Saturday, May 2, 2015

Time For The Dakotas - Stopping in Sioux Falls

It's a long and somewhat boring drive from Houston to the Dakotas, but breaking it up into two and a half days of driving helped make it less tedious.  First was a stop for the night in Wichita, where I enjoyed a very nice dinner and long visit with a good friend who's living in Wichita temporarily.

Then it was onward, up through northeastern Kansas to Topeka and north into Nebraska, western Iowa, and finally crossing the state line into South Dakota.  I stopped for the night in Sioux Falls, just 65 or so miles south of Brookings - my race destination.  It was time to start thinking about "fueling up" for the half marathon on Saturday, so I had a good dinner at Texas Roadhouse, conveniently next door to the hotel.

Since I didn't need to get on the road too early, being just an hour or so south of Brookings, I slept in a little, had a leisurely breakfast, an then went in search of a place recommended to me by a friend who grew up in South Dakota.
Monarch of the Plains

The city of Sioux Falls is named after some beautiful falls on the Big Sioux River, running right through the city.  The grounds are now preserved in a beautifully maintained city park called Falls Park.

Part of the old Power and Light company 

Remains of the Queen Bee Mill.  It burned down, and
the upper floors were razed for safety.  This is all that remains

So much history here!  The Queen Bee mill was built on these falls in the 1880's.  Later, a power and light plant was built nearby.  These structures - or parts of them - still remain today, making for a very interesting walking tour of the park grounds.  I was very impressed.

The falls

The falls themselves tumbled over a wide swath of beautiful pink quartzite, creating steppes along its course.

The falls, with Queen Bee ruins in the rear left on the hill

It was a nice visit, a nice way to spend the morning before continuing on to Brookings.

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