Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The "I must be crazy" Chronicles - South Dakota Edition - Wall Drug

Wall Drug

Wall Drug started as a simple drug store.  A young couple purchased it in 1931 and sturggled for a few years to make a go of it.  They very nearly lost the business but then one of them came up with the bright idea of offering people free ice water to attract more customers.  Soon travlers were coming in droves from the nearby highway to get some free ice water.  I guess people were easier to impress in the 1930's.

Now Wall Drug is a major tourist atrraction in South Dakota.  There are signs for it every 2.3 miles on the highway.  You cannot go to South Dakota without going to Wall Drug.  It's like a law.

And why would you want to miss it?  It's a wonderful place!  In one stop you can fulfill your lifetime quota of tacky photo ops and chintzy, over prices souvenirs.  And don't forget the free ice water!

We stopped there twice.

The first thing you see when you walk into Wall Drug are these old westernish looking statues.  These have been there forever.  I have pictures of myself at Elle's age with these statues.  I thought it would be a neat thing to do to get pictures of the kids with the statues.  Two problems.  1. Joseph did NOT want to be in Wall Drug.  In fact, I believe the words "Why would I want to go here?  It's just a stupid wall and a stupid drug and drugs are bad!  What?  Are you saying you want me to use drugs now?" were muttered.  Or yelled. 2. There was a giant tour group of old people there at the same time as us.  This whole area was full of pushy old people trying to cram into the tiny Wall Drug chapel (of course there's a chapel) to sing Amazing grace.  They didn't care that a family was trying to take pictures.  They wanted their grace dammit!

Luckily Joseph got over his distaste for the whole excursion pretty quickly.  In fact, he really like the next statue.
They're to be married in the fall.

Jesse like the statues too.
I told Jesse to pose with the statue.  I guess he thought I said "Go proposition that statue."

Outside of Wall Drug is a big courtyard with lots of things you can stand in front of or sit on and get your picture taken.  The kids decided they wanted their picture taken with every single thing in the courtyard.  I said that was ok but I needed to get something to eat first.  We went to the Wall Drug restaurant.  Once we were seated my morning sickness kicked in and I decided that I didn't want anything to eat after all.  This irrtated Jesse mightily and we nearly came to blows arguing over whether I should eat or not.  In the end we compromised and I sat there feeling queasy while Joseph ate a donut.

Then it was back out to the courtyard!
Here's brave pioneer Elle getting ready to head west.  She's clutching a bracelet made of rocks.  A bracelet that she somehow managed to lose in the car approximately five minutes after we left Wall Drug.
The kids really enjoyed posing in these vaguely culturally insensitive cut out thingies.  Here they are posing as members of the OhMyGodYou'reSoPale DoYouLiveUndergroundOrSomething tribe.
Here Elle plays the part of a pioneer and Joseph plays the part of Chief Hitler.
For this picture I told Joseph "Act like you're on the back of a train!"  I don't know what I expected him to do.  This I guess.
I wanted to get a picture of Elle on the back of this (fake) horse but Jesse wasn't having it.  He was certain that if he put her up there she would fall off and hit her head.  (It's a major fear of his.)  We compromised.  Elle would sit on the horse.  I would take the picture.  He would act as a spotter in case she got the sudden urge to fling herself head first onto the ground.
Even though you can't tell by looking at him, Joseph really liked this Mt Rushmore sculputre.  It's a good thing too since this would be the best view he would get of Mt Rushmore.  Oh, we went to Mt Rushmore later in the trip but this was before he got glasses and he's since told me that he thought the real Mt Rushmore was just a rock.  He couldn't see the faces on it!  And somehow I didn't realize he needed glasses!  Awesome!
I kept demanding the Jesse get in the pictures.  I wanted to be able to look back someday and say "Oh, look what a fun vacation we had as a family!  Look at us all together!"  Too bad I forgot to get a single picture of myself while we were there.
Joseph always mocks Jesse because until very recently he (Jesse) thought jackalopes were real.  No, seriously.  Joseph is not pretending to be a rodeo rider in this picture.  He's screaming with laughter.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of Jesse's face.  It would best be described as NOT AMUSED.

Wall Drug still has free ice water.  Sort of.  There's a fountain outside where you can get get a paper cup full of water.  My plan was to get a picture of each member of the family enjoying the world famous Free Ice Water.
That didn't happen.  I think it's because we did not actually enjoy the water.  Wall Drug likes to talk a lot about their Free Ice Water.  It's an odd advertisement but I guess it's better than the truth.  Tepid Water That Tastes Like It's Been Used To Wash Balls doesn't really have the same ring to it.  Elle was the only one to actually drink the ball water, the rest of us threw ours away.  Then we went inside to watch the mechanical band play "Riders on the Storm".  I took a bunch of pictures of the mechanical band but then I got sad because they all looked like stroke victims so I deleted them all.

That concludes our time at Wall Drug.  Stay tuned for the next installment in The "I must be crazy" Chronicles - Crazy Horse!  And if you enjoyed my pictures you can find more on flickr.

Two years ago today I saw the grossest thing ever at a wedding reception.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, wonderful commentary!! I love the pictures...and the concept of Chronicles. I can hardly wait for the next installment. Keep 'em coming!!

Love to all...

Grandma Judy

Mandy said...

=) Did you eat at the diner in wall drug? The biscuits and gravy were oh so good... thanks for sharing all of these Jen, brings back my own good memories of South Dakota =)

Stimey said...

Oh, you're killing me. I love it! You're making me want to go to Wall Drug. Or use drugs. I'm not sure which.