Finally we reached South Dakota after a windy, hot (high 90’s) day of driving and pulled into the Sioux Falls KOA for two nights. This excellent, shady campground was near the freeway on the edge of the city and we had a grand time exploring from there.
Since it was unbearably hot we drove downtown and saw the new movie THOR at the cinema (ok if you like action movies but definitely not an Oscar contender!) and then stopped at Wal-mart to pick up some groceries. They had a surprisingly good selection of fresh meat and produce. Who knew!
The next day temperatures were more comfortable (70’s) so we drove down to Falls Park for a bicycle ride on the city bike trail. The Falls were very pretty as these photos show and they are in a large green space that has lots of walkways and benches for people to enjoy.
The bedrock under the Falls is called Jasper or Sioux Falls Quartzite and is harder than granite and almost as hard as diamonds. Many office buildings and mansions in the city are built from this rock. We bicycled downtown and saw many well crafted old buildings, such as the one shown below. It is nice to see a city that appreciates its heritage and has been restoring many of its historic buildings for the last 40 years.
We returned to the cafe at Falls Park for lunch and the manager there told us the Missouri River is very high this spring (he called it a ‘500 year flood’) and local people are concerned about the dams and levees holding. He said the big dam down in Yankton (south of Sioux Falls) is releasing 150,000 cubic feet of water per second, which is more than double the previous maximum volume, and area residents have been evacuated. We have not crossed the Missouri yet in our westward trek and are keen to see it (from a safe elevation of course!).
After lunch we took a free trolley ride from the park to downtown, explored on foot a while before walking back a mile or so to the park. Lots of exercise today! Sioux Falls is a prosperous city and hosts an annual sculpture competition called Sculpture Walk. Fifty sculptures are displayed outdoors on sidewalks and in parks in the old downtown area for a year starting each spring. The sculptures are created by artists from all over the world and are for sale, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $30,000. Visitors can vote for their favourite one and the most popular sculpture is purchased by the city for permanent display. Below is one of many amazing sculptures we saw.
In late afternoon we went to Scheels Sporting Goods, which is a regional chain of stores similar to, but much better than, Bass Pro or Cabelo’s. John and I got some great clothing bargains and then headed back to the campground for supper. At 9:30 we drove back down to Falls Park with our lawn chairs to view the nightly outdoor sound and light show that told the history of the town. Our camping neighbour Gwyn from Sedona, Arizona and her dog Rocky accompanied us. A great way to end a fabulous stay in a fabulous town! Hope you can make it there some day.