South Dakota: Day 2

So, I guess this really isn’t a “part 2” as much as it’s just day 2 of our trip.  Part 2…day 2…whichever you prefer, read on!

Today was originally supposed to be a relaxing day around Sioux Falls while we waited for my other aunt, Bonnie and her husband Cesar to fly in from California after attending a wedding on Saturday.  However, Cassie, John and I decided that we wanted to try to visit as many states as possible on our trip since none of us had been to any of the surrounding states before.

We planned a 5-hour road trip where we would visit 3 additional states not initially on our itinerary.  We headed south to Sioux City where we visited the Sgt. Floyd Riverboat Museum and checked off our first state of the day – Iowa.

After a short visit to the outside of the Lewis and Clark museum (it wasn’t open until noon), we drove across the bridge spanning the Missouri River into South Sioux City, Nebraska (they’re big on their city mascot, the cardinal (see photos below).

There really isn’t much to see there, but in researching the area, I had found this old abandoned train depot in the city just a mile south in Dakota City. We were able to find it and snapped a few photos to prove we were in Nebraska before heading back across the river to Iowa and up to Trinity Heights.

Trinity Heights is known for its two large 33’ statues of Jesus and Mary, as well as a life-size wooden sculpture of the Last Supper.  I was most looking forward to the Last Supper sculpture, but, for some reason, the building was closed (the door said it was supposed to be open at 10 and it was 11:30 when we were there).  So, I had to settle for the HUGE statue of Jesus, which was pretty incredible.

Our last stop in Iowa was in Le Mars, the Ice Cream Capital of the World.  It’s home to Wells Dairy and Blue Bunny Ice Cream and the plant there produces more ice cream than any other city in the world!  They have a museum (again, it was closed…a lot of things don’t open until the afternoon on Sundays, if at all!) and an ice cream parlor.  We stopped and each got a waffle cone – mine was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  It wasn’t like this spectacular ice cream or anything, but it was good and it WAS from the Ice Cream Capital of the World.

It was now on to Minnesota.  We didn’t have any specific plans there (we were only driving about 10-15 miles into the state…not much to see in that small of an area), but did stop at the state border at the Minnesota “Welcome” sign before driving to Luverne and then west, back to South Dakota and Sioux Falls.  For those keeping score, I hit states 19, 20 and 21!  Woohoo!  Forty percent!  I’m making progress!

Once back in Sioux Falls, we met up with my two aunts and uncles at Falls Park (the waterfalls the city was named for), spent time taking photos and then drove through the city to Pizza Ranch for my grandfather’s 88th birthday celebration.

Most of the people who were there I had never met before.  If I’m not mistaken, they were mostly my grandfather’s sister’s descendants, so I think that makes them some level of cousins to me.  With my grandfather representing his generation, there were actually a total of 4 generations present at the party – take look at what a great looking family we have!

After the party, the eight of us loaded up into the vehicles for the drive to Plankinton, where we would be staying the night.  It took about an hour-and-a-half or so to get there and once we were settled, a few of us headed to the truck stop at the previous exit for the free wi-fi Internet access since our motel doesn’t have any.

Then, it was off to bed to get a good night’s rest before our day in Wessington Springs, the town where my grandfather was born and raised!  Stay tuned for details about our trip!


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