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.


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.


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.