If there is one thing I’ve learned from my time in Texas, it’s that Texans have a lot of state pride. A LOT of state pride. Seeing as how I’ve never been outside of Dallas, and so have only ever experienced a tiny sliver of what Texas has to offer, I often feel like I’m missing out when Texans gush about this state of theirs. So, this past weekend I decided to take a road trip to get up close and personal with the good ol’ Lone Star State. My decision to travel may have also been slightly influenced by my having tickets to a Ben Rector concert in Waco; but, regardless. With a destination plugged into my GPS, Lana del Rey pumping through the speakers, and a bag of sweet potato tater tots in my lap, I hit the road. Here are some thoughts on my #WildInWaco weekend.
Waco? More Like Way-Co
This is embarrassing to admit, but until last year I didn’t know how to pronounce “Waco.” I definitely thought it was pronounced “Whacko,” and always heard Joey Tribbiani’s voice in my head saying “whack” whenever I read signs for the city’s exit. Thankfully, I had no such pronunciation mishaps this past weekend. Unfortunately, though, because I pass these exit signs so frequently, I assumed Waco was just a stone’s throw away from Dallas—30 minutes, tops. Nope. An hour-and-a-half into the drive I realized, I’ve been living a geographical lie.
Waco Walls: s’artsy
Austin is a popular travel destination for many of my friends. And, every time people go there, they inevitably take a picture in front of the “I love you so much” wall. All of their Instas and Facebook pics are always so edgy and avant-garde; like, “Look, I’m candidly leaning against this wall laughing as the sun shines on my face and I look so hipster and s’artsy.”
Since apparently wall pics are necessary to prove that you’ve actually traveled through Texas, I decided I needed a Waco wall pic ASAP to keep my street cred up. Unfortunately, all of the walls I saw in Waco were either gray or a neutral sandstone color—nothing that screamed Insta gold. Shucks.
Not one to face defeat, I refused to let anything stop me from getting a wall picture; otherwise, who would believe that I’d actually left Dallas?! While waiting in line at the concert venue, I saw the perfect opportunity: behind me stood a dull, gray brick wall. Could this be the signature wall of Waco? “Carpe diem,” I thought. Pushing my friends onto the pavement, I asked a random passerby to take our picture. “I really need a wall pic—they’re so hot right now. Would you mind?”
“I totally know what you mean. Not a problem.”
Reviewing the picture, I was worried about how the sidewalk coloring blended seamlessly into the gray brick. Would people recognize this as a wall pic, or just think we were weirdoes sitting in a corner?! Would my efforts be in vain?! Did I travel all this way for nothing?!
Thankfully, I quickly concocted a clever hashtag to make sure people knew this was in fact a wall pic: #WallsInWaco. Throwing on a filter as the finishing touch, I smiled, knowing I’d reached the pinnacle of my Texas travel experience.
What Wild Waco Wackiness We Saw
The following things were spotted during the drive and on the Waco adventure:
—A restaurant called “Health Camp” that only sold hamburgers and shakes.
—A billboard that questioned, “Who Is Jesus?” and then provided a 1-800 number to call for an answer.
—Cows. A whoooole lot of cows. This led me to ponder for a good while during our four hours in the car if cow-tipping is a real activity.
—Dr Pepper everything. Dr Pepper baby back ribs, Dr Pepper ice cream, Dr Pepper bacon burgers…Waco is basically the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. of Dr Pepper.
—An historic café where apparently you can only eat if you’re elite.
—Ben Rector, hands down one of the greatest musicians of all time.
—Butter…with toasted coconut shavings on top. LITERAL COCONUT BUTTER that was good enough to eat plain (if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right). Previously, I had only known coconut butter to be a kind of body lotion sold at Bath & Body Works. This truly was a deliciously life-changing discovery.
**Note: the magical butter came from the Elite Café.**
Wise Words for Waco
Waco, you blew my mind; thanks for the memories. Stay wild. Stay whacky. Stay wonderful.
Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!
(I Love You photo credit: http://meredithwinn.