Trip Summary Calendar - Where we went and when

July 06, 2004

Wrapping up Austin

We're on our last full day in Austin, and have planned our next three stops. Tomorrow we're staying in Fort Stockton, TX for just one night; it's just a halfway point between here and our next real destination, Roswell, NM. That's right, the home of UFOs and aliens! We're sure to see some fun/weird stuff there. We'll be there for four nights. Then we're headed to Santa Fe for a week in the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area. After that we'll likely head west to the Grand Canyon.

We had a very interesting and unique day yesterday. We drove about two hours north to Waco. Our first stop was the Dr. Pepper Museum, home to my favorite drink. They have a very nice little museum, in the building that held the bottling plant for the first part of the 20th century. They recently excavated the original 27' artesian well that provided the water at the time, and the museum has many artifacts of the original manufacturing process. We had some soda and ice cream, and bought some cute souvenirs. And three cases of original-recipe Dr. Pepper with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. Mmmmm.

We then tracked down the site of a very depressing event, the former location of the Branch Davidian cult compound outside Waco that burned in 1993 killing nearly 80 people. It is by no means a major tourist attraction, but some tourists do seek it out. The site continues to function as a meeting place for the group's surviving members and is also a memorial to the events. The memorial portion gently takes the side of the conspiracy theorists who look at the event as a US attack on a religious organization, but it isn't overdone. We chatted a while with the site's caretaker, Ron, who albeit a bit odd himself was very nice and quite honest about how he thought David Koresh was a bit nutty. (Ron also made sure we knew he was a Messianic Jew, not a Branch Davidian.) The site was smaller than I'd expected, easily visible from the main road in this very rural area. Much of the foundation remains and is well marked, but with a lack of cleanliness that makes it look like more of an amateur archaeological site than anything you'd see at a regular museum. A burned-out bus remains on the site. Many trees have been planted as part of the memorial, one for each person killed in the fire. Plaques also memorialize the four law enforcement (BATF) men killed in the original attempt to arrest David Koresh, as well as the people killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing. (Tim McVeigh said he bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City as retaliation for the fire here in Waco, something the remaining Branch Davidians didn't like at all.) I wouldn't plan a trip to Texas just to see this site, but was a very interesting part of our day.

A mere 40 minutes away was Crawford, Texas, the "Texas White House" to our current president. We couldn't resist a visit. It's a very small town (population 705). They take full advantage in being the current hometown of the Bush's - every little store sells t-shirts, hats, etc. We had lunch at what is supposedly their favorite restaurant (nothing fancy). We drove to their ranch, which is not marked but not that hard to find. All we saw were some secret service trucks and a big gate. We also had a little fun at their expense, and placed our Kerry bumper sticker in the window for the ride out of town...

We're still behind on photos but those of yesterday will eventually be posted.

Posted by Mitch at July 6, 2004 04:33 PM

Hi guys!

What a strange day you had, I certainly hope you picked me up a Bush t-shirt......hahahaha........joking of course!

Love that you put your Kerry sticker in the window on the way back! God help us if we have to endure another 4 years of Bush! Yikes!

You better save me at least one swig of Dr. Pepper original recipe....hahaha.....I lived on Diet Dr. Pepper in law school b/c it has more caffenine than Diet Pepsi and its yummy!

Waco, TX, wow! What a site! Must have been some weird feelings there!

Take care and have a blast - we miss you!!!!
-T :)

Posted by: Theresa Giannavola at July 7, 2004 09:03 AM
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