We left Custer, SD and headed toward Wall, SD. We boondocked along a cliff at Nomad View just outside of the Pinnacles entrance of Badlands National Park. Very busy camping area but the views are amazing!
We started our stay in Wall at... Wall Drug, duh! There are signs for Wall Drug along the highway starting 200 miles out! The closer you get, the more signs you see. Wall Drug - 5 cent coffee. Wall Drug - free ice water. Wall Drug - come buy our stuff. They got us. We went. Y'all, this place is something else. For starters, there are about 5 gagillion other people who saw the signs and decided to check this place out. Then there are like 10 different ways to get into the building. Then all the stores zig zag and connect. It's very easy to get turned around in here. Most of the shops sell the same stuff as the other shops - cheap touristy items. Magnets, postcards, stickers, t-shirts. It was busy and confusing and what they were selling isn't great quality. But we did it - we can mark it off the list and never go back!
We spent some time in Badlands National Park. I was actually pretty surprised by how pretty this park is. We thought the drive from the Pinnacles entrance was better (prettier, more colorful) than the Northeast entrance. On our first drive through the park, we saw prairie dogs, bighorn sheep with their babies, bison, and pronghorn.
We visited the Delta-09 Minuteman Missile Silo. Very interesting Cold War era information. There's a phone number that you can call - it's posted on the informational kiosk near the parking lot - that offers an audio tour of the facility. Super cool! Down the road a ways from the silo is the Minuteman Missile visitor center. That was pretty great too. The displays we interactive and really helped to bring everything together.
But the best part of the whole trip was the Badlands Ranch Store! Not only is there a 6 ton prairie dog statue that you can take pictures by, you can purchase magic peanuts inside the store. Okay, maybe not actually magical - but kinda!
You can pay $1 for a small bag of peanuts which you carry out into the fields around the parking lot and prairie dogs appear! These prairie dogs know exactly what is inside the little paper bags and they are there and ready to receive their snacks!
They will come right up to you can take the peanuts out of your hand! (they'll try to steal the whole bag if they can so be careful!) Some are a little less interested in the peanuts and more interested in shoelaces or pant legs! They are feisty and funny and not at all afraid to get super close to humans! Even the babies will stay at the surface around their mounds to check out what's going on.
Now, we're off to Sioux Fall, SD!