Sunday, May 30, 2010

Brookings, SD. & Camden State Park, MN.

Thur & Sat - May 27th & 29th

Our RV is in the background across the street from Mc Crory Gardens at Walmart in Brookings. At one time McCrory Gardens was one of the top ten gardens in the country, according to a show I saw on TV. Maybe it still is. It is a beautiful place to go for a walk, spend time with a friend, take a lunch break or just sit and read a book and enjoy the surroundings.

The little cottage garden is quaint and serene. There is also a hedge maze for the kids. They do weddings and garden concerts. Every year there is a garden party in August for the public, with music and free SDSU ice cream cones.

There are many different types of gardens with walking paths and benches to sit and relax. Some include pharmaceutical and medicinal gardens, gardens of all one color, or all one type of flower in many different colors.

Columbines & Irises. If you walk through all the gardens to the north end, you will come to the arboretum where there is a walking/jogging path through the trees.

This is near the corner of 6th Street and 22nd Avenue as you enter town from I-29.

This is a house made of straw bales with a sod roof in the gardens.

Just a few blocks further down 6th Street in Hillcrest Park is the new swimming pool complex.

A cowboy and his dog in front of the old depot on South Main. In the center of the newly redone downtown is another nice statue entitled "The Little Professor". It is right across the street from Ray's Corner Bar, which used to be the Title Office where Pa Ingalls walked from De Smet to file his homestead deed.

This is the SDSU Campanile on Medary Avenue near the southwest corner of campus. Just north of here is the Memorial Art Museum and the Agriculture Museum. There are new buildings going up all over campus.

This was the view out our door while we camped at our friend, Rich's, just outside Brookings. Very peaceful. Thanks Rich!

There are hundreds of these wind towers for miles along Buffalo Ridge just over the Minnesota border. It is one of the first places where they put up lots of them, because it is one of the windiest places in the country. We were on our way to Camden State Park (six miles south of Marshall on Hwy. 23) for the weekend.

This is Redwood River in Camden State Park.

Old friends, good times and a margarita or two or
It just doesn't get any better than this.

Some of my readers may recognize a few of these old farts from the Coast to Coast days.

After a few refreshments, the kids convinced me to get my first tattoo, a ladybug. What do you think?

We had our own live band around the campfire, harmonica and guitar. Keep on jivin' Andy and Ron. We loved it.
We're off to North Dakota to visit Mom and my brothers. Then on to Montana for a few weeks to watch our grandson's baseball games. We plan to be back in Brookings in September before we head south again.
Have a great summer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Sioux Falls & State Parks

Sun & Mon - May 23rd & 24th

Taken at Newton Hills State Park 25 miles south of Sioux Falls (6 miles south of Canton). This is a beautiful park with over 120 campsites and lots of hiking and biking trails. They have a terrific Folk Festival/Concert here the first weekend in August. I have been to it a couple of times in the past, but quit going when I started riding the MS 150 bike ride, as it was on the same weekend.

These next few were taken at Palisades State Park.

We had lived so close to the Palisades for thirty years and we had never been there. It is very beautiful, with very nice hiking trails. There were lots of families and children enjoying the swimming beach.

Here a young couple is getting ready to do some rock climbing.

Here they are shown from above. Yikes!

A bee getting a little nectar from a wildflower.

This bridge is at Devil's Gulch near Split Rock Park in Garretson where Jesse James supposedly jumped the river on his horse while trying to escape a posse after robbing the bank in Northfield, Minnesota. A very nice park with a few campsites.

This is a side view from the bridge to give you a better idea of what a feat it was. There are 45 minute back-to-nature guided pontoon tours past majestic red Sioux quartzite cliffs and the cave where Jesse James hid in Split Rock Park.

This is a sculpture at the entrance to Falls Park on the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls. It is entitled "For Which We Stand". The free downtown trolley is in the background. It will take you to the sculpture walk and the museums and Falls Park.

Falls Park is 123 acres. Each second, 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls. In the park there is an old horse barn with art galleries and a gift shop, a visitor center with an observation tower, a restaurant and ruins of an old mill. The 27 mile city bike path loop runs through this park and along the river.

Pettigrew Home & Museum is on 8th Street two blocks west of Minnesota Avenue. It is free and an excellent museum. Pettigrew was the first senator in South Dakota. The home was built in 1889 and he bought it in 1911 at a price of $12,000. It had plumbing, electricity and a telephone which he used to keep track of the 25 different businesses he was involved in. Besides the home there are museum rooms with 1800's artifacts, photographs and videos. In 1860 there were 37 people in the entire county. By 1890 there were over 10,000 in Sioux Falls and almost 22,000 in the county.

I ran out of time, so next time I will go to the Old Courthouse Museum at 6th & Main which I have heard is very good, and also free. The Butterfly House is also nice. We took our grandson a couple years ago.
In Brookings Tuesday (May 25th), Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sioux Falls, SD.

Thur & Fri - May 13th & 14th

We stopped at Sexauer Park (city campground) in Brookings, before we left town to visit our trophy daughter (quoting Tim Fletcher, when he heard that she works for a trophy company) in Sioux Falls. Of course, she said, "I always liked Tim". There are a dozen or so campsites in this nice little park.

I thought this little story about the history of cigar manufacturing in Sioux Falls was interesting. It is on the corner of 8th Street and Phillips.

We walked over here from our trophy daughter's house to do the downtown sculpture walk.

There are over fifty sculptures on both sides of Phillips Avenue from 8th Street to 12th Street. This one is called "Lord Grizzly".

John liked this one. I think it reminded him of growing up on the farm.

This one is entitled "Melt" and was John's favorite.

"Tiger and Cub"

This building was started in 1892. A third story was added in 1910.

In the foreground, kitty corner from the government building, is an interesting sculpture made from bicycle handlebars.

This one is my favorite, a playful combining of a wooden shoe and the "Yellow Submarine" of Beatles fame.

"Flower Dancing in the Wind"

If you look closely, you can see the "Katrina" sculpture to the right of the fountain, another one behind that and a couple more across the street.

I included this one just for my special friend, Julie.

This is one of several outside the library, which is a block or two west of Phillips on the north end of the sculpture walk.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vermillion, SD.

Wed, Thur & Fri - May 19th -21st
After spending the evening with friends in Dakota Dunes, we spent the next three nights at the free city campground in Vermillion. It is a very nice campground. Our neighbors there must have been on a tight campaign budget.
We did a little bike ride around town and on the bike path along the Vermillion River on the south edge of town. It's not a very long path, but very pleasant and scenic.

Just a block or so above the river is the Austin-Whittemore House Museum, built in 1882. It is open Monday thru Friday for free tours. We didn't get around to it, but we will check it out next time.

This is Old Main on USD campus, completed in 1899. It has just recently been refurbished and has an Oscar Howe gallery in it.

This is Spirit Mound, a sacred place to the Plains Indians, just a few miles north of town. We did the 3/4 mile hike to the top with little signs along the way describing the prairie plants. Lewis and Clark hiked 9 miles up here from the Missouri in 1804 and saw elk and bison (a herd of 800), the first bison they had seen on their journey. On a clear day the Big Sioux River can be seen to the southeast and the James River to the West.

There are a few boulders like this on the mound left behind by glaciers.

This is Mulberry Bend Overlook south of town with a view of the Newcastle-Vermillion Missouri River Bridge on the Nebraska border.

The National Music Museum on the USD campus is marvelous. This is a nickelodeon. It has a full orchestra inside of it. You put a nickel in and it plays a tune.

Along the right edge of this picture is a vertical drum from South Pacific. They have every kind of instrument from countries and cultures all over the world and back at least 500 years, maybe more.

There were several cases of very unusual harmonicas and one very large room with nothing but guitars in it.

This is a prop from the movie "Sargent Pepper's Heart Club Band". It is not actually a functioning horn.

They have every odd, corny or unusual instrument you could imagine and then some. They have some "one of a kinds" and several that are one of only two or three in the world.

There are ten different galleries, plus hallways. It is free with a sugggested donation of $7.00. Audio players are provided, so you can listen to the different instruments play as you tour thru. They also have concerts using the actual historic instruments.

We rode our bikes west to Clay County Park. We saw this sign at the end of a farm driveway about a mile west of town. Very funny! It was four miles to the park from the city campground. While we were there, we rode the gravel trails thru the woods for several miles.

After riding a mile thru the woods we came to this view of the "Big Muddy". That is Goat Island out in the middle of the Missouri, the continent's longest river (2,341 miles) from the Rockies to the Mississippi. There is a very nice campground with 25 sites here.
Back in Brookings this Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.