Since we last “chatted” we now have 6 brand new tires on the RV, new belts, had an oil change and all our filters changed plus a few other minor items that needed attention…..no need to mention how much, but it put a small dent in our maintenance fund
While Dennis was having day 1 of the work done I wandered around South Dakota on my own; got a pedicure (a girl has to pamper herself once in a while!), had a nice lunch and spent an hour in the butterfly pavilion surrounded by gorgeous flying insects. I returned to our rig where we spent the night in the RV in the huge storage bay of BJM Enterprises. The owners, Mark and Eric, were kind enough to provide us electric and the code to the building so we could take Tiki out. We opened the bays and watched, from inside, a magnificent thunder storm without getting wet
We spent the weekend at another campground in Sioux Falls since the casino park was booked for the weekend. We watched the Sioux Falls Air Show from a bluff above the airport at a Harley dealership. We brought our chairs and watched a history of the Navy flight team and finally the Thunderbirds fly. It was a bit hazy so the pictures aren’t that great but we had a blast and didn’t have to fight the crowds!
We finally met up with my aunt and uncle, Charlene and Dennis Bim and we spent a week at the Grand Falls Casino RV park doing a bit of sightseeing and a lot of relaxing. We visited the Arch of Dreams again and went to see the Sioux Falls. We have all seen it multiple times but it is a beautiful sight and holds a lot of memories for our family. We also drove by the house that my maternal grandparents, mom, Uncle Dennis and Aunt Sharon lived in during the late 40’s and early 1950’s. The house looks the same and there is still a fire hydrant in the front, probably not the same one my mom ran over when she was first driving but it is in the same place! We also had a very nice visit with my mom and Uncle Dennis’ first cousin, Flip (Arden) Fjellanger and his wife, Mavis. We went over to their home in Sioux Falls and spent a few hours catching up and reminiscing, what fun!
We used the pool at the casino, ran errands and went out to eat a few times but mainly just relaxed. After 7 days there we drove a whopping 95 miles to Yankton, SD, a town that is in the southeast corner of South Dakota. It is situated along the Mississippi River and if you walk across the Meridian Bridge you are now in Nebraska. Dennis had come here 2 years ago on his own when I had flown back to California and he noticed that locals and tourists put locks on the bridge; some are elaborately engraved and some just used sharpies to put a name or a date. We bought some locks and Dennis engraved two of them; one to commemorate our 25th anniversary and our love of RV travel and one for Kaia. We found the perfect spot for them, right in the middle of the bridge where the two states meet along the river.
On our 2nd day there we also visited what is now called the Human Services Center but back in the early 1900’s through the 1970’s was called the South Dakota Hospital for the Insane. My mom had a portion of her nurse’s training there and she didn’t have fond memories of it despite the fact that it was considered the model for mental health services in the day. We did some research and found that 10 of the 54+ buildings are still standing to include the one she had worked in, the Women’s Center. It was a gorgeous building but I am sure it wasn’t always a pleasant place to be or work.
Dennis has a Marine Corps buddy, Lester, who lives here so they spent time together doing “guy things” while I spent a little time catching up on reading, cooking and writing this journal. We had campfires every night but one and took a day trip through some small farming towns of Nebraska and toured around the town of Vermillion, home to the University of South Dakota. On our last night we went out to dinner (again, us girls need a break once in a while) and then went to a place called the “Ice House”. It began as a real ice house in the early 1920’s and became not only that but a place to hang out and get a beer year round. There is no inside bar, just some picnic tables and a loading dock you can sit on and enjoy a cold one. It was voted in the top ten of dive bars in America and we can see why but what a hoot to sit on the loading dock overlooking the Missouri River.
We will start heading south and into Nebraska and Kansas; we will split up with Charlene and Dennis somewhere in Kansas as they have an obligation in California at the end of September, we are enjoying our time together on the road seeing this great country of ours!