More wonders of South Dakota
18 June 2012 | Badlands, South Dakota, USA
As if the Black Hills, caves and monuments were not enough, today offered a blockbuster assortment of new thrills for us. First, we got free coffee at McDonalds...ain't that grand? I think it's because we're old, but what the heck? We headed east on I90 to Wall, SD. Road signs, akin to the old Burma Shave signs from decades ago, greeted us every 1/4-1/2 mile or so, announcing the many reasons to stop at Wall Drug. “Free Ice Water”, they offered. “Free coffee and donuts to veterans”, they proclaimed. Giant, animated T-Rex; 6' rabbit; pan for gold; western wear; camping gear; Black Hills gold creations; cowboy quartet; singing monkeys; ride a jackelope (that was the clincher). Impossible to resist.
Since 1931, Wall Drug has been enticing folks to stop for a look-see. It actually was run by a bonafide pharmacist and Rx's were filled. It's still in the family, it appears, but it's so bizarre, I doubt Rx's are given any thought any more. It's encompasses a city block or more … a maze of rooms and shops, all intertwined and chock full of paraphernalia that people cannot live without … except for us parsimonious sailors, that is. We did buy four more tent stakes at 70 cents each (better price than WalMart), but no bottles of Dr. Feelgood's Famous Elixir, nor postcards, magnets, baubles nor beads.
We felt pretty proud of ourselves for restraining our buying urges as we headed to view the biggest prairie dog in the world at Cactus Flat where we immediately indulged in ice cream sandwiches then watched the little fellas for awhile. Further down the road was the Prairie Homestead, an old soddy (sod house) and farm was on display. Not worth the admission price of $7 to us, but we did take photos of the rare white prairie dogs from the parking lot. Talk about “parsimonious”!
We ended up in Badlands NP at the end of the day. We had reserved a campsite near the White River which fortunately has a few trees for shade, unlike most of this arid, parched, sun-baked land. It's 90F and we're roasting … hard to believe after the cold nights we've experienced in the past week or so. We managed to pick up a 6-pack of cold beer for medicinal purposes and it seems to be doing wonders for keeping our body temps lowered and our morale high.