As it turned out, our stopping point the previous night was not far from Wall, South Dakota. If you’ve ever traveled I-90 through South Dakota, I’m sure you’ve seen the billboards advertising Wall Drug. Throughout the U.S. you occasionally see bumper stickers declaring, “Where the hell is Wall Drug?” As it turns out, it’s on the main drag in Wall, S.D. and is a popular tourist attraction.
Without spending too much time on the history, the success of Wall Drug, and quite possibly the town of Wall itself, is all due to free ice water.
We stopped at Wall Drug for breakfast and a little sight seeing. Breakfast was good, it is buffet style, grab what you want on your way through. They even still have serve yourself coffee for a nickel. Even though Wall Drug has become a roadside attraction, it still maintains an actual drugstore. Not a bad little stopover for breakfast.
Across the street there were several shops, one of those shops has an excellent stock of Native American jewelry. Of course, we had to stop in. And this is what my wife came out with.
After browsing a few more shops, we decided to head down the road.
Our first stop was the Badlands. Just a quick turn off the interstate and you step back in time. Just imagine the Old West. Here are a few photos to help.
Beautiful drive through this country. Admittedly, I got a thrill out of using my National Parks Access Pass so, it was free! If you live in the U.S. and have a hearing loss, you can qualify for a lifetime pass to our National Parks. This was the first time I used it, yeah I admit, I was a little giddy.
Our next stop was Mount Rushmore, definitely worth the drive to see it in person. Photographs really don’t do it justice.
After you visit Mount Rushmore, you’re only about 20 minutes away from Crazy Horse Monument.
Crazy Horse Monument is the worlds largest three dimensional mountain carving in process. To give you an idea of its size, Mount Rushmore could fit in the area being carved for Crazy Horse’s head and hair. Needless to say, this carving is huge! The information and cultural center is great for Native American history and, of course, there is a gift shop where you can pick up a memento of your visit.
After Crazy Horse, we headed to Wyoming to visit Devils Tower. As a natural geologic formation, Devils Tower is impressive.
An interesting fact about Devils Tower, it is considered sacred by several Native American tribes and is called Bear Lodge, Bear’s Hat, Place where bears live, Rock Tree, Bear’s Tipi, Bears’ Home, and Place where bears live. It wasn’t until 1875 it became known as Devils Tower when Colonel Richard Dodge visited during a geological expedition. He named it Devil’s Tower, for unknown reasons. Later, a clerical error left the apostrophe out, it has been know as Devils Tower ever since, at least among the tourists and the government, that is.
It was a very full day of shopping, monument visiting, general sight seeing, and driving. We really didn’t get all that much closer to Washington but we had a great time. We did have luck that night, we found a hotel in Billings, Montana with rooms available. I took a quick shower and crawled in to bed while my wife took her turn in the shower.
My wife tells me I had been in bed about 45 minutes, she climbed in about 30 minutes later. I tell you this so you will understand I had already fallen to sleep, my wife was just beginning to enter that blissful drowsy state before completely falling asleep. I was comfortably sawing logs (I’m told I snore, I don’t try to deny it). Suddenly, I feel a rather forceful smack. Coming out of sweet slumber, I am blinded by what I perceived as an extremely bright flashlight, flashing its light in my eyes. For a panicked moment, I believe I’m in an interrogation room akin to crime dramas where the tough guy cop puts the bad guy under a light to “sweat the truth out of the bum.”
I rolled away from the light, regaining more of my awakened state, I see my wife on the other side of the bed throwing her clothes on. I ask her what’s going on, she states “Fire”. Then it dawned on me, the flashing light was the fire alarm. Having taken my processors off, I couldn’t hear anything, hence the rather forceful smack. I jumped up, threw on some clothes, grabbed my processors and headed for the door. Turning around, I noticed my sweet wife is packing. I quickly inform her to leave everything. Nothing in that room was that important.
We, along with the rest of the hotel, congregated in the front parking lot. The police and fire departments arrive, sweep the hotel to ensure no one is left inside. And announce, there is no fire and it was safe to return to our rooms. Apparently, one of the other guests, being somewhat inebriated, pulled a fire alarm. Whether on purpose or not, we never found out.
I will say this, the hotel staff did everything right. The building was evacuated quickly, and there were no injuries. Pure professionalism on their part. In case anyone is interested, the hotel is named My Place and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Clean rooms with a small kitchen area and very reasonable rates.
Until next time
Rob … the deaf guy
A little warning before you continue. This little bit of a story could be lumped into the category of toilet humor. It happened in a roadside rest stop, in the bathroom, and is humorous, in retrospect. So, if you think this topic is not to your tastes, you have been forewarned.
We crossed into Wyoming and stopped at the Tourist Information Center/Rest Stop to pick up a state map. We’re collecting maps of all the states we visit, don’t ask why, we just are. Anyway, I felt the need to use the facilities and entered the men’s room. I was greeted with what can best be described as prison commodes. Stainless steel fixtures hanging from the wall. Not being a fan of just sitting on any toilet seat, I use one of those sanitary coverings you find on the wall. I sit down and immediately feel my … um … manly parts become cold and wet. Quickly standing back up I notice the water level in the commode is almost level with the brim. So, there I was, standing, pants down, my manly parts wet and cold, and I still need to … well, you know. Quite a conundrum. Not to be deterred from relieving myself, I turn around, gather my manly bits in one hand and sit back down. Needless to say, this was not the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had in a rest room. After meeting up with my wife and relating my rather wet and cold experience, she supported me in my discomfort by doing what wives do in situations like this. She laughed.
Until next time
Rob … the cold and wet deaf guy