Day 75 – Wednesday July 4, 2007 – Minneapolis, Minnesota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota
We started our Independence Day in one of my favorite cities, Minneapolis, MN. This was my third time in Minneapolis, but the first time I was able to enjoy it when the temperature outside was reasonable. I don’t think Minneapolis is the most beautiful city, nor does it have the most activities, but the people are friendly and I get such a great feeling every time I am there. The first two times I visited the city, I was there to see the Packers play the Minnesota Vikings. The only thing I would miss this time in Minneapolis, was my brother, who was with me both of the previous times I was there.
Jasmine and I planned to wake up early, go to the Mall of America (she really wanted to go and it is Independence Day) and then head west to Sioux Falls, SD relatively early. As has been the case more than once on this trip, we didn’t wake up as early as hoped. Fortunately though, we still woke up early enough to afford us a few hours at the enormous mall.
The Mall of America is the largest mall in the USA. Having been there before, I wasn’t surprised by the mall, but Jasmine was dying to see it. Among other things, the mall contains an aquarium, amusement park, movie theaters, about 20 restaurants and of course hundreds of stores. This was my third time there and I still don’t think that I have seen everything that the Mall of America has to offer..
We spent about four hours at the mall, doing typical mall things. We browsed the shops a little and also ate lunch. Shawn Reece wanted to see the amusement park, so we also passed through that area. Jasmine and I had already decided that we weren’t going on any of the rides due to our limited time. At 2:30pm we left the mall and Minneapolis behind, headed for Sioux Falls, SD about four hours to the west.
On the way to South Dakota we drove through a little chunk of Iowa. We definitely entered the Great Plains, as corn fields provided the backdrop for hundreds of miles. It was fun to see a different landscape from what we have encountered thus far. Luckily, we didn’t run into another storm and we arrived in Sioux Falls right on schedule.
I had done some research and found out about the local fireworks show that was going on in Sioux Falls. The show was to be at 10pm, but the South Dakota Orchestra was playing a concert from 8:30pm until 10pm. Upon arriving in Sioux Falls, we checked in to the hotel, had dinner and then headed over to the fairgrounds, where the show was to be held.
Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota with a population of about 200,000 in the city and surrounding areas. The advertisement for the show, proclaimed that it was to be the largest in the area, so we were expecting something good! We arrived at the fairgrounds and took a seat in the grandstands. For the next hour and a half, the South Dakota Orchestra put on a tremendous concert. It is amazing, that the older I get, the more I appreciate this type of music!
At 10 o’clock the orchestra stopped playing and the fireworks started. The fireworks were rigged the old fashioned way, in a trailer located behind the stage. There was no fancy computers controlling everything, simply a couple of guys who carefully set everything up and lit the fuse. The first ten minutes were pretty lackluster, with one or two shells fired at a time. However, towards the end of the twenty minute show, dozens of shells shot into the air every few seconds, in what has to be one of the best firework finales I have ever seen.
When the show was over, we went back to the hotel and retired for the night. Tomorrow, we are driving through South Dakota in order to see four big heads on the side of a mountain. Beyond that, we are going to be moving pretty quickly through this region in order to allow us some time in the Pacific Northwest. It should be fun!
The Coomer Family