Home Sweet RV - 2008 travel blog

"Spirit of Discovery" - 14 Ft Bronze Sculpture of Lewis & Clark...

Sergeant Floyd River Museum

Another View of "The Sergeant Floyd"

Diorama of a Working River Camp

Diorama of a Boat Yard

Boat Building Tools

Ioway Tribe Information

Ioway Tribe Indian Portraits



From On-Ur-Wa RV Park – Onawa, Iowa

Today we made our way to Sioux City to visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center along with the Betty Strong Encounter Center and the Sergeant Floyd River Museum. Two other items were on the agenda also which I will respond to later in this journal entry.

The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is located on the banks of the Missouri River which they explored from 1804 to 1806 at the request of President Thomas Jefferson in hopes to find a route over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. The exhibits in the center reflect the drama and emotion of the members of the exploring party as they moved through the area near present day Sioux City. The center provides a hands-on experience through out the exhibits with interactive encounters and activities that appeal to persons of all ages.

A 60 ft hall connects the Interpretive Center to the 10,000 sq ft Betty Strong Encounter Center where until August 8, is a traveling exhibition entitled “Lewis and Clark and the Indian Country” The exhibit tells the story of the explorers’ expedition from the Indians’ that lived along the rivers’ point of view.

The expedition of Lewis & Clark crossed the traditional homelands of more than 50 Native American tribes. They were eager to learn as much as possible about the region’s geography and resources and often needed directions so dependence upon Native Americans was paramount.

As a result of these encounters, the journals and maps of the expedition party greatly increased the public’s knowledge of the American west. However, these reports about the region left out Indian voices and perspectives which presented a distorted view of the Native culture leading to many broken treaties. By 1900, Native Americans found it almost impossible to maintain their traditional ways of life.

You then entered the Betty Strong Encounter Center and on display at this time is a wonderful photographic exhibit of Matt Miller entitled “Highway 20: Encounters with Genuine Life”. There is a collection of 66 photos that inspire discussion of life along Hwy 20 in Northwest Iowa. Very beautiful and inspiring photos of people in their everyday activities of life. Enjoyed this immensely! Sorry, no photos of the inside of the L&C Center or Betty Strong Center as cameras were not allowed.

Our other point of interest was the Sergeant Floyd River Museum. The museum is the “Sergeant Floyd” a retired inspection boat that has been dry docked since 1983. From 1933 until 1975 she was a workhorse moving men, equipment and supplies as well as setting navigation buoys along the Missouri River under the jurisdiction of the Missouri River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The name was in memory of Sergeant Charles Floyd, a soldier who accompanied Lewis & Clark on their epic 1804 expedition to the Pacific Northwest. He was the only fatality of that journey. It is believed that his death was caused by a ruptured appendix. A life size forensic reproduction is on display in the museum. Since he died 40 years before photography was invented, this reproduction was made using a cast of his skull. He is now buried in Sioux City at a site marked by a stone obelisk.

The entire ship’s 3 decks have exhibits and areas such as the original staterooms, observation area, Captains quarters, original radio room, pilothouse and others are accessible for the public to enjoy.

A few statistics on the “Sergeant Floyd” would be that she is 138 ft, weighs 306 tons, maximum speed of 10 MPH in still water. There are 4 rudders, she used 70 gallons of fuel per hour and required 2 shifts of 11 men per shift and could berth 32.

As alluded to earlier, we also had a couple of hidden agenda items for today. Since Sioux City had the closest Wal-Mart, we went with a list of items to restock the pantry. As we have discovered on our travels, small town grocery stores have much higher prices and do not stock many of the items the Super Wal-Mart carries. Even packed the ice chest so cold items would make the 45 mile trip back in pristine condition!

Now to confess where the other stop was today – Argosy Casino! This area of Iowa has casinos on Indian Reservations as well as boats in Sioux City and Council Bluffs. You might say “The Devil Made Me Do It”, but had a Goooood time.

Till Later……

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