Tag Archives: the American West

American Road Trip West, Part 3

I feel a little pathetic writing this post, but here goes—it’s about Wall Drug. Is anything more clichéd than Wall Drug?

Wall Drug—Where coffee's still 5¢.
Wall Drug—Where coffee’s still 5¢.
The maze that's Wall Drug
The maze that’s Wall Drug

No road trip West can fail to include a stop at Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota. We stopped twice on this trip—out and back.

Why? Because the coffee is 5¢ and the ice water is free, as the billboards tell you. And it’s fun!

Talk about making something out of nothing. Since 1931, when Ted and Dorothy Hustead bought the only drug store in Wall, Wall Drug has grown to include a little bit of everything. Read Ted’s account of how it all started: “Our History began with Wall and Water!”

                                                        Wall Drug is iconic. It’s like being in an international airport. Tourists from all over the world stop here. Two busloads were reloading as we arrived.

The signs for Wall Drug are part of the fun. For miles in either direction billboards of all sizes alert the traveler to the reasons to stop. The signs are toned down and fewer in number than they used to be when I was a kid, but there are still plenty of signs.

Wall Drug isn’t just a tourist trap to get you to spend money on all manner of stuff you don’t need, it’s a Western fine art gallery.  Really good art, and a lot of it. You can sit and enjoy your pie à la mode surrounded by paintings.

Western fine art at Wall Drug
Western fine art at Wall Drug

Wall Drug is an oasis in the middle of nowhere on your travels West. The Badlands to the south of the interstate are worth the loop road through—otherwise, next stop is the Black Hills.

So stop at Wall Drug. Why not? It’s fun.

Mount Rushmore—sort of
Mount Rushmore 😉