September 22, 2020
The night at Cabela’s was okay. All of our neighbors were quiet, but we could occasionally hear semi trucks on the freeway. We left Rapid City around 8:30 am and drove east for about 100 miles. Our first stop was in Wall, SD to visit the world famous Wall Drugstore. This drugstore opened in 1931 and has been expanding ever since. The store takes up a city block and carries almost anything you want. It is famous for their roadside signs that dot all the surrounding roads for 100’s of miles. I think we first saw the signs in eastern Wyoming.
It was an interesting place to see, but mostly a tourist stop with a lot of different shops. They do have a working pharmacy and there is also a chapel, bookstore and fudge shop. In the “backyard” they have a lot of things for the kids to play on. We stayed in Wall for about an hour before continuing east down I-90.
The next stop was at Alpha-9, a decommissioned Minuteman Missile site. This was very interesting to see the missile silo with a training missile still in it. They had a cell phone audio tour that walked you through the history of the strategic missile program of the US. There is also a visitor center and control center to tour about 10 miles away, but they were both closed due to Covid.
After the missile site, we headed south into the Badlands National Park. We stopped at the visitor’s center and had our lunch before driving the scenic drive through the park. The terrain was very rugged and it was interesting to look at, but we were there in the heat of the day, so it was not very comfortable. There was also still smoke in the air, so the vistas across the landscape were not that great.
After a few hours in Badlands, we headed back towards Rapid City. Tomorrow we are visiting Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Monument, so we wanted to find a camping spot closer to these locations. We found a great spot in the forest not far from Mount Rushmore, about 2 miles on a trail just off Rockerville Road. It was in the trees and near a babbling brook. We didn’t see any another vehicles for the rest of the night.