TRAVEL THERE: SOUTH TEXAS CHRISTMAS RAMBLE – WACO, AUSTIN, SAN ANTONIO & GALVESTON
Did you miss me last week? I missed being here, but not too much, because I was out having fun. For years I’ve wanted to visit San Antonio while the luminaries glowed on the Riverwalk. I finally headed that way and tacked Galveston’s Dickens on the Strand at the end of the trip. I didn’t know the North Pole would be traveling with us.
Having declared this a ramble, we did take it slow. Last Tuesday morning went like almost any morning at our house, except that my bags were packed and sitting next to the door. After my morning ride on the stationary bike, I made some breakfast and then headed for a bath. Meanwhile, my husband, the investor, checked on the market and made sure his trades were all properly lined up. About 10:30 we hit the road.
Waxahachie Drive Tour
First stop, Waxahachie. We were a few days early for the Gingerbread Tour of Homes, but thought we might take a sneak peek at some of the old Victorians all dressed up for Christmas. I’d found a copy of the tour map online and started putting Bill through his paces. He was very obedient, but by the fifth house we realized the effort wasn’t worth it. It’s the second time I’ve tried to do this and after this second fail we hightailed it back to I-35.
A Detour for the Love of Dr. Pepper
I had a wish list for Waco which included the Lee Lockwood Library, but they’re closed on Tuesdays, so we went to the Dr. Pepper Museum. This pilgrimage had been lurking for a while on my “to do” list, but the other times I’d tried to drop by failed for one reason or another.
Now, if there ever was a Pepper, it’s me, so I was looking forward to the museum big time, but erase all thoughts of the CocaCola Museum in Atlanta out of your mind. Dr. Pepper doesn’t even come in a close second. Even a Pepper like me has to admit it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Just pare down your expectations a bit.
The building housing the museum is where the beverage was originally served and then bottled. Since we were there on a mid-week afternoon in early December, we didn’t exactly have to fight any crowds. We paid our $8 per person (choke choke) admission and started poking around the place.
Long before Dr. Pepper was a soda fountain drink, Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store was well known as the largest drug store in Texas. Cowpokes and railroad tracks converged in Waco creating a clientele for emporium’s soda fountain, but old Morrison, didn’t create Dr Pepper. One of his employees did. For a while, even though the drink was popular at the soda fountain, no one thought of bottling it. For one thing, soda fountains were all the rage and for another, bottling was an expensive process.
A la Madame Tussard’s, a wax replica of the man that did invent Dr Pepper greeted you in the original soda fountain area. He told you the history of Morrison’s Drug Store and that odd little beverage invented there. He also explained why the artisan wells in Waco made the bottling of Dr Pepper a possibility.
The reason I choked on the price of admission is because the majority of the museum is just a warehouse for Dr. Pepper ad media. Strolling through the first two floors is, for the most part, a review of the Dr Pepper marketing campaigns. Yes, there’s the original soda fountain and a room set up like the original bottling facility, but that’s pretty much all there is that has historical meaning for anyone except an ad executive. The third floor is devoted to Foots Clements. He’s a one time delivery truck driver who made his way through the ranks and then led the company for many years.
Several displays reminded me that 7Up is part of the Dr Pepper family, but what I found odd was that almost half of one floor was devoted to root beer. Root beer? I could never find the link between root beer and my favorite soda, but I did learn a few things about the whole frosty mug thing.
There’s a gift shop full of Dr Pepper t-shirts and commemorative bottles and then there’s a snack bar, where you can get a free sample of Dr Pepper products mixed the old soda fountain way. I’d have preferred a can. The sample didn’t taste quite right – but I bet when they started bottling Dr Pepper most people said they preferred what they were used to at the soda fountain.
Should you go to the Dr Pepper Museum? Well, that depends. Are you a Pepper? If you’re a devoted drinker of the brand, then you will enjoy it. Are you a Baby Boomer? Then you’d probably enjoy the walk down the advertising memory lane. Are you majoring in marketing at one of our American universities or colleges. Then maybe you’d learn a few things. Otherwise, like my husband, you’d probably prefer to spend your time elsewhere.