Trip report that doesn't involve the truck but it does involve a 4runner!
So my GF and I had to head out to Dallas for a work event and decided to stay a few extra days to see my family and go to my families ranch. I'm originally from Texas and grew up out on our 10,000 acre cattle ranch so I try and go back as often as I can but haven't been able to make it out there in 3ish years so it definitely felt good to be back! I originally set up a reservation for a compact rental car and when we got there they told me they had a brand new 4runner I could have for an extra $80 so obviously we took it, it was nice to have it around the ranch despite using a Polaris most of the time due to the bump gates.
So my coworker also decided to come down with us and he came running into the house saying he found a snake under the hot tub cover so I went out to investigate and sure enough a little Texas Rat Snake was hiding under there! I love Texas Rat Snakes, they're very active and very good climbers which you'll see later plus they are incredibly good at controlling rodent populations so they're good to have around. My aunt doesn't agree and tends to kill every snake she sees so I've spent my entire life trying to change her mind lol. I always take the opportunity to educate people on snakes especially out in the country where most people can't tell the difference between a venomous snake and a non-venomous one so teaching the ranch hands and my family the basics is always on the to-do list.
As we walked back to the house I was explaining how they are often found up high and my girlfriend stopped and said "look there's another one!" and sure enough there was another Rat Snake up in the rafters of the pool house where it was attempting to get to a birds nest. This one was particularly defensive and didn't wanna be moved but for it's sake I relocated it to prevent a premature death haha. Rat snakes are often defensive and very bitey so they'll rear up and strike while also "rattling" their tale to imitate a rattlesnake which ultimately leads to them being killed.
The peacocks are everywhere around the house and the ranch is a working cattle ranch but my uncle had a fascination with exotic animals so we've had all kinds of stuff like african water buffalo, ostriches, alligators, antelope, etc. There's lots of cool old machinery and stuff around, including an old steam powered tractor (forgot to take pics of it but it's been sitting out in an old barn my whole life) and they also had a huge amount of Model A's and Model T's which a few now reside in the Ford museum!
We didn't really do a whole lot except go fishing and walk/drive around the property so my GF could see it all:
I spent soooooo much time out in the junkyard as a kid hunting rabbits, catching snakes and just exploring the place that it's definitely one of my favorite places on the ranch. Most people out in this part of the country don't get rid of anything so there are hundreds of cars, tractors, etc out here:
On the backside of the ranch we've got another house that my brother has really fixed up and even turned one of the old barn's into a bar so he came out and we just hung around the house playing games most of the day and did some hog hunting in the evenings. Also if you guys find yourself in Austin go check out Flat Track Coffee! The owner Sterling is an awesome guy who's got a tacoma and into the whole overlanding scene, he was out at Expo West serving coffee and will be at Expo East!
Wish I had photos of this old barn from before my brother fixed it up cause it was just a hay barn that was in seriously rough shape.
Got up early on our last day to do some more hog hunting (sorry not gonna post photos of any of that) and caught a couple big Texas Spiny Lizards around the house:
We had to drive back to Dallas to fly home and got caught in a huge thunderstorm, it was by far the craziest storm I'd driven through!
I gotta say it made me miss the Texas summer thunderstorms I grew up with, California has really made me appreciate rain and thunderstorms because we just don't get them anymore.