|the rest stop on I-90|
anyone who’s driven towards, through, or around South Dakota has seen signs for Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. I’ve seen billboards for it in Minnesota and Iowa, not to mention all across the length of South Dakota. we started joking about whether or not to visit the famous Drug Store somewhere between Sioux Falls and the Missouri River, in spite of the fact that none of us had any interest in diverting off the road for the quintessential interstate tourist trap. I’d say “give ’em a giant ball of twine and they’ve got kitchiest road side attraction west of the Missouri sewn up” except I don’t think they need a giant ball of twine, really.
perhaps I’m not being fair to Wall Drug. I know we stopped there on my earlier westward trek to the Black Hills, but on pain of death and dismemberment I couldn’t produce any concrete memories of the place. all I know is that Wall Drug started up during the Depression (in 1931) by a Nebraska pharmacist who struggled to make his business work. his wife got the idea to offer and advertise free ice water for visitors of the newly-opened Mount Rushmore and, 80 years later, they boast handing out something near 20,000 cups of water a day during peak tourist season.
anyway, despite swearing we wouldn’t set foot in Wall, we did have to grace the city limits to get back onto the Interstate after diverting through the Badlands. and, leaving the Black Hills around 3 p.m., it turned out to be a decent place to stop and get some dinner. the local restaurant we found even had passable veggie options! (mostly because they had an extensive appetizer menu of fried foods.) in a town of 766, it might have been the only game besides the Subway and when a party of nearly two dozen people started showing up (a caravan of indeterminate make-up and origin) it stretched capacity to the limit. thankfully, we got in and out just in time and got out of Wall, bellies full and not a single Drug Store seen.