If you’ve ever traveled I-90 through South Dakota, you’ve no doubt noticed signs for Wall Drug. That’s because they are everywhere. The Burma Shave style signs entice weary travelers into their palace of extravagance – food, entertainment and shopping for as far as they eye can see!
After a quiet morning exploring the Badlands, neither of us were prepared for the circus that awaited us at Wall Drug. Well, actually, my pal Johnna was because she had been there before. She warned me that it would be awful but I wanted to see for myself.
I am glad that we went and now can say I’ve been there but have no desire to ever return. There were hoardes of people everywhere – in lines, in stores, in the hallways, in the restaurants and blocking basically anything you would want to see. There were lots of opportunities to buy and eat as well as free photo ops.
We found a quiet corner in one of the dining rooms and the veggie burger wasn’t bad. The aggressively marketed Wall Drug has a long and storied past. It started out as your average drug store that was struggling to survive. One hot summer the owners began advertising to the automobile passengers along the highway that they would find free ice water at Wall Drug. What began as a clever way to bring in potential customers has ballooned into a multi building complex that pulls in scores of visitors every year.
By the way, don’t order water if you’re truly thirsty. I would have paid anything they wanted for a large glass of ice water but their free water is tiny – like the little cup they give you to swish with at the dentist.
The history buff in me loves their story. The introvert in me would rather not spend a lot of time there. But if you don’t mind crowds and are looking for some family friendly fun in South Dakota, I say go give it a shot. And honestly, it’s the kind of thing that roadies should see at least once.
Anyone else geek out when they see a vintage car on the street? I was visiting a museum on this Winchester, Virginia street when I spotted this car. There was an Australian with a giant camera photographing it as well and we agreed that it was a real gem even though the car needs some work.
I hope that I will always stop and admire vintage cars as they travel through a world that increasingly values the new over the old, the trendy over the classics, and the perfect over the quaintly flawed.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the 1950s in America, you’ll find a decent overview at Ohio History Connect, the Ohio historical society. It’s called “1950s: Building the American Dream.”
The exhibit covers a number of topics ranging from music and popular baby names to polio and McCarthyism,
The Crosley station wagon we looked at earlier this week is part of this installation. There’s also an Airstream camper pulled by a 1957 Chevy Bellaire.
The highlight though is a Lustron home that is staged to represent a nuclear family’s home in central Ohio in the fifties.
Lustron was one of the first prefab homes in the country and manufactured in central Ohio. The company was short lived but some of these homes can still be found around the country.
Visitors are encouraged to take a hands-on approach in this space. You’re invited to look through the closets, open the kitchen cabinets or sit down and watch Ozzie and Harriet on the television in the living room.
They have a number of interesting things here but this was hands down my favorite feature of this museum.
It is a popular destination for school groups. I felt rather smug, getting there early and exiting just after the first class of kids spilled out everywhere.
If you’re interested in seeing the fifties exhibit, don’t drag your feet. It closes at the end of 2020. Learn more here. They also have an exhibit about sports history that I didn’t go near as well as a lot about Ohio’s native peoples and something to represent each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
It’s bleak and muddy here in southern Ohio and the barren landscape has left me feeling somewhat uninspired.
The last couple of months have been void of adventure and filled with a lot of work and much quiet time at home.
Part of me wants to head out on adventure and part wants to stay inside till things green up and look less depressing.
This is a season in my life – it happens the same time every year and will be over soon. While I have enjoyed the solace of home – reading, playing music, and relaxing – I hope to soon snap out of this annual funk so I can hit the trail and find some fun to tell you about!
This chair was for sale in an antique store near Kenton, Ohio. It’s actually in a cute little town called Mt. Victory that boasts several antique stores.
I didn’t look at the price because it wouldn’t fit in the car but can’t get out of my head that I need a chair like this. Wouldn’t it make a great reading chair? Is it bad that I’m still drooling over this chair almost a month later? I’m in vacation saving mode now so there will be no chair acquisition in my immediate future but it’s nice to dream.
That exposed brick wall is awfully nice too.
It’s so important to have a great place to relax in your home. What’s your favorite room like? Tell me in the comments! I’m always looking for ideas to cozy up my home!