Monster machine

This thing was LOUD when in operation!

A couple of years ago Sher and I were visiting our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in the Austin area.  We found an RV park  reasonably close to the family’s home. This campground was at the time in a major expansion project.

The pictured trench digging machine was in use during working hours. The dolomitic rock was not exceptionally hard, so no jack hammering was required, but this trenching machine really was loud and shook the ground if you were within about 40 feet or so. I did enjoy watching this machine operate.

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!

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.

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.

Back in Austin and the sunshine

Sher and  I thoroughly enjoyed our time in Seattle with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson for the past 3 weeks. On our way out there, we flew Delta from Austin to Seattle with a layover in Salt Lake City. Scroll though our blog for recent posts about the highlights of our Seattle trip.

Real winter in Seattle 2020

Before we left someone commented that we were nuts going to Seattle in January. Guess they were right as we were snowed in for three days the first week we were there. Seattle does not have the road equipment to handle snow! Oh, and Seattle maintained its reputation of rain, fog, rain, fog and more rain. We witnessed the sun one day, I should say about 3 hours, while we were there.

Returning to Austin we had the de-ice process at Cincy airport on a heavy frost morning

This is the first time in over 10 years since we have traveled by air. (You know, with an RV you don’t need planes!) Next time we fly we’ll have one large suitcase to check and each of us will have a small carry on bag. It was a pain carting those “carry on” size suitcases and stuffed smaller bags around. Coming back we flew Delta from Seattle to Cincinnati for crying out loud. Now I know what they mean when they say “red eye” flight. Left at nearly 11 pm, got into Cincy about 6 am. Got in to Austin about 10:30 am.

Welcome home!

Once in Austin, we got back to the La Hacienda RV Resort. Got the RV out of the storage yard, parked in our new site, hooked up the utilities and got things somewhat back to normal. My were we tired! Got carry out fast food for supper. We’ll hit the store next day. It was good to get back to our RV.

Mansfield Dam and Lake Travis near Austin

We drove up to an overlook site to see the top of the dam. In 1937 construction began on the then Marshall Ford Dam across the Colorado River in Texas. The 278′ tall dam was completed in 1941, was renamed the Mansfield Dam in honor of a local member of Congress. The dam created Lake Travis northwest of Austin.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) controls the dam functions

No drones allowed!

Lake Travis has 30 square miles of surface  water that  winds through the former canyons of the large watershed area of the Colorado River. The lake is as you would expect a center of recreational activities.

 

Corner restaurant offers “Flavors of Texas” in Austin

Our group found the Corner restaurant pretty much by accident. We had just parked our car after our trip from San Antonio, I needed a restroom and I saw the Corner sign a block north of Caesar Chavez Street. The rest of our family in the second car had parked south of the Congress Avenue Bridge and walked across to join us for supper.

The Old Fashioned Burger served with fries

The Corner is one of the newest restaurants in Austin.  It is in the J.W. Marriott hotel and offers both a sit down dining area and quite a lively bar as well. We all enjoyed a delicious and reasonably priced meal. The kid’s menu satisfied both youngsters in our family, no easy feat these days!

Roasted watermelon and tomato vegetarian plate

The staff was most helpful in assisting us with our plans to see the famous bats under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Timing is important when seeing the 1.5 million bats leaving their roost for the night’s bug catching. Location of viewing is of course vital, and the Corner staff helped us with that  too. Here is our bat watching adventure.

We enjoyed a nice day in downtown Austin

With temperatures in the low 60’s and partly sunny skies we had a great day to tour Austin. Fortunately we were able to find acceptable parking for our RV enabling walking jaunts for photo ops. Below are some of the results.

The awesome Texas State Capitol building in the heart of Austin

Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium has been home to the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns football team since 1924

The Santa Rita No. 1 oil rig first pumped oil in 1923. The rig was re-erected in 1958 on the University of Texas campus.

Grave of a Confederate veteran of the Civil War in the historic Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Austin. The grave of Sam Houston is here, as are other famous Texans.