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!

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.

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 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.

Freddy Powers Pickin Party

Freddy Powers Pickin Party is where we spent New Years Day.  A New Years black-eyed pea and cabbage potluck was held at the community center at the La Hacienda RV resort where we are staying.  The party was fantastic!  We had a wonderful afternoon and evening with new friends.  We were fortunate to share our table with our son and his family and with The Singing Cowboy, Freddie Fuller.  His website is The Singing Cowboy.net and he is a wonderful performer.  We enjoyed his music and loved being able to socialize with him and his friend Debbie.

The Singing Cowboy Freddie Fuller and friend Debbie

Tonya Benson is with Songwriters Across Texas, an organization that supports and showcases musical talent in Texas.  She sat with us for awhile and shared her fun and interesting work with musicians in Texas.  It was a fun time with good food, good music and meeting some excellent musicians who perform all around the country.

More details will follow later as we write about some of our favorite performers.

 

 

Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill is a near perfect casual dining experience

The Austin, Texas area is home to many great restaurants. Cedar Park is home to the Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. This causual dining restaurant offers both inside and, weather permitting, outside dining under the canopy of beautiful trees. Using local sourced ingredients whenever possible, the menu features varied items with a definite Southwestern flair.

Casual and comfortable dining room.

We dined with our family at the Cedar Park location. (A second location is in Georgetown, Texas.) Between the five of us we enjoyed a nice variety of menu items. All of the entrees were delicious, and portion sizes were larger than your average restaurant. Of note was the chicken fried chicken which I enjoyed. What a large portion, with delicious veggies and terrific mashed potatoes! Corn bread muffins, moist and sweet, were kept on the table at all times.

ROASTED VEGGIE SANDWICH
Grilled farm fresh vegetables and New Mexico cilantro cilantro pesto.

BLUE CRAB STUFFED CHICKEN
Grilled chicken breast stuffed with crab meat, jack cheese and sweet roasted peppers with Cajun cream sauce, cheddar seared potato cake and farm fresh vegetables.

CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN
Chicken with peppered gravy, mashed potatoes and farm fresh vegetables.

The service was excellent, and our meals were delivered in a very short time. This is most definitely a must dine spot in the Austin area for anyone who wants to enjoy a great meal at a great price. The quality of the food is really superb and the presentation is great. Get there early or make reservations. We were lucky and arrived before the evening crowd and were seated immediately, and shortly thereafter there was a considerable wait for other patrons arriving after us. Five stars for Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. Here is the website for you to check out.

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.

This First Watch restaurant in Austin gets a big thumbs up

There are First Watch restaurants all over the country. Tagged as “The Daytime Cafe” these upscale eateries are open for breakfast and brunch only, with the Northcross location in Austin open from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm daily.

CHILLED PEAR CIDER
Red Anjou pear, Fuji apple, organic
ginger, lemon and cinnamon

The service was excellent. We hit the door at a great time, about 9:30 am, and were immediately seated. The coffee was strong and hot. Sher enjoyed a local menu specialty drink: the chilled pear cider was made with Red Anjou pear, Fuji apple, organic ginger, lemon and cinnamon.

CINNAMON ROLL WAFFLE topped with cinnamon syrup, cream cheese frosting, toasted
pecans and cinnamon powdered sugar

The food was served in good time, and was hot when delivered. The pancakes I had were huge, and the eggs cooked to perfection with the fried potatoes. Our son had a Chimichanga with fried potatoes and fruit. Sher had the Cinnamon Roll Waffle, complete with cinnamon syrup, cream cheese frosting and more.

MULTI-GRAIN PANCAKES that were huge, topped with a couple of fried eggs and a side of seasoned potatoes

We highly recommend the Austin Northcross location of First Watch. The staff is great, the ambiance is inviting and the food is excellent! Visit the First Watch local website here for directions and other information.