I’ve been workcamping at a nice RV park since I moved to Deerville (near Touristburg and Soberville) six weeks ago. The job was supposed to go full-time (with pay after 15 hours) starting last week, but the current camp manager isn’t leaving as planned, which means they don’t need me to work full-time. So as the title implies, I’m workin’ harder than a funeral home fan in July looking for new opportunities. While I’m looking for new opportunities, I’ve been dreaming about where I’m going next.
I’d like to go to New Mexico, slowly making my way up to Wyoming. Everyone thinks I’m crazy to want to go to Wyoming – even in the summer – but it always looks so pretty in everyone’s photos! I have a friend there now and he pretty much hates being in the middle of nowhere. I can relate: Cow-Chicken-Oil town (pop. ~7,500) was MUCH bigger than where he is (pop. ~800), and it sounds like he’s farther from civilization than Pizzaville ever was. I’m not deterred. I want to see the plains and mountains and take my usual fuzzy pictures.
Another option is to FINALLY see one of the Largest Balls of Twine and Largest Frying Pans. The nearest Largest Ball of Twine is in Kansas… as is the Largest Hair Ball. Gee, Pye ought to enjoy both of those exhibits.
Of the (six?) Largest Frying Pans, I’m most likely to hit one in either Iowa, Kentucky or Delaware. If Pye is being a brat, I may put her in one of the frying pans.
Largest Ball of Barbed Wire = Close substitute for Largest Ball of Twine.
While I’m dreaming and planning, I’ll share a little bit of the massive King Ranch in Kingsville. No trip to south Texas is complete without visiting the famous King Ranch. And no, I didn’t make up the name. It really is named after the guy who settled there.
It was about a year or so ago that I went with a friend, but it wasn’t all that exciting. (It should be noted that we did not take any of the offered tours, so maybe the tours were more exciting than our short, drive-by visit. One of the clerks at the museum in town was rather rude and quickly turned me off to spending more money on anything King. The museum, despite the unfriendly clerk, had a cool photography exhibit.)
King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas
King Ranch is one of the largest ranches in the world. It covers over 825,000 acres in South Texas alone. What started as a small cattle operation over 150 years ago is now a major cattle breeding and merchandising empire.
Merchandise portraying the King Ranch logo includes clothing, office accessories, hats (cowboy, of course), boots, and a special line of Ford trucks. Owning something with the King Ranch logo is a cowboy status symbol somewhat akin to owning a Coach handbag or an Armani suit. There aren’t many BMWs or Mercedes in the Texas countryside, but there are plenty of King Ranch Ford F-350s, equipped with a Ranch Hand bumper, leather seats and distinctive two-tone paint.
More than a fancy brand name, King Ranch is a massive working cattle and horse ranch. With over 35,000 cattle and 200 horses, it’s one of the largest ranches in the world. It encompasses over 825,000 acres in south Texas alone. And it was all started by a young runaway…
A Brief History of King Ranch
The story starts in the 1830’s with Richard King, an 11 year-old indentured into the service of a mean New York jeweler. No doubt deciding life would be better elsewhere, he stowed away on a south-bound ship. He eventually became captain of a steam boat, moved to south Texas, and started a shipping line on the Rio Grande River with his friend Mifflin Kenedy.
In 1853, King purchased 15,500 acres with business partner Gideon Lewis, the first piece of the King Ranch. Over the years, adjacent land has been purchased, as well as all over the U.S. The ranch specializes is breeding some of the finest cattle and horses, and is also the largest producer of orange juice in the country. Add to that: pecans, publishing, hardware, and hunting… and clothing and saddles and, and, and… you have the King Empire.
Of course, this is in a town called Kingsville. Wouldn’t you name a town after yourself if you could?
See the ranch via a 1.5-hour van ride around the grounds, or a 4-hour special interest tour. Several hunting tours are also available. There is also a small King Ranch museum on 6th Street in downtown Kingsville. Beware of ill-tempered clerks.