For awhile now we’ve noticed Amelia’s brakes squeaking, and she doesn’t like idling at all. We thought we could make it until Phoenix before we got these things looked into, but Amelia stopped us short and demanded attention a.s.a.p. with the coolant issue. So Steve got up early and drove her over to the auto shop not far from our hotel (I got to stay snuggled up in the covers…I think I owe him 🙂 ). They were able to see her that day, but couldn’t guarantee that they’d be finished working on her by the end of the day. We packed up all of our stuff anyway and checked out of the hotel, just in case. I can’t say enough good things about this hotel – they let us store our bikes and other belongings in their employee hallway and we got to hang out by the pool all day, working on our computers and going for a dip in the pool when it got too hot. Eventually we got an update call from the auto shop.
All the mechanics that have worked on Amelia so far keep telling us she’s in great shape for her age, and so did these guys. They had their “European expert” working on her, so she got the treatment she needed. Turns out, her brakes are fine, the coolant is fine, and there are no other issues with her. They cleaned up the brakes a bit, and flushed/topped up the coolant, but otherwise she’s good to go. If you ever need auto assistance in Austin, do check Dave’s Ultimate Automotive. I wish they were in Ottawa. They are so helpful and friendly, and definitely don’t try and swindle you. Since it was already the end of the day by the time they were done, we decided to stay another night and have them keep Amelia and fix the a/c – hallelujah!
And then we ended up staying another day after that because they needed to order a part for the a/c.
And since it was stormy weather, we went downtown and hung out in a coffee shop all next day, working and playing on the internet.
And then we went and had the best sushi I’ve ever had….ever. And I’ve had a lot of sushi!
Our waiter encouraged us to come back and try some more, since we were too stuffed to try everything we’d wanted on the menu, but we assured him that we were leaving Austin the next day.
But we didn’t leave Austin the next day. So the next day we decided to be productive and go to an outdoor mall and look for new luggage (remember we threw ours out?) and a Verizon store. The latter was because of a hiccup with our MiFi service where we have to go to a Verizon store in order to pay our bill. The Verizon store staff were not so helpful in terms of our MiFi bill-paying issues, but extremely helpful in terms of telling us all the cool things we should check out in Austin 🙂
When Steve asked me what my ideal luggage would look like, it involved turquoise, green, and dragonflies. Well, we settled for just turquoise. We got three bags for only $60! Two suitcases and a tote bag. Sweet! And then we found blue and green HUGE beach towels.
Because we still thought we’d be leaving that afternoon, we waited for the auto shop’s phone call at a restaurant in the outdoor mall. We waited for hours. Finally, when the auto shop was supposed to be closing, we called to see what was going on. They apologized and said they were going to work late and try to get it done, because it was Friday and they don’t work on the weekends.
Gulp…that meant if they didn’t get it done, that we’d be staying until Monday! We thought we were going to be in Phoenix by Monday.
And two hours later they informed us that they tried, but they needed to try another part and it will have to wait until Monday.
So we decided to console ourselves with the best sushi ever, and some sake!
After the sushi and sake, we thought we’d try and find a cool place to hang out for the evening, since it was Friday night and we were downtown.
Instead, we stumbled upon a Pride march!
And so we joined in!
Turquoise luggage and all!
Until it ended at this old building and everyone started filing inside. We figured we and our luggage were best to keep moving along.
We checked out the bats again, and wandered around downtown and then worked up an appetite again for some Amy’s ice cream. This time I was determined to try the Guinness flavoured ice cream, even though it wasn’t on the menu. We chatted up the server, who was in his 60s and told us about his old VW bug and how he rolled it in his teens and drove home right after! When I worked up the courage to ask him about the Guinness ice cream, I’d already ordered my ice cream, so he went into the back and scooped me out a taste – it was chocolate Guinness ice cream and it was divine 🙂
The next day we decided to get out our bikes. We hadn’t used them yet because of a minor problem with mine. But we fixed it with, of all things, dental floss! 🙂 The hotel staff, who now know us and think we’re hilarious (because we keep checking out and then checking back in), were quite surprised that we planned to bike in the heat and told us to be careful and drink lots of water. I guess it’s because the hotel is a bit of a ways outside of downtown. We had an amazing and healthy lunch on 1st street and then headed for Barton Springs.
Barton Springs is a large spring-fed pool with a temperature around 20 celcius/68 fahrenheit – just what we needed on such a hot day! They usually charge $4 admission, but we just happened to go on Annual Free Day – sweet! So you see, we do have plenty of good luck on this trip as well 😉
It was packed! There’s two sections – the part that you usually pay to get into, which is all fenced off, and then another section where it’s more rocky, but that you can get to for free, and where you can bring your dogs. It was equally busy on both sides, but every once and awhile, people would cling to the fence, looking through to the other side longingly – this made me laugh every time.
We had a lovely day at Barton Springs. The water was cool, there were plenty of people to watch, and in the shade, it was quite cozy.
When the sun was starting to set, we decided to head back downtown and catch the actual Pride Parade. I’ve never been to one and have wanted to go for some time. Steve hadn’t been to one in several years. And neither of us had ever been to one in the U.S. On the way we found this:
Knitting graffiti! I love it 🙂
We didn’t know exactly where to go, but it wasn’t hard to figure out. We found the main block, where everyone else had already staked out a spot:
And then waited. It wasn’t a long wait before the floats and the various groups started parading by. The parade started with each of Austin’s head council members driving through – all of them! Then it was the police, the fire department, and the paramedics. After that, were my favourite, the biker chicks:
They revved their engines and it felt as if the ground beneath us was shaking. It was awesome 🙂
Having never been to a Pride Parade before, I have nothing to compare it to, but Steve noticed some differences – he said that there were fewer gyrating, scantily clad people, and more churches.
(I’m sorry for the crappy photos – it’s the best I could do with my limited skills and lack of tripod).
We had a long bike ride “home” (it’s starting to feel that way!), so we headed back to the hotel when the parade ended.
On the bike ride, my whole body felt like it weighed a ton and I couldn’t keep up with Steve. On the third time he looked back and saw me trailing way behind and had to stop and wait, it dawned on him that I had taken an antihistamine earlier, and not the non-drowsy kind.
I know nothing about antihistamines, having never been allergic to anything in my life. But earlier that day, after we’d eaten that delicious and healthy lunch, I had a terrible stomach ache and when we got downtown, we decided it was worth a shot to try an antihistamine and see if I had a food allergy (this would have never occurred to me before meeting Steve, who is riddled with food allergies, poor guy). I guess maybe I am allergic to something (I refuse to admit to myself that it was the hummus I had for lunch), because I felt better after the antihistamine. But my body decided it was time to sleep while we were biking back. The bike ride is a good 40 minutes, but it took us more like an hour 🙂
Because we were sweaty, and because we’d been wearing the same clothes all week (don’t worry, we wash them), we decided to hit up the pool – we had 15 minutes before it closed, but that’s all we needed. The pool revived me, I thought, but as soon as we got back to the room, I zonked out on the bed, towel around my hair and all. I didn’t even stir when Steve took the towel off and took my clothes to the laundry room to be washed, yet again.
If I’d known I’d be wearing the same clothes all week, I would have picked a better outfit! It’s hard biking in a skirt!
I suppose I should explain.
Because we thought we had bed bugs following us around in our suitcases and clothes, we decided that once we’d cleaned Amelia and our clothes, that they should stick together in their clean, bug-free state, for the one night that they were supposed to be in the auto shop. We reasoned that on the very slim chance that we’d given the hotel bed bugs, at least we knew it was only the clothes on our backs that we would have to wash before we left. But as you know, one day turned into two, and then suddenly it was a week later and we had no clothes except the outfit that we happened to choose that day that Steve took Amelia into the shop.
I hope you find it as hilarious as I do that we’ve gotten ourselves into this predicament. All because we were greedy and went for a/c!
But I need a/c!
I never thought I would hear myself say that. When we walk into a hotel room, the first thing we do is turn off the a/c. We spent our whole Caribbean cruise with the a/c turned off and the balcony door wide open.
But I really mean it. Here, in Texas, in Southern U.S.A., I need a/c. Our sanity needs a/c. Our marriage needs a/c.