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June 17th 2010
Published: June 13th 2017
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Geo: 41.2906, -95.9178

Day 9

After a tearful farewell to the WaTiki water park, we headed south and east on I-90 to Wall, SD, where we made the obligatory stop at Wall Drug.

From their website: "If Ted & Dorothy can make it in the dustbowl days of the Dirty 30s, then there is no such place as Godforsaken in this great country we live in ... AMERICA. We are still here and gas prices are low. All signs lead to Wall Drug!"

The small-town drugstore was purchased in 1931. The owners advertised free ice water to parched travelers heading to the newly-opened Mount Rushmore monument 60 miles to the west. It boasts 75,000 square feet and thousands of incredibly tacky SKUs. Worth a stop for the amusement factor.

Wall Drug and The Badlands are at the same exit. So we headed south into the national park, where the wind was so strong I couldn't get our car door opened to take pictures at our first stop. The Badlands are famous for their stark beauty and rich fossil beds. It's interesting, but don't put this on your bucket list unless you're going to be in Rapid City anyway. In addition to the red rocks, there
are beautiful grasslands, where bison, bighorn sheep, deer, pronghorn, prairie dogs, and black-footed ferrets roam.

The rest of the day was absolutely uneventful. We continued east on I-90, exited at Chamberlain for lunch (my first visit to Taco John's) and a Lewis & Clark Missouri River overlook. We proceeded south at Sioux Falls on I-29, through Sioux City, IA and into Omaha.

Despite our experience last night, we booked another LaQuinta. This was the best we've ever stayed at. We had a suite for $124, with a computer, printer, flat screen TV, L-shaped room with wet bar, table and chairs and a very nice bath. It was actually in Carter Lake, IA, despite the fact that it was downtown by the Omaha airport. I guess some damning caused Carter Lake to end up on the Nebraska (west) side of the Missouri.

The hotel clerk directed us to Rick's Boatyard Café in the downtown area, overlooking the Missouri River where brown pelicans swam by. Who knew? Our walleye was very good, the restaurant was attractive, the view was lovely, the manager delightful. Only drawback: the waitress needs to find a job better suited to her skills.

Nearby was Omaha's new baseball stadium. It turns out we were in town for the College World Series.

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