We headed west for a few days this past weekend to South Dakota for Megan’s soccer tournament. We stayed in Sioux Falls, at their lovely Holiday Inn. The drive over was about four hours as we took the scenic route through Mankato. Once out of Mankato, it was all farms! Got to be pretty boring until we came across these wind turbines. They are so huge and for some reason…mesmerizing.
South Dakota is very windy so they have many of these out in the open and all were twirling and producing power somewhere. I don’t really get how it all works. ha~
When we arrived in South Dakota, the weather was gorgeous and we decided after sitting in a car for four hours, we needed to be outside and taking in some fresh air. Megan hooked up with the girls on the team, so Nate, Kelly and I went for a walk around town. It’s a cute little town filled with many sculptures. Everywhere we turned, there seemed to be another one. It turns out, that Sioux Falls has an actual Sculpture Walk throughout their town and each one has a title and description of when it was made and for what reason. Kind of neat to see all of these. We weren’t sure how many there are in total, but we saw quite a few. I had to look this up when we got home. They have been doing these sculptures for 11 years now. There are 13 sculptures on the campus at the University of Sioux Falls, many throughout downtown and you can take a one mile indoor walk through their hospital to see the 20 exhibits they have and three more in their airport. Wow, this is kind of big here in their town and you can purchase them, if you are interested. Here are a couple that we saw.
As we strolled along, we found ourselves taking a little riverside walk in a section of their downtown. It was lined with condo’s, outdoor restaurants and office buildings. There are many bike paths throughout the town and we saw lots of people taking advantage of that. It had a cute little bridge that we crossed over, then down some steps to get us to the river. Very scenic and I’m sure pretty at night when it is all lit up.
Since the weather was so perfect for being outdoors, we knew we had to go see the Sioux Waterfalls. We walked back to our hotel to get the car and drove over to the park. We were quite impressed as we drove in. We immediately got out our cameras and started taking pictures. The sound of the waterfall was wonderful and we found ourselves just relaxing on the rocks nearby and taking it all in.
I did a little “Googling” and found a little history about these falls…Native American peoples were the first to visit the falls and bring stories of them to European explorers. They have been the center of recreation and industry since the founding of the city in 1856. Today the park covers 123 acres. An average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the Falls each second.
It was getting to be dinner time and we hated to leave this pretty park, so we opted for eating right here at the Falls Overlook Cafe. The quartzite building still standing on the east bank is the Sioux Falls Light and Power Company building, completed in 1908. The building housed three 500-kilowatt hydroelectric generators and used the dam and the millrace from the Queen Bee Mill. In subsequent years the plant added additional coal-fired steam generators. The plant was abandoned in 1974 and donated to the city in 1977. Before remodeling took place to create the Falls Overlook Cafe, the building was in similar condition as when it was first constructed. They have live music inside and a nice outdoor patio, which is where we sat for dinner.
We strolled around the park a little bit after dinner and found more sculptures within the park. I don’t think it’s possible to come to South Dakota and not see a buffalo. We encountered many live buffalo a few years ago on our trip out west. This guy is known as the Monarch of the Plains. He was sculpted from a 12-ton piece of mahogany granite mined in the Milbank, SD, area. I just don’t understand how someone can carve this. It is amazing a quite large.
We had one more building to explore and this was the Visitor Information Center. We weren’t all that interested in pamphlets or T-shirts, or even gifts. The reason we wanted to go in here was for the view. This building has a five-story, 50 ft. viewing tower which offers a panoramic view of the park and city. I’m not sure how many stairs we climbed, but it was a good work-out after dinner. Once we got to the top, we walked outside onto the observation deck and had a spectacular view.
In the winter, they put lights on these trees throughout the park for a real winter wonderland. I bet that would be something to see. We noticed there were lights all around the waterfalls, so summer evenings would be a great time to come see this as well.
That was our Friday fun day. Saturday wasn’t all that much fun. It was cloudy, cold and rained a lot that day. The girls had an 8:00 a.m. game, so we were up early and dressed like it was late October. Jeans, sweatshirts, and jackets is what we were all wearing and had umbrellas nearby. The Bandits lost their first game to a tough South Dakota team that was way above their level of play but they held their own and only let in two goals. Not a bad game overall. For their second game, the girls played a team from Nebraska. These girls were in the same age bracket and seemed to be at or about, the same skill level as our Burnsville Bandits. The clouds were moving in quickly during this game and with five minutes left, the raindrops started falling. Kelly and I quickly packed up our chairs, grabbed the umbrella and ran for the car. Nate stayed with the team under his umbrella and cheered them on. It was a good game, the girls played hard and played well, but in the end, they lost 2-0.
We all headed back to our hotel rooms so the girls could shower, clean up and let this storm pass through. That evening we walked three blocks to a local pizza restaurant called, A Taste of the Big Apple. The girls were greeted with a “Welcome Bandits” sign right when we walked in. They thought that was pretty cool.
We all hung out for the evening to relax and just have some more fun. The players were at one table, while we parents and siblings were at a couple of others.
The food was good and the company even better. Lots of laughs and catching up with our soccer families. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we always have a good time. Go Bandits!
After dinner, we had to be shuttled home by some of the parents because the rains came down once again. It just didn’t stop and I know Minnesota was getting hit hard as well. The next morning (Sunday), the girls had another 8:00 am game. The coaches got an early call telling them that the whole tournament was called off due to flooding. A couple of Megan’s teammates stopped by the fields on their way out of town. This is what they found…
So it was back to home to Minnesota to celebrate Father’s Day. Nate was happy, he got to see the rest of the US Open Golf tournament. It’s just what he wanted for his special day. 🙂
While he was busy watching the Open, I was harping on Megan about her soccer bag. After spending a weekend in a hotel with Megan’s soccer bag, here’s where it landed as soon as we got home. Out on the driveway with foot powder sprinkled inside.