Sunday, May 5, 2013

Free Ice Water

After we pulled into the little town of Wall, SD,  got the rig parked, the dog walked and a light jacket tied  around our waists, just in case; we were ready to tackle this adventure. There are not too many stops that we make that are pure fun, but this particular one was. The lil one was jumping up and down for joy, ecstatic about the next amazing sight around the next corner; after the 80ft dinosaur you wouldn’t think that there would be much more, but you’d also be wrong. 

         It was like stepping thru a porthole in the time warp continuum.  We were transported back to the horse and buggy days of old; if not for all the modern day gas guzzlers parked down Main Street, you could easily imagine the sound of the very first automobile chugging down the street. There stood the huge now famous Wall Drug Store in all its glory, hard to imagine what had now become a city block of history and tourism started out as a small one room drug store with a curtain hanging to make room for living quarters; but it had. In the days of old, Wall was one of the first towns you would come to after traveling west across a scorching prairie. To draw in the customers, to a town of only 326 poor people in the middle of nowhere, they came up with one of the best ideas ever. They offered the weary and hot travelers free ice cold water; not sure if it would work or not.  Before they got all the signs up along the highway, they had an onslaught of customers; looking for free ice cold water and buying ice cream cones and such also. It was a brilliant idea, to this day they draw in twenty thousand people on any given day of the week.
     Our first stop was in the old pharmacy, this was truly like walking thru time. The walls were filled with what you would’ve have seen in the 30’s when they first opened. Every kind of medicine in its original packaging was truly neat to look at, the lil one loved the rows and rows of candy bins to scoop out and weigh.  We picked up our free bumper sticker and a map, it was amazing at how it had grown from this one room to a city block of treasures to admire and explore.
     Next on our list was to try a buffalo burger, amazingly they were a lot cheaper than you would expect in a tourist trap such as this.  I think all three of us ate for under $20, considering where we’ve been and some of the prices we’ve paid, this was cheap as dirt.  While enjoying our burgers we also enjoyed the artwork and old firearms hung on every available space of wall.  In the center of the room, dotted among the tables were larger than life wood carvings of a few of the pioneers and heroes of the old west; there were all the great Indian Chiefs in one room and the cowboys we’ve all read about growing up in another.

       Once lunch was over it was time to venture outdoors to see all the photo ops associated with South Dakota.  We ran from one to the other like little kids in a candy store. There were wood cutouts to make it look like you were in a teepee, an old wagon you could ‘drive’, a jackelope to ride, a miniature Mount Rushmore; the list goes on and on, just inside the door there was even a roaring T-Rex to get a picture with.


     Being the off season for tourists in these parts for a few more weeks the gold mining attraction wasn’t up and running just yet.  The shooting gallery was however taking as many quarters as you could feed it.  It seemed that around every corner and in every room there was something completely different to explore but also all of it was tied to the western days of past; it was truly a treasure hunt for the lil one to see what could be learned around the next bend.

     We spent hours inside all these buildings linked together to form a city block of pure family enjoyment.  The lil one loved all of the souvenir and gift shops, wanting to get a whole outfit to look like someone from the Wild West; but after seeing how much all of this would cost, we all decided we would save those dollars and enjoy doing more things together as a family.  Soon we remembered to look at the time and realized it was time to leave this little oasis in the middle of nowhere and get back to our rig and dog that misses us terribly when we’re not in his sight.  It wasn’t long before we were loaded up and ready to hit the road again, headed west towards Rapid City and the Black Hills.

Until next time……
You realize when you travel how truly isolated some places are, and how different they are from each other.
John Geary

No comments:

Post a Comment