"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

a little hiccup and a change of direction

Our plans when making the decision to winter in Florida included doing some sprucing up on our double wide retirement home that we have rented out. We planned to start that as soon as we had a couple of nice days in a row where we could do some painting. All that changed when we got a call that the roof was leaking and needed repaired ASAP. The Realtor that handles things for us called a contractor to inspect things and give us an estimate. The roof is a rubber membrane similar to those on most RVs and we have had a leaking issue before that cost us in the neighborhood of $1K to repair a couple of years ago. The news back from the contractor was not good but not surprising. The entire membrane needed replaced, it was shrinking and would continue to be an issue. The first estimate was over $4K so we had the Realtor do some shopping with some other local contractors. The roof can certainly be repaired but it was already obvious to us it would most likely need replaced even before the contractors report. We decided to bite the bullet and get it done. Now we just needed to take the big hit on the budget. We had no more made the decision on the roof when, after returning from a trip to town, Rudee announced "I smell something hot". I knew she wasn't talking about me and she kept hovering over the right front wheel of the truck so, dummy me, put my hand on the brake rotor and "$@#@!"
So now we had brake issues on the Dakota so the following day we took it into a repair shop where we got the happy news we needed new pads in front and back, new calipers, new rear wheel cylinders and spring kits. They also found that the tie rod ends were worn out. $1500 later we had a great turning and stopping truck. :-)
So with all the $$'s going out we really, really needed to get some coming in to replace it. This time of year we only knew of one place where a work camper can make some decent money fairly quickly, being a gate guard in the oil fields of Texas. I made a few calls and got the ball rolling for us to return. Things looked pretty good for us getting a gate fairly quickly but, of course, we had to be there ready to go first.
We made the final decision on Friday and by noon on Saturday we were pulling out and heading west. I was pretty bummed to be leaving Florida for the dusty, scrabble of the Texas desert but "you gotta do what ya gotta do".
Saturday evening we stayed near Pensacola and Sunday evening we made it just over the Texas state line before stopping for the night. Monday morning I called our gate guard company to see which direction we may be needed. They have several service facilities that also have hook ups for their guards to use while waiting on a gate. We were directed to the Carrizo Springs yard which we have worked out of the last couple of years. We got detoured in Houston due to a really bad accident that shut down the interstate. We were working our way around that when the manager at the yard called us to let us know he had a gate for us starting Wednesday morning. Cool beans!

Today we had to make a quick run to Uvalde, Tx about 50 miles North of us to the nearest Dodge dealership. During the last 100 miles of our trip the check engine light came on in the Dakota and it started shifting really hard and not running exactly right. On the way there we called old friends Kit and Jerry who live nearby, They had heard we were coming to Texas (small world here in "fulltimers land") and were hoping we could get together. They picked us up at the dealership and Jerry played chauffeur for all of us. We made stop for lunch as well as a Wal Mart run before returning for the truck. Turns out the TPS had PMS and decided to throw a little fit. The new throttle position sensor cost a little over $300 to fix but with fingers, toes, legs and eyes all crossed we are hoping the mechanical issues are behind us for awhile.
We said our goodbyes to Kit and Jerry who promised to come and see us at the gate before we head North. "See ya soon guys, thanks for keeping us company today".

Our new gate is going to work out pretty good I think. We will only be about a mile outside the town of Cotulla which is where we have always gone to do our shopping and errands in the past. The last two years we had to drive between 40-50 miles round trip for groceries. With this gate we are only a few minutes away! Sweet! Of course that means McDonalds, Wendy's and the Dairy Queen are also really handy so we will need to be careful or we may be replacing the shocks on the truck next! :-)
Tomorrow is moving day and our first day of Gate Guarding 2014! I'll keep you posted.


  1. Oh my gosh! I could say when it rains it pours but I'm sure that thought has crossed your mind! Hope that all your repairs are done and it's smooth sailing from here on out!

  2. Welcome back! Thanks for bringing some good weather as well.

  3. Congrats on finding a workamper position so quick.

  4. So glad that you have gotten a gate so quick and in such a good location!!

    Also, thanks for bringing that nice Florida weather back with you!! ;)

  5. When it rains it pours for sure. What a nice location for your gate!

  6. Glad to have you back Phil and Rudee! Were only 5 miles out of Cotulla. I would love to stop by sometime and talk.

  7. Glad you guys were able to get a gate so quickly! You'll have your coffers filled back up in no time :-)

  8. We are sort of close to you again. We are 200 miles south east of you in Elsa TX. We will be headed your way at the end of April. Maybe we can meet up if you 2 are still there.

    Mark & Patty