out and about,  pets and travel

Austin Texas, Week 1

We arrived in Austin Sunday night after a pretty interesting adventure with our tail lights. They had been out the last week or so and we finally decided that driving around at night with either emergency flashers or (this is the best) an electric candle and bicycle tail light in the back window (yes, as tail lights) wasn’t going to work for a city to city trip the way it did for the movie theater or grocery store. Before dark Sunday afternoon, after an adventure with a car wash couldn’t fit into, we hung out a Pep Boys with the sole intention of leaving with tail lights no matter how. We picked out some round LED ones intended for a trailer and proceeded to wire the lights to the exposed wires of a removed indoor lamp next to the back window. After testing the connection and picking out wire, we spent the next hour trying to figure out why only 2 lights came on – of the 40 or so LED’s inside each new tail light. Ross took the lights back inside where they tested fine and it became clear that our electrical problem wasn’t only with our tail lights – but several items at the back of the RV. The problem was not only most likely responsible for the tail lights not working but the faulty light and the water pump we struggled with so long. Luckily there are 2 lamps at the back of the RV so we just disconnected the other, wired it up, taped our new tail lights to the rear window with duct tape and on to Austin we went!

We found a spot at Pecan Grove RV park. Apparently the “hip” RV park in Austin – I guess because it’s within walking distance of downtown, bars coffee shops and movie theaters, basically a really nice change. So far it doesn’t look “hip” at all. Several middle aged men and women living in trailers – long term residents – drinking beer at 11am and abusing the already unsightly bathroom. There is no water pressure in the shower and no picnic table outside (as if it’s going to be warm enough to work outside soon anyway) but the neighbourhood is cool. There’s several restaurants, coffee shops and bars within a block. The park is $195 a week – and they have no website and dont answer their phone so this may be the only way for anyone to find out their weekly rates. When we arrived they only had 2 spots open so we got pretty lucky I think.

In other news, this is the 4th week that Chena has been sick. It started in Fredericksburg with swollen lymph nodes where the local 20 year old cowboy vet prescribed her 10 days of amoxicillin. She was on these until San Antonio where her right lymph node was even larger after we ran out of pills. We took her to yet another vet who almost immediately suggested cancer. Not exactly the first diagnosis I was hoping for but we agreed to a biopsy and $500 and 4 hours later, she was returned to us with stitches in her neck, dopey from sedation and completely uninterested in everything and everyone until the next day (Chena donation button ton the right hint hint :).

After a week of stressing out about the results, her lump started to go away and I started to get more annoyed that the doctor had just jumped on the cancer band-wagon before trying anything else. He called Friday to tell us she didn’t have cancer but thinks it might be something fungal. It was hard to sit on the phone and be happy it wasn’t cancer while at the same time being offered a remedy I should have been offered first. We left for Austin without the pills but picked them up in Downtown Austin Tuesday morning. We were also out looking for a new dity water inlet which we didn’t find. The good ending to the story is that we did get a good parking spot downtown and right across from some nice graffiti.

I’m hoping to be able to walk more places with some good graffiti. Portland was always so deprived of it.

Of all the places we’ve stopped since Santa Ana,  Austin is the first place where we actually know someone. Ross’s long time friend Olivia took us out last night to dinner at Titaya’s Thai, a pretty good restaurant with a really squeaky waitress. After we went to her house to pick up some mail, one of which was a film swap from Kuwait and another my Christmas package from my mom. She sent me homemade fudge, probably the best you’ll ever never have, a leopard bathrobe which I’ve decided is my new snuggy, a couple movies, purse, wallet and some stone jewelry. Ross got a card from his mom in England and his rest deposit from the apartment in Portland.

After an exciting visit with Olivia’s dog Rain and package opening, we went to a couple bars. First was Rio Rita’s, a hipster bar completely full of amazing old Victorian couches and chairs – and a stoned lady with a baby in a sling (at 11pm – whats with the kids in inappropriate places Texas?). Rio Rita’s had some pretty great looking fruit infused vodkas but I stuck to whiskey cokes all night, except for the one rum and coke – the first time I’ve had a few drinks in months.

The second bar, Longbranch, was about as hipster filled as the first with some really funny art on the walls – paintings made with children’s lion masks and a deers head painted in multicolored spots with a fake flower crown. Men with v-neck shirts and their nasty hairy chests and handlebar stashes riddled the bar stools. When we walked in there was no music, about the lamest thing you can walk in on in a bar, so Olivia played some Van Halen and I played Alice Cooper.

Plans for the week include dinner with Olivia and her roommate and watching Forrest Gump at the Alamo Theater with stand up comedians making gags at the movie throughout.

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