The next stop was the I-35 RV Park in Elm Mott, Texas for three nights. Texas is again a new state for us leaving only two more on the trip, LA and MS. This was the most bizarre campground I have ever seen! On our way from Oklahoma, Kathryn checked their website which said they were CLOSED. What? When she called she was told, “That’s the only we we almost get a day off. When you come in, we’ll see you and come over from the house.” OK that’s fair enough. So when the young man came over I apologized for interrupting his football game. He told me we were the last check in for the day so I told him to enjoy the rest of his afternoon. The computer had us staying for five nights, all prepaid, even though we were only there for three? And then five more RVs checked in after us??
But that’s not the bizarre part. If you just pulled past the pool as far as the office, it appeared to be a normal campground. Sure there were some full time sites which tend to be crowded with furniture, cars and junk, but who am I to judge? But, since we missed the turn and went up the hill, PAST THE GOAT FARM, we entered what looked like a second world country. There were rows and rows of metal roof covered sites (hail protection?) not ten feet apart, filled to beyond capacity with every thing a permanent resident could own. One was even set up like a motorcycle repair shop. If I had to guess, this was some kind of subsidized housing from the State of Texas? Certainly the area was never inspected by the health department! Added to all this ambiance is the constant noise from I-35! Our ratings, Kathryn 3, Paul 3, out of 10. And that is being generous. It would have been lower but for the fact volunteer ladies cook a hot breakfast to order each morning for free. They just work for tips.
So why are we here? When we laid out this trip, there were many things I was looking forward to seeing. For Kathryn there were two in particular, Mount Rushmore and The Silos. This was as close as we could find to Waco. If you aren’t fans of Chip and Joanna of Fixer Upper Fame on HGTV, they are the couple who own Magnolia Construction and are renovating Waco one house at a time for individual clients. Chip can work on anything – masonry, wood, electrical, plumbing landscaping, and he is quite a colorful character. Joanna is the complete opposite. Her forte is design and decorating in a quiet and elegant manner. They decided to expand from houses and purchased two run down city blocks in downtown Waco, to turn it into a revitalized retail district. All of this under the shadows of two 120 foot tall silos, originally built in 1950, for the Brazos Cotton Oil Company. Thus the name of the new venture Magnolia Market at the Silos.
To say it is well done is an understatement. The property itself is beautiful and well laid out. You can feel Joanna’s sense of style everywhere you look. There are plenty of restrooms, retail stores that sell kitchen goods, home decor, and wall decor, a renovated church that has been moved to the location, a field to play corn hole, a mini baseball field for kids to play, food trucks everywhere, and covered picnic tables to sit and enjoy your purchase. The coup de gras is the famed Magnolia Bakery! Made delicious and packaged with class. My best way to describe The Magnolia Market is Disney World without the rides. The place was packed with people smiling, taking photos, eating, kids running, and long lines of people just waiting to hand over their money! What a brilliant marketing strategy.
After our visit we headed over to Baylor University to see the Armstrong Browning Library. The Baylor campus is beautiful! I had heard about the stained glass in the library but I had no idea just how magnificent the rooms and rooms of stained glass are and how stately is the library architecture. The dumbest kid at Baylor would feel like a scholar just studying in this place.
On to Kemah, Texas!