Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 28 Badlands and Wall Drug, SD

The Wi-Fi at the hotel in Rapid City was not cooperating so I'm posting this a day late. We headed east from Rapid City to the Badlands and stopped at Minuteman Missile NHS.
They had a temporary visitor center for a NPS passport stamp and a short video about the Nuclear Arms race. The ranger gave us alot of info about the missile silos and life of a missileer, not at all like what is shown in the movie "War Games".
There is one missile silo that has been left intact but we didn't have time to drive into farm country to see it.
The Badlands Nat'l. Park is about an hours drive east of Rapid City across the flat plains until you come to the...
eroded sandstone on the edge of a plateau.
We've seen lots of rocks in the last 5 weeks, these were rather depressing shades of grey & white.
The Plateau drops I'd guess about 500' along a 20 mile long escarpment
The sandstone eroded in similar shapes to other rocks we've seen in Utah, etc.
The rocks are mostly grey but with a few bands of red-burgundy and
this one area of yellow domes mixed with the red & grey.
The yellow was quite a contrast.
Along the top of the plateau were a number of areas of castles and
cones and
jagged spires.

The road wound along the edge of the plateau &

dropped down through the ravines to the valley floor
and climbed back up a number of times, so we had different perspectives on the size of the formations.
Wall Drug in Wall, SD is a world famous tourist destination on the edge of the Badlands.
In 1931, the owners started putting up signs along the highway advertising free ice water as a way to bring in customomers. The people stopped for the water and then bought sodas & sandwiches at the soda fountain.

They added more & more signs and more people stopped. When we were kids heading west with the folks, we'd see signs in Indiana for Wall Drug , 752 miles, free ice water.The advertising expanded and the drug store has grown to be a mini indoor mall selling all sorts of tourist souvenirs, food, western wear, art gallery, etc. & they are still a licensed pharmacy.
We looked at all the rooms souvenir stuff, museums, bought postcards, flat pennies & souvenirs and got our free ice water.

This wall mural was on the back wall and is one of the postcards that Wanda bought.

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