Airstream Travels

There’s just so much out there…..

Walkin’ The Line

Hey folks,

Well, the job in Dalton is winding down.  I’ll be done Tuesday or Wednesday of next week then it’s off to our new assignment.  Where will that be you may be asking.  Well I’ll tell you at the end of the post –  don’t peek.  Ah, the suspense must be unbearable.

First, I mentioned in an earlier post that I would describe what I actually do all day.  As you know, I inspect gas lines but why, when, how.  Why is obvious.  Have you caught the stories in the news of late about natural gas explosions?  Some have taken out whole neighborhoods.  That’s why.  As for when, the federal government requires surveys every 5 years for residential areas and every 1 year for business districts.  That’s job security there my friend.

So how is this done?  I’m provided a map of the city or town which shows all of the underground gas lines.  It’s usually shaded to show where they need the survey done for that year.  Carrying a gadget called a flame pack (which essentially “sniffs” the ground as I go).  I walk the main lines including all of the lines to each house or business with a stop at each meter.  I check the meter for leaks or damage and then it’s on to the next.  I start at about 7:00 am and I’m done by 3:00, before the really bad heat of the day takes hold.  Usually the last hour of the day is spent at the local gas company office doing paperwork as with anything the government mandates there is plenty of documentation to be done.

When I find a meter with a minor leak I annotate it so the utility company can repair it.  When I find an underground leak I have other instruments to punch holes in the ground and take readings to find out the scope and severity.  These below ground leaks get reported immediately and depending on the proximity to buildings and other factors a determination is made on how to proceed.  The gas company supervisor gets involved.  I tell him where it is, he calls in the crew and the digging begins.

I caused a few traffic jams.

I caused a few traffic jams.

IMG_20130710_113341_891That’s really all there is to it.  I get the added bonus of meeting some really nice people along the way.  Homeowners will stop me to ask what I’m doing and we’ll chat for a few minutes.  Since I work so closely with the local utility I get to know a few of those guys as well.  The crew in Dalton are top notch.  Not one car in their employee parking lot, no sir, just pick-up trucks, most a few years old with some mud on the side.  They took me in and made me feel right at home.  Everyone had a suggestion of things to do and places to go while I was here.  These guys obviously love the outdoors and are proud of these hills around here.

Plenty steep for this Florida boy.

Plenty steep for this Florida boy.

Dalton is the carpet capital of the world and my survey area included a good part of the carpet mill district.  These are enormous buildings where they manufacture the fiber, dye, backing, and even the cardboard tubes they roll it up on.  There are separate buildings where everything is woven together and warehouses 300 to 400 yards long and wide to store it all.  The gas systems are huge as well.  The meter for your house is about as big as a bread box.  The meters for these operations are as large as my pick up truck.

Quiet country road, early morning dew.  This is work....

Quiet country road, early morning dew. This is work….

All in all a great learning experience and the bonus of being able to check out Chattanooga.  So where to now?  Wednesday we’ll be heading to Mom and Mel’s house in Northeastern Tennessee for a few days of visitin’ (see the posts from last December and change the white snow to green grass).  There are blueberries to be picked and Mom’s famous lemon meringue pie to be eaten.  My brother is also making the trip so we’ll be having a mini family reunion.  On Sunday it’s off tooooo……… Music City USA – Nashville.  I knew I stowed that 6-string behind LuLu’s  couch for a reason.  Grand Ole Opry here we come.

Note:  The pics in this post were all taken with my phone so the quality isn’t that great.


July 27, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Yay Nashville! Wish i could go to tennessee too 😦

    Comment by Jenna | July 27, 2013 | Reply

  2. Nice post or blog. 🙂 From a brother tech Greg and Deb SCC Tech’s MDU Project Montana / Minnasota

    Comment by Greg | August 19, 2013 | Reply

  3. Thanks Greg and Deb. We’re hoping to work our way west so maybe our paths will cross sometime soon.

    Comment by Kevin | August 19, 2013 | Reply

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