Gas line … bye-bye propane

Everyone down in Denver probably takes their gas line for granted. Not me.

After a winter graced by the fluidity of propane and the pioneer-spirit of wood, I’m ready for a consistent and reliable way to heat the Bar B.

Today, they installed the gas line to the house.

It’s something that would have been done decades ago, but the rumor is the woman who lived here with 17 German Shepherds (the number keeps going up depending on who you talk to) thought natural gas lines were a tool of the devil and had to be avoided.

The new line meant tearing the crap out of the packed-dirt driveway, dissecting some mysterious copper wires, snapping an ancient phone line and destroying a gutter drainage system that moves water away from the foundation. They scraped up boulders too heavy to lift by hand and cast larger ones down in the moat that once covered won’t see daylight for another few decades.

The propane company is coming tomorrow to haul the big beige tank onto a trailer and give me a credit for 105 gallons of unused gas that I probably would have used if the furnace hadn’t quit at the beginning of May. “Don’t bother paying us this month,” was the propane company rep’s response.

Propane has been a journey and not a very pleasant one.

Oh, Independent Propane in Pine has been a great company. They’ve carried me when financially when I needed carried. They deliver propane when it ran low but in the middle of a frigid night, each time the furnace would kick on, I’d fret over how much propane was left. Deep snow made it difficult to get to the tank, lift the metal cover and check the percentage gauge. In my dreams, I saw the gauge that read zero, the propane company supplied gas in a Pepsi can and Ru Paul drove the delivery truck. No more late-night sessions with tortilla chips and salsa while watching the TV show, Dexter.

Lightning storms make me sweat and cars that drive too fast on my dirt road make me nervous. The local fire department recommends propane tanks be topped off in the summer. Yes, the summer. In case of wildfire, a full tank will take longer to explode than an empty one.

No, thanks, propane isn’t the way to go. Like eating tripe or kissing a cobra, you never know until you try.

Colorado Natural Gas is the supplier for the area, so once again, no Xcel for me. I hear good things about the company and their staff has been great. They can’t really give me an idea how much gas will cost in the winter; winter up here is defined as September to June but it should be cheaper than the $300+ a month cost for propane. My fingers are crossed.

By the end of the day, they had laid the gas line, hand-filled the trench and smoothed over the driveway and re-graded it. A storm came over the hill and I think the crew headed for cover, leaving behind the backhoe and trailer.

Joy ride anyone?

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