Home is Where we Hook-up

January 9, 2008

The King Ranch

Filed under: Travel,Travel in the U.S. — Heligypsy @ 7:25 am

We drive a Ford F-350 Dually truck, it’s the King Ranch Edition. To me that means it has fancy rawhide leather seats and several chrome logos with a swirly W. I knew there must be more to it, as we’ve been stopped and questioned about the branding, “you been to the King Ranch?”

Not until this trip…

It’s not just a ranch, either, it’s like a whole little town just outside Kingsville TX. We felt due for some touring, so we parked the Squeakster in the shade, leaving Zoe to be the guardian and hopped on a bus for the next 2.5 hours. The tour driver was so familiar to me – if I’d have shut my eyes and only listened to him, I would’ve sworn it was our family friend Mac driving us around. Not because of that, but because of the ranch itself I had to say that this would have been one place my dad would have loved to have toured – this was just his sort of thing.

Established in 1853, the holdings in Texas alone make the Ranch about the size of Rhode Island – add the acreage in FL and we’re talking a million acres. King Ranch is the largest citrus and one of the largest cotton producing ranches in the world! More glory and fame for the ranch comes from their Quarter-Horse breeding. They owned the only Texas bred Triple-Crown winner in 1946, a horse named Assault. Each time this statement was made, and we heard it at least three times, the sincerity and pride the memory of Assault evoked could not be missed, it was always a very passionate fact to share.

King Ranch has also bred it’s own line of cattle, the Santa Gertrudis – the original name of the ranch. These cattle are a solid deep red in color, and are big, healthy looking beasts.

santa-gertrudis.jpg

santa-gertrudis-grazing.jpg

We toured around, getting our history lesson and admiring the facilities, and arrived at “The Compound” where the ranch hands can live if they are so inclined – phone and cable are free, unlike if they chose to live in town and would then be on their own for such services. There is a school, and you know there is a church within the compound. The tour stopped at what was once the “Weavers” cabin, where horse blankets and the like were made. A giant loom took up 2/3 of the room, an entire wall was covered with ranch brands and in the corner, in front of the swamp cooler, was an old man named Lolo – one of the original “Los Kinenos” or Kings Men. Lolo regaled us with more history of the ranch, particularly that of the “Running W” brand, like what we have on our truck. The true meaning is still a mystery – you can read about it on the King Ranch site that I linked earlier in the blog. Lolo finished his storytelling with a grand finale story, proudly announcing that at 13 years old he was the very first person to ever be put upon the back of that magnificent champion animal, Assault. At that, he picked up his harmonica and asked us to “sing along please, if you know the words.” I was not the first person to catch on, but sang along

“…..You are my sunshine, my only sunshine – you make me happy when skies are grey…”

This made me think back to being in Greece with my friends, Debbe & Linze – we were trying out songs to sing at the theater in Delphi (testing the true acoustics) and this was one of the choices, but that’s another story.

I’ll finish off this post with a couple pictures from the ranch. I really suggest following the link above to see more about this place, and if you are ever in that neck of the woods, it’s worth the stop!

welcome-to-king-ranch.jpg

ranch-house.jpg

loom-and-blankets.jpg

young-thorougbred.jpg

santa-gertrudis-ranch.jpg

texas-longhorn.jpg

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4 Comments »

  1. Looks like a fun place. I’ll be in Dallas later this month then driving down to New Braunfels, I’ve found a winery trail. I really like Texas 🙂

    Comment by JennH — January 9, 2008 @ 8:01 pm | Reply

  2. Once again I will say……you guys are soooooooooo lucky to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the country your style!! Have a wonderful time as I know you both are!!! Great pics by the way! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Bonnie K. ;-) — January 12, 2008 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  3. This is kewl, we get to sit back and enjoy your touring while sitting in pj’s.

    Reading your blogs are our own (Inter)National Geographic magazine.

    Comment by Laura — January 31, 2008 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  4. More on the King Ranch and the family ties at:

    http://familyforest.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/national-treasure-hunt-begins-in-texas/

    “Henrietta Marie Morse Chamberlain, Mrs. King Ranch. Her husband founded the world famous King Ranch of Texas, then passed away rather early, leaving her in charge for 40 years.”

    Comment by familyforest — November 20, 2009 @ 8:10 pm | Reply


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