America 2022 – Day Five

He was recruited by the best schools in the land
He decided he would sign with his Uncle Sam
Kissed his mama goodbye in their living room
Said, “Dad, don’t worry, I’ll be home soon.”

And the whole town cheered
And his mama cried
And they lined the street
Just to say goodbye
Got his picture in the paper and the headline read “Come Back All-American Kid”

– Garth Brooks

Sunday 21 August

Another beautiful morning. I went out for nearly 6km around the streets of Kirkwood, Missouri, the neighbourhood where Matt and Jaimie live. It is much hillier than most other parts of the Midwest, and unfortunately all of the hills were down when I started, leading to some heavy breathing for yours truly at the end.

Hey, Dash!

Got some nice messages via social media from my friends Mark and Nick of IndyCar Radio following the time I spent with them. What a great couple days at the track, and safe to say it won’t be that long before I’m back at another IndyCar event. There’s nothing like being there: such a visceral sport.

After what has been a busy few days – I honestly felt like I’ve barely stopped to take a break since I left home on Wednesday – it was really nice to have a relaxing day. Matt and Jaimie have a beautiful house with a shaded deck looking over a pool, and it was nice sitting out there for a leisurely breakfast, working on my blog and reading my book as the sun drifted in and out from behind the big, fluffy clouds.

Matt cooking lunch, Nathan working Quality Control.

Fun afternoon with all of Jaimie’s family – parents, brothers, wives, and what seemed like about two dozen kids – over to have a BBQ to celebrate Graham’s birthday. In something of a rarity, I even jumped into the pool for a while. It was heated, which made it even nicer, especially with most of the clouds from the morning disappearing to make for a warm afternoon. A lot of beer was consumed, a lot of sport talked, and many jokes cracked. A really fun time.

We had cookie cake and ice cream cake for Graham’s birthday in the afternoon, and Jaimie’s dad, after a long discussion about iconic St. Louis delicacies, bought us a gooey butter cake, which is as bad for you as it sounds. I didn’t look at the nutritional information – such as it can be on a treat you can tell from the first bite is absolutely stuffed with sugar – because I didn’t want to scare or scar myself. Bottom line, I enjoyed a very small piece but couldn’t stomach any more than that.

One bite, and I was done.

Dinner tonight was at a nearby restaurant called Circle 7, where we were able to have another St Louis delicacy as an appetiser: toasted ravioli. It was very nice, and very needed by the group after we had to abandon our first table because Jaimie sat on some mac and cheese, and we found more of it, plus a napkin, on the floor. Not great. Also, our waiter had trouble remembering basic orders and seemed kinda zonked most of the time, so no clue what was going on with that. On the plus side, the food was amazing. Which I guess is the most important thing.

Matt, Nathan and I finished the night enjoying (another) cold Bud Light out on the balcony whilst everyone else in the house was asleep. A great end to a fun weekend.

On the road tomorrow, out to Lincoln, Nebraska.

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