This is definitely another priceless memory, the one where Jim unexpectedly jumped on this jackalope (a mythical rabbit with antlers that prowls the prairie of America’s frontier) at Wall Drug just off the beaten path called Interstate 90 (exit 109) very, very close to South Dakota’s Badlands. Maybe the close proximity to Badlands had something to do with my normally quiet, gentle guy going 'bad boy' quicker than rabbits can multiply. Of course, this is the wild, Wild West where every cowboy is carrying and every watering hole is a sight for sore eyes.
It was so Americana I left an hour later feeling nostalgic for the pioneer spirit still embedded between the floorboards and hanging from the rafters. Of course, I also left with all my money still in my pocket, except what Jim and I spent on lunch, which was nothing to write home or blog about.
Travel writer Bill Bryson mentioned passing through Wall Drug in his book, The Lost Continent , concluding, “It’s an awful place, one of the world’s tackiest tourist traps, but I loved it and I won’t have a word said against it.” My sentiments exactly!
I couldn’t help but admire pioneer Ted Hustead, the pharmacist behind Wall Drug. He was eking out a living during the Depression, trying to provide for his family in the middle of America’s Dustbowl. His wife Dorothy came up with the idea (that's right, behind every successful man is a clever woman!) to provide water; free, ice cold water for travelers passing right by Wall on their way to or from somewhere else; Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands. Simply water sure beats the overhead on a lemonade stand any day. Eighty years later, 3 million tourists visit Mt. Rushmore annually. Apparently ywo million of those tourists stop in at Wall Drug where the ice water is still free and coffee is still 5 cents a cup.
The people were real friendly too; cheap seemed to be the running theme along with all
And one old wrangler rides his jackalope.