Trying to get an early start this morning, we awoke at 6:30. After checking out at the Rocket Motel, we made our way to the Wrangler Restaurant just down the street. When you see work trucks parked out front, you know that it is where the locals eat. So it must be good. Polly and I had eggs, toast and buffalo sausage!
Driving through Hill City and Rapid City, we made our first stop at the famous Wall Drug, established in 1931 by a young pharmacist and his wife. It is now managed by the third generation of Husteads. Of his free ice water, Ted Hustead said that it taught him a valuable life lesson in that “no matter where you live, you can succeed, because wherever you are you can reach out to other people, with something that they need.” Click on the link to read more of its fascinating history. You will find that “free water” and “5-cent coffee” were significant players.
Larry and Janine advised that we not leave Wall Drug without trying the maple donuts. Polly included the 5-cent coffee and I had the free water!
We contributed to the local economy once again in the gift shop. It was fun taking photos of the various characters sitting on benches in the atrium.
And, as someone suggested earlier…we needed to recreate the “horse” photos of the 1950s. Boo hoo, the bucking horse was out for repairs, so we settled for the jack-a-lope.
The next attraction was Badlands National Park, a 242,756-acre preserve, was authorized as Badlands National Monument, on March 4, 1929 and was redesignated as Badlands National Park on November 10, 1978. As the park brochure describes this place, “for centuries humans have viewed South Dakota’s celebrated Badlands with a mix of dread an fascination”. The Lakota and early French trappers viewed it as the “badlands”. Some folks have seen the peaks, gullies, buttes and prairies as works of art. Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, described it as “an endless supernatural world more spiritual than earth but created out of it”. The history of what formed this place, click on the link Badlands National Park.The loop road (280) took us through the Badlands Wilderness Area. With each turn we saw a different landscape, each dramatically different than the one before. We were fortunate enough to see some little pararie dogs and big horn sheep. What an awe-inspiring place.
The last place that drew us off I-90 was Al’s Oasis. Kind of reminded me of South of the Border. We spent the night in Mitchell, SD.
326 miles, approximately
October 28, 2012