Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sioux Falls, SD, And a Few Other Places

I remember going thru this town about 45 years ago on my Triumph Bonneville when I drove it from Virginia Beach to San Francisco, via Route 66, a lot of the way.  I think it has shrunk some.  It just seemed to be bigger from my "young eyes".  But that doesn't mean that Falls Park isn't one of scenic, relaxing falls, in a park, in the middle of city. 
We parked at our favorite RV park, Walmart in town on Monday evening, Sept 23.  I had vaguely remembered staying here in this town in Sept of 1969, and I think I stayed at a firehouse, as I often did on my way to San Fran (Travis AFB, to catch a plane to Clark AFB and eventually my aircraft carrier USS Hancock). 
From Wiki:  Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota.  The metropolitan population of 228,261 accounts for 28% of South Dakota's population.  The history of Sioux Falls revolves around the cascades of the Big Sioux River.  Ho-Chunk, Ioway, Otoe, Missouri, Omaha (and Ponca at the time), Quapaw, Kansa, Osage, Arikira, Dakota, Nakota and Cheyenne people inhabited the region previous to European descendants. Numerous burial mounds still exist on the high bluffs near the river.   Lakota populate urban and reservation communities in the contemporary state and many Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, and other Indigenous Americans reside in Sioux Falls today.
So, I just thought that it would be nice to pass by this way and refresh my memory of these lovely falls.  Ah, retired life on the road in big wheels; it is hard to beat...
Here are few pics of the long abandoned power plant, restored, to still be a part of the recent history of the city, and of the falls.  It's hard to believe the money investors spent to build this enormous mill, only to find out they couldn't get enough water (or grain too) to the mill to ever fully realize the true capacity of the mill.  After only two years, it closed.  What a waste!
Below, the sluice control house where the large diameter pipe passed thru and on down to the wheel of the mill house.
Below, the large concrete pond that was constructed to "hold" water that was diverted from the river, and then out the two large pipes, and on into the sluice control house.  I found this whole idea very ingenious and intriguing.  But obviously, more research should have been done prior to dumping all the money into the project.
Below, another view of the control house.
I want to bring to your attention the color of the stones and layers of rock along this river.  It is pink colored, and it is quartzite.  I will blog about a stone that lays deep under the this pink rock next time, as I explain the long sought-after Pipestone Rock.
Had to get Miss Nancy, my best friend, travel companion, and wife of nearly 46 years, in the evening sun. 
I want include a couple pics here that I took along the way, at stops where we didn't spend a lot of time, or there just wasn't much around at those places.
For example, after leaving the White River Visitor Center up in the Badlands, I wanted to drive down to Wounded Knee, SD.  I've heard about this place in our not-so-famous-annals of our past history, especially with our Native Americans, truly the First Nation of North America.  None of us can be proud of the actions taken then, or the politics of how we treated our friends and fellow countrymen.  There have been numerous books and ideological papers written from various perspectives, and I'm fairly certain that political agendas can be justified, depending on one's perspectives of course, but we just blew it too many times over that 50 year period or so where there was so much conflict & hardship, from any perspective.  It just makes me sad!
We drove away from Wounded Knee and on into the small town of Rushville, NE.
The pic above is from the web and I realize it is a little larger than I usually, post, but I wanted it here to show you where camped for the night, right behind these stands.  If you want to learn a little nostalgic history of this little ball field & the persons who were responsible for it's being, go to this link:  It was at the Modisett Park, in Rushville.  Now, I had never heard of Rushville before we drove here.  In fact, I have never heard of most of the small towns we visited on this, our 2013 journey thru our great country, including Canada & Alaska.  But that's part, if not all, of what makes doing what we are doing:  Adventurous!  Exciting!  Exploring!
From home plate inside the ball park above, I snapped a few pics of the gorgeous sunset over the left field fence, where I would have hit home runs, had I ever played here.  :-)  The sunset pics are a little blurry, as I had the lens zoomed all the way and hand held camera.
The joys of being able to do what we do are sometimes hard to explain, but I will tell you this:  I wish everyone could do what we have done.  I hope our blogs have helped, in sharing the joys and journeys we have experienced.  I realize that traveling near full time isn't every one's cup of tea, and that's ok.  But, wow, what a ride it's been so far.  Thank you Lord for that experience, and to YOU be the glory!  Till the next time, RVing Beach Bums.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Scenic, SD & White River Visitor's Center, SD

After left Badlands National Park, we wanted to go to the Park's south visitor's center at White River, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation  and operated by Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority and staffed by Tribal members.
Scenic is an unincorporated community in Pennington County, South Dakota. It is located within Scenic Township, which had a 2010 census population of 58 inhabitants. The community is located adjacent to the Badlands National Park, about 50 miles southeast of Rapid City, along Highway 44.
In July 2011, the 12-acre town and surrounding area—about 46 acres total—was listed for sale at $799,000. The sale includes the post office, Longhorn Saloon, a dance hall, bunkhouse, museum, and two stores.  It also includes a train depot that is on an abandoned line that was part of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad and is the subject of a 104-mile rails-to-trail project between Rapid City and Kadoka. In August 2011, a Philippines-based church called Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) bought the property, Pennington County records show.
None of these buildings appeared to be used, at least in the recent past.  The saloon was built in 1906, and I'm sure has seen a lot of characters over the decades.  The tiny little town is in the middle of no where.  It's interesting to note that the two-cell "pokey" was just down the street one building from the saloon.  I'd bet there's been many a cowboy spend a sobering evening in those cells.
Not sure what the above monument was all about, but one guess might be the former owner of the town Twila Merrill, who was a bronco-riding cowgirl from the '60s.  Here is a link to a little story about Scenic & Twila:
And I assume this was the office of the town's sheriff, with another jail cell off to the left in the pic below.
And this is the museum, which was closed, but was nonetheless, just plain interesting from the outside.
And below is the saloon, Sam 2 Bulls.
And above was the only business, and it was open.  I walked in here and spoke with a couple of old timers and the manager, but just merely chatted.  I did learn from one of the old timers that Lulu 2 Bulls was the Grand Mother of Sam 2 Bulls.  Later at the White River visitor center, the Lakota Ranger on duty told me it was really his Mother, not Grand Mother.  This same ranger talked to us for about an hour, as we asked him many questions about the culture & heritage of his tribe thru the years.  He was more than willing to share his memories, as well as a noted disdain for the US Government, from a historical perspective.
Well, that about wraps up our blog about Scenic & White River in the Badlands.  Till the next time, RVing Beach Bums.

Broadus, MT & Sturgis, SD

When we left Yellowstone, we drove north to I-90 and overnighted at Walmart in Billings.  We then drove to US212 from there in order to get a little different view from the interstate highways.  We like the back roads most of the time when we're not scheduled to be somewhere.  The only problem is that sometimes the roads aren't the greatest, but after traveling to Alaska & back, we can manage just about any road down here in the lower 48.
We then drove to a little cow town, Broadus, MT.  All the little towns out in this part of the country has an arena for the cowboys & cowgirls.  We saw these two cowgirls training their horses for apparently marching in parades.  They were trotting backwards, bowing down on their knees, and other turns that didn't appear natural.  Pretty neat watching how they would gently discipline their critters of love.
This was the Broadus Arena, Powder River Let-R-Buck.
On the way out of town, we were stopped by a few cowboys moving an Angus herd from one side of the road to the other, I assume to another pasture for munching.
Now, we had seen this type of event before in our past journeys out west in the cattle country.  We have even seen cowboys on ATVs rounding up and quartering strays.  Below, we caught the cowboy encouraging a stray to get back in line and join his friends.
It took four cowboys to finally get this hard-head over the road with the others.  We noticed his friends were all looking at the entertainment, and I even thought I heard a few "moos" encouraging him to fight the cowboys.  We were quite amused at this early morning chore and just another day in the life of a cowboy on the ranch.
Finally, all is well and the gang is once again hoof & hoof.  And the cowboys can reach for another pinch between their cheek & gum.
We then drove thru Sturgis, SD just to see what all the hub bub was of the annual August pilgrimage of bikers to this little town.  From Wiki:  The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, usually during the first full week of August. It began in the mid-20th century and was originally held for stunts and races, but has evolved into being a meeting for motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country. It brings a lot of income to the citizens of Sturgis. Today, it is one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the worldThe City of Sturgis has calculated that the Rally brings over $800 million to South Dakota annually. 
This was one large saloon, and it appears to be right in the middle of the normally, sleepy little town.  I can't imagine 30 to 40 thousand bikes parked in the streets for days...
So, that about wraps up this blog for now, so till the next time, RVing Beach Bums.