So we got everything loaded into the trailer about 11am (thanks to Keith and Paul for your loading assistance) and headed off to Sioux Falls. It was gorgeous Friday morning.
We stopped in Mankato for a good Mexican lunch and resumed our drive to Sioux Falls as scheduled. Like any good story the travelers run into problems on the road.
Between the rough roads and the sharp edges of Maelstrom, all the straps are getting sliced (learning experience #1 — use better straps). One of the four straps flies off into the air behind us but we are good. But up ahead we can see the sky darkening. Ominously.
Suddenly Samurai Dancer bends at ninety degrees. I’m thinking its going overboard. We find a rest area. Turns out the wind had picked up and a particularly rough section of road caused the steel to bend (learning experience #2 — add more steel). We adjust the load with Judd’s pieces going into the van and Samurai Dancer going on it’s side.
The rest area guy takes down the American flag and says there’s some serious weather coming through. We hop into the van and hurry on toward Windom (and the storm) and turn on the radio for the weather.
There’s a tornado warning with twisters on the ground to the south of the us and more or less heading in our direction. We decide to race for Windom and hunker down there. Judd’s on the weather radar on the phone– it shows the dark nasty colors straight ahead.
So, we make it to Windom with hardly any rain and it seems to be lightening up with the really dark clouds going north and south of us. Let’s keep going, is the decision. It’s only rain.
Immediately west of Windom it gets nighttime dark and the rain comes pouring down in buckets. Just to the south I swear I see a funnel cloud — it was definitely rotating. It rains so hard I have to pull over to the side of the road. “Where do we go if there’s a tornado?” See that ditch? Apparently there were people who thought there was one and decided the ditch was the answer.
Since I’m writing this tale, we managed to get through the storm, buy new tie downs and make it to Sioux Falls for the the start of the opening reception. But now we have some great stories. Plus I get to say that my sculpture Maelstrom had to go through the tempest to get there.
We got our rooms at the Holiday Inn City Centre, our packets and headed up to the reception. We had drinks and food waiting for us and had the chance to meet the Jim Clark, the sponsors, the many volunteers and, of course, the artists. Props to the band too!
Thanks again to everyone for the warm welcome and to Mike and Lois for introducing me to the many others in attendance. Jim the emcee ran the show and presented the 55 sculptures in a slide show. I have to admit I cringed a bit when seeing the photo of my model for Maelstrom. Glad you could all see the potential.
We wrapped up the reception and headed to Monks for drinks and conversation. I had the opportunity to meet and get to know many of the fine artists in the show. And drink excellent beer.
Wise and experienced heads prevailed and wrapped up the evening. It promised to be a long day on Saturday with an early start installing all the pieces.
The tale would not be complete without mention of my shirt. All the artists get a great Mountain Hardwear shirt with the SculptureWalk logo. Mine happened to be the only really cool blue one. I totally scored and got many a compliment. It was a real ice-breaker. Thanks Jim!