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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

1 October 2012

Wall Drug and Badlands

25th September 2012

Today we visited a huge and endless expanse pretty much devoid of any interest, and we also visited the Badlands of South Dakota.

Wall Drug is, according to some, the second most famous site in South Dakota (after the presidential noggins). Poor ol’ South Dakota. Wall Drug is a rambling shop that occupies an entire block, the enterprising owner of the original shop (c. 1931) having simply bought adjacent premises as they came up for sale and filled them with more and more stuff. In between all the rooms of stuff for sale are a variety of worn-out fibreglass figures and collections of random memorabilia. And lest you’re picturing a huge antique shop, the stuff for sale is all modern and mass-produced clobber, and much of it being nothing more than souvenirs that prove you’ve been to the world-famous Wall Drug! This truly is the Temple of Cheesy Tat. One photo cannot do it justice, you have to absorb the brain-destroying vibe by drifting from room to room in slack-jawed astonishment.

The Badlands meanwhile have some of the most astonishing wind-carved bluffs and buttes I’ve seen in our travels, typical shield-land landscape with deer and bison cropping the dry prairie grasses that grow on top of and below the flat mesas. It’s beautiful, but it’s a beauty that you take in immediately and then fairly quickly tire of. It doesn’t really vary. My dad summed it up perfectly: “I’m glad I came to see the Badlands. Can we go now?” Just to be crystal clear: this really is a recommendation, I’m just saying don’t book four nights at the Badlands Lodge!


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