We had a fun morning in Waco, TX at Magnolia Market of HGTV “Fixer Upper” fame. After parking in a city free parking lot we rode the free trolley which let us out right at the front door and Bakery. I enjoyed looking and shopping with all the other people. It was crowded but everyone was good natured. After making my purchase we walked over to the Feed and Seed Store where we enjoyed the beautiful flowers and gardens. Since the line into the Bakery was long we opted to not go there. There were several food trucks as well. People were enjoying the picnic tables and the kids were having a lot of fun romping in the large play area.
Later on, just for fun, we drove past Chip and Joanna’s restaurant, Magnolia Table. They had a full house, with people lined up waiting to get in.
This is our second sightseeing review of Waco – the first is here.
After walking about three blocks we arrived at the Dr. Pepper Museum. The tour there is self guided. The museum is housed in a three story building but there is an elevator if you don’t want to climb the stairs. We enjoyed seeing the old corner drugstore with it’s beautiful woodwork and mirror. One room has early-day bottling equipment and a video on how the old bottle washer worked. Of particular interest to me was the artesian well that originally provided water for making the first Dr. Peppers bottled here. Sometime prior to World War II the well was closed and floored over. The exact location was lost as the building was changed and used for other purposes across the years. It took some archeology to find just where, under the brick floor, the well was.
Throughout the building there are old time delivery trucks on display along with lots of Dr Pepper memorabilia. In the theater room you can enjoy Dr. Pepper commercials being played on a big screen. We were surprised at how many of those commercials we remembered! Scott wasn’t sure he liked watching them because he kept singing them to himself the rest of the day! After finishing the three stories of the museum we went across the courtyard where there were several other displays, including a very nice model railroad and a 7-Up bottling display. We also enjoyed Frosty’s Soda Shop and gift shop. We got a couple of sodas, made the old fashioned way, by a soda jerk. Scott got, of course, a Dr Pepper and I opted for a root beer. We thought both tasted better than what you would buy in a store or from a machine.
Some full time traveling RVers set out to visit all the National Parks. Others plan their journeys to see as many minor league ball parks as they can and more than a few focus on seeing the grandkids who are scattered around the country. I think, though, that we have a corner on doing animal highway sketching! At least this year, we did a pretty good drawing of a dog.
Honestly, it was only after I began planning our 2017 Adventure and I started mapping it out that I realized we were drawing a dog. Next year we’ll likely go back to drawing nondescript maps of amoebas.
Check out our 2017 Adventure Map page for links to reviews of all our stops during this “year of the dog.”
We enjoyed our visit to Scotts Bluff National Monument. At the visitor’s center we looked at the displays and watched an informative video. This distinctive formation was in Indian Territory and a landmark well known to many tribes. The pioneers followed the North Platte River as they journeyed westward. They could see these formations for days as they traveled across the prairie. This route is known as the Oregon Trail and was also part of the Mormon Trail. The Pony Express also rode through the area. As many travelers before us, we could see the Bluff as arrived in the area, and as travelers have for generations, we camped near the base of Scotts Bluff. Unlike those early travelers, though, we drove a twisting road through tunnels and with increasing vistas to the top. The view is amazing. We walked to various overlooks, thoroughly enjoying the scenery spread out below. I’m glad we were able to visit a place we have heard of most of our lives.
Mount Rushmore is spectacular and I would come again to see this monument honoring our country. The size and detail are amazing in the daytime and beautiful at night. After dark we saw a short movie about the monument, heard stories from a park ranger, and watched the lowering of the American flag by ex-servicemen from the audience. This monument is cared for by the National park Service and includes a visitors’ center, gift shops, and museum where we watched a movie telling the story of how it all came about. The artist, Gutzon Borglum, was a first generation American of Danish decent. He began the project in 1925 and it was completed by his son Lincoln shortly after his father’s death in 1941.
We also enjoyed going to the Crazy Horse Memorial. This is a family owned monument and the ongoing work of Korczak Ziolkowski and his family. There are American Indian artifacts and items on display as well as a gift shop and a restaurant. Ziolkowski and his wife have passed on but his children continue the sculpting. We were lucky enough to be there for not only one of the nightly lazar light shows but also one the two nighttime dynamite blasts that are done each year. Although it was extremely crowed we found indoor seating that allowed a great view of the light show and blasting. We’ve never seen anything like the blasting, as over 100 charges were set off in rapid succession, each one with a “boom” and fiery flash of light.
Both of these monuments are worth a visit and both should be visited in the early evening so they can be seen in both daylight and under lighting.
There are some terrific drives in the Black Hills. We saw many on motorcycles which Scott thinks would be the perfect way to see the area. We, though, did it all in our Ford F350. We had some tight fits, but thousands of people enjoy these drives in all kinds of vehicles each year.
Iron Mountain Road runs between Mt. Rushmore National Memorial and Custer State Park. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable drive with winding roads with glimpses of Mount Rushmore which is framed by the tunnels. This drive has the famous pigtail bridges and wonderful Black Hills scenery. I really enjoyed stopping at a pull off and getting my first real glimpse of Mount Rushmore if only at a distance.
The state park’s Wildlife Loop road is another fun drive. It takes you through open grasslands and hills where much of the park wildlife live. There were cute prairie dogs popping in and out their holes as traffic continues by. We saw pronghorn antelope out in the field and a herd of burros (descended from the burros of years gone by which were used to transport visitors to the top of Black Elk Peak). When the rides were discontinued years ago the burros were released into park. The burros have become expert beggars. We watched as two of them went to a small car and stuck their heads in wanting food. The colts were cute but when people didn’t feed them they wandered down the road and back into the meadow area. Of course, the main wildlife attraction at Custer is the buffalo herds. We were amazed at the size of the animals. We saw several groups including some with calves coming down for water. A very pleasant drive.
Custer State Park has a long history and many buildings. We drove past the current State Game lodge, a beautiful building opened in 1922. We saw buildings that the CCC built in the 1930’s. My favorite stop was the home of Badger Clark, South Dakota’s first poet Laureate. He cut the trees, hauled the rocks and built the home himself and it is just as he left it in 1957 when he died. His poetry and books are the story of a man living an independent life. An interpreter is on site giving tours daily June through Labor Day.
Another fun drive was Needles Highway with its narrow tunnels. Most are single lane so must be approached with caution. We went through one called “keyhole” that was so narrow that Scott pulled the side mirrors in. We enjoyed seeing formations that look like needles made of granite. There are many picturesque vistas to be enjoyed.
These drives are so scenic that I know they can be driven again and again as they showcase the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota.