... continuing story of our trip from Melrose to Montana and back to Melrose
Dear friends and family, as we continue on this journey we are happy to know that so many of you are still with us and enjoying the journal we are compiling. Our last bit of news was the fact that we were going to stop in Sioux City, Iowa, and we did. What we also did in Sioux City was to see the first bride’s grave, Trinity Heights, Sergeant Floyd’s Monument, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the grave of Chief War Eagle.
Please be patient for the pictures might take a few extra minutes to come up, but I do think you will like them.
The first bride’s grave was not on our list of places to see. We were on our way through South Ravine Park and saw the small sign indicating the gravesite. The sign did not mention exactly where the site was so we started to look around. A young couple pointed the way for us saying, “it is quite a walk, but a cool one”. We started our trek uphill for about half a mile through trees and bushes, along a rough unfinished path. When we did get to the top there was the tombstone of the ”first bride”. This is the resting-place of the first Indian woman that married a white man in the area that is now called Sioux City. Rosalie Leonais was born in 1838, the daughter of a French/Canadian trader and his Native American wife. Rosalie was in her teens when she married Joseph Leonais and he was 29 years old. They had four children together and Rosalie died in 1865. She was 27 years old.
We rested at the summit of our climb and enjoyed the beautiful view that stretched below us.
Trinity Heights was an amazingly beautiful area. The statues of Mary and Jesus can be seen long before we arrived at the area. Both of these statues are 33 feet tall and stand over the area creating an awesome sight. The gardens and peaceful pond fashion an area of reflection and peace. The grounds are highlighted with fragrant flowers and plants, and the sculpture of the Last Supper is an amazing work of art. This hand-carved wood sculpture took Jerry Traufler seven years to complete. Local people were used as models and all figures are life-size and seated at a wooden table that is 22 feet long. Donna and Louise went into the building first to see the sculpture while I walked Casa around the shaded areas of the park. When I did go inside I was amazed at the wonder of the workmanship that went into creating this piece.
Our next stop in Sioux City was the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The trip of over 8,000 miles took the men and their party two and a half years. We walked through the history of their voyage in about an hour. This stop was informative, educational and free. A short distance away we got to stop at the monument erected for Sgt. Charles Floyd Jr. Sgt. Floyd was the only member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to die during the three-year journey. The Missouri River stretched below the hills as we thought of the trip we are making compared to that of Lewis & Clark.
The grave of Chief War Eagle represents an Indian whose peaceful relations with settlers helped further the area’s development. From this site we had a grand view of the great surrounding area that was once owned by the Sioux nation.
Our first evening in South Dakota was spent in Sioux Falls, and in fact we spent five evenings in South Dakota. The areas of the state that we visited are outstandingly beautiful.
I will try to get into this e-mail as much as I can about South Dakota and all that we saw here. The attached pictures will only give you a glimpse of the magnificent scenery and wildlife we were able to discover. I hope I have not been boring you with this adventure, but that you have been enjoying the excursion with us.
As we drove along highway 90 signs for free water kept appearing along the roadside. Wall drug in Wall, South Dakota was giving away free water. They were also selling coffee for five cents and donuts for twenty-five cents. This was a must stop for us and after driving about 275 miles we arrived in Wall. The town (the tourist part, that is) is one block long. Wall drug takes up one side of the street and a few western style restaurants and shops fill the other side of the street. We got our free water, walked around the shops, and took a few pictures. Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought a little Drug Store in Wall in 1931 when the population was 800.
In 1936 Dorothy got to thinking about all the tourists that motored through Wall to see the Black Hills and points west. Although drug stores have been giving water away for years nobody ever thought of advertising it. Need I say more, Wall Drug is now much more than a drug store. There is a shopping mall recreated as a western town, they have an art galley, a giant jackalope that you can get on for pictures and they have loads and loads of souvenirs. The dining room seats over 500 and the emporium draws up to 20,000 people on a hot summer day. What a fun place to walk around, grab a sandwich and shop.
From Wall we headed south on route 240 to do the 32 mile scenic loop around the Badlands of South Dakota. The landscape is as ancient as time itself. The peaks, gullies, and wide prairies are amazing with colors. A turn in the road, the changing sun and the moving clouds create awesome views. The more we saw the more we wondered how this could be. There are overlook areas and paths to walk and for those that venture beyond the pathways there are still prehistoric bones that can be found. Frank Lloyd Wright wrote in 1935, “I’ve been about the world a lot, and pretty much over our own country, but I was totally unprepared for the revelation called the Dakota Bad Lands, an endless supernatural world more spiritual than earth but created out of it.” I could not say it better, for it is breathtaking and brilliant and a wonder in our world.
We spent the evening in Rapid City and planned for our trip to Mount Rushmore and the sculpture of Crazy Horse the following day.
Stay with us as we move along the back roads of this great country. We do hope you are enjoying the trip for we certainly are having a great time telling you about it.
Stay well and take care of each other.
Shirley, Donna, Louise and Casa
To read the previous e-mails
To read more on South Dakota check out Chapter #2 in this month's publication.
October 6, 2006