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Day 24 - 16th May - St Louis

Today we were up at 6:00am and at the airport a bit after 7:15am. No real problems with check in and security and our SouthWest flight departed pretty much on time at 8:15am.

It was a 3 hour flight to St Louis but there is an hours time difference so it was a bit after 10:15am when we landed.

We were met by our friends Eileen and Phil and taken to their house in West Alton just near the border with Illinois.

It is basically a farm here and a very pleasant environment. Lots of rain this afternoon. At one stage we just stood at the entry to the garage and watched the rain - after a long hot summer back home it was nice to see so much rain. Problem is that it is a flood plain here and it has rained 8 days in a row and the water is getting pretty high. We saw a fair bit of apparent flooding as we came in to land this morning.

There was a family gathering today and a very pleasant lunch. We started out around 2pm, ate and then sat around the table talking till around 7:00pm. Good food and a great conversation.

Eileen and Phil have 6 grown children and it was their 2 eldest that visited today. John and his wife Diane and daughter Heather as well as Dale and his wife Christy.

Limited internet access here but I will do my best to keep updated.

We are here Monday and Tuesday and then fly out at 6:30am Wednesday morning heading for Phoenix. 6:30am, who's stupid idea was that!

Day 25 - 17th May - St Louis

Cathedral Basilica of St Louis
Over 41 million mosaics

It was a very pleasant day with Eileen and Phil today.

A leisurely start and then we headed to a Best Buy so I could buy some time for internet access and so keep this wonderful web site up and running. If you are reading this then our efforts were rewarded.

Then into St Louis where we stopped at what has become a St Louis institution, the Crown Candy restaurant. They do sell candy but also the best sandwiches and yummiest deserts. Nice food, good prices and a nice environment – 50’s style. I had a nice roast beef roll and Rayls a toasted (grilled) cheese sandwich. It is a family run store and it is family policy that you have desert. I am not one to buck family policy and enjoyed a banana spilt whilst Rayls had a chocolate sundae. Very nice lunch.

Afterwards we tried to get down to the river (the Mississippi) to look around and to again look at the famous arch. Sadly due to flooding the roads were closed and so we headed to the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis (St Louis Cathedral). This is the main catholic church of St Louis and it is amazing. Over 76 years over 41 million mosaics have been placed on the walls and ceilings and it is just incredible. In 1912, installation of mosaics in the interior began. Completed in 1988, the mosaics collectively contain 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces in more than 7,000 colors. Covering 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2), it is one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. The photos do not do it justice.

Afterwards we drove around St Louis and had a good look around. We looked at the well to do areas and the not so well to do areas. Nice city. Nice gardens.

We were back home around 3pm – there had been talk of going to the St Louis Zoo, world renowned and FREE!!!! However my back has been sore whilst walking and so we will leave that one till the next time.

We chatted some more and had a simple meal of grilled burgers and the second half of my roast beef roll.

We looked at photos and chatted some more and watched the St Louis Cardinal play the Washington Nationals on TV.

Speaking of Cardinals, we saw 2 today – pretty little birds in the back yard of Eileen and Phils.

Never saw a Wal-Mart truck today but in some controversy the number of trucks has been increased by 1. We have very strict rules and one of the main rules is that both we and the truck have to be moving.  When I say we have to be moving , it is OK to be stopped in the car at traffic lights but it is not OK for us to be just walking along a road. The controversy is that yesterday when coming in to land at St Louis we saw a Wal-Mart truck!!!!! The truck was moving and so were we. After consideration we have allowed the truck we saw and the number is now 119.

It was a good day today. Tomorrow I believe we are having dinner at Fast Eddys across the border in Illinois. One more day in St Louis then onward to Phoenix.

Day 26 - 18th May - St Louis

Just a relaxing day today. Phil had work to do in Chicago and flew there and back, he left at 6am and was back 4pm.

Rayls did laundry and there was much chatting with Eileen about crafty stuff. I just pottered around and it was a nice relaxing day.

Around 5pm we headed across the Mississippi River into Illinois and to a restaurant called Fast Eddys - about a 15 minute drive. Believe it or not we had 16 prawns and 3 burgers for under $9. The food is good and so cheap. It is a pub so they seem to make their money on the drink. Cool place.

On the drive back we checked the nature reserve near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers - there is so much wildlife here. Just amazing. The flooding has caused a build up of debri and there is around 100 pelicans sitting on the debri catching the fish that are trying to get through. Interesting to watch as the fish jumped out of the water. Lots of birds, geese, rabbits - lovely area, lots of water.

When back home we wandered around the Eileen and Phil's property - so rural, very pleasant.

Tonight we chatted. As usual our stay here is a little short and we will try and do better next time.

Up tomorrow at 4:00am for a 6:35am flight to Phoenix.