Articles

Does 5 Cent Coffee Still Exist?

Yes it does, Travel Bugger.  It exists at Wall Drug.  What is Wall Drug?  Take a tacky, roadside souvenir shop and then make it the size of a city block.  And then add some creepy animatronic robots singing cowboy songs and a place where you can pan for gold and a “train station water show.”  That’s kind of what it is.

It’s in South Dakota, mere miles outside of Badlands National Park, and very close to Mount Rushmore, so if you map it right, you can hit all three on your road trip.  What really compelled me to visit Wall Drug was their promise of five cent coffee.  All along the drive on Interstate 90, they have signs advertising for the place.

One sign (unfortunately one I was unable to take a picture of while driving) promised five cent coffee.  I like coffee, and I like a good deal, so they had me.

Sure enough, when I got there, there it was.  Five cent coffee.  Though buying it is more of an honor system than I would have liked.  I wanted a receipt that told me I spent five cents for coffee.  It would have been the complete opposite of this receipt.  Instead of paying at the cash register, though, you put a nickel in a little box.

Was it good coffee?  No.  It was pretty bad.  I may have overpaid.  But they didn’t promise good five cent coffee, so it wasn’t false advertising.  I will say, though, when driving through rural Washington, I got a cup of coffee at a gas station, and boy, was that not as good as a cup at a local coffeeshop.  It was a buck or so more expensive than Wall Drug’s, but still.  It was at a gas station.  They know how to brew a Cup o’ Joe in Washington, even next to an aisle of Slim Jim’s.

But it didn’t look like this.  For this, you have to drive into Seattle.

15
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Articles

Geyser Envy

People visit Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful.  They see other sights there, too, but that cash cow moneymaker that those park ranger fatcats make those piles of money with is Old Faithful.  They even built a lodge overlooking the thing.

I enjoyed watching Old Faithful erupt, sure.  I would think it difficult to find someone who doesn’t like watching boiling hot water shoot out of the earth hundreds of feet in the air.  That’s pretty cool.  (By the way, if you know someone who hates geysers, don’t be his friend.  He’s got problems).  But what I didn’t enjoy was the fact there was a perfectly good geyser very close to Old Faithful that no stopped to look at: Castle Geyser.

A really solid geyser.  It has character, this geyser.  But no one will ever know, because they’re focused on the established geyser and the well-known tricks that geyser can do.  They don’t want to take a chance with this scrappy, unknown geyser.  But Castle Geyser’s got dreams, darn it!

It’s got a bad location, that’s the problem.  Right next to the most famous geyser in the world!  Sadly, that means it’ll always play second banana to the Big Man.  Always opening, never headlining.  How can anyone live a successful geyser life under the massive shadow of Old Faithful?  It’s flashy, it’s punctual, it’s iconic.  You can’t compete with that.  Well, I’m rooting for you, Castle Geyser.  You’ll get your shot one day, and not your regular, “every 10-12 hours” one.

09
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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Articles

Enchanted World Doll Museum

(Mitchell, South Dakota)

Is that a doll museum or a fortress?  When I think of dolls, I don’t usually think “castle.”

Unless…

Oh no.  They’re enchanted dolls.  The museum curators are doing the best they can to prevent these tiny sorcerers from breaking free.  It all makes sense.   And “World” is right there in the name—they want to take over the world!  Who knows how many dolls are in there, just waiting for an uprising?  It’s near impossible to gauge the size of their army, what with those Russian nesting dolls.  Let’s just hope that castle can hold them.  As long as it stands firm, we should be safe.  Only humans can open doors.  Then again, if velociraptors can learn how to open doors, it’s only a matter of time before humanoid dolls will catch on.  We’re all doomed!

24
Sep 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION 1 Comment
Images

I drove how many hours FOR THIS?!

I drove how many hours FOR THIS?!

Be sure to visit Mount Rushmore when it isn’t foggy.

23
Aug 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Images

In case you didn’t know, don’t stand on a geyser

Geysers are dangerous, sure.  Giant spigots of hot gas.  Yeah, that’s gonna hurt if you get too close.  I guess some people don’t know that, though.  So Yellowstone has installed these incredible signs within the National Park warning visitors what could happen if you wander off the path and onto one of these steam gushers.  But the picture tells such a deeper story than just the horrible consequences of hugging a geyser.  Let’s break it down:

First, you got the kid.  Okay, he’s the rule breaker.  The troublemaker.  Went off the path—a long way off the path, by the looks of it—and stepped on a geyser.  His hat’s midair, which makes me think the geyser had burned him mere seconds before, and he jumped from the shock of getting burned.  I’d jump, too, especially if I were wearing shorts like his.  Though, his knee-high tube socks at least protected his shins.

The kid is the only necessary part of the picture.  But the artist doesn’t stop with him.

Next, we have the woman, most likely the boy’s mother.  She is standing there on the path in shock, pointing at her injured child and screaming.  Now, it’s true people sometimes freeze up when they go into shock, but this kid had enough time to run off the path and up to a geyser.  Was the mother in shock during that entire amount of time?  Seriously, watch your kid.  A kid that age isn’t going to know about geyser danger.  That’s why you, the parental guardian, are there to supervise them.

The plot builds to a dramatic conclusion with the guy walking away.  I haven’t quite figured him out.  He could be just another visitor to the park, but he’s walking away.  If a woman and child are screaming within earshot, wouldn’t he at least look in the direction of the screaming, even if he were a stranger?  What I fear is he’s the father of the burning child.  The man works twelve hour days as a tool and die maker and has been growing apart from his family because of the long hours.  Struggling to keep his family in tact, he used what few vacation days he has to go on a road trip with his wife and son.  But he could only get time off in August, so it’s hot, it’s crowded, and his kid’s been whining the whole time.  After another outburst from the little brat, the father decides a geyser burn will teach the kid a thing or two about appreciating how good you have it.

Or maybe the man is deaf, but I don’t think the artist would be that specific in his backstory.

22
Sep 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments