Jul 30, 2007
Happy Birthday, Auntie Lois!!!
We had missed a couple of cloudbursts overnight and there were residual clouds covering the skies as we headed north toward Sioux City, Iowa. We were following the Missouri River and the route that Lewis and Clark took in 1804 toward the Pacific.
Brenda had made great sandwiches from our leftover BBQ and we stopped at a Rest Area for a brief picnic. The grass was fully dormant and dry as it was all along the highway, save for the irrigated farm fields of corn, soybean and grain. We bypassed Omaha, Nebraska on the west side of the river as we passed through its sister city, Council Bluffs, Iowa on the east.
Brenda found a coupon for a Best Western for $55 in downtown Sioux City just off the freeway. Just before we pulled in, Blue's service light came on so we booked the room for 2 nights to be able to schedule an oil change. The temperature was 32°C but with slightly lower humidity...still hot!
Sioux City is a very nice little desert-like town along the Missouri River and they work very hard at making it interesting for tourists. They emphasize their historical status through their association with significant parts of the Lewis and Clark Corp of Discovery. Sergeant Charles Floyd of the expedition died nearby in August 1804 and ended up being the only fatality of the entire 3-year voyage. We planned to see some elements of that history in our one-day layover.
I made a call to the local Honda dealer to get Blue in for service, only to find that their Monday was fully booked. I was able to make an appointment for Tuesday morning at 8:30, which would work for our schedule.
Right across the interstate from our hotel was the Missouri riverfront with a number of local attractions that we decided to visit. The first place we stopped at was the Anderson Dance Pavilion, a circular open-air structure with extraordinarily beautiful flowerbeds and landscaping. The grounds crew were on site and we made a point of complimenting their fine work. The woman in charge appeared to be pretty rough and ready but she sure lit up when we made a big deal about the results of their hard work. She said it wasn't often people took the time and trouble to tell them they admired the work.
Right beside the Dance Pavilion is the United Flight 232 Memorial, marked by a statue of a rescue worker carrying a 3-year old boy away from the burning wreckage. United 232 crash-landed on a nearby cornfield in 1989 after losing its steering controls on a flight between Denver and Chicago. The flight crew had used only alternating thrusts of its engines in an attempt to make an emergency landing at the Sioux City Airport. They crashed just short of the objective, miraculously saving 184 of the 296 of the passengers and crew on board.
Our next stop was the Sergeant Floyd River Museum and Visitor's Center next door to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which was unfortunately closed on Monday. The Museum and Visitors Center is located in the decommissioned "Sergeant Floyd", a 138-foot inspection vessel that plied the waters of the Missouri River between 1933 and 1978, setting buoys, removing snags, etc. It is now set up on dry land and makes for a very unique experience and well worth the visit with its very knowledgeable staff.
We returned to our motel to drop off Blue and make the short, hot walk into the historic 4th Street district and lunch in Sweet Fanny's pub/restaurant. The theme here is based on WWII bombers and their crews with memorabilia such as photos of the flight crews and planes along with framed replica leather flight jackets. The name "Sweet Fanny" was from a bombers symbolic nose painting, common in WWII.
After lunch, we went to the Cineplex for a matinee of the movie "Ratatouille". It really was a wonderful show with great animation and a cute story line. Unfortunately, the Curmudgeon (me) forgot about kids and matinees during summer vacation. We were bombarded with seat kicking, loud talking and rustling snacks. Brenda was very gracious in withholding her "I told you so" because her first choice of a movie was "No Reservations Required", which probably had no kids (but I bet there would have been cell phones ringing!).