John & Brenda's Excellent Tour travel blog

Sergeant Floyd Gravesite and Monument

Sioux City and the Missouri River from Sergeant Floyd Monument

July 31

While I took Blue to the Honda dealer for her 8:30 appointment, Brenda did her morning workout. I was in and out in 45 minutes and they told me the drain plug on the oil pan had worked loose but no harm done (what might have happened if I was not the luckiest guy in the world?).

Leaving the dealership, I stopped at the obelisk monument at the Sergeant Floyd gravesite on a bluff overlooking Sioux City and the Missouri River. I also was able to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center along the riverfront, which had been closed on Monday. The displays are very well done and a couple of them are Disney-like audioanimatronic figures. It scared the bejeebers out of me as I turned a corner to come face to face with Lewis and Clarks Newfoundland dog, Seaman just as he let out a loud bark. My heart took quite a while to regain its regular beat.

By the time I returned to the hotel, Brenda was all packed up so we checked out and hit the road for South Dakota. The 75 mph speed limit moved us along pretty quickly, albeit with strong crosswinds that created a sail effect with Blue's rooftop carrier. We made excellent time in the boring landscape so we decided to make a run for Rapid City; about 700 kms from our start.

About 150 kms before Rapid City the landscape became decidedly more interesting with the Badlands nearby and the Black Hills in the distance. The mercury hit an intense 38°C as we neared our destination and I all but cooked when I got out to make a deal for a room at several different hotels (unsuccessfully) before settling on one for $109 per night.

Not only do the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore pull in a lot of tourists, but also we were in the week leading up to the Sturgis Bike Week (also known as the Black Hills Rally). The 69th version of this event was expected to attract a half a million visitors and in the order of 80,000 motorcycles. No wonder we couldn't make a deal with all these influences driving hotel occupancy to near 100%.

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