America 2022 – Day Twenty

It’s a mindset, never going out of style
From the concrete jungle even down a country mile
Hey it’s a boy and girl, winning with the hand That they’ve been given
It’s a day in the life
It’s the music and the rhyme of American Living

– Rascal Flatts

Monday 5 September

It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end to summer in the United States (with Memorial Day at the end of May being the unofficial start) so schools and most businesses were out today. That explains the additional runners, walkers and cyclists on the Prairie Path when I went out this morning. Nice to have a sleep-in prior to my morning walk.

After a leisurely morning, we drove over to the outlet mall in Aurora, which is home to dozens of different stores all selling stuff at high discount. We bought a bag for our friend Kat from Coach (where there was actually a short line to get in!) and I got a couple of polos from Under Armour, at 60% off their recommended retail price.

It would seem that Labor Day is the day to shop, because the mall was crowded with people all hunting for bargains. Yet there was a lot of parking spots left – judging by the size of the parking lot, it must get insanely busy with people on some days. Probably Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, would be a day to avoid the outlets.

Lunch at Cracker Barrel, a guilty pleasure, for sure, but pretty good food. You can’t go wrong with ham, slaw, corn and sweet carrots with biscuits, right? Another favourite eatery to tick off my list as the days we have left on this trip start to dwindle. I’m both happy and sad to know we’ll be leaving at the end of the week.

Back at the Airbnb, I had a fantastic nap before we went over to Jamie and Will’s for dinner. Connor was very happy to see us again – he was his usual talkative, animated self – and even Nolan seemed to warm up to us after seeing us a few times before. Will made us Moscow Mules (vodka, ginger beer and lime juice with a wedge of lime) which I’d never had before, but tasted great. Will and I tried Pringles ‘hot ones’ – insanely hot chips that required a couple of glasses of water afterward. Never again.

Dinner was Italian sausage and hamburgers, with bacon and cheddar meat patties, plus tomato, lettuce, onion and, of course, French fries. Thanks for cooking, Will! We had a slice of cookie cake for dessert and I honestly could not have eaten any more if I’d tried. After dinner, we watched a few episodes of Bluey at Connor’s behest. All in all, a great afternoon and evening.

Home early tonight! Before 9:00pm – amazing, I know. Just as well, because we have an early start tomorrow, heading down to Indianapolis.

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