51 - Sleepy Hollow Campground, Wall South Dakota

On Friday 9/16, we arrived in Wall South Dakota. Wall is located adjacent to the Badlands National Park. The town is most famous for the Wall Drug Store, which opened as a small pharmacy in 1931 during the Depression, but eventually developed into a large roadside tourist attraction. For those of you who are not travels Wall is well known to travelers on Interstate 90 as its advertised hundreds of miles away. The population was 699 at the 2020 census.

Wall Drug consists of a collection of cowboy-themed stores, including a drug store, gift shop, several restaurants, and various other stores, as well as an art gallery and an 80-foot (24 m) brontosaurus sculpture. Unlike a traditional shopping mall, all the stores at Wall Drug operate under a single entity rather than being run individually. The New York Times has described Wall Drug as "a sprawling tourist attraction of international renown [that] draws some two million annual visitors to a remote town."

The small town drugstore made its first step towards fame when it was purchased by Ted Hustead in 1931.Hustead was a Nebraska native and pharmacist who was looking for a small town with a Catholic church in which to establish his business. He bought Wall Drug, located in a 231-person town in what he referred to as "the middle of nowhere," and strove to make a living. Business was very slow until his wife, Dorothy, thought of advertising free ice water to parched travelers heading to the newly opened Mount Rushmore monument 60 miles to the west. From that time on, business was brisk.

Originally, we were supposed to stay at a "campground" managed by BLM (Bureau of Land Management). It would have no services, but the view and atmosphere are unbelievable. Mike changed his mind as he didn't know what shape the roads would be in to drive into it. He figured the RV has taken enough of a beating on this trip.

So, we took a ride there last night and though it would have been great Mike made the right decision as we probably would have bottomed out a couple of times.

Saturday 9/17, we went to the Badlands National Park and then to the Minuteman Missile historic site.

First thing that happened right at the entrance was a bison crossing the road. 😜 We thought we were done with that after leaving Yellowstone.

As I've said so many times, the sites were fantastic. The colors on the stores were fascinating as they were so uniformed, they seemed painted but obviously cause by nature (fossilized soil).

Badlands National Park is located in southwestern South Dakota. The park protects 242,756 acres (379.3 sq mi.) of sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. The National Park Service manages the park, with the South Unit being co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe.

The name is an homage to people that lived in the Badlands before it was a national park. For hundreds of years, the Lakota people have called this area "mako sica", which literally translates to “bad lands.”

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site was established in 1999 near Wall, South Dakota to illustrate the history and significance of the Cold War, the arms race, and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) development. The site preserves the last intact Minuteman II ICBM system in the United States, in a disarmed and demilitarized status. 450 of the newer Minuteman III missiles are still on active duty at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, Minot AFB, North Dakota, and F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

The complex, one of six located in the central United States, was built as a deterrent to a nuclear first strike by the Soviet Union. By placing missiles underground in widely separated locations, it was hoped that regardless of the size of a Soviet missile attack, enough US missiles would survive to ensure devastation on the aggressor nation. The Minutemen in this complex remained on alert for nearly 30 years until the wing was deactivated following the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) by President George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. Under the terms of the treaty, the missiles in this complex were removed from their silos, and in 1994 the 44th Missile Wing was deactivated. All sites in the complex, except D-01 and D-09, have been destroyed.

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