Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring breakaway, part 2.

After the sports museum, we were ready for lunch. Our original restaurant choice looked a little scary, so we opted for Buzzard Billy's, right off the interstate and next to the Brazos River.

Because of March Madness, I had to keep an eye on my Horns in their first round game with Oakland. There were TVs inside the restaurant, but we opted for a table on the deck. Thank goodness for the live games streaming via the NCAA tournament app!

We enjoyed the great weather, the ducks (who seemed to love the extra rolls our waiter gave us for duck-feeding purposes) and the fish (who liked to steal duck bread).

I had the shrimp creole, and it was fabulous! (No ducks nor fish were permitted to partake.)

Katie, who was still a few weeks from becoming a vegetarian, opted for the chicken strips. This one, however, looked less like chicken and more like a seahorse!

After lunch we ventured downtown to tour the Dr Pepper Museum.

The kids and I had been to the Dublin bottling plant, but we'd never seen the place where this sweet nectar was born.

This animatronic dude told us about the pharmacy and soda fountain where Dr Pepper was first concocted.

In different places around the museum, there were Dr Pepper "oddities" on display, like this bottle warmer.

In other places, visitors were encouraged to tweet answers to questions. (My guess for this item? Coasters.)

String art! So very 1970s.

These two photos show bottles from the original drugstore.

It was cool to see different bottles that have been used for soft drinks over the years.

I always get a kick out of seeing the old logos and bottle shapes.

Brett and I recall the days when drink cans had pull tabs that you had to pull all the way off the cans! It was funny to see all of these can incarnations again.

I never saw a rocking chair made out of a DP can, but I remember seeing a transistor radio like that one!

Mmmm... Dr Pepper gum! And it looks like the old Freshen-up gum with the liquid in the middle! I don't remember the DP gum, but seems like we all had the Bonne Bell Dr Pepper Lipsmacker.

The kids were curious about the whole "10-2-4" thing. This placard explained it.

In this case, we learned about different bottling plants and how each puts its own mark on its bottles.

Here we could watch old DP commercials, including my fave, the David Naughton "I'm a Pepper" spots.

This cap-covered horse needs a name. (Visitors were asked to submit possible names via Twitter.)

It was funny to see all the Dr Pepper knock-offs:
And of course, there were Mr Pibbs and Pibb Xtras:
One case was devoted to root beer.

And another was dedicated to Big Red, also a Waco original.

A special exhibit focused on novelty drinks, like the much-missed Crystal Pepsi.

The museum folks have done a good job of paying tribute to all kinds of soft drinks,

but the focus was most definitely on the hometown favorite.

I was sad that a fallen sign had obscured this Roger Staubach poster because Brett has had one of these Sugar-Free Dr Pepper bottles for a long time! (We still have it, by the way.)

Baylor has always had a close association with the local drink. This stadium carrier was used back in the day to sell DPs to fans in the stands.

We had plans to sample the ice cream floats at the soda counter, but the lines were really long. Instead, we just went outside, posed for a couple of pix, and then went to Sonic to quench our thirst.

So finally, we can put a big check by "Visit the Waco Dr Pepper museum"! Our little Waco daytrip was just what the Dr ordered.

P.S. - On our way home, we passed this old building.
Oh, how I miss those old Stuckey's! These days Love's or Flying J's have replaced the old roadside staples famous for their pecan logs, but I still get nostalgic when I see one of these buildings still standing.

Spring breakaway.

Katie spent most of spring break in the Hill Country with the youth group, and I spent a good chunk of my time working on a surprise for her in her room. Brett and I also had another major project that consumed most of our break time, so I was stressed and more than a little sad that our time off wasn't exactly fun. Coming to my rescue, Brett came up with this great plan: a spring break getaway to Waco on that Friday before we went back to school.

There were two Waco attractions I had wanted to visit for a long, long time. We drive through Waco all the time, but since we're always on our way to Austin or San Antonio, we never have time to stop for more than a Starbucks or potty break. This Friday was the perfect chance for us to go there just for the day. Our two stops: the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Dr Pepper Museum.

Surely there's somewhere in our house that we could install a football laces light fixture, right? This was right outside the front door.

Inside we saw tributes to all kinds of Texas sports legends. Some individuals had big displays, and in some areas, there were tributes to teams or sports as a whole. Here are some of the highlights:

(I have those two glasses!)

The George Foreman case includes one of his grills. (Of course!)

This was Doak Walker's all-star jersey.

Emory Bellard was famous as a football coach at A&M, but he worked at Texas with Darrell Royal before that. (Besides, he had family ties with some of my colleagues at school!)

Cool to compare our hands to those of an NBA player.

Ryan's almost as tall as the average NBA player!

Astroturf from the Astrodome

All these years after the Cowboys' "Triplets," I still love to see Troy Aikman stuff! (And yes, I had that Wheaties box on my wall back in the day!)

It's fun to see the ol' Southwest Conference gang together again! (This reminded me of the prints at Up in Smoke BBQ—formerly the Turkey Shop—just half an hour north of Waco.)

In the SWC wing, there was an area dedicated to each member of that now-extinct conference. Of course, I was captivated by the Texas section.

This was fun! You could push a button and here that school's fight song.

The TJC fight song really took me back! My best friend's dad taught at TJC, so we spent many a Saturday evening at Rose Stadium cheering on the Apaches. "Sons of Mars and Thunder, rip that line asunder, carry on to victory!" (How sad that I don't know my kids' cell phone numbers, but I can recall the TJC fight song!)

Abe Lemons' jacket

Our pal, Tommy Nobis

Loved those BMW days! Here's Travis Mays' jersey (the M in BMW from 1990 Longhorn basketball).

Many people don't realize that Tom Landry played for the Longhorns before he was a coach.

One area of the museum had interactive fitness tests, like this one that sees how high athletes can jump:

We took advantage of the equipment! There were maybe five other people in the whole museum at the time, so we had this stuff all to ourselves.

There's a large section devoted to tennis, but I was most interested in these racquets, mostly because they reminded me of the greatest name in that sport: Yvonne Goolagong.

This game was Brett's favorite artifact. It really took him back to his childhood.

One room was set up like Dave Campbell's office. In that room were back issues of Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine.

We enjoyed our visit, but I must say: The displays seemed a little uneven. Some areas of the museum are obviously older than others, and in some places light bulbs were out or cases were dusty. Some Hall of Fame inductees had huge displays, and others were barely mentioned. The museum's newest-looking section is a tribute to the Southwest Conference. Each school in that old conference has its own area in that wing, but since the conference has been dead since '96, it all just seems kinda sad.

Still, Texas sports fans will have fun checking out the Hall of Fame, having the chance to remember those great teams and players from the past.

Besides, where else would you get to sit on a tennis ball bench?

Next up: Lunch and the Dr Pepper Museum.