Thurs. Aug. 29, 2019:
Houston to Dallas, Texas:
Brent jumped on the bed to wake me up, apparently, I had slept until 10am. The two Benadryl’s I took knocked me out. I missed out on breakfast but they were still serving coffee in the lobby. My nose was a bit swollen and I had a painful lump beside my ear, my allergies were really bad now. I also broke my retainer. Not exactly the best start to the day.
As we drove to Dallas, we listened to SYSK Short Stuff, except this episode on “dead body codes on airplanes” was really more of a no-stuff. It was hilarious and perked me right up. The rice krispies cookie I had brought from home was quite stale by this point, the triple chocolate Twix would have to do for breakfast. It was no better than a regular Twix. We finally passed a Buc-Ees and stopped in to see what all the hype was about. It was a giant gas station/grocery store/rest stop/souvenir shop. One section of the store smelled incredible because they were sugar-roasting pecans and almonds. The selection at Buc-Ees was surprisingly good, I found a 6-pack of a blood orange cider from an Austin brewery. We also got salsa verde Doritos (which the cashier assured us are really good), cane sugar Dr Pepper and I got a Buc-Ees brand dry rub as a souvenir. The Dr Pepper was so good, it had a slightly different flavour that I couldn’t explain (the closest I got to explaining was that it was more clear?). The Doritos were spicier than we had expected but so good.
We stopped for lunch at Vitek’s Market in Waco. They were known for their “gut packs” which was Fritos, homemade sausage, brisket, cheese and beans. Brent had that, I went for the standard meal at a BBQ place: two kinds of meats, beans and coleslaw. I opted for the smoked turkey and pulled pork. We also got a slice of pecan cobbler on the side. My dish was a complete let-down. No wonder this place was known for their “gut packs”, it was like night & day between the two meals. The Fritos had managed to stay crispy amidst all that grease and juice. It was really quite impressive. The pecan cobbler came in second place in our rankings. I had a small can of rose from Essentially Geared Wine Co. Verdict? Wine should not be served in a can. It was awful. I wish I had known there was an In N Out burger in Waco, I would’ve said we go there instead but I didn’t know they had locations this far east.
I was finally going to cross “see Dr Pepper museum” off my bucket list. I was really excited but going in I had no idea what to expect. There wasn’t much to the collection, mostly old bottles, ads, delivery trucks and vending machines. The Free Enterprise portion of the museum was even smaller. I failed epically at the sniff-n-guess exhibit, getting only the really obvious ones like cinnamon right. Our admission ticket included a free drink from the soda fountain in the gift shop. It was just Dr Pepper syrup and seltzer but it really hit the spot. The lady was kind of surprised that we didn’t go all out and get a float or something fancier. The rest of the gift shop was a let-down. I at the very least expected some postcards and had hoped for some wacky or rare Dr Pepper flavours.
We stopped at CVS so I could get some decongestant, my allergies were really starting to get to me and I needed to take more drastic measures. I also secretly thought that maybe the CVS would have postcards, being just down the street from the Dr Pepper museum? Nope. They didn’t sell US stamps either. The lady had asked me what we were up to and it completely threw me off, I told her we had just been to the museum.
It was an hour and a half drive to Dallas. We were staying at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. I had been expecting a fancy house somewhere in the suburbs near a creek. It was neither. It was more a boutique hotel that was hard to explore because of the renovations. We wandered around, gawking at the new pool but it was way too hot to be outside. It was easily above 35C and all I could think of was my blood orange ciders back in the room. We had a tiny balcony overlooking the pool and the demolition of a parking garage next door. I had two days left on my ebook so I hunkered down while Brent flipped channels wondering if Arthur was on. I said no way, Arthur is always on at 4:30, it wouldn’t be on at 5:30. I was wrong. Except the new episodes just aren’t as good.
At first, having two ciders in the hotel room before the game seemed like a genius idea. I did not anticipate just how far out of the city the stadium was. nor how much traffic there would be due to the football game in the neighbouring stadium. Our Uber ride lasted a solid 40-minutes, most of which time we spent ranking all of the ballparks we had been to thus far. The commute did not shine favourable light on the Dallas ballpark.
The stadium ranked pretty low. It had poor sightlines, early on during our concourse walk Dallas hit a homerun and we had to run to see the celebration. Which was also kind of lame, a bunch of women ran across a mini field above the outfield while carrying flags with fireworks overhead. We missed the first half. At least half the vendors weren’t even open. Half the things on my food list weren’t even available. We grabbed drinks and headed to our seats. The “crackberry” cider from Bishop cider hit the spot in the heat, the sign said it was 99F which when converted made me yelp slightly, it was 37C! In the evening! We went for food during the 4th inning. At this point I was sad to report that the outfield ladies periodically ran across, without the fireworks which I gather were reserved for home runs.
We both had street tacos on our food lists. The taco stand was across the aisle from Backstop Fries so we split. The beef brisket tacos were so unbelievably bad. The meat was bland, you had to assemble the toppings yourself, there was no sauce, just regular white onions, a few bits of cilantro and inexplicably feta cheese. The fries were the clear winner: waffle fries drenched in garlic butter with parmesan cheese. Except for the sad fries at the bottom that were missing the seasonings and cheese and had just butter. Earlier we had seen ads for a drink called BuzzBalls and I made it my mission to get one, except as we walked the concourse, I saw that people had jello shots in pouches (stupidly called o-shots). I ended up getting two drinks. Both were reasonably priced given the alcohol content and the ballpark setting. Between the two double-digit drinks I was in need of food. Early on in the game a lady walked by and gave everyone coupons in one of three different colours. If your coupon matched the colour of the mascot who won the race you would get a “buy one get one free” combo on a chicken meal. It was kids in the mascot costumes so that was great to watch. It wasn’t even a great deal! They did not play Deep In The Heart of Texas at half-time as we had suspected they might. At the end of the night the Rangers lost.
It was so confusing afterwards trying to find the parking lot dedicated to Uber. It was not clearly marked and we walked right past it. There were so many parking lots and so many people because the football game had also let out. There was one guy was very drunk and so psyched to be getting into his Uber ride and cheering at everyone who walked by.
I was so tired by the time we got back. The staff had put water bottles by our beds and it was just what I needed.