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Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Day six: Whole lotta Dakota

Gillette, Wyo., to Mitchell, S.D.: 457 miles, 9.5 hours

So much South Dakota, and so little to say. We actually spent the morning in Wyoming making an ill-fated side trip to Devil’s Tower, which was invisible thanks to a rain storm. The same bad weather made it pointless to try to see Mount Rushmore or the Crazy Horse monument, so we just pushed eastward through our first painfully dull state.

If you’ve ever driven within 200 miles of here, you know about Wall Drug. The closer you get to that tourist trap, the more frequent the billboards become, with five or six cryptic Wall Drug signs per mile near the town of Wall.

If, on the other hand, you’ve never been up here, let me give you a piece of advice: Just skip it. It’s an absolute nightmare. The high point of the stop in Wall (pop. 815) was a pair of cranky women behind us on the wooden sidewalk complaining about the slow-moving tourists in front of them. I might have had similar thoughts when I was a San Francsico resident, but at least I tried to keep them to myself. And I never complained about the tourists at places like Pier 39, because places like that (and Wall) exist solely for their enjoyment. All the same, I think we should do the good people of Wall a favor and stop visiting their nasty little burg.

Today we head for Minneapolis. But not before we stop at the Corn Palace! (I guess Wall Drug taught us nothing.)