Sundog, Lake Marie Oregon 2018

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sioux Falls SD and Pender NE

We are still at the Sioux Falls county fairgrounds.

That is not bad. The weather here has been very pleasant  and the satellite reception excellent so Craig could watch all the World Cup games this week.  Only the final game to go.  I have had time to rest and recover from my "flu," which took a bit longer than I expected.  One good thing is Craig did not get it too.  That means it was not something in our water supply, nor food-borne.  We both eat and drink the same stuff. 

We are done with all necessary paperwork and could move on. But are waiting for the baseplate to arrive from Blue Ox at our next destination, so the Jeep can be set up for towing.  It should be here today, Thursday. 

Tuesday I was well enough for us to go out on a little outing.  We went to the Falls Park to actually see Sioux Falls. Because there has been a lot of upstream rain and runoff, the river is carrying a lot of sediment and the falls showed a range of colors.

From the park observation tower we could see St Joseph's Cathedral and decided to take a look at it as well.

Craig commented that he was able to get both the Jeep and the Church in one shot!  How many Jeep pictures do you think we will have in the next few months?  I have decided the Jeep is a "he" and will probably be called "the Jeep."  That fits our linguistic style.

Lightning did not flash in the skies when Merikay entered the cathedral. 

Unfortunately we were unable to see the main part of the church because a mass had just started and we do not "sight see" at such times, out of respect for the beliefs of others. We were able to peek thru the crack between the doors and see that it was a beautiful and amazing place, but were not inclined to wait until the service was over to enter. 

After we get the Jeep towable, we plan to head west and see the Badlands and Mount Rushmore.  I am really looking forward to it.

Because I got a bit behind on my postings, I am going to add an older, unpublished post, onto this one.  We actually went to Pender Nebraska and spent five nights there before coming to Sioux Falls.  But I did not get my thoughts together quickly enough. Writing about the places we have been is part of why I keep a blog.  Sometimes it takes a few days for a post to be complete enough to publish.  That is what happened here.

So perhaps I should call this section: "Looking Back at Pender."

Pender, Nebraska, is about 35 miles from Sioux City, Iowa, not to be confused with Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 168 miles to the North, where we went to get our mail forwarding services and residency established.

Pender is the home of the Blue Ox tow bar system. I first wrote  "and not much else".  But upon looking thru the Chamber of Commerce Directory, I find there are many things in Pender that I missed on our initial 10 minute drive around town. It is a true small town, midwestern village. The older homes in town are mostly well kept, each one of a kind, and only a few that are run down or empty. 

Typical Midwest Suburban housing development
Outside of the town residential area there are several developments  of larger new homes. 

The Chamber directory lists:
5 Ag Sales/Applications  (Farm fuel, fertilizer, feed, crop dusting) 
9 Auto/Truck/Tractor repair etc.
8 Churches
4 Feed lots (not in the center of town)
2 Lawyers
1 Funeral Home
1 Hospital
4 Bars

In addition to Blue Ox there are four other manufacturers. They seem to make mostly farm-related products.

The small downtown area is mostly-closed storefronts. But there are two gas stations, one small grocery, and a bowling alley. There is a water tower, and a K-12 school with a very nice playing field.  

I want to be totally fair to Pender. Except for the first few years, we have always lived some distance from cities. Driving 10 to 20 miles to go to a store was part of our way of life, and the lack of services is not a big deal.  I was told that many of  those nice new homes around are owned by local farmers. They commute to the fields. 

Pender seems like a nice place to live. You just don't want to visit for very long if you want entertainment or shopping opportunities. I was impressed by several of the young people I talked to.  Young as in less than 35. They had left Pender for college or other jobs, but had come back. Not everyone likes the big cities.

We stopped here as a midway point on our way up to South Dakota. 

The Blue Ox company has full hookups for customers. (Free if you are having service, or $15 per night if not.) 

The RV sites are wide open. Any trees are saplings that have just recently been planted. I figured we would be here for one, maybe two nights, but when we arrived Craig told me he wanted to stay for five nights. Seems there were two World Cup games per day for four days. He was happy to stay put in a place with good satellite reception.

That was fine with me. We have lots of time to travel. The weather is much cooler than it was down south. We did have one day with some really exciting clouds, and one day where we went to the tornado shelter in the factory three times.  No tornado, just a warning. For one of the warnings, the Sheriff came to our RV just after the Blue Ox manager called us on the phone! It gave me an opportunity to talk to some of the women who worked there, other than the office staff. 

On less blustery days, there, however I did take several nice walks by myself while Craig watched soccer. On one, I went up a dirt road and visited the local cemetery.

I find old graves  interesting. The oldest I could find here were in the 1880s.  One family group I found touching in a strange way. It included a line of newer stones that had probably been added by present day relatives. They were for a man, his children, and his two wives. 

There were six babies, ranging from zero to nine months of age. The last died on a July 3rd. The mother died on August 3rd of the same year. That was 1892.

I think about her. Did she die of childbirth complications, or just from a broken heart?

The man's second wife was 24 years younger than he was.  I wonder how long it was before he took that second wife, and how he found her.  There was no death date for her on the stone.  Did she move on after he died?  No children of hers were buried in the plot. I wonder how the story ended.

So all in all, I give Pender, Nebraska a thumbs up as a good place. There are many good places in this country.  I hope we can get a taste of many of them.  If this were just a road trip or a vacation, we would have just zipped thru.  But we are full timers now. We have time to see and appreciate it as one of many. 

 Life is good.


  1. Don't you love being able to stay as many or as few days as you want in each place? I would like to do that, too!

  2. We were unable to access your Wednesday post about towing the Jeep. Did I miss something?? Congrats on the Jeep by the way:))

  3. This is the reason full time travel is great. We all go when we choose and stay, if that is what we want to do. So glad you are feeling better.

  4. Al, there was no Wednesday post about towing the Jeep. Recent posts include
    July 10 "Sioux Falls and Pender"
    July 7 "Sick"
    July 5 "A Stressful Week"

  5. Glad you are feeling better....Mt Rushmore is on my list of what I want to see next summer....let me know if I should be excited. There was a documentary on PBS on it...unbelievable how long it took that guy...most of his life if I recall.

  6. I think the Jeep, because of it's color should be called 'Blue Boy'

    Please be careful on the road.


  7. It's a good year to see the falls, what with all the rain. I haven't visited but anyone I've talked to who has says they are extra spectacular this year.

    Read about your touch of flu and wonder if it might be a touch of West Nile. The tiredness and headache sound familiar. With all the rain this year mosquitoes are in good supply.

  8. Love your new Jeep. You will enjoy seeing Mount Rushmore - lots of beautiful drives to take.
    Have fun!


  9. I love those falls. We lived in Nebraska many years, but never heard of Pender and I didn't know our Blue Ox came from there.

  10. I was very disappointed in Mt. Rushmore. Maybe because after seeing Crazy Horse, Mt. Rush was so small.We stayed in Custer, SD and LOVED IT! Custer St. Park has some nice campsites. I would also suggest Custer's Gulch http://www.custersgulch.com/index.htm as a destination RV park. It's VERY close to Custer St. Park, nice large, grassy sites. Across the street is a nice little diner.
    You can see our posts on the area on our blog from late Sept./early Oct.

  11. Yay, I'm not the only one who likes to watch through cemeteries! Great pictures of the falls!

  12. I love that you can just stop and choose to stay as short or long a time as you wish. Such a feeling of freedom! Cemeteries do conjure up a multitude of stories and questions.

    Enjoy and stay safe!


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