Across South Dakota…

September 22, 2009

OK. I’ll put it out right here. If you’re a guy, driving I90 across South Dakota (as we did on 9/20) with your wife/significant other, it’s inevitable: You WILL be required to stop in the town of Wall, and visit the Wall Drug Store. This place is advertised world-wide, billboards herald its coming for 100s of miles around, and there are even, I’m told, billboards in certain parts of Europe touting this phenomenal place. It all started humbly in ~1931, when the original proprietors opened a small pharmacy in Wall; to promote their biz, they got the idea of offering free ice water to visitors (still do today). Coffee was free at first, but even today it’s only a nickel.

Coffee for a nickel? It's true.

Coffee for a nickel? It's true.

What’s the big deal about a store, you say? Much more than a store, it’s a sprawling complex offering merchandise and activities for anyone at any age. You’ll see more stuff on Wall’s in our daily gallery. Click for yourself! 😉

It turns out that Wall Drug is directly north of the “Badlands,” AKA Badlands National Park. The Badlands were formed of soft stone of varying mineral sources a LONG time ago – on the order of 36 million years. While Glacier and the rest of the Rocky Mountain range show spectacular beauty, it’s well to remember that the Rockies are MUCH younger than the Badlands, having been formed through the last period of glaciation, from 1.8 million years ago to 70 thousand years ago. Witness the beauty of these “Badlands:”

The Badlands - A Symphony in Stone

The Badlands - A Symphony in Stone

It was difficult to winnow down the wonderful photos of this magical area to one, so be sure to look at other views in the gallery?

South Dakota Rest Stop Sign

South Dakota Rest Stop Sign

Tooling along further to the East along I90, we happened upon one of your normal Rest Areas, but I thought the foreboding sign in the middle of the lawn was pretty funny, actually. Wouldn’t a “Keep off the Grass” sign work just as well, and be less scary? The skin crawls with all the possibilities here…

Scenery across the State, as far as we could see, varied from prairie to cornfield, gently rolling hills, a lot of flat expanse. The weather was beautiful, as we’ve most often encountered this trip, so for me, as usual, the scenery was very impressive; I’m just a small stroke of a master painter’s brush in the giant landscape of nature.

But we didn’t completely stick to the freeway; one venture off the main drag caused us to have to backtrack, when we found an alternative bridge across the Missouri to be closed and under repair:

Closed Bridge over the Missouri

Closed Bridge over the Missouri

We wound up the day in Mitchell, eagerly anticipating a visit to Mitchell’s famous “Corn Palace” the next day, to be accompanied, we were to find, by our first run-in with rain. But again, that’s another story?

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2 Responses to “Across South Dakota…”

  1. Deb Huff said

    I just thought that with John Reed entering Nebraska, the midwest got about 200% “corny”er…

    I know that you are probably not big red meat consumers, but if you are ever going to have a steak, Nebraska is the place.

    Just try not to be too shocked by the portion sizes, which could be larger than the Prius !

    Deb

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