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Report 1789: Spring Break in Central Texas

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Spring 2010

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Page 4 of 7: Tuesday: A Rainy Day in Central Texas; U.S Health Care and Inner Space

photo by Doug Phillips

Inner Space Cavern, Georgetown Texas

Our grandson has been having a great time, but this morning Liam awoke with an elevated temperature and complaining about being sore. My sister contacted the branch of Austin Regional Clinic that her family uses for primary medical care. She was able to arrange an appointment for Liam with Dave's doctor and off we went to our first experience with U.S. health care. The office staff at the clinic had been very helpful before we arrived, taking down a lot of information by phone. Kelly and Liam only had a short wait before seeing the doctor, while Liz and I waited in the reception area. The examination and tests took about half an hour and did not reveal any serious problem. For example, Liam's lungs and ears were clear and the strep tests came out OK. The whole experience was quite similar to what we are accustomed to in Canada, with one major difference. At home, when we leave the doctor, we walk directly out of the office. At the clinic, everybody stopped to take care of the bill. And there was a 25% discount if the bill was paid in full. Very different.

Treatment over the next few days was pretty basic. Liam tried to bounce back and have a good time - he's a pretty good-natured kid - but he wasn't his normal self, especially on the way home.

The weather changed. It was cool and wet, with a steady rain most of the day - apparently quite unusual for Central Texas. Somebody we met during the day said it would be more rain than they would likely get for the next five months. And I also begin to understand how flash floods can occur. There is little topsoil to absorb the rainfall in this part of Texas, so it runs off to a lower level. In a short time what was a bit of damp ground in a green space is a small stream. If it kept up or the rain was heavier I can understand how a meandering creek could become a strong torrent. In Round Rock there are permanent "Road Closed" barricades ready to be used on either side of Brushy Creek.

The wet weather was anticipated, so we had planned an indoor activity for this afternoon - well actually not so much "indoor" as underground.

Due to geological makeup and natural history, there are several spectacular caverns available to visitors in Texas. Dave has visited several and says they each have their unique features and attraction. We chose to visit the Inner Space cavern in Georgetown for a very prosaic reason. It was quite close to our base in Cedar Park. So after a late lunch we (Liz, Brad & I) drove over to Inner Space cavern - and discovered that many others had the same idea on this rainy day. The earliest available tour was at 4:30pm. We bought our tickets, left for a couple of hours and came back in time for the tour. A good time - I could have done without the "cutesy" interpretations of the formations but overall very interesting and worthwhile. Recommended.

Next: A visit to the Hill Country

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