Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Endorsed Items

Our Top 10 products in use EVERY day while boondocking or gate guarding.


All ads other than Amazon have been removed. Thank you for using my Amazon links like the one above for your online shopping.



Mason County, Texas

Mason,Tx  -Gem of the Hill County

Mason,Tx -Gem of the Hill Country

I just spent the most pleasant 2 weeks I can recall of late at the Mason City,TX RV Park in the Western Hill Country. Mason’s claims to fame are Fred Gipson,  the fella that wrote Old Yeller was born and raised on a cotton farm in Mason County.  The movie premiered in 1957 right on the Square in Mason at the Odeon Theater which is still  in business.  It has been said as well that Mason has one of the Top 5 Town Squares / County Courthouses in all of Texas.

I have traveled on occasion through Mason on my way east or west to other places and always thought to myself I liked the area and I would like to spend more time there.  Sometime during the late summer grind on the oil field gate  north of Los Angeles, LaSalle County, TX I got it in my mind that if I ever got released off this gate, I was gonna blow out north straight to Mason, TX. …  and by God, that is exactly what I did!  The RV Park is owned by the City of Mason and is part of the city sports complex.  Golf, soccer, baseball, rodeo and football all happen right there.  It is a spacious and comfortable place to chill for a few days or few weeks under the pecan trees.  50/30amp hookups are available at each site, the water is sweet, Wi Fi reliable, electricity clean and you can be having all that for $20/night, $100/week or $350/month.  A bargain in my book.  Tuco the Dog had plenty of trails to explore and the deer that came up each night were a source of interest. Reservations are recommended.

Mason County, TX Courthouse

Mason County, TX Courthouse

I didn’t choose Mason to to go be a tourist y’all.  I wanted to recoup from the rigors of the gate and soak up the local scene to see if it was really as fine a place as I supposed.   It was the 11th day before I slept past 4am and could truly say I had shook the gate guard weariness loose of me.  Me and that Tuco Dog put some miles on the Big Ass Suburban scoutin’ the country.  Mason, Menard, Brady, San Saba, Llano, Fredericksburg  and Comfort were all viewed through our windshield.  The Dog Rule is any time that Suburban falls below 40mph transacting through one of these small towns, that passenger window gotta go half way down so a Dog can get a snooter full of the local smells.  Yeah, we got our system down; me and that silly dog!

We moved the DTB from Point A to Point B and then on to Point C.  We went to the dentist man in New Braunfels, we sold bowling equipment in Comfort and San Saba and managed to put over 2000 miles on the truck in two weeks.  One thing that will never change about West Texas is just the sheer enormity of the space. Nothin’ is ever close to nothin’ else. We ate at the local cafes, stopped for an occasional late afternoon cold beer at a local road house and generally tried to soak up as much of the local air as was possible.   Funny thing,  a conversation starter out in this part of the country was the beat-to-hell sheetmetal on the Big Ass Suburban.  Several, several times, folks would be walking by and do a double take as they took in the damage and ask me ‘What in the hell happened to your truck?’  I would launch into the Tale of the Big Hails and they would just shake their heads as the story of hail as big as grapefruits unfolded.  I don’t know if extreme hail is an oddity in Mason County or no.  Maybe it was being in the Oil Patch where everything veers to the extreme for so long I had come to think of the event as not all that unusual. It wasn’t but a few days until I started getting the wave from the Locals.  It felt just about perfect right.

Peaceful. No vac trucks, rock trucks or roughnecks drivin' like their hair is on fire and their ass is catching!

Peaceful. No vac trucks, rock trucks or roughnecks drivin’ like their hair is on fire and their ass is catching!

One of my main missions on this trip was to ascertain if the politically correct, PETA supporting, Audi driving,  iPhone totin’ folks from the likes of Austin and San Antone and The Woodlands  had encroached this far west.  The Last Thing I want to be wrestlin’ with is a buncha folks who think they have an entitlement; NO,  a DUTY to get all up in my business where they ain’t the least bit welcome.  To the best of my figuring,  it looks like the Old School Line held fast at Fredericksburg-Llano-San Saba.  Anything east of that line and your are just gonna get eat up by that Keep Austin Weird crowd.   West of the line it is grubby Super Dutys, Wrangler MWZs and battered Stetsons.  Perfect. Absolutely Perfect.

It is not the hills and the breezes that blow down the valleys that make a country friends and neighbors.  It is the people and let me tell ya Mason County is slam full of good folks!

Perfect example is the campground hosts at the RV park.  Brenda and Corky  did some time with TK on a gate down around Encinal so they were my partners in crime from day one.  They went out of there way to make sure I was enoying myself to the max.  When I decided to stay another week, Brenda juggled a full slate of reservations that allowed me to keep my spot another 7 days.  Hat’s off to ya girl, I am beholden.

Broke down 'Burb

Broke down ‘Burb

The day before my scheduled departure I was turning into the RV Park when something went clunk and the instrument cluster lit up like a Christmas Tree.  No bueno!  By the time I wrestled it into my spot with no power steering , the engine had overheated.  Crap! Double Crap!  Now the Big Ass Suburban is a GM product and parts are generally easily available but it is an 8.1 liter big block and sometimes those parts are harder to find and generally cost a good bit more than the more garden variety GM flavors.  Up with the hood and the first thing I be seeing is the serpentine belt shredded all to hell and firmly wrapped around the fan hub.   Every scenario possible was running through my brain because something had definitelycaused that belt to hand grenade in impressive fashion.  Water pump?  Alternator?  Power steering pump?  Spontaneous implosion?  I poked and peeped around upside and down on that big hunk of metal and finally come to the conclusion the belt tensioner had decided to go south on me.  About all that was remaining of the grooved pulley was a mangled bearing race.  Well now, look on the bright side dude.  I coulda been 60 miles on the backside of nowhere sittin’ on the side of the road!  I knew there was a NAPA in town and I knew NAPA usually would deliver parts.  I looked down to the park office and saw the golf cart sittin’ there that Corky usually drove so I figured I would go have a confab with him.  He was born and raised in Mason and knew just about everybody.

Reckon this pulley has tensioned its' last belt?  Appears so.

Reckon this pulley has tensioned its’ last belt? Appears so.

I walked in and held out my hand with the mangled pulley and Corky said ‘Uh oh!’

‘Yep’ says me.  ‘Belt tensioner done blowed up on me!’

“NAPA’ says he. ‘Keys are in my pickup.’

Off I go to NAPA in Corky’s truck and I am careful not to change the radio or adjust the seat.  I do eyeball that peach fried pie on the console but resist temptation being as how I am on a mission and all.

Walking into NAPA, ‘Hidee’ says me.

‘Why are you drivin’ Corky’s truck??‘ says NAPA man

‘Broke down at the RV Park.  Need a tensioner pulley and new serpentine belt for an ’04 2500 Suburban 4X4 with the 8.1 liter engine.’

He sucked on a tooth for a minute and said ‘Maybe’

He was poking on the computer for 3-4 minutes and finally said ‘Got one pulley left’ and he disappeared down a dusty aisle behind the counter.

He came back with the pulley and 2 belts saying ‘Depending on the size of your alternator, it could be either belt.  Bring whichever one ain’t right back to me.’

Well, alrighty then.  $66.11 and I was outta there.  25 minutes later I was ready to test drive the Big Ass Suburban and take the unused belt back to NAPA man.

I stopped by the park office and told Corky ‘Mission accomplished and I sure do appreciate the loan of your truck.’

He looked at me square and said ‘Did you eat my fried pie?’

He seemed a bit toucheous to me.

‘No sir but I will allow as to how I did think about it.’

Good man’ he says and I say my thank yous and beat feet outta there.  Only thing I can be figuring is he loaned his truck to somebody once maybe back in the day and they were weak willed and ate the fried pie or pork rinds or corn nuts he was saving for his afternoon snack and it didn’t set well.  I bet they was probably from Austin too.

So for all of y’all that has been wonderin’ about my whereabouts, there ya have it.   Me and Tuco the Dog have moved on down the road from Mason but I am figuring we will be back one of these days.

 

End Note: None Of Us Are Free by Solomon Burke from the Don’t Give Up cd.

Solomon Burke (March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010) was an American recording artist and vocalist, who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s and a “key transitional figure in the development of soul music from rhythm and blues.”

Stellar video

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (19 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
Mason County, Texas, 9.6 out of 10 based on 19 ratings
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...






13 comments to Mason County, Texas

  • Miss V

    While you speak of the Audi driving, I-Phone totin folks of the hill country, you have yet to address the worst of the worst. The “hipster”. The young, ultra liberal, vegan, tofu eatin,alternative life style, skinny jean wearin, affluent but tryin,to act bohemian, garage and indie rock lovin,bicycle ridin, cheap beer drinkin,claiming to be artistically tortured kinda people who wear woolen ski caps over their unkempt hair in the summertime with a tank top that is screen printed with quotes from Thoreau,Gandhi,and Kerouac. Now those are the ones that really push my buttons.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • Joel

    Glad to see you’re keeping body and soul together and were able to find refuge in a government-owned park! I’ve been to Austin a few times on business. Great music and a great live music scene.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • cyndi

    I must have missed where Tuco was staying! I’m real happy for you both.

    I look forward to your posts. I can’t wait to see who you’re putting in my ear each week.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Joel

    Re:Austin, I meant to write “great *restaurants* and a great live music scene.”

    One thing I learned growing up in the ’60s is to not judge people by their appearance. It’s a policy that has served me well.

    I long to have enough hair to keep it unkempt so’s anyone would notice, but that was collateral damage of male pattern baldness.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Line Camp

    Fair folks…Bowling for dollars…dry powder…good dog…and no “Stink Eye”…it can get better but not by much. Safe Travels

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Vince Emery

    Morn’n Andy, sounds like you’ve been rejuvenated. Good for ya!

    Safe travels

    oh, and, thanks for all the solar energy info. you’ve posted in the past. Putting something together for my camper and been going back and reading your articles.
    Good stuff there.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Andy

      De nada. It all comes with the price of admission!

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Joel

      Glad to hear you’re considering solar, Vince. We’re up to 8.6 MWh on our rooftop solar in the last 19 months.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • Vince Emery

        Hi ya Joel,

        Pic’s. and specs. would be very much appreciated.

        Andy sure has some good info. available.

        thanks

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
        • Joel

          Vince,

          Specs: 22 Renesola 156 series 260 W peak STC polycrystalline modules, linked to 22 microinverters.

          I’ve got a pic of one side of the roof (11 panels). Don’t know how to load that pic here. If Andy agrees, and you really need it, I can email him that pic and he can post it FWIW.

          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
          VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
          Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • Vince

            Thanks Joel and Andy.

            VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
            VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • Andy

            Joel, you can use the IMG tag to post a pic in comments *I think*. It will have to be uploaded to one of the picture hosting sites like photobucket to do that

            VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
            VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Well, I hope you took out some time to hunt for topaz, the “gem” the sign refers to in double entendre. Mr. Boy’s cub scout pack camped out there several years ago on a ranch that advertised a topaz field. All those little boys and adults only found two or three of the uncut stones in an afternoon of looking, however.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>