The King Ranch

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Lots of RVers winter at the southernmost part of Texas – in either the Brownsville or the McAllen/Mission area. It’s warm, inexpensive and developed enough to have all the comforts of home, plus some great outdoors adventures at South San Padre Island or the many birding sanctuaries within the Rio Grande River Valley. We had been playing with the idea of going down there just to check out the area as well as some of the local RV parks for future reference.

Mission is about three hours away from where we are now in Port Aransas, so we decided to make a two day trip of it. We made reservation at a La Quinta Inn in Mission and left early on Thursday, heading south on the main roads in the interest of time.  Our route took us through Kingsville, the home of the King Ranch, a place we had talked about visiting, but it had slipped our minds. So here we had the opportunity to stop and take a look.

This Longhorn was in the greeting party at the Visitors’ Center. We learned that Longhorns are basically raised for nostalgic or historical reasons. They have little commercial value as the meat is tough.

He was very friendly and gave my camera a kiss.
The only way to see the King Ranch is to take an 1 1/2 hour van tour around the historic parts of the ranch, which we thought we could squeeze in.  The tour drove us around one relatively small section of their vast local holdings, and our guide told us the story of Richard King, founder of the ranch.  Below you can see the top of the King Ranch home above the treetops. 

At 825,00 acres, or 1,289 square miles, the King Ranch in Texas is one of the largest ranches in the USA, though its property is not contiguous. We got the scoop on how Richard King started out, the development of cattle herds, the working quarter horses and thoroughbred racers, and more stories about his family, employees and some of the original buildings. Richard King developed a breed of cattle by crossing Brahmas with Shorthorns, resulting in a hardy breed well suited for the hot environment in Texas, called the Santa Gerturdis.