Wednesday, August 27, 2014

No Truck A/C and Visiting with Friends

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 98 degrees

The past four days were very busy for us. Our friends Peter and Judy returned for another four day visit.

On Monday we had to put our truck in the shop. The a/c motor quit working. These two old fat girls can handle driving in this heat without the a/c!

We also needed to have the speedometer looked at. On occasion it just stopped working. I read on the internet that Chevy trucks had a problem with the speedometer. There was a recall a few years ago and we didn’t know about it in time to get it fixed for free.

Before taking our truck to the shop, we had to pick up a rental car. We rented a 2014 Toyota Corolla LE Plus. Nice!
Driving a small car is very different after driving our big road hog truck!

Anyway, we were told that the service department was running a day behind and that it might be awhile before they could get to our truck. That’s the reason for renting a car.

In between running our errands and taking care of vehicle issues, we still had to time to visit with Peter and Judy.

We were very excited when the service manager called us late yesterday afternoon to tell us that our truck was ready.

We hurried to the repair shop and picked up our truck and then to the car rental place to return the rental car.

That running around saved us a little cash. We only had to rent the car for two day verses a week!

We are happy gals now that we have our truck back.

We stopped by and visited with our friends who will be pulling out tomorrow.

We are exhausted needless to say.

Today we started our four day shift. This is going to be a busy shift since it’s a holiday weekend.

Copyright Notice All text and photos found on is copyrighted and may not be published, rewritten, distributed or downloaded without permission of the owner of All Rights Reserved. ©cruzin2some 2010

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Visitors and Other Stuff

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 97 degrees

We had company!

Our friends Peter and Judy are here. They came in last Thursday. We met up with them in Kaufman, Texas and brought them in the back way to the lake. This way they could avoid all the Dallas traffic.

They followed us in to a neighboring park. Our park only has 30 amp and they need 50 amp so they are stayed at one of the other parks.

We’ve had a great time visiting with them. We’ve taken them to the laundromat.  Nothing like some good clean fun with friends!

We’ve eaten at some of our favorite places and played a few rounds of FastTrac.

They left yesterday to have some blinds repaired and then off to Durant, Oklahoma to play while we work.

The good news is, they’re coming back by for a four day visit before heading out.

Things have been really slow here at the park. School is about to start in a couple of weeks and it’s just too hot.

The lake levels are still very low and with only one boat ramp open, people are just not interested in driving so far to launch their boats.

Last Saturday a 27 year old man drowns after diving off a party barge.

Sunday night there was a near drowning when a boat capsized with one man aboard.

Today however has been interesting. This afternoon a car pulled up to the gatehouse. I recognized them right away. They are a young couple (late 20’s/ early 30’s) they are regular campers here.

They camp here with her parents. Her father died a couple of months ago. They have accompanied her mother in a couple of camping trips here since.

Anyway, the young couple asked to go into the park for a few minutes. They needed some alone time to talk.

I opened the gate and let them enter. I noticed they drove into the camping area of the park.

Thirty minutes later they exited the park and drove back to the gatehouse window. I opened the window and they both were beaming with huge smiles.

The young man looked over at the young lady and asked her if she was going to tell me the news. I said, yes tell me the news.

She leaned over him with her hand raised showing me a shiny new ring. She told me he proposed to her at their usual campsite. It was on that same site that her boyfriend had asked her father for his blessing months ago. It was her father’s last camping trip. Her boyfriend has patiently waited for a proper amount of time to pass before proposing.

It melted my heart. What a romantic story.

They were just beaming with excitement and we’re very happy for them.

Copyright Notice All text and photos found on is copyrighted and may not be published, rewritten, distributed or downloaded without permission of the owner of All Rights Reserved. ©cruzin2some 2010

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Park Closing for the Winter

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Cloudy, 95 degrees

We haven’t posted lately because our work here has been kinda boring.

This park isn’t as entertaining as the park we worked last summer.

We recently received news that our park will be closing for the winter in order to make repairs to the park entrance. No gate attendant work for us this winter!

We still have a contracted obligation for next summer. That will be our last season here as gate attendants. We’ve enjoyed the gig but we’re ready to get back on the road!

After some discussion, we decided to sign up as volunteers for the winter. We’ll just stay here at our present location and be park security while the park is closed and do whatever it is they need us to do.

We’re planning on a few short trips this winter but we’ll drive the truck and stay in a hotel.

We have learned a few things about ourselves while being gate attendants this past year. One being, we’ve really missed the gypsy lifestyle. We miss exploring. We are from this area and so there’s NOT much exploring here to do.

The fact that the lake levels are so low makes the camping business here kinda of slow. The heat doesn’t help either.

Anyway, we have filled out the paperwork to become park volunteers and have passed the background checks. We should be in business as soon as our summer season contract is done.

Copyright Notice All text and photos found on is copyrighted and may not be published, rewritten, distributed or downloaded without permission of the owner of All Rights Reserved. ©cruzin2some 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Info for Becoming a Gate Attendant

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 85 degrees

People often ask questions about our jobs as gate attendants and want to know the process for getting this type of gig.

I’ve covered a little bit of this information in previous post, but will give a little more detail for those interested.

The first step is to apply for and receive a DUN Number, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) provides a D-U-N-S Number, a unique nine digit identification number, for each physical location of your business.

D-U-N-S Number are FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants.

The DUNS will be needed to begin your registration prior to entering SAM.

It may take several days or more than a week to receive your DUN number.

My experience was with Dun & Bradstreet was not pleasant. After waiting for over a week, I had to make several calls and talk with several people over the course of a week in order to finally receive my Dun number.

Once you have obtained the Dun number, you can proceed to the next step.

Next you must register with SAM to receive a number.

The System for Award Management (SAM) is the Official U.S. Government system that consolidated the capabilities of CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. There is NO fee to register for this site.

You can register your Entity (business, individual, or government agency) to do business with the Federal Government. To register, you must first create a user account.

This registration takes time, so be prepared to sit at your computer for a couple of hours. (also, this is a government website and you must have a secured connection in order to be able to complete the application) I tried using my laptop with air card and it did not consider it a secured connection.

Your SAM number must be renewed annually. Failure to renew on time will cause you to have to go through the entire process again.

Keep these numbers handy so that you can access them. These numbers are your lifeline to government jobs.

Once you have you have completed these two VERY important steps, you can now go to Federal Business Opportunities website

This is where you search for government business opportunities.

Once you find the items you wish to bid on, the real FUN begins!

You will select the opportunity, open the presolicitation. Look at the synopsis which will explain in detail what the contracting office is asking for.

These can be very lengthy. I believe the last gate attendant bid we did was almost 200 pages. There is a questionnaire and a lot of legal jargon!

By the way, you will be bidding on a particular year and season with an option period. For example, if you bid for next summer the option period will include the following summer. That makes for 2 summers! Generally they exercise the right to accept the option period as a done deal.

You’re required to fill out the questionnaire. You’ll be instructed to submit the questionnaire, a resume, application and bid document. This will be submitted to the contracting office via email as a PDF file by the deadline posted on bid.

The bid amounts are different from season to season and from park to park. In this area, summer bids pay more than winter bids.

There is also an evaluation form that needs to be filled out by a recent former employer. That evaluation form will be submitted separately by the person preforming the evaluation.

The information I just gave you applies to the US Army Corp of Engineers Fort Worth District.

I know that some districts require pictures of your RV be submitted with your bid.

I realize this can be very overwhelming. It certainly was for us the first time.  

Meanwhile, you’ll need to obtain a VIP (Volunteer in Parks) surety bond. This is not as easy as it sound.

Not every insurance company has underwriters that do these kinds of bonds.

The bond requirement is $5,000.00 and the cost is about $100.00.

You will have to periodically have to check the FedBizOp website to see if there any changes or updates to the presolicitation. You will have the check on it after the deadline to see if it has been awarded.

You will be notified via email if you are awarded the bid. Once you are awarded the bid, you will then be instructed to have your surety bond and a copy of your auto insurance available for submission to the lake manager.

Besides being paid monthly, we are furnished a covered RV site with full hookups. They also provide a 10x12 storage building at our site.

Duties for gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers at this lake are required to collect money for Day Use and Camping, make reservations for walkup campers, patrol the park several times per day (in your vehicle using your fuel) reporting any problems and maintenance issues.

We work 4 days on and have 4 days off. Our hours are 6 A.M to 10 P.M. someone must be in the gatehouse at all times during your shift. You’re actually on duty for 24 hours a day during your 4 day shift. You’re on call in the event anyone has a problem.

There are periodic police and park ranger patrols from 6 A.M to 10 P.M.

You will be evaluated periodically on your performance. There is the occasional audit of cash drawer. Gate attendants are required to have their own opening cash. We started with $50.00.  

At the end of our 4 day shift, we take the monies collected and buy a money order. That money order and reports are mailed the NRRS.

We are required to buy our own office supplies, money orders, cleaning supplies (cleaning supplies are for the cleaning of the gatehouse) and postage.

We have enjoyed the work but would not want to make a career of it. The hours are crazy long and during the week, the days can be very slow.

The gate houses vary in size. Some are very small and some larger. Our current gate house is roomy enough that we aren’t sitting on top of each other.

This gate house is equipped with a computer, printer, cash drawer and a safe. We have a restroom too. That is important!

We brought in a microwave and the other gate attendants brought in a mini fridge.

There are different requirements for each district and I have experience only with the Fort Worth district.

I hope this information has been helpful for those of you that are considering being gate attendants for the US Army Corp of Engineers.

Copyright Notice All text and photos found on is copyrighted and may not be published, rewritten, distributed or downloaded without permission of the owner of All Rights Reserved. ©cruzin2some 2010