Day Trip to Sioux Falls to See…Sioux Falls

Well, today’s Fun stuff© was a quick trip to the city of Sioux Falls to see the namesake Sioux Falls on the Big Sioux River as it passes through town. Connie spent pretty much all day yesterday working and catching up…Neil went on a bike ride…then they had some pork stir fry for dinner last night.

Today it was soft boiled eggs for breakfast then we goofed off until lunch. After a ham and cheese sammy we headed off for our walkabout at Falls Park (Sioux is about 20 miles north of us), scouted out the location for this weekend’s Jazzfest that we’re going to on Saturday, stopped by the LBS (local bike shop) for some new inner tubes for Neil as he used his last spare, and stopped by the Hi-Vee for a few groceries that we needed. While there we also picked up some lamb chops to grill one night and some fresh fish (tilapia from Equador) for dinner tonight.

First up though…a couple of sunset shots from last night…hard to believe these were taken over the freeway isn’t it?

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Ok…Sioux Falls. Way back 80 million years ago the area around here was (heck, it still is) pretty much a plain and what we call the Big Sioux River flowed south past the site of present day Sioux Falls, SD. During the last Ice Age in North America about 15,000 years ago the course of the river was blocked by the western arm of a glacier…the glacier split around a high plateau north of here. The glacier blocked the river…which naturally found another way and created another channel…which it then eroded down to the bedrock here which is quartzite rock…this is harder than granite and almost as hard as diamond…so it didn’t erode and the result was the present day falls.

The falls has 3 drops totaling about 80 feet or so…the upper and lower falls are pretty small about about 10 feet each but the middle one drops a nice and impressive 40 feet or so. The water is pretty brown right now…lots of silt in it from the spring runoff after the winter snow melted. The city was established in the late 1870s…after the Civil War amazingly enough (we thought it was at least settled before that but we wuz incorrect) and grew up around first a flour mill and then a power plant that used the power of the falls to drive them. The flour plant was abandoned in the late 1890s and used for a variety of purposes until it burned in the 1930s the first floor walls were maintained as a historic attraction and there’s a picture of them below. The power plant was phased out in the 1950s sometime and turned eventually into a cafe/restaurant in the current city park that contains the falls and the remains of several water power related businesses.

The lower falls in the foreground and the middle on at rear…the upper falls are out of sight in this shot.

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The former power house turned into a cafe/restaurant.

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Lower and middle falls from the bridge across the river here.

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Closeup of the middle falls…a wide angle shot from about 30 feet away right at the edge of the river.

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An HDR version of the shot above…this is much more what it looked like to the eye.

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The middle falls from the left hand side…Neil was standing on the green spot you can see in the upper left of the above shot for this one.

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The abandoned flour mill, it’s associated turbine building is visible in a later shot.

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First wildlife sighting of the day…wonder if he’s radioactive like the bunnies out in Idaho at the Nuclear Prototype Training Site were.

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Female Blue Winged Teals.

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F-16…this guy and 3 of his buddies took off from the airport north of the falls area and screamed over us about 600 miles an hour…wonder where they were going in such a hurry. It was an hour or two after the initial reports on the news of the airliner being shot down over eastern Ukraine…so it was likely an increase in the air defense readiness for US forces ordered by the Strategic Air Command…which would have gotten a few fighters airborne. Nothing that can sustained easily over the long term but when readiness goes up the alert aircraft typically take off in case they are needed, the readiness increase comes out pretty quickly and with not too many details about what or why.

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Japanese beetle.

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The middle falls from the right side of the river…you can see the flour mill turbine house at the left. The close up shot was taken from the rocks below the turbine house and the shot from the other side of the river taken from the grassy area to the right of the turbine house.

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And finally a shot of all of the falls taken from the observation tower at the park. The lower falls is just visible (well, the top of them anyway) at the far left and you can see the upper falls in the background at right just below the railroad bridge. Most of the actual river flow doesn’t actually come over the upper falls but rather through a set of rapids underneath the left hand half of the railroad bridge then dumps into the main channel just above the middle falls. You can really see the silt in the flow from this viewpoint.

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With that our day was done. After a quick stop at the LBS for tubes and the grocery store for some needed supplies we headed home and will rest, dinner, and TV until bedtime.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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