Sunday, September 02, 2012

On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

Wednesday, we finally made it across Iowa. The only thing that broke the monotony of corn and soybean fields was the occasional field of windmills. Before leaving Iowa, we stopped near the Missouri River at their Lewis and Clark State Park for a late lunch. It was a really pretty place with a brand new Interpretive Center under construction, a campground, and some picturesque picnicking.

Giant cottonwood trees at the Lewis and Clark State Park in Iowa
While there, we were able to get an up close and personal view of a replica of the keel boat that Lewis and Clark used to travel on the Missouri River.
Keelboat replica at the Lewis and Clark State Park in Iowa
We crossed into South Dakota without a definitive plan for where we would stay or even what route to take toward the Black Hills area. On a whim, we decided to head west from I-29 to the Yankton area where there seemed to be lots of camping options along the Missouri National Recreation River. After reading through some of the tourism literature on camping options in the Yankton area, the camping options at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area seemed the most promising.

After checking in we drove to our riverside campsite and we were pleasantly surprised. It was beautiful! We were right on the river with a little beach right next to us. It was hot but the wind was blowing 20 mph off the river and it felt wonderful.
Kite flying at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area in Yankton, SD
Site #219 at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Area
Our view of the moon rising over the Lewis and Clark Lake
This campground has everything a family would want: playground, swimming, boating, fishing, miles of walking and bike trails, and a clean bathhouse. On the second night, the wind died down a bit and that's when we experienced the biting flies - eek! The flies were the only detraction from our stay.

Thursday, Kelly went for another bike ride and then after lunch we did some site seeing. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center on the Nebraska side of the dam on our way to the Ashfall Fossil Beds. On the way back, we stopped at Niobrara State Park, just to check it out. (Our park pass from Ashfall was good for all Nebraska state parks). There were some great views there and along the drive back.

Gavin Point Dam from the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center
 (one of those white specks on the shore of the lake is our RV)
The Niobrara River from Niobrara State Park
The Missouri River Basin from Niobrara River State Park.
The Missouri River crossing at Running Water (looking to Nebraska from SD)
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