We start this blog post with a drive from Kerrville to Waco. We picked Waco because its about half-way between Kerrville and Lewisville (near Dallas) where John lives. It was a nice drive through some of the great Texas Hill Country and then into the Prairies and Lakes of Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, and College Station. There are lots of long straight roads in Texas, through what Californians would call rolling hills, tree lined in most areas, wide open spaces in others. Rivers run consistently through this part of Texas (Hill Country & Prairies and Lakes) – lots of green.
We set up in the North Waco RV Park, in West, Texas. selected because most of the many other parks we called were full for the Labor Day Weekend. This park is crossed off of our list to ever visit again. Check in at the office which smelled of cat piss and cigarette smoke. It was advertised with WiFi, CATV, and laundry. The WiFi signal was weak and without internet access. The CATV was non-existent, it looked as if someone had cut the cable with the lawn mower and not taken the time to repair it. The laundry building was falling down, all the washers were disassembled with hoses and parts everywhere. When Sue took our dog for a walk she was threatened by the owner’s kid’s large dog who was always running free in the campground. The owner came by and pruned a tree, then left the pruning AND tools laying on the ground for the next several days (still there when we left); this was consistent with what we saw elsewhere – tools, equipment, etc., left lying around the campground. This was obviously a KOA in its previous life (several remnant KOA signs). We’ve stayed in several KOAs – none as bad as this … If we had the opportunity we would have relocated; but it being a holiday weekend we decided to stick it out.
John drove down from Lewisville on Saturday to spend the day with us. We had not seen him since the spring time in Washington State before he moved to Texas. We spend the morning at the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame and Museum. What a great place. We will go back there again and admire the hard work that the curators and volunteers have put into it. Highly recommended if you are visiting Waco, or even just passing through.
Followed this with lunch on the Brazos River at Buzzard Billy’s – frequented by both tourists and college students from Baylor University. Great food, friendly staff, and easy on-off from the I-35 freeway. We watched turtles and kayakers enjoying the calm waters of the Brazos River!
After lunch we drove out to the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Larry was a little disappointed that his ‘old man’ Golden Pass was worthless there. They said it only applies for gate fees and parking, which they don’t charge for; however they charge an tour fee which it does not cover. You have to go on a paid tour in order to see the bones, which they’ve not ensconced in a climate controlled building. All-in-all worth the price of admission, even though some of the tour guides information was clearly opinion and not science.
We finished the day just catching up with John and what his new job entails. He is still working for Peterbilt, now in its corporate headquarters in Denton, Texas. He is developing curriculum and training Peterbilt technicians across the US and Canada. Great job and he loves the work. He gets to travel some. In fact he will be in San Antonio in December; when we hope to get together with him and Jennifer (and Ryan and the grand kids).
We woke up Sunday morning at dawn to the sound of gunshots just north of us, then within minutes more gunshots south of us. It was a little unnerving until we realized that it was the opening day of dove season there. Not so unnerving, but still a little obnoxious and disturbing for an otherwise quiet Sunday morning. This went on until about 10 AM, then resumed about 6 PM until dusk, and repeated on Monday and Tuesday. I must say that there are either millions of doves within a few hundred yards, or these hunters are terrible shots – hundreds of shots within probably 1/4 mile every morning and evening!
There was some good from staying at the Waco North RV Park – Larry met some volunteer fire fighters from the Brenham, Texas, area. As usual Larry picked their brain about their department. All volunteer, some tax $$ support, but most of the revenue comes from one or two primary community fund-raisers. Quite a different model than what those of you in California are familiar with. He had a good visit and left them with a challenge coin apiece. He also me a man who retired from the Tulsa, Oklahoma Police Department.
On Monday Sue wanted to see the ‘famous’ Magnolia Market at the Silos, so Larry tagged along. Pretty nice market – and popular also. Sue was ‘not impressed’. It reminded Larry of an overgrown and overpriced Pier One, Pottery Barn or Home Goods store.
Next on the itinerary was lunch … On our way to the Dr. Pepper Museum we found a little Mexican place called Hecho En Waco. Great Mexican food (first time since we arrived in Texas, if you can believe that), very busy on this holiday Monday at lunch-time.
On to the Dr. Pepper Museum! I did not know, but now I do, that Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco! The museum included the history of not only Dr. Pepper, but also soft drinks and sodas as well. Three stories high of history! Another good place to visit if you’re ever in Waco. My oldest brother, David, is a Dr. Pepper fan, so we picked up a little something for him and sent it out today. To answer your question, ‘no one knows where the name “Dr. Pepper” came from.’
After the Magnolia Market at the Silos, Sue wanted to visit the Spice Village. It is a complete second floor, one block long and 1/2 block wide of vendors selling all sorts of cool things – but no spice to be found. While Sue was exploring the vast shopping opportunities, Larry went downstairs to the bar. After perusing over 150 beers on tap he settled for a simple Coors Light! First beer in 6 months and probably last beer for six months!
I’m writing this from the Brenham area where we are exploring now. We came down Highway 6 through College Station, home of the Bush Library and the Texas Aggies. After a couple days here we head home to Kerrville by way of San Antonio for Grandparent’s day at school! We have seen some fantastic countryside and lots of rural! Still pleased with our choice to leave California in the dust and expand eastward! Every day another news story appears about California that reinforces our decision. We’ve got the retirement thing taken care of as well as health insurance; however, we still need to select a primary care physician, dentist, and vision office.
More soon …