We stopped in near Dublin, Texas for a couple of days. Dublin is known for a soft drink bottling plant. For years they claimed to be the first bottling location of Dr. Pepper but lost that title when challenged by the company.
They are a bit quirky.
The Sowell Creek campground had a herd of deer that regularly walked through.
Time for another dig and history. We really like museums and sites like this. There is a lot to learn and see. The parking lot and visitor center are close together. It is a short walk on a paved path to the exhibit building.
The Waco Mammoth Site herd is the only known herd of Columbian mammoths in North America. The dig site was not discovered until 1978 and many of the bones have been taken to the local university for display and study.
The building was built to protect the site from flooding and wind erosion.
The mammoth found here is the Columbian Mammoth. They were much taller than the Woolly Mammoth and twice as heavy. The Woolly was about 10 feet tall at the shoulder and 10,000 lbs. but the Columbian was 14 feet and 20,000 lbs. An adult Columbian would eat as much as 700 lbs. of grass and drink 75 gallons of water every day. Even though they are only distant cousins of today's elephant, they behaved almost the same way. They traveled in herds with a matriarch lead and migrated to follow food sources and changes in the seasons. Even though they lived during an ice age, Texas was a grassland with high temperatures of 90° during the summer.
Researchers have uncovered 23 mammoths here so far! These mammoths
are in two groups—an upper group of 4, and a group of 19 buried deeper.
The lower group was all adult females and young calves, a nursery herd.
The Waco Mammoth Site herd is the first known nursery herd of Columbian mammoths in North America. Since its discovery in 1978, herds of woolly mammoths have been found in Russia and Serbia.
Current research suggests the nursery herd died in a flash flood or mudslide, becoming trapped under many feet of thick clay mud. This area was popular as a watering hole and attracted all types of animals including horses, a type of camel, llamas, mammoths, bison, beaver, and whitetail deer, and of course predators like the Saber-tooth cat. Because of large trees near the rivers, a giant sloth with babies the size of brown bears were in the area.
Scientists have found evidence of multiple flash floods and mudslides that trapped groups of animals over time.
We had a fun lunch at a brewery.
Across the street was a huge Masonic Temple. It was an impressive building.
Today, we visit the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas. After all the years of drinking Dr Pepper, I really wanted to visit the museum once I realized we would be just a couple of miles down the road. The museum is in the first bottling plant and displays a lot of history of the company and exhibits. It took us about an hour to do the tour.
History lesson warning:
Pardon any inaccuracies but I found several disagreements on the facts.
The thought that carbonated water has healing powers is not new. For thousands of years bathing in bubbling water has been treated as healthy. In 1772, bottling carbonation was created and as a byproduct soda drinks.
In the late 1800's it was common for a "Soda Jerk" to have their own mixes of soda. The term Soda Jerk comes from the need to "jerk" the handle when mixing soda water into the syrup. Every drugstore with a soda fountain had their own mixes that were popular in the area. At that time most soda drink would be less than a half dozen flavors mixed together. Here is just a short list of flavors that would have been used.
This is just 18 flavors. Dr Pepper is 23 flavors combined so most stores had even more to choose from. I found information on one that had 76 flavors. Many of our current sodas started as flavors mixed by a pharmacist.
Charles Alderton invented Dr Pepper.
Charles Hires who invented Hire Root Beer.
John Pemperton who invented Coca-Cola.
Caleb Bradham who invented Pepsi-Cola.
All were pharmacists and this is a short list.
People widely believed in the medicinal properties of carbonated drinks and the Drug Stores where they were served were happy to maintain that belief. It also helped that in most stores the pharmacist mixed the sodas.
Dr Pepper is a true native Texas product. The first Dr Pepper was created in the Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store, and they had a mockup of the store in the museum along with an animatronic of the inventor himself.
Charles Alderton at 28 was working at the Old Corner Drugstore in Waco put together several combinations to come up with a mix that stood out. His mix of 23 flavors was originally referred to as “a Waco.” Mr. Morrison who owned the drug store named the drink Dr Pepper and applied for a patent stating the original date of creation as December 1, 1885. Once patented they could sell the mix as a syrup to other drug stores to use. Over the next couple of years demand grew to the point that they needed to relocate production and in 1906 they began bottling Dr Pepper at the current location of the Dr Pepper Museum. It was the first company headquarters for Dr Pepper. Early on Dr Pepper was written to include the period but not does not due to not being endorsed by any doctor or even being named for a doctor.
Dr Pepper was invented before both Coke a Cola (1886) and Pepsi (1893).
They had an enormous number of examples of signs, bottles, and even jugs.
Anyone remembers getting Soda in a jug like Dr Pepper or AW Root beer?
The building was built over an artesian well which was purified and used for bottling and syrup production. Many wells existed in the area and supplied very good water. This well was active until the 1920's when it started to run dry. The city required that all old wells be sealed and this one was for a long time. In 1992 location was discovered and the top few feet of were concrete was removed. From there down was filled with broken bottles. During restoration 47 buckets of broken soda bottles were removed from the well.
Bottling allowed wide distribution of the soda. It could be sold small stores and filling stations across the area and eventually the country. At about this time the 10 2 4 was added to the logo. The idea is that if you drink a Dr Pepper at 10am, 2pm, and 4pm will aid in digestion and restores vim, vigor, and vitality.
Some of the bottling equipment was on display.
Everything was not just on Dr Pepper. There was also some spaced dedicated to 7up.
We had a hand made Dr Pepper at the soda fountain. It was very good.
It was a lot of fun. Time for lunch and a stop at a local distillery. Both were great.
We knew we were in Texas when we crossed a bridge over the Sabine River and the speed limit jumped from 55 to 75.
Our first stop in Texas is a Corps of Engineers campground on lake B. A. Steinhagen. COE campgrounds are great. Large sites with wide gaps between and nature. This campground is almost completely empty. We are one of three campers in the entire park other than the camp hosts. Our closest camper is hundreds of feet away. It feels like we have the entire park to ourselves.
We were told there are several gators in the lake behind the site. After looking around and trying to avoid the seriously aggressive mosquitoes and yellow flies I gave up finding gators. The mosquitoes and yellow flies are awful. Within just a couple of minutes outside, they have found you and attacked. I don't remember the ones in the Everglades being this bad, but we were there in the winter.
We did get a surprise when we walked out this morning. Someone had left muddy footprints on our steps. We are thinking our visitor was a racoon.
We will be here for a couple of days. Well, here comes the rain. BTW, we have a high chance of rain every day.
We are headed west.
For the last couple of months, we have been in the Pensacola area visiting family. Today we start our trip west to New Mexico. Along the way we hope to find something interesting to do or see. It is likely to take us about a month. Texas is BIG. I mean REALLY BIG and is half of our mileage to NM.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...