July 4 (cont.)
Ok, I lied (unintentionally)....
The actual next stop was to Wall Drug in Wall, S.D - a place I had never even heard of before I crossed the South Dakota border and started seeing sign and after sign advertising for the pharmacy/tourist trap.
"Wall Drug: Free Ice Water"
"Wall Drug: Famous Donuts"
"Wall Drug: 5-cent coffee"
The interstate literally had these signs lined up, one after another. The Free Ice Water one was my favorites, since I'm pretty sure you can get free ice water nearly anywhere. But it was a tempting possible stop, especially on these hot summer days.
Despite having a basic itinerary, I had decided to not plan everything completely out and to leave some room for the random roadside stops - like the Pioneer Auto Exhibit, the Jolly Green Giant, and, apparently, like Wall Drug too.
Coincidentally, or not, the store is in a city at the western exit/entrance of the Badlands. So, we had to drive right by it anyway.
The advertising worked and we stopped. I got the ice water and a chocolate donut.
The 76,000 square foot store was so large, with a cafe, restaurant, pharmacy, and souvenir shop, it had numbered exits - totaling around 4 or 5, I think.
On a road of all western, wooden buildings, it was very much so a tourist stop. Considering it's been open since the 1930s, I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before, but now - 200 or so signs later - the name Wall Drug has been engrained into my memory.
The next stop, however, was one of the main reasons I wanted to do this trip to begin with....