He’s got the red, white, and blue flyin’ high on the farm
‘Semper fi’ tattooed on his left arm
Spends a little more in the store for a tag
In the back that says U.S.A.
He won’t buy nothin’ that he can’t fix
With WD Forty and a Craftsman wrench
He ain’t prejudiced he’s just made in America
– Toby Keith
Thursday 18 August
Today was the first full day I’ve spent in America in more than three years.
And it was a good one, even if it is still a little surreal to realise I’m here after so long away.
Up relatively early after a big sleep last night. As I mentioned last night, our accommodation isn’t that long of a walk to either the iconic Gateway Arch, which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, or Busch Stadium, where St Louis’ Major League Baseball team the Cardinals plays. From here to WWT-Gateway Raceway, where we’ll watch the IndyCar Series race Saturday afternoon, is about six miles across the Mississippi into Illinois.
I saw Busch Stadium, Gateway Arch and also the Enterprise Centre where the St Louis Blues play in the National Hockey League, and the downtown streets on my 5km/3mi tour of the streets. It was a beautiful morning to be out, but got hotter by the minute, so I was a bit of a mess at the end. You can see some of the photos throughout. It was a beautiful day that turned into a beautiful afternoon and evening.
After breakfast, we drove out into the suburbs to an AT&T Store and got American SIM cards for our phones. $65 a month for unlimited talk, text and data – we’ll get our money’s worth for sure these next few weeks, especially using the data for Google and/or Apple Maps as we head north from here to Idaho next week.
Once we got the SIMs, we headed back to the apartment and walked down to Busch Stadium for the Cardinals game at 12:15pm.
After three years away, it was fantastic to see Matt, Miles and Graham again. We had great seats down on the first base line but the sun proved to be too much and we retreated to unused seats a little further back, and in the shade. The difference of about eight rows was enormous. We would have been cooked well-done if we’d stayed down in the sun for the entire game.
It wasn’t much of a game, the Cards belting the Colorado Rockies 13-0 and the only real moment of excitement was a grand slam from Cardinals star Albert Pujols (a Grand Slam occurs when the batter hits one out of the park with men on first, second and third bases, a total of four runs), but unfortunately yours truly was in the line for beer and missed it. Heard it, a roar that seemed to shake the stadium, but didn’t see it. Just my luck! The Cards hit another homer later in the game, thankfully I was able to see it.
Missing the biggest moment of an otherwise less than competitive contest aside, sitting there, drinking beer and eating peanuts whilst hanging out with Matt and the kids watching a very good Cardinals team against a very bad Rockies one made me realise how much I’d missed day baseball in the Midwest. Nothing says vacation like having a beer before midday.
BBQ for dinner at Salt + Smoke, sitting outdoors behind Busch Stadium as the sun went down over St Louis. I had a pulled chicken plate with creamed corn and coleslaw, a slice of apple pie – when in America, right? – and washed it down with another Bud Light.
Fun day, and off to the track tomorrow.