Fifth Wedding Anniversary Part I: The Wall Drug Phenomenon

Good Day to All!

The fourth of July, 2014, was the celebration of my five year wedding anniversary to my husband Adlai. In celebration of this event, we decided to go camping in South Dakota. We chose South Dakota for a couple of reasons, one, I have never been there and I am on a quest to visit all 50 states—I have seven more to go. And two, I love the mountains. And since I used to live in Colorado, I wanted to visit mountainous terrain other than than the Rocky Mountains, plus, South Dakota was relatively close—if you call nine hours by car close.

My handsome hubby and I are starting our trip west.

My handsome hubby and I are starting our trip west.

Co-pilot checking in for duty!

Co-pilot checking in for duty!

We said good bye to our kitties and left on Tuesday evening. We began driving west on I-90, and we were astounded by all the wind farms in western Minnesota. There were literally hundreds and hundreds along the way.

Southwestern Minnesota has hundreds of Wind Farms.

Southwestern Minnesota has hundreds of Wind Farms.

We had predetermined that we would drive to Sioux Falls on Tuesday evening. When we arrived some four hours later, we stayed pretty close to I-90 so we could get on the road early and without a long drive back to the interstate on Wednesday morning. This meant there were not many choices for food and lodging. We found a cheap sleep called Cloud Nine and ate the local Perkins. I have never been a lodging snob. I have traveled alone a few times, and I would stay in hostels. I figured a person doesn’t spend much time in a hotel, it’s mainly for sleep and washing up, as long as the rooms are clean. Don’t get me wrong, I have stayed at some lovely places too when I traveled for business purposes, and it’s AWESOME to have lots of amenities.

We were on the road by 8ish the next morning. The drive in eastern South Dakota isn’t very desirable, but it didn’t bother me. I love road trips and I was entertained by all the signs along the highway for Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. So, I started snapping photos of all the Wall Drug signs. Now, I could bore you with the ridiculous quantity of Wall Drug signs I took pictures of, but I don’t think you would be as amused unless you were actually making the journey. So, I’ll pick and choose a few for you.

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We were completely entertained by this phenomenon of signage, so, we both decided it was necessary to stop along the way to see what all the hubbub was about. As we discussed what we thought we would find at Wall Drug, we soon saw signs for the Corn Palace. Another phenomenon that sounded intriguing. A palace made from corn. Ok. So we decided to stop there too.

Almost there!

Almost there!

We made it to the Corn Palace.

We made it to the Corn Palace.

Corn Art!

Corn Art!

We weren’t in a hurry to get to our campsite because we started early in the morning and had about 5 hours to go. So, all the little stops along the way were a much needed break from the long, mostly straight and flat road we were driving on. When we arrived at the Corn Palace, it was a little misleading. And by a little misleading, I actually mean a lot misleading. The Corn Palace was a normal building with large corn murals on the outside. When we walked inside it was similar to a fair minus the dirt floor. It’s like people had a set up shop for a week or so to sell little trinkets to make enough money to buy food and to make it to the next town to sell their goodies. All the display shelves were standing on a basketball court. It was a corn product gift shop during the day and basketball court by night…hmmmm. Not impressed. We weren’t there any longer than 20 minutes and we hit the open road. Again, shooting pictures of Wall Drug signs. I hope Wall Drug had a cure for this photo snapping disease.

One more. I couldn't resist.

One more. I couldn’t resist.

We finally arrived at Wall Drug around lunch time. We ate at the cafe and then took a look around. The aroma from the cafe was intoxicating. It was the smell of a sweet bakery. Taking a closer look we saw doughnuts. Lots and lots of doughnuts. Apparently that was a Wall Drug specialty. Unfortunately, I don’t care for doughnuts, plus I needed more substance than a sugary delight.

Wall-Drug-Sign

We stood in line and ordered at the register and took our receipt with order number to a table where there were large paintings of cowboys, Indians and important female figures. We ate in silence. We didn’t get the “super size” version of breakfast at McDonald’s that morning and both of us were hungry. I ate a veggie burger and a salad with blue cheese, yum! And Adlai had a buffalo burger and french fries. He didn’t share one fry with me. I was kind of sad. There I was sitting french fryless waiting for him to offer, but he didn’t.

I silently forgave him for not sharing his fries and we started our tour of all the shops at Wall Drug. We started in the store next to the cafe. There were tons of tchotchkes ranging from shot glasses to t-shirts to jackalopes and jewelry. There was such an array of goodies, but none really seemed like something we should spend our money on. Instead we found two good looking townies for a photo-op.

Adlai's new friend.

Adlai’s new friend.

 

Nicole's new friend!

Nicole’s new friend!

We shopped around a bit more, but didn’t buy a thing. So we decided to continue west on I-90. We only had a about an hour left in the car and we wanted to get to Rapid City to buy groceries and get our campsite set up.

We picked up some chicken and veggie burgers, corn, lunch meat, lettuce, mustard and bread for for sandwiches and cherries and applesauce to get our daily intake of fruit. We rolled in to Mystery Mountain Resort around 2ish and began setting up camp. First, we set up the tent, then blew up the air mattress and got the canopy set up in case of rain.

Our home away from home!

Our home away from home!

Nicole at camp

We finally made it!

We walked around the campgrounds and located the bathrooms and showers. It was clean and well kept and I was thankful for that. They also had a pool, a hot tub and a small visitor center with maps, water, food and a few camping supplies.

The main office at Mystery Mountain Resort.

The main office at Mystery Mountain Resort.

The Mountain Grill offered breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, pancakes and biscuits.

The Mountain Grill offered breakfast burritos, scrambled eggs, pancakes and biscuits.

A little touch of home.

A little touch of home.

That evening we cooked chicken on the tripod grill over an open fire. We had corn on the cob as a side dish. The corn was sweet and delish! We finished off the evening with S’mores! Overall it was a fun day, but we were tired and needed to rejuvenate for day two, so, we crawled into our tent to catch a few hours of sleep.

Have you been on any roadtrips lately?

What are your thoughts about traveling by car? Would you rather fly?

Make it a great day!

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

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