Day 8

I actually beat Rachel out of bed today! That doesn't happen often. We spent the morning getting ready for the flight home. Turns out the defrag I did on Joy and Pat's computer made it worse. I feel pretty bad about it, although i JUST did a defrag... no funny business.

On the way back to St Louis we made a few stops. The first was a "general store" where we bought some candy and ice cream for real cheap! Rachel and i used the bathrooms. Mine was atrocious... filthy and full of flies and the wood floor was warped and damp from years of bad aim. Rachel's wasn't quite as bad. On the way out of the parking lot Joy backed into another car. It was a student driver vehicle, so the dent probably would have gone unnoticed. Joy did the right thing, though, and tracked down the owner. High marks.

Afterward we stopped by a really old family graveyard on the side of the road. I went crazy with the camera while Joy, Pat and Rachel marveled at the antiquity of the place. It was really quite a sight.

Our last stop before reaching St. Louis was a nice little restaurant called Blue Owl. Everyone went with the special and I, once again, tried for the BBQ sandwich. They had it! AND it was good. For dessert Rachel got a slice of "levee high caramel apple pie". It was HUGE! We all helped a little, especially Joy. After the morning's ice cream, I was pretty sweeted out so i didn't help too much. On the way out Pat transcribed a recipe for vidalia onion casserole out of a book at the front counter onto a napkin all sneaky-like. There was a sweet shop next door so we checked it out and Rachel and Pat sampled their wares (this family's sweet tooth is legendary).

(St Louis Botanical Gardens - fountain)

I was overjoyed to discover our next destination (after reaching St Louis) was the botanical gardens! I could hardly contain my excitement [*sarcasm*]. OK, the gardens were actually beautiful and had i brought sunscreen and not worn pants, i would have probably enjoyed myself (it was hot and muggy). I got to see and smell an elderberry bush, so now i have a point of reference when someone says my father smells of elderberries.

It was interesting to note that Chihuly and Solari both had work in the gardens. I assumed they were local-famous, not actual-famous. who knew?

(Rachel + Chihuly)

(Arcosanti bells)

(Monsanto Sustainability Garden?!)

Pat was the last to tire of the place and we left. From the gardens it was straight to the airport. On the drive there we got a closer view of the Arch and the Mississippi river. I saw, but did not visit, Illinois on the far side. We also saw some of "East St. Louis" off the freeway... pretty scary looking!

We said our goodbyes at the airport curb, checked some bags and headed through security. We got stopped again, and we were uncertain of the location of the infamous leatherman, so i got kinda nervous. Rachel decided against bringing the hummingbird, so that wasn't an issue. Luckily they just looked in Rachel's crock and swabbed for incriminating residue, and we were home free. Now for a 2 hr wait in which i complete this journal.

The end!
well... our flight was delayed because of a shortage of flight attendants and once on the plane the lady behind us dug her gnarly toenails into Rachel's arm. ew! OK, now really that's the end.

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