Summer Vacation: Sioux Falls, SD

This post serves a triple purpose. It stands in for assignment #4 for #Blogging101, directing a post at your ideal reader (there may be more on that later). It fends off the boredom of having to lay around on my couch all day icing my leg at intervals because I injured myself on the tennis court yesterday, and it *wraps up my summer staycation series* by sharing with you the one destination that was actually a VAcation: Sioux Falls, SD.

What’s the difference between a staycation and a vacation?

A vacation is further away, but anyone who has lived in both the eastern and western halves of the U.S. knows that distance is all relative, so another criteria is that a vacation is something for which a person takes vacation time.

I don’t remember when exactly Amanda suggested Sioux Falls, but it was shortly after I moved to Nebraska, and our vacation was supposed to happen in June. Due to a scheduling conflict, we agreed to push it back to August 7-10. We stayed at the Best Western Plus. I love Best Westerns, but be aware that not all Best Westerns are created equal. During the weekend, we discovered a campground in the middle of town and decided that it might be worth investigating for next time.

Why Sioux Falls? It required Amanda to drive 6.5 hours west and me to drive 6.5 hours east. In other words, we met in the middle. I think we were both expecting a far less fabulous place than what we found.

On the way, to practice for hopefully finding a D5 geocache for the road trip, I stopped at a rest area on the Missouri River in Chamberlain and logged a find overlooking the bridge commemorating the Corps of Discovery.

corps bridge

What seemed like several hours later, Amanda and I met at the Best Western within minutes of each other. Our first stop was a trip to HyVee for provisions. After outfitting ourselves with the spread seen below, we retired to our room to research geocaches and drink calimocho.


We woke up Saturday, ate cereal and yogurt, and took off on our quest for a D5 cache! We visited several unique locations in town, like the School for the Deaf, an interesting church, a school whose windows are impossible to count, and the Salvation Army building. All for one cache. We failed. So, onward and upward…

We did some tourism. We visited the splendid Old Courthouse Museum, where we bothered the staff with more (unanswered) questions about the geocache, gazed at the old murals, and took in the Pioneer Travel and PURSEonality exhibits. We learned that the following list of provisions was recommended to tide a pioneer over for three months.


You can’t read it very well…it includes flannel shirts, wool underthings, socks, shoes, boots, poncho, brush, thread, needles, beeswax, 2 toothbrushes, and 3 pounds of bar soap.

You can find a selfie of us in the pioneer wagon on Instagram, with the hashtag #shmprairietravelerexhibit

Finally, we proceeded to what I consider the highlight of our trip: Falls Park! (cheers, applause!)

Here’s the postcard view. Literally, there is a postcard with this exact view.

falls park postcard view

We took selfies of a view very similar to the postcard, except with our faces included:

falls park postcard selfie

We logged a couple of earthcaches and hung around the falls for a while, then went back to the hotel, where we found our room untouched by housekeeping, and went for a swim in a very warm pool filled with tweens. We ate adequate food at the hotel restaurant and then spent the remainder of the evening drinking calimocho, attempting to solve the unsolvable geocache, and watching Pitch Perfect, which I had never seen.

On Sunday we ate more cereal and yogur and tried more, and failed more, at getting a D5 cache. We crawled underneath several bridges, one of which is pictured below.

another dnf,

Although we didn’t meet caching success, we got to see a lot of peaceful places.

We had lunch at the Olive Garden. Mock if you must, but the OG was a highlight. The nearest one to my apartment door is 105.1 miles away, according to Bing, on a street in Rapid City called Disk Drive. Having availed ourselves of North America’s finest casual dining, we proceeded back to the Best Western, to our (thankfully cleaned) room, where we enjoyed our last hours together watching (and tweeting) Grease, logging the caches we found outside of the hotel, and finishing the calimocho.

That weekend, like this one, went by too fast. There are still plenty of geocaches in Sioux Falls to get, which we ignored because of our D5 quest, but they will have to wait for a different year.

Until then, my loyal readers.

Drive safely.


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