Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I'm Ap"pawl"ed

Our job as gate guards is to record the traffic going in and out of the drilling site.  We have a clipboard, a safety vest, and are not permitted to wear open-toed shoes.  (This wasn't a problem with Bill... he never wears sandals anyway.  Steel-toed boots are not required).  We record the name of the company, the driver of the vehicle, the license plate number of the vehicle, how many people are in the vehicle, the purpose of the visit and the time of entry.  We check the drivers ID...  he (or she) then sign on their line...    Then they are permitted into the area.

We are called "gate guards" and that's exactly what we do.  We open the gate to allow vehicles access.

This is the gate we "guard"...
It's kept shut by a bungee cord-like strap... there aren't any latches or locks.
Now...  what the heck are those boards?

Well, for one thing, they make opening and shutting those big gates a lot easier.
Bill even wrapped some duct tape around the tops to minimize the chance of getting a splinter.  (he later added the colored tape because duct tape doesn't weather well)   But...  they serve another purpose as well.  An even more important one.  Those big gates tend to swing freely...  especially when there's some wind.  You sure don't want one of those gates smacking into someone's truck as he's driving through or sitting there waiting for his info to be recorded.  You can't hold the gate open as you're busy writing down the data.

Bill devised these "tools of the trade" from some boards he found in the dumpster up at the site.  They each have 2 long screws (from his tool box)  that keep the board from sliding through the gate onto the ground.

  But the best part is...

When the gate is open, the board slides down until the screws stop it.  Then it effectively acts as a "pawl"...  .  The dictionary defines a pawl as a short pivotal bar that acts as a brake in a machine.  Anyone who's ever used a ratchet knows exactly what this is...  the wrench will turn in only one direction, but the handle will counter-rotate with ease.

For us, this means that the board will allow the gate to go forward only until it catches.  It also means we can push a gate open and not worry about it swinging back and hitting a vehicle.

This HUGE truck went through the gate yesterday...  one of those "oversize loads" that you see going through town with a police escort...
Here you can see Bill's pawl in action.

Pretty neat, huh?

A great device that didn't cost a cent.

I sure have a clever husband!

That's All For Today!


  1. Sometimes even us husbands come up with some good ideas.

  2. Sure do love and appreciate those clever husbands. They definitely save us lots of money. Just found out our good friends are going to gate guard again for the summer somewhere in Texas.

  3. That sure looks like a huge load! I'm happy we will not be on the same road with it. Husbands with toold and brains...can't ask for more.

  4. I could use a husband like that right about now.

  5. Great idea...maybe the gate guard people in charge will be sooo impressed they will want Bill to make lots of pawls...and he can charge them $. What a creative way to stay busy and solve a problem!

  6. He is certainly handy to have around!

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  8. HAhaaaa diarrhea remedies... well? sure.. I like bills pawl ... what a jewel you have there, Sharon.

  9. Love all this knowledge accumulated in a lifetime. Someday, long from now, some young man will say "We need a pawl" and get one made, because he saw one in action at the gate.

  10. Bill certainly came up with a clever solution and maybe he could find a market somewhere as previously suggested. You both never fun out of ideals no matter where you go.