Thursday, March 2, 2023

Cracker Barrel Exploit & The Texas Rangers

 Location: Midway Park (COE); Waco, Texas

There's a storm blowing in from the west bringing a some rain and cooler weather. It has been a little warm around here, especially when it is only the first part of March. I definitely don't want to be around here come first of June or July or,,,,,,. I'm not sure where I'll be during the summer, but probably somewhere north. 

As I said in my last post, I'm gathering supplies for a few modifications to Liberty2. I've driven all over this town and went to several stores but have finally got everything I need (hopefully). Of course while driving from one big box store to another, I passed several restaurants that caught my eye. I'm on convenience overload as to stores and restaurants. Most have been pretty good but nothing super duper special. I did do something at a restaurant yesterday that I've never done before. I had a hankering for some home cooking like Country Fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. So of course after seeing a billboard that may have started my hankering I stopped at big cold hearted business disguised as a country store. Yep, Cracker Barrel. I wonder why they havn't been forced to change their name. Don't get me wrong, I like Cracker Barrel and have never been disappointed with their food or service. However, yesterday was different. It was close to noon and the parking lot was only half full so I thought I timed it just right. Surprisingly, there was a line waiting to be seated. The SYTYT ("show you to your table") person was a little slow, but that was OK, it was only about 10 minutes before I was seated. After sitting at the table with the menus for another 10 minutes without having a wait-person (notice how politically correct I am) I started noticing things around the dining room. A few tables were like me, just sitting with a menu, a few more had drinks but no food. Doing some rough math in my head, since I didn't have a napkin to do some ciphering on, I figured some of these people had been waiting on their food for nearly 30 minutes. About that time, the SYTYT came by and asked if I had been waited on. So in a calm voice I said, "No ma'am, and looking around the room, there seems to be an excessive amount of waiting, so I think I'll go somewhere else," and while walking away, I handed her the menu. I wasn't mad, I was more disappointed because I had really wanted that meal. I don't blame Cracker Barrel at all, I think I'll blame the government somehow. By the way, the Chinese Buffet I ended up going to was the best I've had in a few months. Everything happens for a reason.

I planned to stop by the old cattle suspension bridge across the Brazos but read that it was closed for maintenance work. After reading what all was planned, it is way beyond just maintenance and sounds like a complete rebuild. I'm glad I saw it a few years ago since I won't see it again. 

But I was able to stop by the Texas Rangers Museum which I wasn't able to see last time I was here. These Rangers are the lawmen, not the baseball team. Yeah, yeah, I know I've said I've become jaded about museums but I can't help myself, I continue to go and hope it'll be good. This one cost me $8.00 to get in with a senior discount. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I would rate it a 4. They should rename the museum and call it The Old Guns Museum. If there was one gun in there, there were a thousand. All types, sizes and ages. It was more interesting than the biographies of some of the real Rangers. 

Got to have a few facts, so here they come. Why were they called Rangers? It was a term used long ago when land barons in Europe would hire men to "range and rove" around their property to keep and eye on things. Eventually, they were called Rangers. So, in 1821, Stephen F. Austin came to Texas to establish colonies in the frontier land of Texas. It was the same year that Mexico won it's independence from Spain. Austin asked permission from Mexico for some land grants so he could bring colonists into Texas. Mexico said OK and Austin brought in 300 families. Now let's see, "the land was Mexican territory, settled on by Anglos and inhabited by Indians." What could possibly go wrong?? After a few Indian raids on the colonists and Mexico not providing enough protection, Austin asked Mexico if he could provide some protection himself. They said sure, go for it. So Austin hired 10 men to ride around the colonies to help protect people. He called them Rangers and that was the beginning of the Texas Rangers. As a point of reference in time, Austin was 28 years old in 1821. 

Later on, after Texas won it's independence in 1836 and statehood in 1845 the Texas Rangers remained a special type of law person. For example, in 1875, there were bloody range wars between Ranchers and Farmers. Yep, that really happened, it wasn't just a movie script. Farmers put up barbed wire fences to keep the cattle out of their crops. The Ranchers would cut the wire so their cows could get to water, grass and the farmers crops. Many people were killed on both sides and the Rangers were sent in to keep the peace and arrest any "fence cutters". Eventually, the Ranchers realized they could use the fences to control their cattle movement and with some strategically placed windmills to pump water, they came around to the fencing idea. Apologies were probably said on both sides and life went on. I made up that last sentence.

This is just scratching the surface of they history of the Rangers. They are tied to just about everything that has happened to Texas since 1821. Just a part of the varied and interesting history of Texas.

Most of the early Rangers were a combination of Ranger and land surveyor. 

I didn't take many pictures inside the museum so I'll let this one represent all of the Rangers. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll be headed to another COE campground near Temple, Texas. But, today is laundry day. I've found a laundromat (wash-a-teria) a couple of miles from the campground with the name of  Ma Suds Coin Laundry #1. The name says it all, Ma for family, Suds for cleaning and #1 implying they are a chain of laundromats. But the selling point is the picture of the inside showing commercial style washers and dryers. In a college town, I'll pick a laundromat near the campus because they are cheaper, cleaner, safer and most of the time are better places for "people watching". Today, I'm breaking that unwritten rule and hoping it doesn't bite me in the b'hind. 

Side note: I returned the electric skillet because the on/off/temperature knob was loose when I was cooking my Reuben. That concerned me so I returned it to Walmart and they cheerfully credited my credit card. But, still wanting an electric skillet, I looked for a different brand and found a 12 inch square one. It doesn't have a hinged lid, but it'll do. Cheaper too. Like I said before, everything happens for a reason.

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.


  1. I enjoyed the ranger about 25 years ago just before I left Texas for Washington State to work.

  2. Cracker Barrel has never impressed me.
    "One riot, one Ranger" is how I recall them talked about. Texas does have some interesting history!

    1. It sure does Rob. It just takes a little scratching the surface to find it.