America 2019: Day Fifteen (Saturday 1 June)

She’s got Brazilian leather boots on the pedal of her German car
Listen to the Beatles singing back in the USSR
Yeah she’s goin around the world tonight
But she ain’t leavin here
She’s just going to meet her boyfriend down at the street fair
It’s a French kiss, Italian ice
Spanish moss in the moonlight
Just another American Saturday night

                                                                                                                           – Brad Paisley

Saturday 1 June

Woke up in a far better state this morning than I did yesterday. A few extra glasses of water towards the end made all the difference! Quiet morning before we headed over to Mike’s house to drop off a present for his birthday – hope it was a good one, mate! Then on to a local ballpark to watch a little of Miles’ All-Star game. Nice to see Brian and Debbie there, as well as Jaimie’s parents up from St Louis and a few other familiar faces.

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One of the locals.

From the high-scoring All-Star Game, we drove up north towards Winnetka to meet up with my friend Sagar and his kids, Daman and Dev. Initially, we planned to spend a few hours at the Taste of Wheaton festival, but the weather was looking a little sketchy, so we decided to change it up and go to a bowling bar where you could also play bocce.

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Mike stacked his fridge with our birthday present!

It’s fair to say that I didn’t have the best start to bocce – or bowling, for that matter. But I got better as the games went on, and managed to just crack the hundred point mark bowling, with a couple strikes and spares. Clearly, the powers of the cold Miller Lite I consumed whilst playing contributed to my later success because I was absolute junk on my first few attempts before our server delivered the beer. Bowling is a lot of fun. I actually forgot how much. And although I can’t say I’ve ever played bocce before, that was also a lot of fun. We had a fun afternoon!

Later, just as it started raining – of course! – after threatening all afternoon, we drove to the very affluent suburb of Winnetka and to 671 Lincoln Avenue, better known for being the exterior house used in the classic 1990s comedy Home Alone and it’s (even better) sequel. Then it was onto Jolibee, a Filipino restaurant that Kat said is her favourite over there, and apparently is fairly popular in the Midwest as well, judging by the twenty-minute wait. Had the slightly odd combo of chicken and spaghetti, but it tasted really good.

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Kat in her element at Jolibee

Our last stop on what has undoubtedly been our busiest day in Chicago was Taste of Wheaton. We spent about an hour there with Scott and Kristina Weller, enjoying a few beers whilst watching the very talented cover band on a night where the forecast giant storms – I’m talking heavy rain, hail and gale-force winds – didn’t materialise.

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Fun night with Scott and Kristina & fun day with Sagar.

It was a fun place to be on a Saturday night. People were jammed into the park and everyone was happy. It felt like two thirds of the entire population of Wheaton were in attendance. It certainly felt like Scott and Kristina knew every third person there. We met a bunch of new people and listening to the Weller’s explain how we know them. It’s such a long and convoluted story, you also feel like people need to take a seat and maybe even take notes.

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Big crowd for Taste of Wheaton!

Home at a reasonable hour for a big sleep ahead of the always-tiring Six Flags Great America tomorrow. This’ll be the third year we’ve gone up there with Matt, Jaimie and the kids, and it’s always a blast. Tomorrow won’t be any different.


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