Saturday, July 14, 2012

South Dakota–Right in the Middle

As we were leaving Sioux Falls’ Fairgrounds we saw the Roller Coaster being constructed for the upcoming Sioux Falls Fair.  They said it would take 3 weeks to complete and was the first time they would have a Coaster.  It looks like fun… if you like scary like granddaughter, Jamie.


So we left our perfect spot with Water, Electric, and Sewer for $25/night – no tax.


We drove west on I-90.  On our way over the steep hills from I-90 into Lower Brule DA PAD was experiencing some coughing and a little black smoke coming out the tail pipe when climbing the hills. On the downside of the hills DA PAD performed just fine. Tom thought it might be as simple as fuel filters. We travel with extra filters; we were staying a couple of days so we had time to check it out before leaving,

We were driving to the Lakota Sioux Indian Reservation RV Park in Lower Brule about 15 miles north of I-90. 

Our RV park was right on Sharp Lake formed by the dam on the Missouri River.  We called our camp hostess, Nancy, when we got close to the park and she met us at our site.  We paid $15/night for 30 amp and water. 

Lower Brule is south of the capitol of South Dakota, Pierre, pronounced Peer.  We decided to drive up the next day.  We stopped first in Fort Pierre, founded in 1742 by the La Verandyre sons. That expedition buried a plaque claiming the area for France.  The plaque was not found until 1913 and a memorial was placed on the spot where it was found. President Jefferson later bought this land owned by the French in 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase.

The Memorial is high on a hill overlooking the confluence of the Missouri and The Bad River and the view was pretty good.  On our way up the hill we passed the Casey Tibbs Conference center and just had to look up Casey Tibbs on the Zoom.  Love being able to discover more information as we travel using the Zoom.  Tibbs was to Rodeo what Babe Ruth was to Baseball.  He was one of 10 children raised on a farm 50 miles from any town.  His family trapped wild horses and broke them.  This is where he learned to ride bucking broncos. He started in rodeos as age 14 and by age 19 he became the youngest saddle-bronc riding crown.


We drove across the bridge to Pierre, the second smallest capitol city in the US.  Anyone know the smallest?  If you follow our blog you might remember it was Montpelier, Vermont.  We went to visit the Capitol. There is a self guided tour brochure that we used to discover this beautiful building.



While visiting the galleries, we met Senator Mike Vehle and chatted for about 30 minutes on everything from South Dakota residency for RV’ers to education to traveling the US.  We thoroughly enjoyed the time the senator took to hear our opinions.  We are pretty proud to be citizens of this state.

As we left the capitol, having parked right in front (how many capitols can that happen?), we passed this beautiful statue, The Fighting Stallions, created by Korczak Ziolkowski who spent half his life working on Crazy Horse. This was a memorial to the Governor and 7 South Dakota citizens that were killed in a plane crash in 1993.  The statue was enlarged in brass from a mahogany sculpture made by Ziolkowski in 1935.


We visited the Cultural Heritage Center next.  This museum is built into the side of the mountain.


The Center has displays from the La Verendyre Plaque placed in 1732 to present day farming and energy practices.  We found that L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz books, was at one time a newspaper editor of the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer promoting woman’s  suffrage.  This is a large museum and well worth the several hours to tour. 


We returned to Lower Brule and the next day did some ‘fixing’.  A while ago our TomTom stopped working and upon inspection (tearing apart), I found the battery had expanded and needed replacing.  I got on line and ordered another. It was delivered, but the connector was too fat to fit in the existing plug.  I contacted the seller, again and again, and no response.  I finally gave up, leaving a poor report on the seller’s eBay site, and decided to wire the old plug to the new battery.


Success. I charged the new battery and now the TomTom is just like new and will be perfect for geocaching in DA TOAD without switching the Garmin GPS from DA PAD to DA TOAD and back again.


2012-07-11_11-43-29_608The next job was to check the fuel filters in DA PAD.  This was a two person job.  Tom unscrewed the filters, dumped the diesel fuel into a glass measuring cup.  This is what we found (on the left).  Lots of crud settled to the bottom.  The clean diesel was at the top of the measuring cup and that I carefully poured the diesel back into the new fuel filters.  Tom screwed them back in then cranked and cranked the engine.  Apparently when the filters were so clogged the oil was sucked into the engine, creating the smoke we saw while pulling the hills.  Tom topped off the oil and DA PAD just started right up. 

The last day we were in Lower Brule we drove the Native American Scenic Byway north out of the Reservation.  There is no outlet on this road leading down to an Ox Box of the river.  The last mile of our adventure was on a dirt road and this is what we found. Beautiful in the setting sun.

This is the river, actually called Lake Sharpe at this point, beside our RV park.

When we left for Rapid City two days ago DA PAD just purred as we climbed up and down the many hills between Lower Brule and the Elks Lodge in Rapid City.


We reached Rapid City on Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. There is a puzzle cache at the museum adjacent to the Air Force base. You use the tail numbers on the displayed aircraft to get the coordinates. Have you visited the Art Alley and life-sized statues in downtown Rapid City? They also have a street fairer one night a week.

    I was also curious if the State Senator knew about SD RVers before your conversation with him. Did he understand and support the domicile rules?


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