I drive until the rainbow sunrise breaks the horizon. Even though the warm sunshine on my face revives me a bit, at the next gas stop—after nearly ten hours of driving!—I climb into bed and crash hard. I wake up two and half hours later, covered in drool, somewhere in west Texas.
We drive through idyllic small towns, every other ranch driveway with a sign overhead. My favorite, and the most puzzling, Oleo Ranch: An Easy Spread. Wildflowers line the highway, pops of poppy-orange, faint pink, crayon-reds, and yellow and black-eyed Susans. We pass two men fishing out of a small paddleboat in a pond barely big enough for one man in a paddleboat. Faded, peeling painted signs announce gas stations and BBQ joints. We pass homes with wares lined on their lawns that would make all my junking friends envious; a year-round garage sale. It was like driving through a Texas-sized dreamscape.
Much as I enjoyed our stint in the desert, after hours and hours of driving through the barren landscape, it’s comforting to be back in civilization. In Georgetown, Texas we get settled in at my father-in-law’s second story apartment. I wash all the things all over again and shower all the kids. I take the most glorious shower. It reminds me of the shower I would take at the hotel in Anaheim after spending a week on a youth mission trip in Mexico. I felt like a new person after that shower.
Mike spends much of the day working on the RV, meeting a guy with a (possibly fake?) Brooklyn accent to pick apart the electrical system. No help on the fuel line leak, though. That will have to wait. I’m not too worried because Mike doesn’t seem too worried about it.
A lesson from life on the road: Don’t waste time worrying about things out of your control.
We eat dinner at 600 Degrees Pizzeria & Draft House, my father-in-law’s restaurant. We sit on the patio while the kids climb around on the steps and enjoy the perfect weather. Everyone keeps commenting on how we brought the good weather with us. After the freezing temperatures at the Grand Canyon, I’m especially happy to oblige. I sip my grapefruit shandy and eat entirely too much Palo Alto pizza. (Palo Alto: gorgonzola cheese, artichoke hearts, and spinach. SO GOOD!) After dinner we wander across the downtown square and end up at a candy shop. I am entirely too full, but never so full as to miss out on a peanut butter s’more (graham cracker, peanut butter, and marshmallows covered in chocolate).
After a long day on only two and half hours of sleep, I crash the minute we get back to the apartment.
When I realized during trip planning that my father-in-law lived only a little over an hour away from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas, I knew that I just had to go. As it was becoming increasingly clear that I was the only one who felt this way, I tried to remind myself to be a flexible traveler and to let it go. Then I have a moment of pure genius: What if I went to the Magnolia Market Silos ALONE?!
I almost regretted the thought entering my head because of how hard I latched onto it. An entire afternoon alone among gourmet food trucks, beautiful artisan housewares, and perfect ambiance. ALONE. Not that I haven’t loved every minute of the abundance of time we’re getting as a family, I have, but this introvert could use some recharge time. I could hardly contain my excitement when it worked out.
The whole afternoon is a blur of all the pretty things and delicious food. I felt like a fool trying to vlog. Not caring what other people think is not my strong suit. Apparently—our video editor pointed this out after watching the footage—an employee in the background tells me there’s no video allowed inside. I PROMISE I DID NOT HEAR HER. I am a rule follower and even knowing I broke rules without knowing is a struggle. But I’ll bear that guilt so you can catch a quick glimpse of the wonder that is Magnolia Market. I left full, physically (trashcan rice bowl from food truck: rice, pickled carrots & cucumber, extra cilantro, chicken thigh meat, braised beef, smothered in cilantro-lime sauce) and emotionally. I stalked a couple camera men who I overheard saying they were waiting on Chip and eventually lost them. I indulged my #muglife obsession and picked up a super cute speckled mug with the market logo—pretty much the only thing in my price-range in the entire store.
As I walked out I heard someone yell, “Hey, Chip!” in the direction of the roof. I looked up. There was the Chipper in all of his Fixer Upper glory. (Filming from the rooftop was probably a good call as even on a Wednesday afternoon the place was a circus.) It was the cherry on top of my sundae of a day.
I rocked out and dance-partied with my music blaring the whole drive home. I met up with the family and grubbed on chopped spicy brisket at Rudy’s BBQ—half gas station, half restaurant.
God bless Texas.
The Day 5 vlog might be my favorite this far! In my defense, because as you will see our editor Justin gives me crap about it, I didn’t have a tripod and it was windy. And I don’t know what I’m doing and accidentally switched the camera into the wrong mode at one point. So there’s that. Also, thanks for that opening screen, Justin… Enjoy!
You can catch Day 4 here: https://youtu.be/copNzc9pMDw