Day 35: South Dakota: “1880 Town”, Badlands, and “Wall Drug.”
Monday, July 5th, 2021
After another great morning of sleep then routine, I was headed out to Rapid City, South Dakota, to see all the goodness the West can bring. Last night’s stay at the Super 8 was just okay, not super at all, and I was happy to head out. There is an extended stay hotel that’s attached to the same property, but not part of the Super 8, which made things actually really confusing on where to park and check-in. I just didn’t like the vibe of the place, and even though the room was nice, I wouldn’t stay there again.
On the way, I normally pull over to a rest area to do what I need to do. And I had seen this certain one online but I really didn’t remember it until I was pulling into this huge parking lot with the most amazing view…and there she was…and my jaw just dropped. If you are in this area, you MUST stop and get pics of her- she is breathtaking and the view is stunning.
As things go, I try to keep open time during my driving days to pull over and smell the roses….or visit an old town. I kept seeing billboards for “1880 Town” over and over again…equally as many as “Wall Drug.” I was a bit confused on where the town was located, as I have a train ride scheduled for tomorrow, also called the “1880’s train.” Was this the same area with it’s own train? I had someone check it out for me, as I couldn’t do a deep dive on it while driving. And sure enough, they have nothing to do with each other! So I pulled off and decided to check out “1880 Town” and all of it’s ghostly citizens.
First off, a cool side note to this story, they filmed part of “Dances with Wolves” on this property and around South Dakota. In their main welcome center, the upstairs was dedicated to the movie and it’s props … it was VERY cool and a nice surprise! I LOVE finding filming locations and being where the action happened, so it was a nice way to start the tour.
Second, I walk out of the main building, and step out onto what I can only describe as something I have seen on “Little House on the Prairie” or “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” Seriously, it actually made me gasp I was so excited. I didn’t know if I should take pics, video, pics of Walter, tour first, or use my ghost app. Yes, there is always a lot going on with me when I visit places. I KNEW there had to be something paranormal here…how could it not be? The town is legit, the real deal, and it was like being at Disney for me.
I toured every building, talking to the spirits, Walter, and myself. I had so much fun taking his picture everywhere, the stares I get, the questions I get…and usually I say “Nothing to see here, just a gal and her Muppet.” LOL It usually gets a laugh- or they think I am insane and move away from me, either way I am cool with it. The Saloon and the Church were probably my favorite buildings. The Saloon is where I got me a cold Sasparilla (nod to Carousel of Progress there) and drank with Walter in THE coolest setting. The church was creepy…. MANNQUINS people. They thought it was a good idea to put them in the Church, and also gate it off so you couldn’t go in. When I get the “spooky feels” of a place, it’s heavy on my chest and I feel like I am being watched…. IMMEDIATEDLY I felt this walking into the Church. I am telling you, it was like a scene from “House of Wax” meets “Silent Hill.” I wonder if they do Ghost Tours…it would be terrifying in this town. Also at the School House my ghost app picked up “Buried” and “Eleven…” at the SCHOOL HOUSE! Yeah, creepy.
So much fun, but the weather was hitting 97 degrees here today and I get migraines so quickly from the humidity. I sat in my car for awhile and cooled down before driving to the next destination…THE BADLANDS! A very sacred place to Craig and I, I was super excited to see it again and to tour different spots that he and I didn’t stop at. And of course, Walter was pumped as it was his FIRST National Park! I got to use my “America the Beautiful” National Parks Pass for the first time, which was awesome because the Ranger said I didn’t have to wait in the long line of cars, but I could bypass them all on the right and head in. And I did, what a cool perk! The Park was busy today, but it IS the 4th of July week, always known to be busy anywhere, so I was not surprised. There are enough viewing sections and parking for everyone, so I didn’t feel rushed or worried I wouldn’t get a spot. The heat stopped me from doing any extensive hiking, but I got out at all the amazing spots to get pics and take it in. One of my FAVORITE National Parks, I highly encourage you to check it out!
One more thing to stop at, “Wall Drug.” Now, the last time I was here, it was quiet and empty and it was a delight to look around. Today? Holy hell, I went to the shops, got my sticker for my luggage, and got the heck out of Dodge. Heat + Crowds = No for me. All Disney crowd rules can apply to any tourist destination, and today was one of those days. I was tired, I was hot, I had enough.
I headed to my hotel, located on a very high hill on the way to Mount Rushmore, and checked in. I am here for a week, lots to do every day, but for now, I am pooped. I hope you all had a great day, I know I did, and I will catch you tomorrow after my train ride. See you then!
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