Postcard Collection Complete
Middle of Nowhere South Dakota >>> Walmart Parking Lot, MN
Drive Time: All Day
We awoke from another night of sleeping in the car. Michael then proceeded to go on his run, where he then met another runner, but one who was thrice his age and running thrice as slow as him so the results of the run were nothing to brag about. After a later than normal morning start we headed towards Mount Rushmore. Along the way we saw the infamous half-finished rock carving of “Crazy horse”, which at most is only crazy because there is not actually a horse in the sculpture, but nonetheless we took a picture and continued on. We then got to Mount Rushmore where it looks exactly like it does in pictures and is not worth the $10 parking fee, so we took one picture from the highway and called it good. Inside I became sad at this moment because what seemed to be the defining monument of South Dakota proved to be less impressive than I anticipated, and thought the rest of our day would just be boring, but oh was I wrong, the fun had just begun.
After departing Mount Rushmore Michael and I saw approximately 500 signs for a place called “Wall Drug” starting almost 150 miles out from its actual location. Michael had heard of this spectacular place through his uncle and convinced me that we should go. Signs stating “Wall Drug, the best store in the world!” and “You haven’t been to South Dakota if you haven’t been to Wall Drug” lured us into stopping at one of the 3 exits along the South Dakota highway. When we arrived, we were not disappointed as this infamous Wall Drug housed some 50 individual shops and more shoppers than the entire population of the Dakotas combined. The store had everything from shot glasses to shot guns, both of which Michael and I purchased, alongside some fudge and taffy. The highlight of the store was the five-cent coffee they offered, where you put a nickel in a box and pour yourself a good ole cup of joe. Not only was this a steal economically, but Wall Drug also offers free bumper stickers such as “Where the heck is Wall Drug” which now sits on the back of the Prius.
Once we got on the road again it wasn’t long (2 miles) before signs for the “World’s only Corn Palace” caught our attention. Even though the attraction was more than 250 miles away Michael and I were captivated that such a place would exist and that there would be free admission. Fast-forward 3.5 hours when we actually arrived at the Corn Palace, the signs did not lie. The Corn Palace was indeed free, and was indeed the only one in the world, but it was not at all impressive. The murals on the outside were made of different colored painted corn which caught the attention of many passerbyers, but on the inside the main attraction was the corn hats being sold in the gift shop. Michael and I were so disappointed with the place that I asked a worker what else we would do and she recommenced going and reading the words on walls. We tried doing that for a while but Michael had trouble reading so we kept on our journey.
Michael and I continued driving into the evening until we became hungry so we were forced to pull off into a rest area and cook some pasta (this may have been illegal having an open flame at a rest area but is it really illegal if you didn’t get caught?). We also have done so many illegal things on this trip so far, what was this open flame really gonna hurt? While snacking on our pasta the bugs in the nearby area began snacking on us which proved to be painful and karma for breaking the law. Afterwards we continued our journey planning to camp at a state park where “dispersed camping is allowed”, however upon arrival the state park appeared to be more of a corn field than an actual park. I decided that it wouldn’t be safe to sleep in a cornfield because ya know, horror movies have taught me well, so we drove to a nearby Walmart parking lot. Upon our arrival at the first Walmart we asked the manager if we could sleep outside in our car and he said no. Upon our arrival at the second Walmart (yes, this town of 7000 people had two Walmart’s), we saw plenty of tractor trailers in the parking lot and no signs deterring us from staying the night, thus we reclined the seats back in the ole faithful Prius and enjoyed our most interesting night of sleep yet.