Saturday, March 17, 2007

Waco, Texas

Our mini-vacation began early Monday morning. We left our house at 7:30 and headed south to Waco, Texas. With rush hour traffic (RacerDad was smart and went through Ft. Worth instead of Dallas) we were in West, a small Czech community by 9:15...just in time for kolaches. RacerDad remembered the Ole Czech Bakery from his college days, can I just say I was glad he wanted to stop there....yummm.

After breakfast, we were 30 short minutes from our first destination....The Dr Pepper Museum. Dr Pepper was invented in a drug store in Waco, Texas in the late 1800's and was originally called a "Waco". The pharmacist that invented the formula was in search of a taste that reminded him of the fruity smell of the soda fountain. 23 different fruit flavorings make the basis of Dr Pepper. Of the mainstream beverages on the market now (Coke, Pepsi, etc.) Dr Pepper is the oldest. The museum is full of interesting artifacts and information about cokes in general.

We were able to see the antique machinery used in making the beverage, the bottle washer, and the artisian well originally used in the making of the product. Speedy B was fascinated by all the bottles and cans they had on display. For myself, it was fun to look at them and see how many I could remember. There was a room of old coke machines (all of them Dr Pepper of course!) that included the chest version right up to one you might see today. The prices were still on the outer labels....the boys couldn't believe that you used to be able to get a drink for 15 cents. They really didn't believe my MIL when she said she remembered buying them for 5 cents!

I had always wondered why Dr Pepper used a clock in their advertising, there was a wonderful display that explained it. During WWII, the government rationed sugar for public consumption due to the fact that sugar is a component of making bombs. Well of course, Dr Pepper has lots of it was about to become extinct. One of their advertising agents remembered that in the early '30s research had proven that humans experience lulls in their activity at 10:30, 2:30 and 4:30 due to low sugar levels. Dr Pepper was then recategorized as a food substance essential to the war effort and their slogan became "Drink your food at 10, 2 and 4".

We all enjoyed watching the old Dr Pepper commercials that were playing at various locations in the museum and then we went down to the replica soda shop on the lower level and enjoyed Dr Peppers made the old fashioned way with syrup and selzer. It was a great stop!

Next we went to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. I am sure you are thinking baseball team, but no, this is the museum dedicated to the Texas Ranger Law Enforcement. This museum is little boy (and big boy) heaven, room after room of guns and cowboy paraphanalia. There is a wonderful video, originally aired on the History Channel that gives the history of the organization. I had no idea that when the Rangers began, they were mainly farmers and teachers, I must admit my knowledge of the Rangers had only been fed by John Wayne movies.

The Texas Rangers have a long and fascinating history...including their part in the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde. RacerDad said the museum used to house the car Bonnie and Clyde died in, it must be off display now because we did not see that, though we did see the guns that were confiscated out of the car.

Of course all the boys enjoyed this museum, I must say my MIL and I did as well. The museum did a good job of bringing the family aspect into the history, by including letters from the wives, mothers and sisters.

Smoda wanted his picture taken by this rock could I resist?

Waco was a fun day and worth the drive....there is also Baylor University that we could have toured as well....but we were off for Houston and NASA.

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