DIY RV plumbing repair

The cracked pump

While we were staying at the La Hacienda RV Resort in Austin this past winter we had a little plumbing issue in our RV. One evening Sher was sitting at the table and said “Maj, my feet just got wet.” Well, wet where it’s supposed to be dry is always a problem.

Long story short, there was a crack in the fresh water pump that supplies fresh water to the HWH, shower, toilet and sinks from the fresh water storage tank on board. After a check online and checking the leaking pump, I determined what replacement pump I needed. Ordered from Amazon, it arrived at the RV park 3 days later.

New pump ready to be connected

Installation finished. The white tank is the fresh water supply

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was not very difficult to remove the old pump and install the new one. The pump was in a compartment under the cushion for the table, easy removal. Two wires and two pipe connections were easy to hook up.  Fortunately the base plates on both had the same screw hole patterns. After about an hour I tested the newly installed water pump. It worked!

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema schedules Planet of the Apes

Full size statue from the from the 1st movie

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a nation wide chain of “dinner and a movie” entertainment. While they are closed due the COVID-19 restrictions, their website still shows a scheduled showing of the 1968 cult classic “Planet of the Apes” for August 30th this fall. Whether this showing happens remains to be seen.

Sher and I and our Austin family went to one of these theaters during our Winter Texan stay this past year. The seats are large and comfortable, and the table for your dinner is more than adequate. Food was good, too. We saw and enjoyed  Little Women.

Anyway,  I wanted to show you the huge statue in the lobby of the theater we went to

Ad for an Ape movie marathon

in Austin. The statue is from the actual movie Planet of the Apes. I asked one of the employees where it came from. Turns out the owner of the theater chain also owns the rights to the Planet of the Apes franchise. There were movie posters for all of the Ape movies displayed in the lobby as well as ads for an APE movie marathon of the original five movies.

Have you seen the Planet of the Apes movies? Can you name the original five titles? Might be a good topic for a “stay at home in isolation” set of trivia questions. Stay safe, dear readers. Don’t go ape!

 

Texas distillery now at 100% hand sanitizer production

Treaty Oak Distilling in Dripping Springs, Texas is one of the best whiskey distilleries in the Hill Country west of Austin. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has shut down their restaurant and their distillery. To at least keep some income coming in, Treaty Oak is now only producing hand sanitizer.

According to KXAN TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin,  on March 26th reported that the FDA is allowing distilleries to produce hand sanitizer. It must be at least 80% alcohol, have no other ingredients and be in a bottle with appropriate labeling. Starting next week Treaty oak will only produce the sanitizer, thus allowing some employees to remain working.

Last November we visited Treaty Oaks Distilling. Little could we guess back then that this distillery would be in the fight against a killer virus. You can read about our 2019 visit here. 

Remembering a distillery visit in Texas

I thought it was time for something different than a post about the COVID-19 pandemic. Allow us to share a few photos and text about a nice local distillery we visited during our winter residence in Texas a few short weeks ago.

Fast Eddy logo in neon

The Hill Country near Austin is home to several breweries, wineries and distilleries. Near Dripping Springs one will find the Fast Eddy Vodka distillery. We stopped there one day near the closing time. The place was absolutely packed as there were the normal amount of cars and two huge tour buses that had filled the place with folks.

 

 

 

The bar of course had samples of the many varieties of flavored vodkas bottled at the facility. There was a very large distillery room with lots of tables. We looked at the merchandise, but did not really find any shirts we liked. Our purchases were limited to a couple of glasses with the Deep Eddy logo.  We passed on samples as we had been out all day visiting breweries. I was not really in the mood for even a sample of vodka.

Here is the Deep Eddy website. Notice that now the place is closed due to, you guessed it, COVID-19 restrictions. When we go to Texas in the future, we do plan on visiting Deed Eddy again.

Solstice Outdoors is a fun Texas art gallery

Out side of Dripping Springs, Texas in the Hill Country near Austin is a thriving landscape design business that also doubles as a place to view and purchase unique outdoor artwork. Solstice Outdoors Ltd. is based in a former ranch home surrounded by 2 acres of what is now a whimsical display of outdoor works of art and decoration.

Solstice homestead

Outdoor fire pit complete with pyramid and butterfly seating!

 

 

 

 

 

Through an online mobile search Sher found this place while we were prowling about the Dripping Springs area. Thanks to google maps we soon found this surprising gallery of both indoor and outdoor craftsmanship. Each of the rooms in the house were used to display local artist’ works, including jewelry, tapestries and pictures.

Bull/man iron soldier

Another metal man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By far the most unique part of Solstice is the “backyard”. As soon as you go out into the yard you are greeted with a variety of ‘creatures” in all sizes and materials. The company offers landscaping design and construction. Walking through the grounds was like walking through an outdoor arts garden.

This face is kind of creepy, IMHO

A different medium for a longhorn!

 

 

 

 

 

Often we don’t have a set itinerary some days when we explore an area. It is always an adventure to find things by just driving around looking for signs, or hitting up the mobile search for “things near you”. The day we found Solstice Outdoor, Ltd. was one of those days.

Painting with a Twist, North Austin version

We decided to look for another opportunity to do a “sip and paint” type studio event. A quick google search revealed four different Panting with a Twist stores in Austin. With this franchise, you have to check to see what painting was on the agenda on what day. Sher and I both liked a Valentine’s Day themed picture that was actually designed for “his and hers” to be combined to make one piece of art.

Front desk with the instructor and assistant

Thus we were off to Painting with a Twist of North Austin. Fortunately there was very adequate parking for the RV and it was a fairly easy drive to the studio. We got there plenty early, met the staff and got our aprons on.

Our work station

Work in progress

 

 

 

 

 

There was one instructor and an assistant. The set up was pretty neat: The instructor stood by the double canvas on a small stage. There she could give step by step instructions on how to create our masterpieces. In addition to seeing the instructor on the stage, there were also two large screen TV’s that you could also see her and the canvas as she painted it. Great idea!

Grinning and painting

Our finished two canvas painting in our RV

 

 

 

 

 

There were about 20 couples who were in our session. The instructor kept a running patter going as she gave us specific instructions on what to paint, how and when. She was good at her job, and was able to add humor and levity to her discourse. There was more than one reference to Bob Ross and his painting techniques during the session which was very interesting. Try one of these fun projects sometime. It is a great way to spend an evening. Here is the corporate website so you can find one of the studios near you.

Bastrop Texas

Bastrop Texas is an interesting little town southeast of Austin. We headed there with our Austin family to check things out.  We found a place to park and found a nice map of the town on a large display board. This let us kind of make some plans for our adventure.

Great map allowing for planning the day

Cute gravel alley leading to some shops

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed the visitor center that also had a museum as well. The history  of Bastrop is a tale of the old West that is fun to learn. The town is proud of its heritage and rightly so.

Some neat old stuff

A very unique raised flower bed

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed the 602 Brewery and Restaurant for a beer and a delicious meal. (read our review of the 602 Brewery here) After our meal we walked around the Main Street looking at the stores and shops. We also took a driving tour that led us to several historic homes in and around the downtown area.

Posing with a tortoise outside Visitor’s Center and Museum

Main Street, Bastrop

 

 

 

 

 

All in all we really enjoyed seeing Bastrop. There seem to be a lot of activities planned during the spring and summer months. There are over 30 festivals planned each year.  The 900 acre Lake Bastrop has a plethora of recreational opportunities. This town is proud of its heritage and is most welcoming to visitors. Put Bastrop on your list of Central Texas places to visit.

Austin’s La Hacienda RV Resort activity

We were pleasantly surprised to see an announcement that the RV resort where we were staying was offering a “Paint and sip” type activity. For $20 each, the park offered to provide all the materials needed to create your own masterpiece.  Sher and I had enjoyed a similar type event last year in Seattle, so we decided to sign up.

Sher getting her design layout on the canvas

Paint that RV’s door!

 

 

 

 

 

The technique for this event was different from what we had done before. Instead of an instructor doing a step by step, we were given a line drawing and carbon paper. That resulted in a rough sketch transfer onto the canvas.

The finished products!

The final results came out pretty well, I’d say. Sher and I enjoyed  the chance to drink some wine, interact with fellow RV park patrons, and create a couple of “masterpieces”.

Austin’s Jack Allen Kitchens utilize locally sourced foods

Our son and his family introduced us to Jack Allen Kitchens restaurants. This local chain of 4 establishments in the Austin area has really set a very high standard for reasons beyond high quality menu items. We went to the Anderson Lane version of the restaurant.

A portion of the interior of the Anderson Lane location

The base concept behind this eatery is a combination of local sourcing and local involvement. By utilizing local sources nearly entirely, you can be assured of fresh ingredients in every dish served. The company is very much involved in local charities as well.

The menu? Folks, you can’t get any better than the culinary delights found at Jack Allen Kitchens. The atmosphere is one of the most relaxed that you will ever find. You never feel rushed. The service is 5 star provided by truly professional wait staff.

Wedgies Salad

All of the cocktails are superb. The appetizers are great. (Try the house made pimento cheese and flat crackers. Yummy) But let’s talk the entrees! Sher had the “Wedgies salad”. It was huge, and as she said, the best ever. Garnished with onions, grape tomatoes and blue cheese crumbles, this salad was topped with green goddess dressing.

Chicken fried chicken, mashed ‘taters and veggies

I fell in love with the menu listing the “Chicken Fried Anything”. I went with the chicken breast, instead of the pork chop, ribs or meatloaf. (Yes, meatloaf.) The chicken fried chicken breast came smothered in gravy, resting on a portion of the large helping of mashed potatoes and accompanied by a squash medley veggie. Our son had the chicken fried meatloaf. He let me have a taste, and it was good too.

The dessert

And at the end of our meal, we were tempted with the dessert offerings. Biff (our waiter) offered to bring us 5 spoons and plates so we could share the decadent chocolate/pecan/ala mode you see in the picture. It was twice as good as it looks.

In or near Austin? Go to the Jack Allen Kitchen website here. Find the facility handy to you, and by all means go and enjoy a unique and memorable dining experience.