Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Taking Care of Business....

Reminds me of that "Taking Care of Business" song by Bachman Turner Overdrive...There are so many song titles that would be great on a blog! (BUT--you'd drive everybody crazy, Sparky!)

It's been a long time since I've moved...one year to be exact...I've spent much of my life in South Bend/Mishawaka, IN (about 26 years), then moved to Angola, IN for 7 years, and now, when somebody asks, "Where are you from?" I can be a smarta** and say, "From all over!"  Or, I can say, "South Dakota". Sparky is officially a South Dakota resident! But I'm not gonna live there....It's just that South Dakota has ZERO state income tax, low sales tax (3%), lower insurance rates for health, car, and home, no personal property tax, no intangible tax on investments and much cheaper rates for licensing. Last year we saved over 1500.00 (!) by getting the motorhome plated in South Dakota. My Indiana plates would have been 265.00 this year. In South Dakota, my plates will be about 71.00. Woo-hoo! So that's why you see many full time RVers with South Dakota plates. I have to wait on my plates, they have to send for the title first, so I'm still running Indiana plates on the Honda CRV...they don't expire till October, so hopefully, the new plates will come in before the old ones expire. 

(Photos today are all from the annual Sculpture Walk held in downtown Sioux Falls)
(E. says, Sparky can be such an egghead at times!)
While we were conducting our business, we stayed at the Tower Campground in Sioux Falls. This campground is VERY centrally located to everything, malls galore, restaurants, (10 minutes to the license branch) and you get a discount for staying there if you have business with Alternative Resources, a mailing service that we use for our mail delivery. Alternative Resources helps you with licensing, referrals to other agencies, and they are REALLY helpful to RVers in a lot of ways. We stayed one night for 27.50 a night with full hookups in a nice, shady campground. Sites are about average as far as distance between the sites. It's a great overnight or two destination, and the office people are so nice and really friendly. They even remembered us from last year even though we were only there three days! 

What did we do in the one day we were here besides get Sparky's license? We got an oil change for the car, that is, Eldy got the oil change while Sparky explored downtown Sioux Falls and the 2011 Sculpture Walk.  Lots of statues with interesting explanations of the artist's viewpoint on why they made what they did...It was fun walking around downtown Sioux Falls...There is lots to see in other parts of town and check out the waterfalls the city is named after! We did that last year, so the annual Sculpture Walk this year is all we had time for.....Sioux Falls is a nice, clean town and very pretty...There is everything you could possibly want in Sioux Falls, should you stop for a few days...(except for an Apple Store, says E.) Being that we both have Macs, it's always nice to find one in case we have a problem...

I walked into an interesting shop and gallery on Phillips Street in downtown Sioux Falls that advertised all native American artists. Just about everything was made by a tribal member. I talked to the shop owner for a little bit. She said the shop, Prairie Star Gallery, had been open for 14 years. She mentioned the poverty level for native Americans is much more severe than for average Americans, that the native American Indian income poverty level is about $4,000 for a family of four compared to 22,000.00 for white Americans. This is why they started their shop, to provide a base of support for native Americans to sell their wares and help their families survive.  There are nine tribes in South Dakota, and it was cool to see this store promoting Northern Plains and Southwest Indian authentic arts and crafts. The shop's managers personally know every artist and trader represented in the shop. 

There were beautiful rugs, dolls, feathers, music, sage, sweetgrass, paintings, clothing, jewelry, books, and many many other kinds of arts presented there. One of my favorite things in the shop was the "talking stick." The talking stick was like a peace pipe, a decorated stick with feathers and beads. The stick is used in discussions, moments of crisis and interventions, for families, etc. Whoever holds the stick, holds the attention and respect of everyone else, and the person who holds the stick, gets to speak. Everyone else remains silent until the stick is passed. It reminded me of a "koosh ball" that I used to use in my classroom, using the same principle. You couldn't talk unless you were holding the koosh ball. At least, that was the principle of the thing!

I learned that the term "Sioux" Indian  was a term generated by the U.S. government, and it really applies to three tribes--the Dakota, the Lakota, and the Nakota. The term comes from the French and Ojibwa, and is believed to be a derogatory term meaning "Little Snakes". The Sioux Nation really prefers to be called by the Dakota, Lakota, or Nakota names instead.  More than 62,000 native Americans live in South Dakota, and the evidence of that is everywhere you travel in this state....There are lots of reminders for you to respect them as you travel...to ask before taking photos, video, audio, etc. You might come across pipes, bundles, ties, flags of different colored  material, food offerings and other items at sites you visit, like we did in Bear Lodge (Devil's Tower) or on hikes, or other places, which are considered sacred by native Americans. 

The owner gave me a wonderful book put out by the state of South Dakota, called Native South Dakota, A Travel Guide to Tribal Lands. I'm really looking forward to learning more about the tribes of our lands.......But before we go, I have to show you one of my favorite sculptures from the Sculpture Walk. It's called "Hey, Mary Lou/Blindside".
"Skinny but enthusiastic third stringer gets distracted on his sprint along the sideline. A study in "achieving your dreams one second and launched into the second row the next".
It's "On the Road Again" for Eldy and Jeannie tomorrow...We're heading east towards Minnesota and Wisconsin.......see you on the road!


  1. City sculptures and murals are some of my favorites. Loved the shots of all the sculpture.

  2. Great pictures of the sculptures and a fine ad for an interesting city in your new home state. Is Eldy following SD football????

    I'd love to read the book of course so don't put it in a book swap until we see you next. :-)

  3. Ee'll be getting our SD residency late next year in preparation for becoming fulltimers. Now I have some fun stuff to look forward to when we get there. Thanks for sharing the sculpture images.

  4. Good pictures of the street art. We always enjoy looking at them.