Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, August 11, 2011


We left the Badlands of South Dakota and drove to the tiny town of Wall on highway 90 where the bus stopped at the famous Wall Drug Store. It is a huge collection of stores, like a mall, but all owned and operated by the same family, Husteads. It is geared solely for tourists. A tourist mecca or tourist trap whichever you prefer. However, it has a fascinating history. In 1931 Ted (pharmacist ) and Dorothy (teacher)  Hustead and baby bought a small drug store in Wall in the middle of nowhere but not far from Mt Rushmore. They planned to give it a go for 5 years. Business was bad for for 4 years then Dorothy hit on the idea of advertising free iced water. They erected billboards all along the highway. Hot and thirsty travellers visiting Mt Rushmore started to stop for a drink and later coffee for 5cents. The store grew and grew. Today they can get up to twenty thousand people on a hot summer's day. They still have free iced water and coffee for 5 cents.There are billboards all over the country and the world as a gimmick advertising free iced water at Wall Drug. I did't take many pics as once again I thought it was all a bit tacky.

There were shops of all kinds and a 500 seat restaurant. We were more interested in the museum pieces.The poker players are mannequins not real people.

 Bill is giving the old girl a few tips.

After lunch we headed towards the Black Hills National Forest and Mount Rushmore.
 Wow we have seen this on the movies and in magazines but here we are visiting the real thing.

Started in 1927 and finished in 1941, the heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosefelt and Lincoln were carved out of the granite mountain by Gutzon Borglum. He had many arguments and problems getting funding from the government. The information centre was excellent.

 Not far away an even bigger mountain carving is in progress.
  Crazy Horse Memorial was started in 1948 by sculptor Korczaca after Chief Standing Bear said to him, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has heroes also."  Here is a model of the carving of Crazy Horse which is being carved in the mountain in the background one mile away. It will be 563ft high and 641 ft long.

Korczak started work when he was forty with $178. He  knew the huge project would take longer than his lifetime so he left plans and instructions for his family to continue, which they have. They have never used tax payers money. Money is raised by visitors to the magnificent information centre and Indian Museum and I am pleased to say it is not one bit tacky. The story of the family's struggle to get this Memorial finished is remarkable. 

 Crazy Horse was born on Rapid Creek SD about 1842. He was stabbed in the back by an American soldier. Crazy Horse defended his people after many treaties and promises had been broken and his people and their way of life was destroyed. The sculpture shows Crazy Horse pointing in answer to a question he was asked by a white man, "Where are your lands now?" He answered," My lands are where my dead lie buried."

 We stayed for the night light show but my photos didn't turn out.

We stayed overnight at Keystone a little western town just south of Rapid City.  Its 130 year old boardwalk is still being used as a sidewalk.


  1. Oh my gosh - the Wall drugstore! I had always heard about the Wall. But the first time I moved to ND and going up that way, the signs are just hillarious. By the time you get to Wall, you MUST see that place or die trying. I too thought it wasn't as much as the signs indicated it would be. I think I bought a coke. That was way back in 1963. Just a mere babe, you know. Mt. Rushmore is definately worth the trip, though. Crazy Horse is coming right along, isn't it. I last saw that in 1969 or 70 when it was just the hole. That will be neat someday for those that will be alive when it's done. I doubt I will be. :)

  2. That is really exciting to see Mount Rushmore in reality. It is so well known, I have (not yet) seen it.

  3. Thanks for these great pictures and the information about places I've never visited. I've heard of the Wall drug store and have seen many pictures of both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument. Your picture is the first picture of the chief's face I have seen, however.

  4. Diane, I appreciate a lot these stories and pictures. Dorothy had a good idea to go on with business. The story about Crazy Horse and Korczak is very interesting; I would love to see Crazy Horse riding on the mountain.

    I like the picture with bill giving the old girl? tips -:) and also the one with you and bill in front of Mount Rushmore. What a huge and beautiful country!
    Have a good day in Brisbane.

  5. Honestly, I will really look forward to catching up on your blog very soon. You are traveling to the places that are on my list once the farmer decides to retire...I'm hoping it will be sooner rather than later...
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  6. Very nice place, this is something I would like to visit. You write a lot lately. Are still on the trip?


  7. Wow, what an amazing story about the Wall Drug store. I love Mt Rushmore and the Crazy horse story. Hope you're enjoying your weekend. Jo

  8. Hi Diane! So, We, The People who are not in holidays, keep the blogosphere alive... ;)

    Rushmore is impressive; but that Crazy Horse...

    Blogtrotter Two just crossed Corsica from North to South. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!!

  9. Hi Diane
    The weather turned glorious here lately and I have been trying to catch up on all the things at home that I've negelected due to my eye problem(which has finally healed!) and the heat and humidity of the past few months which made it hard to do naything outside.

    I went back all the way to the last post I commented on (Niagria Falls) and read until this one, enjoying all your photos and commentary! I was puzzled why your tour went to Detroit as I know, sadly, there isn't much to see there any longer. I've never seen the Mall of America or the Corn Palace in Mitchell, so that was interesting. I did see the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horseand even little Keystone. I liked South Dakota very much.

    Your tour guides comment made me chuckle, as the firts time I visited Italy I was on a tour that visted 16 cities in 11 days from the north to the south and then back north again, and I remember 7 AM bus call! We had to rise at 6 AM for breakfast on a roll and coffee and then would not eat again till dinner at 7 PM!

    I am glad you saw so much of the USA and had some good experiences along the way. Looking forward to seeing more!

  10. Great tour of Mt Rushmore, Diane! your photos are wonderful. It is neat that they are working on the carving of Crazy Horse. I would like to see that one when it is done too. Great photos, Diane!

  11. I'm enjoying your trip almost as much as you are.

  12. That's a long project, the Crazy Horse memorial. Hadn't heard or seen it before, so great to read your post on it.
    Loving this trip!

  13. Hi Diane, My best friend and hubby visited in that area a couple of years ago. They also loved Crazy Horse, Wall Drugs, and Rushmore. Hope we get there sometime.

  14. Diane!

    Bill giving tips to the pipe smoking old girl - well, there appears a dress, but the face is definitely that of a male!!!
    Good to know that the tour stopped at Keystone, you find out a lot more of US life in little places such as this. I would have done a "bar crawl"!!!!! Forget NYC and LA, this is where you MEET real life Americans.
    Great blog - well done.
    Colin (HB)

  15. Another area I would love to see one day. Thanks for this great tour. Wonderful photos!!!

  16. That hole on the 6th photo, is it natural, or did they cut it through.

    I wish I could get my husband to travel.

  17. Ann, It has been cut through, it will eventually be the space under his outstretched arm. At the moment its used for access to blast and drill at the front. Millions of tons of rock has been removed.

  18. That's funny we have about the same picture of us with the the president heads, only at that time a nose was cleaned and the cleaner looked like a flea on the nose.
    The Crazy Horse Memorial was at the same state in 1971 !! It hasn't changed a bit. I have to show R. your post because at that time we had been told it would be finished in 5 years at the latest ! Now 35 years later it's apparently still at the same point !! Only this thing on the top of his head wasn't there.

  19. The American big things sure outdo ours!

  20. Looks pretty amazing. (the scenery, not the tacky tourist trap store.)
    You mentioned Chief Standing Bear, who is a hero of mine, for going to court to get the government to admit that Native Americans were "people" and they had rights just like white men.

  21. I'm learning a lot about the tourist sites of my own country from your blog. Yes, we do know how to do "tacky" here and I'm glad to learn the Crazy Horse part was not such!

  22. Great post, Diane. You're giving us so many "extras" that we didn't know about.

  23. these are great, especially the new faces on/below that mountain

  24. Crazy Horse Memorial is way way up on our list of favorite places EVER! For all the reasons that you mentioned. (I've posted about it several times.) Thanks for the update...I love seeing the changes, wish I could go oftener.

    And how can you say Wall Drug is tacky (LOL)! (I don't think that's a strong enuff word ;>)! But both it and CH are definitely good examples of free enterprise.