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

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Friends, Fried Pies and Horse Races

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Sunny, 65 degrees

We had friends stop in and visit with us on their way home from Rockport, Texas. Bud and Betty spent a week with us. We unfortunately had stormy weather while they were here.

We were able to have dinner out one evening and Dawn cooked up a nice dinner on another evening.

Dawn spent the afternoon cooking. We had smoked beef brisket, smoked pulled pork and sausage. We had baked beans, slaw, rolls and cake. Betty brought apple pie and Maxine brought German potato salad.

We invited our friends Jerry and Billie, Jim and Maxine, my brother, niece and niece’s boyfriend too. The weather was a bit windy but we were able to enjoy dinner outside.

It was great to spent time with our friends and family.

We came home one afternoon to find fried pie wrappers all over the floor. Seems a few fur kids found the tote where we keep our snacks. They helped themselves to coconut, chocolate and banana cream fried pies. It appeared that everyone was in on the feast. The wrappers were all over the floor and dried fruit filling was everywhere. They all laid low as we picked up wrappers and moped the sticky mess from the floor.

There was this one fur kid that seemed to be very proud of himself. He was grinning with pride!

The following day I was cutting the dried fruit mess from their faces and paws. Luckily no one got sick!

Last weekend we spent time with friends Ginny and Dena. We spent the afternoon at Lone Star Park. We watched the horse races and enjoyed the buffet.

None of us are big gamblers but we did place a few $2.00 bets. I won $18.00 dollars on a $2.00 bet. I sure felt rich!

There were 9 races for the day. Dawn and I went all out on the last race of the day. We bet on a horse with 25 to 1 odds and several other horses to Win, Place or Show. That decision really paid off. We won $135.00 on the 25 to 1!!!

 We all had a great time.

Monday we ran errands and did laundry. Monday night as we were getting ready for bed, I fell down from the second step in the trailer. That’s right; I fell from the second step.

It doesn’t sound that bad and it I wasn’t that far to the floor. The problem however was that I fell landing on my left side.

I guess I need to explain. I’m recovering from a sinus infection and also have fluid in my inner ear. If I bend over or turn too fast it causes me to become dizzy.

Anyway, I was standing on the second step talking to Dawn, who was in the bedroom. I turned to come down the stairs and became dizzy, lost my footing and fell sideways on my left side hitting the floor hard enough to knock the breath out of me. I came to with Dawn asking me if I was all right and the dogs staring at me.

It took me a few seconds to get my composer and a few minutes to be able to get to my feet.     

I didn’t break any bones, Thank God. I am very sore however.

Today we are back to work as gate attendants.

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring has Arrived

Spring showers

Blanket of Blue Bonnets in our front yard

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Life gets Crazy!

Lavon, Texas
Weather Conditions; Cloudy, 55 degrees

We’ve been BUSY!

We’re still working as gate attendants. We’ve been trying to get all the loose ends tied up because our gig ends here on the 29th of this month.

We’ve really enjoyed our gate attendant gig and have decided at the last minute to bid on the summer season too. The Corps of Engineering Bid process is NO easy feat. The bid consist of 191 pages. One page of this bid packet includes reduction of paper act!!!!

This bid packet also included a checklist. The checklist included everything that needed to be attached to the bid. We needed an evaluation form completed by someone we had worked recently for. That person would complete the evaluation and submit it to the contracting office.

Another requirement was to complete a questionnaire regarding our business type. This questionnaire was at least 10 pages of redundant questions.

Also a resume and a solicitation form. That was the easiest part of this bid.

It then all had to be scanned to a PDF file and emailed to the district contracting office.

The deadline was March 21st. The summer season starts on April 1st. In my opinion, they are cutting it kinda close!

We didn’t know when the bids would be awarded. They didn’t given us that information. We suspected it would be before the April 1st start date.

The last day of our current contract was March 27th. That gave us 2 days to get packed up in the event we weren’t awarded the bid.

We waited for over a week to find out the results of our bid. On April the 2nd we received an email saying we were awarded the bid.

We heard that a couple of the area lakes don’t have enough gate attendant bids to open the parks. That is really sad. Seems that someone dropped the ball and the bids went out too late. There are a lot of RVers that count on these gate attendant jobs to sublimate their incomes. They bid on attendant jobs elsewhere in order to stay in the game. They didn’t want to wait for the late bid process in this area.

We know we’re full-timers and aren’t getting much traveling done by being gate attendants. But with that said, it has afforded us the opportunity to take care of some business.

Our toilet broke! This is NOT a good thing. I had to drive to Holiday World of Dallas to get a new one. That took an hour and a half to drive over there. It took me less time then that to install the new one. This was my first RV toilet installation. It wasn't bad at all.

The Rangers did a control burn and that caused a real stir. We were overrun with people driving up to the gatehouse and asking what was on fire.

Later in the day, there was an accident on the highway. There was a fuel spill and the highway was closed down for several hours. The police detoured traffic across the lake dam. This brought traffic thru the park entrance. It was crazy around here for several hours.

We’ve spent our extra time off doing some much needed spring cleaning.

Our family has a new addition. My niece had a beautiful baby girl. Ellie Mae...

March 24th we took my mother out for birthday lunch. Mom is now 70. We had a great lunch at the Cotton Patch restaurant and then we took mom the New Balance to get her a good pair of tennis shoes.

One morning we also drove to Durant, OK for an afternoon of slot play. Durant is only about an hour and a few minutes away. We played for several hours and left with a little more money then we went with. That’s a GOOD thing!

I also repaired the slid-out roof. We noticed a leak during the last good rain we had last summer in the ceiling of the living room slide out. I haven’t made much effort to repair it since we arrived here because we have a metal roof over the trailer here.

Anyway, the problem was with the EternaBond tape that is used on the roof of the slide to seal the area where the roof and the wall meet. When I climbed up and took a good look at it, I noticed the tape had peeled back in one area. It appears that a small twig had been forced under the tape when the slide was retracted.

I got on-line and did some research. I found a place on Amazon that sold the EternaBond RSW-4-50 RoofSeal tape 50 foot length and a 4 inch width at a reasonable price with free shipping.

This tape is mostly used for leak repair, on virtually all roofs and features a UV stable backing. One step permanent repair system for all roofs including EPDM, TPO and most PVC´s Hypalon and all roof accessories. It creates a waterproof, moisture and air tight barrier and will stick to itself. Great for sealing around roof penetrations like vents, refrigerator vents, skylights, and air conditioners.  It also works great to seal accidental punctures, or holes left by other maintenance.

I watched a YouTube video and was good to go.

I cleaned the slide-out roof and cut off the existing tape that peeled back. I then rolled out a few inches of the new sealing tape at a time and then used a roller to make sure it was rolled out to make good contact. This stuff is very sticky and when it makes contact, it’s there to stay!

I did the entire living-room slide and it looks great. It didn’t take too much time to do either.

Once again, it’s the time of the year for spring storms. We had a whopper of a storm Thursday evening. A good friend text us and told us we were welcome to take shelter at their house. We watched the weather forecast. The storms were intensifying as the got closer. Dawn and I grabbed the dogs and drove the twenty minutes to our friends home. We weren’t there long before the weather turned real nasty. The strong wind blew in rain, hail and lighting. We were all glued to the TV as the weatherman was warning people of tornados and flash flooding.

The nasty weather only lasted a couple of hours. The worse of the storm went over us and hit a couple of small towns a few miles east of our location.

The drive home was interesting. We noticed that one of the towns we drove through was without power. Further down the road we noticed several power poles lying to one side overhanging the roadway. We made it home a few minutes before 10:00 P.M. We were relieved to find everything was fine at our place.

The 10 P.M. news was still issuing warnings of severe weather moving east out of our area. They said 3 none tornados had touched down and did damage to homes and other structures in the area. There were some injuries but no know deaths. Many people were without power.

Thank God for looking after us.

Today were back to work as gate attendants.  

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