The Black Hills of South Dakota (Oct 21/13) – While cruising down the highway at Gizmo speed, N&J were afforded the opportunity to read countless (seemed like thousands) of billboards expounding the virtues of WALL DRUG. “Coffee 5 cents – 120 miles to Wall Drug”, “Free Ice Cold Water – Only 78 miles to Wall Drug”. What the heck is Wall Drug???
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Well, after arriving in the town of Wall, South Dakota (just outside the Badlands), N&J finally discovered what all the hoopla was about. This small, quaint town of a few hundred has it’s own historic mega-store, so large it encompasses an entire city block. It sells everything from medication to clothing, cowboy boots, souvenirs, etc. They also have an incredible restaurant with the BEST breakfast buffet ever. Bacon, like real thick bacon (not that paper thin stuff), biscuits & gravy (hmmmm – both have had b&g before, but not like this). Coffee 5 cents (J even had to try it at this price, he still doesn’t like coffee), and doughnuts to die for (probably will).
Having absolutely no affinity to ‘dead Presidents’, J decided to forgo seeing Mt. Rushmore (N was there last year). Instead, headed directly to the memorial for Chief Crazy Horse, the famous Native American warrior; who was stabbed in the back even though a peace treaty was signed and in effect. This massive carving in a mountain that dwarfs the Mt. Rushmore monument (the entire Rushmore depiction of 4 President’s fits into the head of Crazy Horse alone). Taking over 50 years to carve, and still far from completion, using explosives & hand chiselling… the entire project is funded by private donations. They have refused tens of millions of funding from any government source… striving for a true dedication to Native Americans. The project was envisioned by surviving chiefs from the Wounded Knee massacre, who invited renowned sculpture Korczak Ziolkowski to carve the likeness of Crazy Horse into the mountain.
The family of the now deceased Ziolkowski are dedicated to the completion of this immense monument. The depiction is of Crazy Horse on his mount, pointing east towards the Plains saying “Our Land is Where Our Dead Lie”.
Just down the road N&J stopped for a beverage in Hill City. Drawing attention by parking Gizmo in front of the bar and still wearing their Cookie Monster PJ’s… one person commented as they entered “You Won’t Find Any Cookies Here”. It was here that N decided she needed to wash her hair… in the pub bathroom. Later on, a couple (Kara & Todd) who arrived shortly after, came over and introduced themselves, saying they just had to see what it is all about, considering N&J drove a Westfalia van, dressed in PJ’s and obviously using the pub bathroom for other reasons (All the while N was standing in the pub about to plug in her hairdryer). It turns out this couple from Spearfish, Montana own a VW Westfalia too!!! Swapped a few stories and discovered they had a passion for traveling too. In addition they knew of someone in Europe who owns and is selling a VW van… we agreed to communicate further on the premise we might jointly buy the van and share it. The idea of traveling in Europe in a Westfalia is very exciting! Before parting company Kara graced us by singing a Celtic song “Jimmy Come Home”, the beauty of her voice was stunning, a moving performance.
That night while enroute to the historic mining town of Deadwood, bunked down in a deserted National Forest site overlooking a gorgeous lake, temperature dropping fast, occasional flurries. After a delicious meal of leftover homemade Chinese BBQ Pork, rice & wine… fell asleep with ‘Visions of Europe Dancing Through Our Heads’.