Monday, July 21, 2008

Wall Drug and The Badlands

Time for a road trip! I get itchy to be moving, even when we're sitting still, or maybe that's especially when we're sitting still. It's beautiful here in the Black Hills, and I was still ready to see some different scenery. This morning, we managed to hurry through our waking-up routine, and got on the road about 8 am.

We were headed northeast of Custer about 90 or so miles, to Wall, South Dakota where the famous drug store is, and to drive the loop through The Badlands. We took the dogs with us, as we didn't want to have to rush back.

The route we took was 16A east through Custer State Park. It was a beautiful, clear morning and the drive through the state park was a very nice way to start our journey. Near the east border of the park we started seeing the buffalo. There were at least 150 or more, many of them right on the road, crossing back and forth. Jasmine and Mr. BJ had a blast watching all the "Big Dog Buffalo". That phrase comes from Mr. BJ's early years of traveling when he sat on my lap, and every animal we saw along the way was a "Big Dog...." cow, horse, dog, or whatever. This was a new one for them!

We arrived in Wall about 10 and found the town already packed with people visiting Wall Drug. This icon started in 1931 when the Husteds purchased the pharmacy. For the first few years, their business was barely hanging on. One night, Mrs. Husted got an idea to give travelers free ice water. She prevailed upon her husband, Ted, to make a series of signs to place along the highway, inviting people to stop for free ice water. The idea took off, people stopped for water, and now the place covers about a square block. The business is still in the family and now carries all manner of merchandise, from jewelry to art to t-shirts and trinkets. Yes, you can still get free ice water!

Something else you can get at Wall Drug is fresh, homemade donuts. We got on the subject of donuts last night in the rv-dreams chat room. I mentioned how I loved the donuts we used to get at the top of Pikes Peak. So, of course, my little craving antenna was up this morning, searching out a plain, fresh, homemade donut. Yes, said donuts were found. We even brought some home for tomorrow's breakfast.

On to The Badlands. I'm not sure what I expected, but this was beyond whatever that might have been. Jim described it as "prehistoric", I guess if I had to use one word to describe it, I'd say it's "otherworldly". We drove the loop from Wall which took us about 30 miles around and back to I-90.

We saw an incredible variety of colors and shapes. It was a pretty incredible journey!

On the way back, we stopped at a little restaurant in Wall and had hamburgers before coming back home. It was a great day trip, and now it's good to be back home!


FD5 said...

Hi Ellie and Jim,
I love donuts too, LOL, beautiful pictures of the Badlands, just as I remember, thanks for sharing.

Stay Safe
John and Bridget

dreamjosie said...

I've been telling Fred for quite a while that when we leave here and head back across Canada and the US for Wisconsin, that I need to visit South Dakota. I want to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands, etc. Your blogs just reinforced that. It looks like you are having a great time.


Joe and Sherri said...

The bad lands looks like a place I would have hung out in if I had lived back in the day. This is where many outlaws hid out while on the lamb. Oh you say Speedy are you an Outlaw??? Well no but I do stay in trouble alot. Sherri would have a hard time finding me if I was hid out in them thar hills.


Dee & Jim said...

I have never been in that area. This blog is wonderful. Never heard of the Drug store either. Thanks for the badland pictures, never seen them either. Lots of places to see.

Jenny Johnson said...

Ellie I loved the pics of the badlands been thru there many times. I have the exact same picture (your last one) of the badlands. Greyhound always goes on 90 thru the badlands. Glad to hear you like South Dakota...its one of my favorite states too.
Jenny J
PS tell JE it was nice to chat with him last night and we look forward to seeing him more often.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

That place does look desolate !!
Yes, please ask Jim to come back into chat, it was good to meet him.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX

Mark and Dortha said...

We did not take the loop through the Badlands on the way to Hill City. Then, we never got back over there. Guess I am going to have to make another trip, but in the meantime, I am enjoying your pictures.

Bob said...

Next time include a side trip to the Corn Palace in Mitchel, ND. Biggest, most expensive bird feeder in the world. They re do it every year with scenes made from corn and grain from ND and the birds eat it to the tune of $100,000/year. It's actually a civic center for the small town.

Can you imagine being in a wagon train going thru the Badlands? We've been there and loved it too -before Rving.

Bob and Lynda

Bob said...

Hi, I think the altitude got me when I said Mitchell, ND. It's in South Dakota. I'm directionally challenged anyway! Bob's the map reader! Lynda