America 2018: Day Five (August 27)

We work in the factories and the fields
Assembly lines and coal mines and the steel mills
That’s what we do but there’s more to us than that
If you want to know who we are it’s on the logos of our caps

We’re Mountaineers, volunteers
We’re the tide that rolls, we’re Seminoles
We’re a herd of Longhorn steers
We drive Ford and Chevrolet
Shoot twenty-four and eighty-eight
We crank up our music Friday nights
On two thousand country stations
Yeah, we’re one big country nation, that’s right

                                                                                                                   – Brad Paisley


Monday 27 August

Two notes from yesterday that I forgot to add:

  1. An IndyCar fan who follows me on Twitter told me that Paul Tracy, former driver and now NBC analyst, mentioned us on the national/international race broadcast on Saturday night. Not by name, obviously, but apparently he said that two guys had come all the way from Australia for the race. That one harmless Tweet I sent last Thursday back in Sydney has blown up. According to Twitter’s analytics program, it had more than 28,000 views, which is an INSANE number.
  2. Meant to say yesterday that it was sad to hear of the death of Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nomination John McCain, who was a Vietnam POW and a rather revered figure on both sides of the political divide here in the United States. It’s impressive that he has requested that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush deliver eulogies at his funeral. And there are reports that President Trump hasn’t been invited, so that’s…interesting.

Downtown St Louis from beneath the Gateway Arch

Back to today: great nine hour sleep. Caught up on my blogging over breakfast whilst Nathan continues to watch this bleak show on Netflix called Ozark which involves a guy moving his family from the idyllic Chicagoland neighbourhood of Naperville to the Missouri Ozarks after he gets involved in money laundering for a criminal element. Opening episode has all this guy’s friends getting executed and stuffed into crude oil barrels. An ironic show to be watching because we know people from the Naperville area and are currently in the state of Missouri. I prefer the levity of ‘Friends’.

On the banks of the Mississippi River

Pretty quiet day. There was an Excessive Heat Warning for the St Louis area (stretching across the Mississippi into Southern Illinois) so being outside too much wasn’t the smart play. So we drove out to an outlet mall in Chesterfield, MO, about thirty minutes from downtown. They have pretty much every store you can imagine – amongst many dozens of others: Nike, Adidas, Sunglass Hut, Under Armour, Ugg Australia, Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger – as well as a giant food court. For those who know DFO in Sydney, this place makes DFO look tiny.

Being an outlet store, the prices were unbelievably cheap, and I managed to get some Levis jeans amongst a few other things for less than a third of what I’d pay at home. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve bought jeans in Australia since I started coming over here way back in 2006.


When we got back to the apartment, the temperature had dropped a little. Okay, it really hadn’t, but we went for a walk anyway, because you can’t come to St Louis and not see the Gateway Arch. It’d be like visiting Sydney and not seeing the Opera House or Harbour Bridge. When we were here three years ago on our way south, the entire area around the arch was being redone, so basically we were walking through a construction zone. Now, it’s amazing. Spectacular parkland, views of downtown and the Mississippi, and, of course, the mighty Arch, a symbol of American expansion westward. It’s quite an amazing thing to see.


Great Tex-Mex for dinner at Rosalita’s Cantina tonight – but the serve was probably the largest I’ve ever had and I could only get through about a third of it. So yeah, when even I can’t finish a meal, you know it was big!


What an amazing weekend in St Louis. One that I certainly won’t forget. Off to Chicago tomorrow!

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