment.

Ol' Remus believes the happiest outcome of any life-or-death dustup is to have been elsewhere. That's Plan A. He's noticed this is not a reliable strategy so he has a Plan B, namely, doing the best he can with what he has, using what he's learned. That's the adapt part of adapt-prepare-execute-adapt. Incidentally, the over-delicate, see above, include the determinedly improvident and their enablers, whose notion of adapting doesn't involve effort on their part. It means ginning up self reproach on the part of others so they'll make good their insufficiencies. They'll disappear, betimes, the unwilling and the unfit alike.

To review: unwarranted self reproach erodes whatever self confidence one has. Adapt. Learn from experience, your experience by preference. The experience of others has already been edited, and not impartially. They, like you, are the hero of their own life story.

Anyway, back to kozmik troofs. Our lesson for today is that the republic and the wealth we earned in the past few decades has fallen into the hands of fools and frauds. Doesn't matter how, the republic and its portable wealth are gone, pretty much. Self reproach is useless, so adapt, do the best you can with what you have, use what you learn .

Of wealth and the republic, the republic is the more valuable long term, that's the place to start. Remus believes we've nearly relearned to fit a building to its foundation, the foundation in this case being the Constitution. Ol' Remus notices the present squatters have taken to calling such talk terrorism. He also plans to be elsewhere when such folk are less eager to point themselves out.

The abnormality of recent decades is gone, there is no "recovery", we're in bad times and it's early yet, we've already entered a new era of scarcity and there's worse to come. But preparing should involve more than merely surviving when the future include restoring our former Constitutional unavoidable matter of getting through the intervening maelstrom, and it's right and prudent to prepare for it, but we still have our civic responsibilities, post-collapse. Damage Control is not shipbuilding.

None of this will happen if able citizens are drawn off by populist fervor and fritter away their efforts on details, as is currently the case. However satisfying small victories may be, they're still small victories, like an extra ration in the Gulags. It's time to consider historic action. With totalitarianism ascendant, and given decades of government schools, it may be the last chance.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brrr

It got cold this morning, right at the freezing mark.  It didn't last long enough to cause an problems such as frozen pipes and such but it definately got my attention.  After spending the hotter part of the summer in South Texas, the blood has thinned a bit.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Headed Toward the 11th Hour Compromise Tuesday, December 04, 2012 – by Ron Paul

This article originally appears on The Daily Bell website and can be read here.

As the year draws to an end, America faces yet another congressionally-manufactured crisis which will likely end in yet another 11th hour compromise, resulting in more government growth touted as "saving" the economy. While cutting taxes is always a good idea, setting up a ticking time bomb with a sunset provision, as the Bush tax cuts did, is terrible policy. Congress should have just cut taxes. But instead, we have a crisis that is sure not to go to waste.

The hysteria surrounding the January 1 deadline for the Budget Control Act's spending cuts and expiration of the Bush tax cuts seems all too familiar. Even the language is predictably hysterical: if government reduces planned spending increases by even a tiny amount, the economy will go over a "fiscal cliff." This is nonsense.

This rhetoric is based on the belief that government spending sustains the economy, when in fact the opposite is true. Every dollar the government spends is a dollar taken from consumers, businessmen, or investors. Reducing spending can only help the economy by putting money back in the hands of ordinary Americans. Politicians who claim to support the free market and the lower- and middle-class should take this to heart.

The reality is, however, that neither Republicans nor Democrats are serious about cutting spending. Even though US military spending is exponentially larger than any other country and is notorious for its inefficiency and cost overruns, Republicans cannot seem to stomach even one penny of cuts to the Pentagon's budget. This is unfortunate because this is the easiest, most obvious place to start getting spending under control. The military-industrial complex and unconstitutional overseas military interventions should be the first place we look for budget cuts.

Similarly, Democrats are digging in their heels on not cutting any welfare or entitlement spending and instead propose to fix the deficit by raising taxes on the rich, even though the US Government already has a progressive tax code and the rich already pay more than their fair share. Furthermore, these higher taxes would fall on small business owners, investors and entrepreneurs − in other words, the source of economic growth and new jobs!

The truth is that there is no excuse for government spending being as high as it is, nor for taxes being as high as they are. Even the God of the Old Testament only asked for ten percent as a tithe and offering, and Americans revolted against the King of England for taxes that amounted to less than five percent. Yet so many people today complain about "loopholes" for the rich that lower their actual tax rate to "only" 13 percent in some instances. Even that is a criminal amount to pay for a wasteful, abusive, unconstitutional government.

We are indeed headed to a fiscal cliff and have been long before this latest hysteria cropped up. But it is not cuts to spending or reduced government "revenue" that will send us over the cliff, it is continued government spending that will. Until the federal government limits itself to its constitutionally-mandated role, spending and taxation will remain out of control.

Look for a "bipartisan" compromise in late December, with Republicans giving in to tax increases and settling for phony spending cuts that actually grow government, and Democrats caving on defense cuts in exchange for tax increases. This is how the government has always grown: Both sides will sacrifice their pro-liberty, small government stances in certain areas in order to grow the government where they prefer.

Liberty always loses in the 11th hour.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Term Limits for Congress

Found this as part of a larger article.  The whole article can be read here.

WHY CONGRESS NEEDS TERM LIMITS

Term limits are needed at all levels of government. However, because of the large electoral advantages wielded by incumbents, the historically low rate of turnover, the greater threat from special interests, and the unique power that federal legislators hold, it is especially important to apply term limits to Congress.

Term limits counterbalance incumbent advantages.

Congressional term limits are a necessary corrective to inequalities which inevitably hinder challengers and aid incumbents. Each House Member, for instance, receives nearly a million dollars per year to pay for franked (free) mail, staff salaries, and office and travel expenses. While campaigning, incumbents continue to receive salaries upwards of $130,000 a year, which typically dwarf the income of challengers (who often must resign from their jobs while running for office). A small army of congressional staffers does volunteer work during campaign season; they have every motivation to do so, since they are campaigning for perpetuation of their jobs. On official time, these political aides perform all sorts of jobs unrelated to legislation but closely tied to reelection, such as soliciting media attention and doing favors for constituents. The power of the frank permits each Member to send thinly disguised reelection propaganda to every residence in his district several times per term. The money allotted to each incumbent for franking alone -- over $160,000 per year -- is higher than the average challenger's total campaign expenditures. State legislators, who recognize the benefits to their state from long-term congressional incumbency, redraw election districts to maximize incumbents' electoral chances. The extent of incumbent resources prevents their exhaustive listing here, but their electoral impact is sizable; both the House and the Senate, for instance, have authorized taxpayer-funded lawyers to intervene in term limits litigation. When these benefits are added to such natural incumbent advantages as name recognition, media access, and higher political contributions, it is no wonder that challengers unseat incumbents so rarely. Despite increasing complaints about the drudgery of life in Congress, a remarkable number of incumbents continue to seek (and secure) reelection. Term limits ensure congressional turnover.

The turnover rate for House incumbents who attempt reelection typically is below 10 percent. This is in stark contrast to the first century of America's government, when long-term congressional incumbency was rare and Members often voluntarily chose to leave Washington and return home. (See e.g., George Will, Restoration (New York: Free Press, 1992), p. 84.) In the nineteenth century, the average turnover in each new Congress was over 45 percent, (Figures from Norman Ornstein, Thomas Mann, and Michael Malbin, Vital Statistics on Congress 1993-1994 (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1993), and Will, Restoration.) and this ensured a continual influx of Members free from the institutional biases that long-term incumbency brings. Today, however, despite a large 1992 turnover fueled primarily by retirees, there is little or no turnover among those who set Congress's agenda: the committee chairmen and other members of the Democratic leadership. In the House of Representatives, for instance, the average job tenure is ten years. However, the principal leaders (the committee chairmen, speaker, majority leader, and whip) have served an average of twenty-seven years -- which means that the average member of this group has been in the House since the Johnson Administration. (See chart, "Unpopular Representation," Insight, April 11, 1994, page 22.) For every congressional election in the last twenty years, incumbents running for reelection in the House of Representatives have been returned to office at rates averaging higher than 90 percent. (Ornstein, Mann, and Malbin, Vital Statistics on Congress 1993-1994, p. 118, table 4-7.) Term limits would end such entrenchment and concentration of power, and the number of legislators who chose to retire or refused to run again also would increase. In California, for instance, the prospective imposition of term limits on the state legislature has more than doubled voluntary turnover (from 11 percent to 25 percent) in two years. (See John C. Armor, "'Foreshadowing' Effects of Term Limits: California's Example for Congress," U.S. Term Limits Foundation, Term Limits Outlook Series, Vol III, No. 1 (June 1994), p. 3.)

Term limits secure Congress's independent judgment.

In one of the few cases where Congress itself has established term limits, service on the House and Senate intelligence Committees is limited on the grounds that long-term membership might cause Members to develop a loyalty to the intelligence bureaucracy that would undermine their ability to exercise critical and independent judgment over it. This mandatory term limit is based on a sound theory of human conduct, but it deserves wider application; in an age where scores of federal agencies and special interests continually lobby for funding, there is a very real danger that Congressmen will become enmeshed in a culture that is overfamiliar with the federal government and insulated from the communities they ostensibly represent. Public sentiment in favor of term limits is likely influenced by the fear that Congressmen will become captured by this alien federal culture, as well as by frustration with the sclerotic representation that results from incumbents of all political stripes routinely getting reelected.

Term limits are a reality check.

Term limits also would provide inescapable, bracing reminders of what life in the real world is like. After former Senator George McGovern tried (and failed) to succeed in small business after spending eighteen years in Congress, he observed: "I wish I had known a little more about the problems of the private sector.... I have to pay taxes, meet a payroll -- I wish I had a better sense of what it took to do that when I was in Washington." (Fund, op. cit., p. 10.) Ensuring that Members eventually are exposed to life outside of Congress should inculcate a more sophisticated understanding of the logic and the limits of federal regulation.

Term limits minimize Members' incentives for reelection-related "pork- barrel" legislation.

As government has grown larger, legislative careerism has become more prominent in Congress. Because long-tenured Congressmen have increasing power over the fate of federal projects due to the seniority system, senior members of both parties now routinely campaign by stressing their ability to bring federal projects to their home districts rather than by explaining their views on the important issues of the day. When Members express their preferences in committee assignments, they are aware of the electoral impact of federal spending directed at their districts. After the 1992 elections, so many freshman Congressmen chose the Public Works and Transportation Committee that new seats had to be created, making Public Works the largest committee in Congress. (Jackie Calmes, "Tables Turned: Candidates of Change in 1992 Find Congress Reforms Them Instead," The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 1994, p. A1.) Term limits, by eliminating incentives for careerism, would curb reelection-oriented federal spending which is targeted to particular districts but contributes little to the general welfare of the country.

Term limits thus provide an escape from the Faustian bargain that voters face: they know that returning an incumbent for another term may help their district, but in the long run it has dire institutional and national consequences. Long-term officeholders, less vulnerable because of a well-honed reelection machine fueled by public resources, come gradually to identify their interests more and more with those of the federal government. There is a strong correlation between length of legislative service and votes in favor of more public expenditures. (See James L. Payne, The Culture of Spending (San Francisco: ICS Press, 1991), chapters 5, 11.) Political scientist John Armor, for example, has calculated the effects of term limits on congressional votes by eliminating the votes of senior legislators who would be locked out by term limits and replacing them by the proportion of votes for and against legislation made by junior members of their parties (in order to simulate the additional, hypothetical term- limited legislators); he found that the President's 1993 tax increase would not have made it through the House, while last year's Penny- Kasich federal spending cuts would have passed the House overwhelmingly. (See Pat Buchanan, "Term Limits Revolution," The Washington Times, July 7, 1994, p. A16.) Longer-serving Congressmen are also more hostile generally to other fiscally conservative measures, such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, (Payne, The Culture of Spending, pp. 178-179.) and a forthcoming study by Cato Institute analysts Steve Moore and Aaron Steelman finds that term limits would push numerous other congressional vote totals in a more fiscally conservative direction.

Term limits would restore respect for Congress.

Use of discreditable tactics like pork-barreling that have powerful electoral effects is a major cause of declining respect for and satisfaction with Congress. Term limits would arrest the decline of congressional legitimacy, ensuring that Members would be more truly representative of their communities, and would renew American citizenship by writing into law the principle that people can govern themselves -- and that this representation falls within the competence of any reasonably interested and well-educated citizen. The objection that long service is essential to understanding the complex legislative process says far more about the current congressional system than it does about the concept of term limits.

In short, the best way to reinvigorate government is to bring in legislators with fresh outlooks, new ideas, and better incentives. Term limits are the only realistic way to change the culture of legislative careerism in Congress -- a culture that undermines the public interest.

Sign the term limit petition here

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

Experts say Obama won't stop Eagle Ford Shale

Experts say Obama won't stop Eagle Ford Shale boom
BY DIANNA WRAY - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Originally published November 10, 2012 at 10:12 P.M., updated November 11, 2012 at 7:16 A.M.
In the wake of the election, some in Texas fear President Obama's second-term energy policies will end the oil and gas boom of the Eagle Ford Shale.
However, industry analysts and longtime insiders say the Eagle Ford Shale play and the oil boom in Texas shouldn't be much impacted in the second term of Obama's administration.
John Braudway, a longtime oil industry man in Karnes County, is not in favor of Obama's policies, but he doesn't expect the president will do much to curtail production of oil and natural gas in the Eagle Ford Shale.
"It's not in his interest to shut it down," Braudway said.
During his re-election campaign, Obama made becoming less dependent on foreign oil a part of his platform, while touting the benefits of the wealth of cheap natural gas now flowing in this country and noting how shale plays have helped the country as it continues to creep toward economic recovery.....
Read the whole story here
http://m.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2012/nov/10/dw_efs_election_111112_193592/? business&local-business

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tis a sad day indeed

The end of the Hostess Twinkie may be near, the bakers strike was just the last nail in the coffin. Quick, maybe we can get a HUGE  government bailout. Isn't the Twinkie one of those All-American Icons that shouldn't be allowed to fail?  What am I going to smear all over myself when I put on the tin-foil hat?

This is a national crisis, we need to mobilize in the streets to save the Twinkie!

Gimme a break, the country is going to hell in a handbasket.  I hope the bakers union is happy about screwing 18,000 people out of a job.  There are petitions on the White House website, some with over 100,000 signatures, from different states petitioning for secession from the union. Ron Paul speaks about a larger looming financial crisis in his farewell speech to Congress and all we can think about is Twinkies

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ron Paul's Farewell to Congress speech.

Farewell to Congress Thursday, November 15, 2012– by Ron Paul

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I'll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36-year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start. To read more click the link below.

http://www.thedailybell.com/28295/Ron-Paul-Farewell-to-Congress

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

Today, November 11, 2012 is Veterans Day here in the U.S and Remeberance Day in the U.K..  Today is also the birthdate General George S. Patton Jr. (Nov. 11, 1885 - Dec. 21, 1945), who is probably one of the most famous soldiers of all time.

I wish to express my Thanks and Gratitude to all those that served before myself, those that served concurrently with me and those that served afterwards and continue to do so. From one veteran to another, I salute you.

Thank You

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fiscal Cliff

Just the latest financial crisis that needs to be dealt with, more of the same old stuff.  Its amazing that they keep regurgitating the same crap, stick it in a slightly different wrapper and people just eat it right up like its actually something new.

Just heard a story on the news about "Internet Addiction", the latest in a long line of addictions that the pseudo-medical field decided to validate to explain a basic lack of self-control.

What are we doing to ourselves?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Its Over...

I am writing this post between traffic, I apologize if it becomes dis-jointed.

The elections are finally over.  From everything I saw this morning, the popular vote was pretty close, the electoral was not.  For us here on the oil fields the future has now become uncertain. The oil companies have slowed operations to see what the outcome of the elections would be.  While there haven't been any indications that rural fracking operations would be affected, ones in more populous areas of the midwest may be.  

The bigger concern is the erosion of of our Second Amendment Rights, many people I know are purchasing weapons and more importantly ammunition that they fear will be in short supply soon.

We aren't sure what the short term future will hold,  we are just going to buckle down, continue the preps we have been making and hold on to our butts.

The gate is getting pretty busy, more later.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why can't I stay out of the Sun?

It's been a nice couple days here. The RV is positioned so that I get shade all day long without the awning being out. Most of the time a nice breeze is blowing to keep me cool and the scenery is nice. This morning it was so foggy that I couldn't see over 300 feet and could even see my shadow against the fog with the lights on behind me.  Traffic actually slowed down for awhile, a few gravel trucks went by with their flashers on and quite a few people used the apron of the gate road as a place to turn around, and being that we have the only light tower near the road for miles we were like a beacon in the mist.  After the sun came up I turned off our generator to check to oil and left it off for almost an hour. The fog kept things nice and cool and the silence was beautiful.  As used to the drone of the thing as we are, sometimes its nice not to hear it.

Still working some bugs out of the new coach. The antenna wire for the television had become brittle and broke a few days ago. I need to fix the battery tie-downs and I will probably check the air filter and plugs soon too.  Most things seem to be small maintenance items. The old girl just needs a little TLC.

I've had a few thing rattling around the old noggin as of late about doing the gate guard thing. The list kinda goes like this:

1.) This definately is not for everyone.
2.) Talking to the safety guys is super-beneficial.
3.) Don't get attached to your Ez-Up.
4.) Flexibility is a must.

The hours can be brutal. Working 80+ hours a week, most of them outside, with no days off takes its toll. Working out a schedule quickly helps, so does going to town. Sometimes a little break is good. Being able to move reasonably well is an absolute must. The other day I was running backwards up the road towards the pad so that I could get trucks off the busy highway. One of the truck drivers told me he had never seen a gate guard do that before. There is a bit of physicality required to do this.

We have made a habit to find out who the safety guys are pretty quickly when we start a new gate.  We are H2S awareness certified and may get "fit test" certified soon too if the guys have the time.  Fit testing is to make sure you can put on a gas mask properly in case you happen to be involved in an H2S event. These classes don't cost a thing and the information can save your life.

I swear the wind in South Texas likes to eat ez-ups.  In our case, it was a wind "out of nowhere" that was the demise of both of ours.  The first one was lifted straight up into the air and then thrown over the top of the RV. The little ropes that come attached to them just aren't enough. The second one got rolled across the road and seemed to survive okay, we put it back up and tied it back down for the remainder of that gate assignment.  I even started removing the tarp when the winds picked up to prevent it from happening again. When we put it up on our next gate, a wind hit it and folded the frame like it was made of paper. A little duct tape got it through the week but it didn't survive being taken down again.

Staying flexible and keeping an open mind is an absolute must, things can change here in a matter of moments and being able to roll with the punches is an absolute requirement. Traffic can go from a nice slow pace to rush hour in a large city in seconds.

There are other things that doing this requires, a good first aid kit, a good set of tools, multimeter, a sense of humor, just to name a few.  When I was on the roof, the guys ging through the gate seemed to be entertained by it. Maybe it was because I was laying on my stomach waiting for Toie to hand me a tool and I was waving, who knows.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Next?!?

Toie felt compelled to wake me up early today because she saw some coyotes (4 legged kind) moving around the light tower and on the lease road "behind" us. There were 3 of them and one looked like a large male, he was busy marking the road and giving the place a pretty good sniff. I guess they had been hanging around for a bit and had been pretty vocal while checking out the area. I tried getting their attention with the game caller to no avail, I guess they couldn't hear it over the noise from the generator. I tried laying back down for the short time before I actually had to get up. That was a mistake, just a few minutes after I laid on the couch we had a sand truck driver come down the hill and miss the turn to go out the gate. He stopped before he got off the road but he came pretty close to our light tower. Well, he must have scared it because a few minutes after that all the lights went out. I got back up and went outside to turn on the little lights and check the light tower to see what was wrong with it. It was still running, the circuit breaker seemed OK, the ballast indicators were lit, just no lights. So I shut it down to let it cool down for about a half an hour because these lights won't restart while they are hot. During which time I discovered the starting battery on our coach was discharged to the point that the horn won't even blow. Keep in mind this all happened between 3:30 and 4:30 this morning. At about 5am I restarted the light tower, turned back on the lights and it had no problems until I shut them back off at 7:45 this morning. Now all I have to do is re-charge that battery.  What a morning!!



Monday, October 29, 2012

Tablets, Generators and other dis-jointed thoughts.

Tablets.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, sometimes I think its just the opposite.  I usually post to the blog using my Acer Iconia Tab A200 and most of the time it does a wonderful job of doing so.  I have noticed a few issues with it.

Pop-up menus. For the most part are a huge pain. That reason alone is why I don't post more pictures on the blog.

Keyboard interface.  While the on-screen keyboard is larger than one on a phone, its less forgiving.

Status bar sensitivity. This is an operating system issue, Its way to easy to hit it while trying to type and change all kinds of things.

Other than these few issues and a few others it seems to be useful overall.  The Kindle App is awesome. I check Amazon every couple days to see what they have for free (it changes) and download anything that might spark my interest.  I have downloaded a whole bunch of cookbooks, Native American stories, The Art of War and other titles.  If you ever get the chance, check it out.

I am not writing this blog as a review, just my take on how it works for me.


Generators.

When we were placed on our current gate we had a serious issue with the company supplied generator. It seems that the voltage regulator had worked its way loose and fallen into the case and was dancing around in there causing some rather interesting issues with the power being delivered to our coach.  The Progressive Industries EMS PT30C did its job beautifully and cut the power as soon as the issue arose.  A quick call to our service person and a few houra later we were up and running again.

New Coach.

The "new to us" coach is working out beautifully, it is a 1997 Flair by Fleetwood that is 28 feet long.  We figure we have between 11 and 12 more feet of living space than the old one due to us using the sleeper as storage and the dinette as the bed. It also has a 4.0kw backup generator with only 403 hours on it, while the low hours look great, not running a generator can be harmful to it. Luckily, it has been ran recently and starts great.  I'm going to change the oil and plug though just to be safe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Job Security

I found an interesting article today while looking up a few phone numbers.  

Economist puts Eagle Ford lifespan at 16+ years.

The Eagle Ford Shale should have a 16-year productive lifespan that could grow as drilling capabilities improve, a Texas A&M University economist told San Antonio business leaders Thursday.... To read more, click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Gate and New other things

It's been quite a scramble the last few days.  We were recently informed that our next gate will be a long term one, possibly as long as a year.  We are scheduled to be placed on Saturday if everything goes as planned.

Some of you may have noticed that I changed the photo of our RV at the top of the blog. Thats because recent developments have forced us to purchase another coach.  The old coach was traded in towards our new home, a 1997 Fleetwood Flair.

Two things really affected our decision to replace the old beast a few months ahead of schedule, first being the long term potential for our next assigmment and second the old beast had suffered some damage from a recent windstorm and was quickly becoming unlivable.

I was shocked and amazed at the amount of "stuff" we had crammed into that small little space.  We are still scrambling to get it all in its place before we move again.

Its getting late and tomorrow will be another long day.

Be Safe Everyone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back in the yard

We are back in the yard waiting on a new gate. We were finished with our gate yesterday and nothing was available immediately so we were told to return to the yard. We decided to go to the Karnes City yard this time for a few reasons. One being that we were closer to it than Whitsett, and two being is we like the area. We were lucky enough to get the last spot in the yard, two more RV's showed up just minutes after we pulled in.  This yard is quite a bit smaller than the one in Whitsett, and much closer to the road.  It gets pretty noisy with the truck traffic right behind the rig.

Its been a long day, I hope everyone is having a good time.  Will post more soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Its that time of year.


Andy over at My Old RV has an excellent blog post today about the availability of Gate Guard jobs this time of year. I won't recreate it, but if you want to read it you can do so by clicking here.

Things have definitely slowed a bit here and we count ourselves lucky by having a gate. We had planned it out to spend a few of the summer months here just for that reason. It's easy to forget that up north it is quickly turning to winter and the "Winter Texans" are on the way south. I guess that we are in the same category this year being as it is one of transition for us.

We are still in our first year of full timing and so far it has been quite an adventure. We realize, now, that this is just the tiniest tip of the iceberg, so to speak and that many more adventures are in our future. We are learning that we really like the San Antonio area, not enough to re-invest into a sticks and bricks lifestyle, but enough to make it one of our winter-time favorites.

Toie and I were discussing satellite TV the other day after she saw a post on Facebook from Edgar Hansen about it being crab season in Alaska. We were weighing the option of doing it now or waiting until we get into a newer coach. She told me about a satellite setup that one of the ladies at a gate guard luncheon had told her about and how she thought that would be the way to go being as there isn't any real setup to it. Place the unit where you want it, turn it on and it does the rest. I've seen what she is talking about and will definitely research it further as an option if our newer coach doesn't have satellite installed.

We are hoping that our next gate is a longer term than the ones we have been on previously. One reason is so we can save more quickly for that newer coach and another is so we can setup mail service.  We still haven't decided if we are going to keep our residency in Iowa or change it to an RV friendlier state next year. 

We are digging the full-time RV lifestyle though.  We may check out options for the northwest soon, the freedom is so exciting.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Changes of the season... My God it's freezing in here.

It's easy to forget that most of the rest of the country is now experiencing the phenomenom known as Fall.  There already has been a freeze warning in the part of Iowa we came from and it snowed at my sister's place in Montana. With the continued warm temperatures and occasional rain shower the weather has been nothing less than fantastic here.

I decided the other day to get up on the roof and clean out the drain channels for the roof air conditioner and give it an overall look.  We hadn't been using it due to the channels becoming clogged and causing it to drip water inside. Besides, the second a/c had been keeping up pretty well with assistance from our big fan.

Everything checked out up top, I got rid of the few insect nests on the underside of the cover and buttoned everything back up.  I plugged the roof a/c back in, ran the extension from the generator for the second a/c and fired EVERYTHING back up.

I was pleasantly surprised the the roof unit is quieter than it has been recently and with both units running it never got over 72 inside yesterday when the outside thermometer was reading over 90 and we had the door open.  At 4:30am, I had to turn off the main unit because it had gotten so cold in here, chill sides of beef cold, without use of the fan.

I took some time yesterday morning and re-adjusted the lights on the tower, I haven't been real happy with the pattern and I also wanted a larger area lit up.  I am now lighting up an area large enough to cover the rv and most of the area around us, even part of the county road that passes us.

The EMS PT30C from Progressive Industries has been working great!  It's been nice to be able to see at a glance how much power the rv is consuming.  And the piece of mind knowing that if the generator should have a problem, we are protected.  It's not a matter of if it happens, but when.

Toie is going to the Ladies Luncheon today in Kenedy and I hope she has a good time.

Have a Great Day! If you are on a gate, please be safe.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why do the cows stare at the dog?

I've noticed an interesting phenomenom going on between Moe and any neighboring cattle.  On our first gate, it was the first time that Moe had seen cattle up close.  He first noticed the juveniles in a pasture to the south of us, so I walked him nearer the fence so that he could see and smell them better.  At first the cows were a bit put off, but then they started showing up daily looking over at us. Once they got to see the dog they would move away.  Then the ranch manager moved some adults into the pasture that was behind our rv, I actually witnessed Moe do a double take at the much larger cows.  While the adults never took the interest that the juveniles did, it was still funny to witness.

Fast forward a few weeks to our present gate.  Moe spotted the cattle when I took him out.  I walked him towards the fence and the cattle moved away, I could almost sense the disappointment coming from him.  A few days later, I take Moe out again and there are a dozen cattle, adults and juveniles, lined up at the fence watching the dog walk towards the back of the pad, when he disappeared behind the rv, that peaked their interest.  They waited and watched and when he laid down a couple more came over for a look. They must have watched him for 15 minutes.  When I walked him over towards them, they stayed and let us get within about 30 feet, at which point Moe got so excited that he was wagging his tail so hard that his whole body was wagging as well.

It is so weird.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The ways the wind blows. Life stuff......

Its been a uneventful few days here. Besides counting the vultures that perch on a nearby high tension tower (67 two nights ago) and logging traffic in and out, it's been pretty quiet. The wind did actually work itself up pretty good the last few days. It kicked up so much dust at one point that we couldn't see the pad.

I did have an interesting experience with one of the local birds yesterday.  The bird landed not 6 feet from me, hopped under my chair to get under the rv, popped out from under the steps with a huge moth in its mouth, then hopped under the table and back under the chair I sit in to the place it landed in the first place, then flew off.  That is the closest anything like that has gotten to me.

We also had a scorpion wander across the mat last night.  The thing was about 2 inches long and headed for the rv when Toie spotted it.  She grabbed Moe and kept him away while I took care of it.  When it crawled back under the mat near where she was, she made me kill it. The scorpions here won't kill you, but they can put one heck of a hurtin' on ya.

I touched on the subject of caterers in a previous post and at that time we had pretty much nothing but a really good experience .  Lately I wish we had that caterer back.  Some of the food they bring out here for the boys is absolute dreck. While we do appreciate being included and getting a free meal, it should at least be
edible. We have even caught them serving the same food twice in one day.  It's been absolutely hit and miss, we never now how its going to be.

It kinda hit me the other day on how many people take interest in the old beasty. I had a 10 minute conversation with one guy about it and we have multiple offers to buy it when we replace it.  Who would have thought that a 35 year old rig would generate so much interest.  When we are through with it I would like to find someone that would either restore her or give the drivetrain a second life.  She  runs that good.

I repaired the CB the other day. The old magnetic mount for the antenna had failed  so I replaced it with a mirror mount style that I mounted to the roof rack on the rv.  We can hear the truck drivers and if need be, call for help.

On a different note, a few weeks ago an act of extreme violence was commited against a gate guard about 75 - 100 miles from where we presently are. While there aren't a lot of details available, most of us are changing the way we handle the gate, and certain kinds of traffic at night.  A light tower at the gate is quickly becoming a necessity in certain areas.  I hope everyone near that area remains safe.


Have a safe day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My buddy Dave

Before we left Iowa to do the gate guard thing here in Texas I worked with my buddy Dave. Dave is one of those guys that will tell you like it is, EXACTLY the way he sees it. There is no being thin skinned or overly sensitive when Dave is around, he'll eat your lunch.

Dave is also one of those guys that won't hesitate to help a friend or co-worker in trouble.  Underneath that gruff exterior and above his chicken legs beats a heart of pure gold.

I'm writing this post for a couple reasons. First to wave a big ole' hello and how the
heck are ya. And second, just to poke the bear, because deep down, he likes it.

HEY DAVE!  F#¥€ Off!!

We miss you, call us!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My two cents....

I hve been wanting to put my 2 cents into our blog for quite awhile now but really didn't know what to write about.  So I decided I would ramble on about our trip to the gulf.  We had a great time..... I mostly enjoyed sitting in the ocean having the waves come up and litterally push me over.  Although Moe didn't care for the waves whatsoever....  I was kind of nervous about the sign that said jellyfish present.  After actually seeing a few of these Moon Jellies as they are called I had great reservations going into the ocean until we went down to Padre Isaland.  That's where I sat in the water.

 I had a great time at the Texas State Aquarium.  I cannot wait until we can take our grandson Kaydn there.  He will have such a blast.  

 Anyone who visits the Gulf really should take the time to go pay their respects to the USS Lexington.  It is well worth the money.   Make sure your legs are in great shape cause you go up and down a million steps.   My legs hurt so bad for two days afterwards but, it was worth the pain.

 All in all it was fantastic especially since I got to spend it with Bryan....

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rush Hour

It's funny the things you think about when you're sitting alone watching the world go by.  Shift changes can be busy times, a whole lot of vehicles come in and then a short time later, a bunch come out. Oil field rush hour I like to call it.

Our friendly neighborhood vultures are about the same way.  At last count we had 47 of them roosting on a nearby high tension tower. It makes for quite a spectacular display in the mornings when they all take off for the day. The result being a raptor rush hour. The smaller birds don't seem to enjoy this as much as I do.  I even got a low level fly over yesterday when one wanted a closer look.

The nearby cattle are never in a rush and the local turkeys dislike speeders on the county road next to where we are.  They have even slowed a few down by running towards the road and then flying up near the offending vehicle.  This is great entertainment for few vultures that hang around in the trees across the street. I call them "the goon squad" and have even gotten into a staring contest a couple of times with them.

The 30 or so hogs usually rush to cross the road between us and the well because they don't like the noise or the traffic. I haven't had the honor of seeing them yet but I think they checked us out one of the first nights we were here, the smell was something that has to be experienced first hand, there is no describing it.

Right now its about that time when the vultures have returned to their roost, the cows should be by soon and we get a little "quiet" time.

Have a Great Day everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Occupying time

I've been keeping mental notes lately on how we spend our time while we are working a gate and there are a few things I've noticed.

First, television takes up quite a bit.  We watch local over the air stations and like ME TV quite a bit.

Second, Computer time like Facebook, Words with Friends, Blogging, playing the PSP or Wii
helps pass the time.

Toie and I both read the 50 shades of Gray series.

Talking to some of the delivery drivers passes some of the time.

And here is what I think is the best one:

Reprogramming your electronic game caller to see of you can get the cows to look at you.

You know you've arrived when you are trying to entertain the local animals.

And now I know why the dog looks at me like he does!

Have a great day everyone

Monday, September 17, 2012

Night Shift and a big bug just hit me in the nose.

It seems funny that on our first gate Toie had the night shift because of the South Texas heat during the day. Since then, I have been working most nights and I have enjoyed it for the most part.

Light towers are a mixed blessing. It's nice to have the abundance of light so that you can see any critters coming from a farther distance.  The bugs usually don't bother you as much and the truck drivers can see you more clearly.  The down side is the extra noise and all that light and noise make it difficult to have a window open on cool nights.

Light towers also impart a sense of security.  for example, during frac'ing the light tower provides a well lit area and a slightly busy road. The smaller lights leave me feeling slightly clausterphobic.

The old beast is starting to show her age.  The engine and transmission run like a champ but we are starting to have issues with the house end of her.  Since we are closer to a bigger town I am going to have to pick up a few things to shape her up a bit.  The rear bumper that Rob and I installed is working out great but the extra weight of the generator is causing some issues with the frame and floor, which in turn causes issues with the door.  The generator may have to become someone else's project.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Living the Dream

I haven't had a whole lot of time to sit down and put fingers to keyboard and update the blog.  Our last gate was a short one, only lasting about a week. We moved a few days ago and have been settling in.

We had a coyote walk right by the RV tonight, its the first one we have seen close up.  I don't mind seeing a single one but I don't want to see a pack.

Ez-up number two finally gave up.  It had been tossed across a road on our first gate and a strong gust of wind after being set up on our second gate, buckled the frame.  I did get it to last the week we were there with a little duck tape, but the frame didn't survive being taken down again.  The lesson learned was that the cheapy ones are just that, cheap.  I am now looking for a good quality replacement because Toie is only going to give me one more shot at this.

We received our licenses from Texas the other day.  It feels good to have them in hand. We just have to find someone with a laminating machine to seal them up.

We are in a beautiful area right now.Hopefully we get to stay awhile.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Gate

We are on a new gate after spending a few glorious days on the coast and its fantastic to be back to work.

Corpus Christi was just what the doctor ordered for a few days off.  We left the RV in Whitsett and dropped Moe off at the vet for a few days and then we enjoyed our much needed break.

We ended up staying at the Best Western by the Marina and had a wonderful stay. The view from our room on the 7th floor was spectacular and the room came with vouchers for complimentary drinks each night of our stay.  The view from the lounge on the 11th floor was just the way to start an evening with a free drink in hand.

We took the time to see both the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington during our stay and spent lots of time on the beach.  We are excited and already planning our next trip.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Closed Out

Our first gate ended yesterday and we are spending a few days on the coast.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spotty Internet Access

We have been having slight problems with having a consistant and reliable connection.  We are working on remedying this and hopefully will be able to post again soon

Friday, August 10, 2012

End of an Era

This excerpt is pulled from the myoldrv.com blog and begins as follows:

Occam's Razor By andyj, on August 10th, 2012

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Just been mighty weary the last few days with new restrictions that must be followed under threat of dismissal. The Message Forums that were just toddling toward a first anniversary were really starting to develop some old school character. A spirit of true benevolent volunteerism, a pervading attitude of step up and pay it forward whenever possible and overall unselfish nature were pleasing to my mind. Took ten months of fairly intense activity on mine and Miss Kathy’s end to get it up and running before it was murdered by yet another smothering layer of bureaucracy. It was not an easy decision to pull the plug on such a promising and rewarding project. Pleas were made to just make some adjustments and continue the Forum.

Read the rest here

http://www.myoldrv.com/?p=4982

Iowa to Texas... Day 2


I promised awhile back that I would write about our trip from Iowa to Texas I am not writing this as a manual or how-to guide, this is just to document parts of our journey. I can not and/or will not recommend that anyone takes a 35 year old motor home and attempts a trip like this one particularly in the summer months. Whenever Toie and I travel with more than one vehicle, we make use of a pair of 22 channel handi-talkies. We have found that they are easier and safer than fumbling with a cell phone and I highly recommend them when traveling with multiple vehicles

We awoke to a beautiful morning at the Stanton, Missouri KOA. One of the things we really liked was that even though it is situated close to I-44, we couldn't hear the traffic. It hit me like a ton of bricks what we were doing that morning, taking a relatively untested vehicle on a trip that still had about a thousand miles left in it. Toie and I talked about it and i finally calmed my nerves enough to begin the second leg of our journey.

After we broke camp, we made a quick run along the frontage road back to the Flying J in Sullivan to refuel. Once back out on the road we quickly got back into a nice pace moving with traffic quite nicely. When we neared Fort Leonard Wood traffic started to pick up quite a bit and we decided that if we were going to stop, we would wait until we put a few miles between us and the military base.

If you haven't ever driven I-44 through Missouri it really is a beautifully scenic drive, I found myself enjoying the landscape and the easy drive that the highway affords. We ended up making a quick stop near Lebanon, Missouri so that Moe could stretch his legs and Toie wanted to take a break and get herself a fresh fountain soda. The issue I had on our first day with the brakes dragging seemed to have cleared up. Everything was working wonderfully, we continued towards our stop in Joplin.

We reached Joplin early in the day and again our campground of choice was close to the highway,we had decided earlier that we would stay at the KOA just off of I-44 and that decision ended up being quite serendipitous. When I exited the highway and applied the brakes I heard that heart-sickening sound of metal on metal.  I nursed the RV to the campground and then set out to find out what my options were to get us fixed up and back on the road.

I had to let the rv cool for a bit before I could crawl under it and take a look at the front brakes.  It was just as I had feared, the drivers side brake pads were worn to the metal backing on the pads. I had sold the bulk of my tools a few months before leaving Iowa and I was seriously regretting that decision at this moment.  We quickly combed the listings on Google for a mobile mechanic (I did not want to move the rv and risk damaging the front rotors) and found one that did mobile rv repair. A few phone calls back and forth and it was agreed that I would run and get the parts due to the fact that the mechanic thought he may be late arriving and since I have 20+ years automotive parts experience, I could get exactly what I wanted. 

Jeff arrived around 7pm and got right to work.  The left side had completely worn the inner pad and the outer was on its last legs.  If you are ever in the Joplin area and need any kind of repair, I highly recommend Jeff and I am providing his contact information at the end of this post.  Luck would have it that we got away with just hanging a new set of pads, but the next time the front wheels come off I will be replacing the left front caliper and may also do the rotors as well. While not very damaged, the left front rotor did end up with a little scoring on the inside surface.

Parts and labor came to LESS than $160.00 and like I said earlier, Jeff was excellent,  he fit us into his schedule last minute and was friendly and we got extremely lucky by finding him.

JR mobile RV repair.
Phone #

To be continued....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The trip. Day One

I promised awhile back that I would write about our trip from Iowa to Texas.  I am not writing this as a manual or how-to guide, this is just to document parts of our journey.  I can not and/or will not recommend that anyone takes a 35 year old motorhome and attempts a trip like this one particularly in the summer months. Whenever Toie and I travel with more than one vehicle, we make use of a pair of 22 channel handi-talkies.  We have found that they are easier and safer than fumbling with a cell phone.

Our first day was planned out and mapped months in advance. the only thing that changed was our choice of campgrounds.  We went from Ainsworth, Iowa to Stanton, Missouri, a trip of about 250 miles, in the course of about 6 hours. We fueled the car and the motorhome at Four Corners in Ainsworth at about 9am and proceeded on our way. I probably didn't start to relax until we were south of Mount Pleasant, when the rv and I finally seemed to get into our groove. The rest of our trip out of Iowa went smoothly. On trips south we always seem to stop at the Flying J just south of the Iowa-Missouri border on US61 and this time was no different. When we stopped the old beast had been running quite well, the temperature gauge showed in the good range, oil pressure was good and the charging system was working top-notch.  I did notice that there was a slight drag to the brakes when we pulled out and got back on the highway, but once underway everything seemed fine. We did not travel through St.Louis instead we chose to leave US 61 at Wentzville and travel the two lane highways to St. Clair, where we picked up I-44.  Taking this route saved us about 90 miles and avoided the heavy traffic around St. Louis.  The first road (Highway W) was somewhat of a challenge being that it was quite narrow AND heavily traveled by large truck traffic. With portion of Highway W we traveled being only about 13 miles, it had to be the worst stretch of road we traveled this whole trip.  In addition to being narrow, the road subjected myself and the rv to quite a bit of rough treatment, The posted speed limit of 55 is much to fast for certain parts of this road, a lesson I quickly learned when everything started flying around behind me.  I have to admit that other than a few issues with the road condition, the scenery was beautiful and I wouldn't hesitate to drive this section again in a much smaller vehicle. Once we crossed I-70, the two lane highways became much smoother and scenic. Washington, Missouri was quite a treat, especially driving over the bridge coming into the city.  We made a quick stop so that I could check the torque of the lugnuts and were quickly on our way once again.  Once we made it to I-44 I made a beeline to the Flying J in Sullivan so that we could scout out a place to spend the night.  We decided on th KOA in Stanton because of its easy access to I-44.  The KOA was wonderful, we were treated to a nice quiet spot  in the rear, away from most of the other campers.


To be continued.....

Friday, August 3, 2012

Food and other happenings

I have been trying to post for the last few days with no success.  Our internet access has been a little spotty again, I may have to upgrade to a directional antenna for the Wilson Cell Booster.  I have to say that I am more than impressed with its performance thus far considering the nearest sprint tower is about 30 miles away.

I mentioned in a previous post about the food being delivered to the site for the "frack" crew.  The meals we received were absolutely amazing. In addition to the bbq pork chops and chicken & sausage we were blessed with steak, meatloaf, hamburgers and crawfish ettoufle(sp).  That doesn't include the bbq sandwich that was given to me by one of the vendors.  While we only had catering in once a day there are gates that see them multiple times a day.  The amount of food contained in these meals was plentiful and quality was excellent.   I can't imagine what the guards that have catering come through more than once a day do with all that food.

I finally talked Toie into getting one of those "Magic Bullet" blenders that you see on tv.  Its great, its small size makes it a cinch to store and its power requirements are small at 250 watts so it can be easily run off of a 400 watt inverter.  While not suited for any "heavy" blending, it does exactly what they advertise.

We had a casualty yesterday when we had a dust devil collide with our easy-up that was next to the rv. Other than the easy up frame being destroyed and a small dent in the side of the rv there was no damage.  I did have to get up on the roof to disentangle a few extension cords that had wrapped themselves around the refridgerator vent.  Toie is much more upset over it than I am, my reasoning being that I would much prefer to have a 99 dollar easy up destroyed by the wind than a 500 dollar awning that would have caused some real damage had it flipped over the rv.

We have had temperatures in the triple digits over the past few days so I have been going inside at about 2pm and just listening for the bell until about 7:30 and then coming back outside to stay.  The evenings here are just wonderful, we have had a gentle breeze most evenings and it makes it so pleasant to just sit outside.

Yesterday during my shift and not long after the easy up was destroyed I had the pleasure of seeing the ugliest cow i have ever seen.  There is a pasture that is right behind the rv and  I  walked around to open the dump valve and was quite surprised to find some cattle so close to us.  I have seen them in the adjoining pastures but never behind the rv.

I'm gonna post this before I lose it again...


Have a GREAT day!!!!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Floppy Hat Club

It's official, I've applied, paid my dues and joined the "Big Floppy Hat Club" After being out here a few days I quickly realized that since I take the bulk of the day shift, I was getting fried by the sun. Since I'm not one that likes to go from the heat to the a/c repeatedly, I spend most of the time out of doors and if I'm lucky, under the awning. See now, I said "under the awning" and the wind immediately picked up to the point that I may have to store it way for a bit.
I had to lower the antennas yesterday when the wind came up, adding the small TV antenna to the upper mast really increased the sway in the wind and everything is performing about the same at the lower height.
Internet access has been a little spotty. I thought I was getting a little rfi off of the light plant but I'm not so sure at the moment. Its 5am, the lights are on and I have access
Toie ran into Jourdanton yesterday to stock us up a little on fresh fruits and to do a little laundry. Everything is very expensive in Tilden and since the larger city is reasonably close at about 30 miles away and prices are a little better it just makes sense. Besides, she can get her Whataburger fix that way(the whole time we were in Iowa she wished they would open one close to us).

I'll post more later, its getting busy.

Have a great day

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Muy Caliente!

According to the evening news we hit 100 here in the Tilden area today. It was warm to say the least. I was lucky to see rabbits running across the road and early this morning I was treated to a serenade by the local coyote population. The "lake" out front is finally drying up and its less than a third the size it was when we got here. All in all a wonderful day.

We also had a few hiccups. Our generator shut itself down just as it was getting dark, luckily I had fired up the light plant so I didn't have to work in the dark to get the genset running again. I had Toie call our support guy and let him know what was going on as I was trying to figure out why it shut down. The positive battery terminal melted in half, there is even a little drop of lead on top of the battery. The positive cable was extremely hot, almost to hot to touch. The generator had shut itself off I thought because the battery had become disconnected. Boy was I wrong, when I touched the cable to the battery I got a nice arc out of it, which would have been great if I wanted to weld, but shouldn't have happened with the genset off (I had turned the switch to off). I grabbed a light and went to take a better look at things and discovered that the insulation on the cable had been worn through by the vibration of the generator while it ran. I got the positive cable removed/disconnected from where it had shorted. This looks to be a potential common problem with these generators seeing how they place the battery box and run the cables. I think my daughter had gotten into my toolbox before we left and acquired my electrical tape, so I had to improvise a bit. I took a piece of blue pex (crosslinked poly ethylene 1/2 inch water hose)a few inches long and sleeved the damaged part of the cable, using duck tape to secure it in place and then using a pair of vise-grips to hold the cable to the battery post. It worked and the besides a little belt squeal when first started, everything seemed to be running good.

We also discovered that our light tower seems to interfere with our internet. The lights must be giving off a little RFI.

Oh well,  you can't sweat the small stuff.  I only have  a few hours before Toie gets up and I want everything to be as trouble free as possible. 

Almost forgot.  The catering guys here are awesome. Last night it was barbecue pork chops, I wonder whats in store for us tonight?

(Btw.  It was chicken and sausage with green beans and mashed taters).


Friday, July 20, 2012

First Gate.

We got our first gate today and its been tremendous. Everyone has been very nice and we seem to have a real nice setup. Not to say it hasn't been eventful, we were in the H.E.B. getting a few groceries when we got the call. So we went to check out and the register malfunctioned, once we got out of there and headed back to the Whitsett yard, we had to play a little traffic checkers with 3 welding trucks. Once we got back to the yard and got everything situated we headed over to our gate which is near a little town named Tilden. Toie checked vehicles while I got everything setup with the RV. After I got things about the way I wanted them, I relieved Toie so that she could rest and take the evening shift which is a bit cooler. 

I'm not gonna lie, it was hot today and it will be hot tomorrow and for the foreseeable future it will be hot.  Larry(our support guy) asked me to check the oil on our company generator once a day for him so I will be doing that early in the am while it is still cool.  When we got here we discovered that some of the people here before left a beat up chair and a green indoor outdoor carpet thingy so I am putting them to use. Toie thinks I'm a little goofy for trying to resurrect that chair

We are on a 24 hour gate, that means that there is activity ALL the time.  Since we arrived we have checked in and out quite a few vehicles and as of this moment its pretty quiet. As soon as I wrote that last sentence, the clipboard fell off the table, scattering 55 pages of logs all over the ground, my phone fell out of my pocket and onto the ground, immediately falling apart, then I had a few vehicles go through and I went over and started our light tower, which has a sound all its own. So basically at this moment I am running two generators, one for lights and one for the coach. The sound of them both could put you to sleep. I would have to say that we are on a really good gate so far from what I've experienced. I'll let you know how I really feel in a few days. LOL.


It's a beautiful morning

Good Morning!!!

We woke up this morning and couldn't see our windows, the dew point must be high. I had to remove the "where am I" widget for a few reasons. The first being that when I checked this morning, it had us back in Iowa and second, now that we are done "traveling", we don't need to constantly update where we are.  Anyone that needs to know already knows exactly where we are.

The couple that pulled in after us yesterday must have just been dropping off their rig.  They were here when we ran across the highway for a minute and when we got back they were gone.  Today we run to Pleasonton and we are going to restock while we are there.  Maybe we will get lucky and be able to run to Corpus Christi this weekend so Toie can dip her toes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Well I better be getting moving before she kicks my butt!

Have a GREAT day!!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We've arrived

We made it into Whitsett today just after noon.  When we arrived we were the only ones in the yard so we had our choice of spots.  As of this writing we have been joined by another couple that just pulled in.  The weather here is fantastic, there is a cool breeze  blowing, the birds are singing, I somehow managed to get prickly pear thorns in my finger already and I swear Toie is doing gymnastics inside the RV.

There is a bit of paperwork to be filled out and we have to run to Pleasonton to be fingerprinted tomorrow. 

Well I better get to that paperwork.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Texas!!!! but where?

We left Joplin this morning in pretty good spirits.  As the morning shaped up we traveled on 69 south through Oklahoma and got a real treat with some of the views.  As we got closer to our "scheduled" stop we decided to press on a little further. Lo and behold a few minutes later we crossed into Texas.  Toie got a great pic of the welcome to Texas sign on 69/75 South.  I'll let her post that on her own.  The RV ran great today with no issues,  I plan on making a more complete posting of our trip once we are stopped for more than just an overnite.

Have a GREAT DAY!!  (And try to stay cool)

(btw. Just North of Waco)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day #2of our grand adventure

I must confess I was a bit nervous to start this new kind of adventure. Don't really hear of too many people leading this kind of lifestyle. So in my experience thus far it's been interesting to say the least.  We arrived in Joplin Missouri today around noonish.  When Bryan informed me we may need new break pads for the RV which that got the ole blood a pumpin!!!!  I was worried for a little while until Bryan got ahold of a really nice fella that's coming to our campsite to put new pads on her. He just phoned us and told Bryan he would be here in about 15 min!!!!! What a nice fella!!!!  His name is Jeff and he isn't even charging us that much for doing it!  Makes me feel good knowing that there are still people out there that will help someone when needed.  We plan on getting to the southern tip of Oklahoma tomarrow for Bryan only wants to take the ole maiden about 250 miles per day.  Which I have NO problem with.  So in closing I hope my first entry into this blog (or any blog for that matter) hasn't bored you to the extent you want to bang your head against anything.  Lots of love!!!!!

On the way.

Woke up this morning from a mostly restful nights sleep, took Moe for a short walk while Toie got herself put together. The KOA we were at is really nice and we were in the "back" of the grounds so it was really quiet. 

Last night we ran up the road a ways to see Lacey and Todd in Pacific and had a wonderful visit.  Toie even took the opportunity to give Moe a much needed bath.  He was so dirty its nice to see him white again
Today the goal was Joplin and Toie was itching to get started.

Just pulled into Joplin at the time of this posting. The first two pics are of Stanton and the last two are Joplin.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pulling Out

We received our drivers licenses today and guess what?  We are finally leaving on Monday.  Everything over the last few months has led up to this moment, and I have to admit I have a slight case of the jitters.  Yesterday I finished securing the generator to rear deck and tomorrow I will pull the Wilson Cell Booster antenna down and stow it on the roof and then put the kayaks up there on Monday right before we leave.  I don't expect to be on the road before 10am with all the last minute preparations and re-fueling the RV.  Our goal is to make it to Sullivan Missouri the first day and Miami Oklahoma the second.  I really only want to drive about 250 miles a day and I figure 5 hours a day is enough, we really don't want to be in a hurry. 

I really can't believe that the day of our departure is finally here.  We can't wait to get south and start our new life adventure.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ticks, Poison Ivy and things that make you itch

The ticks this year in Iowa have been absolutely ridiculous.  I think that Toie and I have killed over 40 so far, eleven in just one evening.  Its a creepy feeling when they crawl on you, or you have to remove them from your hair.  We have Moe on Comfortis and it seems to take care of any that get on him, we have only found one or two on him that were still alive.  The poison ivy seems to be prolific this year as well. As of this writing both of my legs are covered in a rash and its spread to my hands.  The funny thing about the poison ivy is that I know I exposed myself while removing the foliage from around the sand rail and beetle that I traded for the generator that now sits on the rear bumper of the RV.  The dogs have been my other source of exposure, they walk through it and then brush against a person.  Toie is lucky, poison ivy doesn't seem to affect her the same way it does me.


There is a post on a blog  I read regularly that touches on the subject of internet privacy. I have always said that once you put it out there, you can't get it back.  I can remember the days before the internet and Facebook, when you wanted to talk to someone you actually had to speak, or write a letter.  With the integration of social media, like Facebook, into society, everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, needs to be conscious of what they put out there. That even includes smart phones and tablets. The tablet I use is so interconnected that I have to be super diligent what I keep on it. 

I have been playing around with the layout settings on the blog, please leave me feedback on the changes I've made or changes you would like to see made.
We had to renew our drivers licenses recently and are just waiting on them to come and we are out of here and on our way. 

Have a GREAT day!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Generators and stuff

There is just something about an older onan generator that gets the blood a pumping. I don't know if its the green color or the sound of a 2 cylinder horizontally opposed motor that does it, but there is just something about it.  After having a few days to play around with the 4.0BF-3CR and kind of getting to know it, I am very satisfied with it. The bottom plate is missing and I have to find the rubber mounts for it but all the important stuff is there. 

A buddy and I tried to get it to start yesterday without any luck.  Luckily I found a resource on the inter webs for manuals and a message forum full of knowledgeable members.  I have got the manuals and troubleshooting guides at my fingertips and its only a matter of time before I get her running again. 

There are a few things that really drew me to this particular generator. First being that it does not require an external starter, the generator is the starter. Second is the simplicity of design, the ignition system is simple to diagnose and fix. Third, its rated for continuous duty, once I get it running properly, I can run it for days without worry. Most "backup" generators built today are rated for occasional use.

This is going to give me something to mess with once we are in Texas to pass the time and I can't wait to get it fixed up the way I want.  I will be posting pictures of the progress.

Have a Great Day!


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Busy, Busy

It's been a busy few days. Helped a couple good buddies down at the welding shop for a few days building a very large cnc router table.  I always enjoy an oppurtunity to weld, I find it relaxing.  The "funny" thing about the table is that we ended up turning it into a trailer so that it could be transported home.  It turned out awesome.  It's a wonderful feeling being part of something that someone else is going to use and enjoy.

I finally found a generator, it's an Onan out of another rv. I'm going to trade an old sand rail and bug for it.  I really can't wait to get my hands on it. I will do my best to keep you updated on my progress. Any advice or pointers would be greatly appreciated. I really want to have it ready before we leave for Texas.


Gen Set

Router Table
The weather here in Southeast Iowa has been pretty brutal these last few days. With temps in the 90's and the humidity way up it's been difficult for Toie to go outside at all. The thunderstorms we had last night were pretty spirited at times and they woke me up a few times. I love the way rain sounds on the roof.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blogging

It's a funny thing, it sometimes is really difficult to come up with subject matter that a reader may find interesting.  Over the last few days I have re-coated the roof, our grandson visited for a few days and gone kayaking. 

The re-coat of the roof went pretty smoothly for the most part.  I used a product called Henry's Roof Coatings #287 and so far I am pleased with the results.  I saved a little so that I can do a little spot repair after we take the kayaks off the roof.  Not that I've put them up there yet, I'm waiting until we are ready to move the RV to put them up there.  Application is pretty easy, you can just roll it on and it's white so it reflects quite a bit of solar energy.  Which is much better than the black roofing tar that had been used previously to repair problems areas in the past.  While I was applying the coating I decided to remove the old non functioning TV antenna that no longer could be cranked up and down or rotated properly. The cradle it sat in will be used to hold the mast of our cell booster while the RV is under way.  I don't want to make our height requirements much higher than they already are. 

Our grandson's visit went well. Luckily its easy to entertain an almost 3 year old child and he has a real sweet disposition for his grandma.  The dog really enjoys these visits as well because he scores quite a bit of goodies.  We can always tell when he is sneaking stuff to the dog because he giggles when Moe takes it.

Kayaking today was absolutely wonderful. I haven't been able to do it since my hernia surgery and it felt great.  My left elbow started getting pretty sore after a bit, I think I may be developing a little arthritis there.  We paddled between 6 and 7 miles round trip on a place called Burris Ditch on Lake Odessa.  Its really shallow in that area right now so we didn't have to worry about the power boaters. At times we were in no more than 6 - 7 inches of water.  At one point I was screwing around paddling backwards and flipped my kayak.  As soon as I overbalanced I knew it and said to myself "well that was dumb". Luckily the water was only about 3 feet deep and I got it righted before I lost anything out of it. After bailing for awhile we moved myself and the kayak closer to shore so we could empty it of water and hand off some of the cargo I was carrying for our picnic lunch.  I can tell you that a half filled kayak is no fun to maneuver.   After a nice lunch we paddled back to the vehicles. If you have never tried it I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thoughts

Its a funny thing, I have an idea in my head I want to write about, I grab the tablet to start writing then WHOOSH! its outta my head faster than water down a drain.

Gate Guarding

I notice that in the Gate Guard community many people that maintain a blog at some point write about the requirements of the job. What it basically boils down to is being prepared. 

1. At some point there will be some kind of hiccup/failure with either the company equipment or your own that will need some sort of immediate attention. 

2. Ask questions. Make sure that you know what the company man wants.

3. Own the gate your on.  

While the examples I gave above don't cover some of the nuances, the point is still the same. Be Prepared

Traffic

I'm not talking about the kind that we wish others would go out and play in, I mean the kind that webmasters get all a flutter about. I have learned that writing a blog, while being an outlet for my thoughts and topics I want to discuss, that it boils down to web traffic.  Trying to generate capture this elusive, mysterious thing can present something of a challenge.  

Quality Content is a huge player in this game.  Reading other blogs helps and some of the writers do indeed make it look very easy to do, however I have learned that is not always the case.  I'm starting to write in a word processor and then pasting that content here.  One of the advantages for me is the word count in the word processing program, I'm shooting for at least 500 words a post.    

Advertising is another big player, if no one knows about your blog, how can they read it.  I have taken to posting a link on Facebook when I make a new post.  I figure that a daily link to the blog isn't any worse than some of the other "stuff" that gets posted there.

Waiting

In a society that has become so used to instant gratification, patience isn't always in good supply. Occupying one's time productively is challenging and requires a bit of self-discipline, of which I am not always as successful as I would like.  One of my problems being, especially since starting this blog, is I'm unsure about the how interesting our antics while waiting here in Iowa are.  Writing about how our friends septic is having trouble probably wouldn't appeal to a wide audience.

Until later,

Have a GREAT day.