Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gone to Waco. . .

Matt and I took a trip to Waco yesterday so he could take his GRE for grad school. He has to have the scores in before he can enroll for the next semester, so it was really becoming important that we took the time out to do it. I considered for a minute making him go alone, but I really enjoy going to Waco, so I went with. Besides, I have this horrible fear when we're apart for two long that something terrible will happen to one of us. It's ridiculous and irrational, but that's the way it is with me sometimes.

So, I made plans to go hang out with Amanda & Karen while Matt took his test, but I also talked him into going early so we could go see Cameron Park, my all-time favorite place. . . pretty much ever. He was happy to grant me this one small favor, even though it meant getting up and on the road a little bit earlier. I was sort of hoping we would make it there with enough time to hit the Cameron Park Zoo before we had to go eat lunch and drop him off, but there wasn't anywhere near enough time, so I settled for some of the more scenic locales in the park instead.

We hit Lovers' Leap first. This is my favorite place in the park and where, in 1999, Matt asked me to marry him, so it holds a particularly special place in my heart. Way back then it was all dirt with a little stone wall you could easily fall over if you weren't careful. They've since renovated it with park benches and a five foot wrought iron fence, but it's the view that really gets me there.

It was so beautiful, and the breeze felt so nice up there, I could have just stayed all day. My favorite days are those that're overcast, the green canopy contrasting with the gray sky. It's awesome, which is exactly what we were fortunate enough to get.

After there we went to the Mouth of the Brazos, which is much closer to the river. As a matter of fact, there's a hiking trail that starts at the Mouth and wanders along the river right below Lovers' Leap. Matt and I have only walked it one time, quite a long time ago, but I still recall vividly how beautiful it was. It was fall and the leaves were turning orange and gold. So lovely. I also got some pictures there, but this post is already running long, so I'm going to skip them for now.

Anyway, he tried to convince me that we should go have lunch after we left the Mouth of the Brazos, but I talked him into going one other place, which happened to be on the way to lunch: the Suspension Bridge. I love this place more than words can really express.

There is no place, not even Lovers' Leap, that I love more than this--the catch here is that the Suspension Bridge isn't actually in the park. The bridge is just so cool, it's awesome to be standing out there, over the water. Matt and I used to go there all of the time when we lived in Waco, though we usually went late at night. It's amazing during the day, but is spectacular when it's lit up in the evening. And this is where the Waco 4th of July stuff happens. That bridge sways like crazy when there're hundreds of people ambling up and down, enjoying the festivities. It's a crazy, dizzy sensation to think something so large can be so mobile when moved by the force of human momentum.

After here there was barely enough time for lunch at Schmaltz's, which is an awesome local Waco sandwich shop, before I had to take him to his exam. I hung out for a while with Amanda & Karen, who I have apparently not seen for 2 1/2 years before yesterday (for shame!), while he was taking his test. After that, I picked him up and convinced him to take a walk along the Cotton Belt Trail, which is actually somewhat new--as in, it wasn't there when we lived there. It was a longer walk than it looked from the road, and we didn't even take nearly the whole thing, so he wasn't completely happy with me for making him traipse along in the heat, but he lived. I took a whole bunch of pictures of that, which I intend to share in another post, maybe tomorrow.

Oh, and I finally got some bluebonnet pictures. Ever since they started blooming around here I've wanted to get some pictures. Unfortunately, I can only seem to find them blooming along highways or places I don't want to park to snap pictures. This turned out to be no exception. Matt stopped along Old Lorena Road, which isn't exactly a highway, so I could get a picture or two.

They're just soooooooooooooo pretty. I love bluebonnet season, even if they do kill my allergies. We spent some more time with Amanda & Karen, so Matt could see them, too, before heading out. Matt decided we should have dinner before leaving Waco, so we had Golden Corral, which we can't get here, and then took one more trip to the suspension bridge so I could try my hand at taking pictures in the evening. Frankly, I suck at it, but I did still manage to figure out how to make the most of it.

The first bridge is one of the bridges that runs parallel to the Suspension Bridge. It's a one way bridge that was, for a long time, closed to all but foot traffic. Now, it's open again, but still has a protected sidewalk. The second picture is the Brazos River Walk, which I also shot from the Suspension Bridge. It's only one side, the walk actually stretches along both sides of the river for quite a ways. It's pretty at night, but also a little bit spooky. The next two are the bridge all lit up. It stays lit up like this from about dusk to 2:00 a.m. or so, when the lights are programmed to go down--Matt and I learned that the hard way once, when we were left standing in the middle of the bridge in utter darkness. That was fun.

What wasn't fun was that while we were standing on the bridge, all the lights flickered and we heard a massive boom! We figured it was a blown transformer or something, but it turns out it was a much bigger deal since that's all the effects we felt from the West tragedy, that happened only about 20 miles from there. We didn't feel the earth shake because the bridge absorbed the shock. We were on our way home when Joey texted us to find out if we were still in Waco and okay, and told us about the fertilizer plant--my God, my heart goes out to those poor people. We were both pretty shocked and had a quiet drive home afterward. Of course, it was partially quiet because I was asleep a lot of the way, but really what do you say after something like that happens? Jovial conversation just didn't seem appropriate  so we settled for stunned silence, instead.

When we got home, I somehow managed to drag myself inside, braid my hair, and crawl into bed where I stayed until almost 8:00 a.m. this morning. We had one exhausting day, with lots of high moments, a few really humorous moments (tell you about those later), and what ended up being one pretty scary ending.