2018-08-25.Sioux Falls, SD
$1000.00 later and we are on the road again. No one ever said this was an inexpensive hobby but, in a sense, it is our home. We traveled to Sioux Falls, South Dakota through the Loess Hills, a geological feature created by fine soil blown across the countryside; in some places more than 60 feet high. Throughout our route, we passed the sobering sight of tornado sirens across the countryside splitting the otherwise flat topography in each small town. First time we have seen these but obviously, the tornado sirens could be all that stands between life and death on these plains. As we left Iowa and went into South Dakota, we saw a roadsign that sort of epitomizes the “in your face” philosophy of the western states: “Eat Steak, Wear Fur, Keep Your Guns!”
We stayed at the W.H.Lyons Fairgrounds in Sioux Falls, SD. If you are traveling in any form of RV, don’t forget the state, county and town fairgrounds especially in the west. Every town, seemingly, has them and usually, they offer a place to stop for the night. Some, like the W.H.Lyons fairgrounds and others in the bigger cities, have full hookups at a price less expensive than a private campground and, if you are not looking for ambiance, you can’t go wrong staying in the fairgrounds. Some of the small town fairgrounds cost nothing. At Sioux Falls, the fairgrounds had full hookups with 50 amp. service; important if you want to run two air conditioners in the heat. The sites were short but level and since there wasn’t a fair underway, we didn’t have to unhook because the host put us by ourselves. The fairgrounds were only 4 miles from downtown Sioux Falls and given the small size of that city, it was no problem getting around. We went to Falls Park in the downtown area; a lovely park on both sides of the “Falls” in Sioux Falls. It was a Sunday and many local families, with kids dressed in their soccer or baseball uniforms were taking advantage of the warm, humid day to stroll the banks of the river. There is a nice visitors’ center and many paths to view the falls of the Sioux River; a spot described by Lewis and Clark.
We also visited a Scheels outdoor store; similar to Cabelas or Bass Pro but nicer. Roadie accompanied us and it’s a good thing neither Bob nor I was alone because he is definitely a “chick/guy magnet”. Everyone from small child to older person wanted to pet him and Bob was basking in the admiration of the young ladies clamoring to pet such a cute dog. Oh Brother!
I should also mention the difference between the TV programming we receive at home vs. what we saw here and throughout farming country. First, the local stations cover every single sport of the local schools including girls’ volleyball and there was prime time coverage of the local football games on two of the three major networks. Then, there was the weekly farming “how to” show that featured a “weed of the week” and how to kill it both organically and not, and the “iron time” discussing the most up to date machines to make the farmer’s life bearable. I learned more about nematode insecticides than I wanted to and every time we passed a fallow field, Bob and I discussed the various philosophies regarding whether and for how long each field should remain fallow after a harvest. Actually, I found it fascinating but applying it to my own small garden will be a challenge. The fairgrounds also had a number of interesting exhibits including a garden with locally grown crops such as soybeans, corn, tomatoes, peppers and others. Did you know that in 1940, there were only 40,000 acres of soybeans in South Dakota but as of last year, there were 4.2 million acres. Most of the corn and soybeans are used for livestock feed, with the rest used to create ethanol fuel, the “super regular” you could buy throughout Iowa, SD and other western states. What a different way of life here!
The other interesting event in Sioux Falls was the Billion Dollar Car Sale. Three times a year, all of the 8 car dealers in and around Sioux Falls, take all of their pre-owned inventory of late model cars and trucks as well as the most recent model year leftovers and put the 3000+ vehicles on the state fairgrounds fields. The salesmen sell each other’s inventory and ride around the field in golf carts looking for likely prospects. We walked over from our campsite and met Don, a salesman, who, despite knowing there was no chance he was going to sell us anything, nevertheless spent about an hour showing Bob the most recent Dodge Ram truck and me the Fiat Spyder. He was dressed in shorts and a shirt with white socks and topsiders. Interesting wardrobe choice but practical given the heat. What a nice guy he was!