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Dodge Brothers Club members drove a dozen century-old vehicles to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, this week to visit the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center.

As the group strolled inside to learn about Landsat and the EROS science mission, EROS staff trekked outside to admire the row of classic autos built between 1914 and 1936.

A woman looks at a classic pickup truck
Mary Johnson of EROS admires this classic Dodge Brothers pickup.
A group tours an archive
Tour guide Ann Tripp talks with members of the Dodge Brothers Club during the tour.

The visitors were impressed by the spacious atrium and the gorgeous Earth As Art satellite imagery on display, along with the Landsat 8 model suspended above them. But they were especially struck by the scientific insights gained by observing land change over time via remote sensing satellites. One mentioned the monitoring of coal mines as they expanded across the landscape. Another, a retired farmer, noted that he had previously been unaware of how remote sensing benefited agriculture, for instance by tracking potential drought.

A classic car
This yellow 1929 Dodge Brothers car belongs to Ed and Deanne Weninger of Brookings, SD, who organized the Dodge Brothers Club tour of EROS.

The club’s trip to EROS was pre-selected by Ed and Deanne Weninger of Brookings, South Dakota, who hosted the 2024 Dodge Brothers Club Mid-America Tour, June 10-14, 2024. The couple had been planning for a year and visited EROS as a prospective stop in August 2023. “We were just blown away” by the science center, Deanne said, and decided to add it to the tour. She predicted group members would especially like seeing the mosaic maps of each of their home states. Club members on the tour hailed from 17 states, from as far west as California and Oregon, as far east as Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, and many states closer to South Dakota. One even came down from Alberta, Canada!

After the tour of the Center and lunch, club members returned outside to tell EROS staff more about the vehicles. They opened hoods to show off restored engines and fielded questions covering everything from balancing wheels to finding parts.

With cars this old, each one has a story to tell. As a child, Ed Weninger played with his 10 siblings on the rust-covered 1929 Dodge that sat near a dugout on his grandfather’s farm near Strasburg, North Dakota. Ten years ago, Ed started restoring it, and the 95-year-old vehicle now sports a beautiful butter-yellow paint job and has a top speed of 35 mph.

People looking at a classic car
EROS staff gather around a 1914 Dodge Brothers Touring car owned by Mark Ounan (third from left) of Pennsylvania during the Dodge Brothers Club tour.

Because of a predicted storm with potential hail, some vehicles remained in Brookings and others were tucked safely in trailers en route to EROS. The group left the Center earlier than planned when dark clouds threatened around 1 p.m. The well-cared-for engines started with a purr, many quieter than modern vehicles, and drove off or were loaded back into trailers.

This glance into the past inspired EROS Chief of Staff Tim Glynn, a self-described car guy. “They’re coming here to learn about Landsat, which is a 50-year-old repository of data, and they’ve got cars that are 100 years old. Isn’t that a wild paradigm?” he said. “I don’t know whether to say that’s the old meeting the new, or the old meeting the old. It was neat to have them here.”

Groups like the car club are requested to schedule a tour ahead of time, but the EROS Center also has walk-in tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Click here for more information about visiting EROS, or go to the EROS homepage to learn more about our mission and read the latest news. You’ll also find links to our Eyes on Earth podcasts, Image of the Week and other interactive features.

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