Where the Heck?Wall Drug, South Dakota

Wall Drug billboard sketches by Chandler O'Leary

I was born 50 miles west of Wall Drug. True story. I think, therefore, that my undying love of roadside attractions is imprinted on the genetic level.

Even if you don’t have this place in your DNA, it’s pretty hard not to be curious about something hawked by a hundred billboards as you drive through the back of beyond.

Wall Drug sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Then again, if you hate jackalopes, it’s best to turn back now. If, like me, you adore them—well, you’ve come to the right place.

Wall Drug sketch by Chandler O'Leary

The souvenirs ain’t cheap, but you can fill your travel-weary belly for next to nothing. There’s the five-cent coffee (not bad!), the free ice water (alkaline!), the ho-made doughnuts (pretty dang good!), and various hot-meal items (absolutely terrible!).

Before you leave, be sure to see the creepy animatronic Gold Rush puppets sing “North! To Alaska.” (Sorry, no sketch of that. I was too scared.) And when you hit the road again, you’ll be able to look back and see the 80-foot dinosaur standing vigil, waiting for your return.

So if you go—send me a postcard, will you?

Wall Drug sketch by Chandler O'Leary

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Comments (6)

  1. Alouise

    I love road side attractions like this. I actually almost got to drive through South Dakota a couple months ago, but I was short on time and had to take a different route. One day I’m going to make a pilgrimage here. It looks amazing.

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  4. GrampaCharlie

    In my youth I was selected to gaurd an Army encampment somewhere in the middle of the desert in New Mexico. I volunteered for the early am shift as I love that time of day. It was so quiet, peaceful, no drill sergeants yelling, and as the first dim light of dawn began to welcome that new desert day I came face to face with the tallest jackalope I had ever seen or could have imagined. I don’t know if it was a male as I couldn’t make out the antlers behind the huge ears standing straight up. It was barely Soring and very cold and perhaps his new antlers had not yet budded. He stood up straight in one quick motion and looked piercingly at me. He was about 9 feet away. I was startled, then transfixed with fascination as we stared at each other, his yellow green eyes calmly sizing me up. He was about 5 feet tall to the tips of his ears. I slowly reached for my flashlight and managed to raise it up and turn it on. For maybe two, maybe four seconds I saw him in the light of the flashlight, but startled he dropped to all fours and in a flash of quickness was gone. I still can see his face and body in my memory as clear as that day nearly 40 years ago. And no, it never crossed my mind to even consider shooting him. I don’t shoot animals, and especially not a jackalope.

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