Yesterday's blog post
So we left the tire shop yesterday morning, and arrived at the alignment shop just before 8:00am. The guy said Sherman would be there for 2 to 3 hours. That would still give us time to get to Laredo before supper. They pointed us to a parking spot and said to wait there. I figured it might be an hour before they got to us, so got out the laptop to write yesterday's blog post. But never got it done because it was only a few minutes before the guy came to get Sherman.
This alignment and spring shop looks like it's been there since the 1950's. They don't really have a waiting room, although there are a couple of chairs in the inner office. We stood outside in the shade with Whiskey, and tried taking her for a walk beside the busy road, but eventually I asked if we could sit down. No problem.
But then the news came. "Could you come out so we can show you something on your vehicle?" I was waiting for this. Nothing is ever simple when you're working on an older vehicle. They brought me into the alignment pit. At least the equipment was modern, unlike the office furniture! And the guys seemed to know what they were doing, explaining why the tires were wearing and the problem with the ball joints. I hadn't mentioned anything to them, so it confirmed what the guy the day before said about the one lower ball joint, but these guys also showed me why the other one needed replacing too. Said it could have been from driving on too many bad roads. Well I tell you, Nova Scotia alone could have been responsible for that!
Also showed me where they needed to put in some shims, but that the bolt at that location wasn't long enough and they would have to put a different one in there. Bottom line for all of this...$645, and it wouldn't be ready until late afternoon. So that changed our plans a bit.
We couldn't sit around there all day, and there was nothing in the neighbourhood to do. We decided to make the best of it, and we took the city bus to downtown. Whiskey was allowed to stay behind and guard Sherman.
There was a city bus stop right outside, and it turned out that the one bus went right downtown. Austin is the capital of Texas, and has a population of about 800,000. The city bus costs $1 for a one way trip or $2 for an all day pass. Our home city of Ottawa could learn a thing or two! But then Austin probably doesn't pay it's bus drivers $60,000 a year either.
We got off the bus at the downtown visitors center and they suggested a bunch of free things to do. We walked for an hour or so and across the river and along the riverside park to the Botanical Gardens..
Looking down Congress Ave at the capitol building.
Can you find the 9 dogs in this picture?
There is a huge off leash dog area right across the river from downtown. Again, Ottawa could learn a thing or two. Oh, and we watched a dog get on the bus with his owner. Imagine that happening in Ottawa??!! It was so much fun watching all of the dogs playing, and we were surprised at the number of people out jogging and biking in the heat.
There are a lot of new condos built in downtown.
The Austin Botanical Gardens.
Ruth at the gardens
We used our pass and took the bus back downtown. Then we walk up to the capitol building where they give free tours.
Where all the big decisions are made!
After that, we had pretty much had enough. We walked back to downtown and found a telephone. By this time it was about 1:30pm. They said they were just putting the wheels back on and were moving it back to the alignment bay. We figured we'd head back so we made it to the bus stop. Our bus rides for the day cost $4. In Ottawa it would have cost $15 for two day passes.
Back at the alignment shop we waited another hour or so until they were done. They kept taking Sherman for a test drive and then bringing him back inside. Eventually, they said they were finished and we paid the bill.
By this time it was almost 3:30pm and there would be rush hour traffic. We decided to take a route that would go around San Antonio avoiding any traffic problems. We drove for a few hours and found a city run RV park in Three Rivers, but it had no time limit so was full of oil workers and people staying long term. No Vacancy! That's not right, but what could we do...so we drove on. Eventually we came to a fairgrounds. It was getting close to dusk and we were glad to get parked up. Now we will get to Laredo later this morning and cross into Mexico early tomorrow morning.
Sherman, parked for free at the fairgrounds near George West, Texas
Despite the disruption to our plans, we enjoyed our day visiting Austin and we liked the city. It was a long day though, and we were exhausted at the end. Slept great, and now it is off to Laredo!
Yesterday's drive 146 miles (234 kms)