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Random Days in the Life: Summer 2016 Wall Drug, Part 2

This summer I am working at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. In Part 1, I did an overview of three random days.  In this part, I'll do 2 more...the 2nd days of August and September.  I might do an edit at the end of the season for one more day...but sometimes that part of the season gets a bit hectic.

Part 1 is here: Random Days...Part 1

I did want to post this video I saw on YouTube when I was doing my research into looking at opportunities this summer.  There are a few more out there, but this is the last one that gave it that pull ahead of other places I was considering.

Tuesday, August 2

Day Off!  I was given a choice of working 5 days a week or 6.  I chose 6.  There are times when I wish I would have chosen the shorter work week, but for the most part (especially pay day) I'm good with it.  I'm up a bit before 7 and start getting ready for an employee trip to Badlands National Park. We will meet at the café in Wall Drug at 8.  I did another trip last month that went to Mount Rushmore and we also made some stops in Rapid City at Reptile Gardens, Bear Country and a shopping stop at Walmart.  This morning it is just the Badlands and back to Wall probably by noon.

We get a little late start.  Kind of normal for employee trips...getting everyone together, talking about itinerary, etc.  We also do a quick stop at Subway, a couple of people didn't have breakfast first, and a couple want to pick up some water at the connected gas station. 

(Most of the bulls we saw were alone, but these two were close)

About 8 miles straight south from Wall is the Pinnacles Entrance to the national park.  After entering we first head west on the dirt Sage Creek Rim Road.  From here the Badlands formations are looking down from the rim.  Kind of reminds me of the Grand Canyon...just not anywhere near as deep.  This is the direction you go for a better chance of seeing wildlife.  And we do see several bull bison and a heard in the distance, a coyote in the distance, and several nearby Prairie Dog towns.  We drive all the way to the campground before returning.

Map of Badlands National Park

Once we get back to the Badlands Loop Road it is paved again and we stop at Panorama Point.  Here we get out and look around and take several pictures and talk and sit and gaze out.  We then get back in and drive to the Fossil Exhibit Trail.  Everyone else goes rock climbing...I'm more fascinated by the fossil exhibits along the small trail.

After awhile we drive through the rest of the park, but before we get back to I-90 we stop at a small attraction called the Ranch Store.  It has a huge prairie dog statue out front.  There is a small prairie dog town in it's yard and you can buy a small bag of unsalted peanuts in the shell that you can feed them.  Don't feed the ones in the park!  I get a couple to actually grab and eat a peanut.  Most of them just kind of look at you motionless...they all look kind of fat and happy.  I'm thinking this place is busier than it first looked like. We try for awhile, then head back to town.

First act when I get back is to get my laundry together and head over to the Laundromat...like everything else, a couple of blocks away.  I put my clothes in the washer, start it, then walk across the boulevard to Dairy Queen and grab a fish sandwich for lunch.  After the wash and dry is complete, I go to the Powerhouse for a workout.  Return home. Shower.  Head back to almost the same place...across the street from the Powerhouse is the Red Rock Restaurant and Lounge.  I have some broasted wings for dinner.  Not many places around the country have the style, it's more of a mid-western thing.  It was huge in my home area of Wisconsin in the 70s and 80s (time warp thing) but only a couple of places still serve it.  Broasted is a combination of pressure cooking and frying.  The meat is usually marinated first too.

(Inside view at the National Grasslands Visitor Center)

Next I go to the National Grasslands Visitor Center. Tonight I'm going to a program about the Swift Fox.  The talk was given by the University of South Dakota's masters program student that is doing her thesis un how healthy the re-introduced swift fox population to the Badlands area is doing.  They did have quite a rough patch, because the prairie dogs were in trouble.  Plague, yep.. that plague, hit several of the prairie dog towns, wiping out major populations.  She has been studying them including tracking several with radio collars.  Her field work will be complete at the end of this summer, when she will write her findings.

I brought my backpack with me.  After the program I walk over to the grocery store and pick up a few items.  Return home.  Read a little before falling asleep.

Friday, September 2

Today I'm working the closing duties in the Back Café 11:30-8.  We started closing an hour earlier than the summer.  It will probably be back to 7 in a couple of weeks.  It started to get a little slower and all of the American college students have left and half of the J1s.  The rest of the international students will probably be all gone by mid-month.  The Front Café is not open everyday.  Supposedly if it gets busy enough we will try to do a quick open.

I get up around 8ish.  I was up a little later than usual last night trying to decide which pictures to add to Part 1 and where to place them.  I eat some cereal for breakfast...strawberry frosted shredded wheat.  Then I grab my library books and head over to the small local library a couple of blocks away.  I pick out a book about meditation titled Real Happiness An audiobook selection, I listen to books while I take walks, titled A Wilder Rose, a fictionalized account of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose who helped in writing the Little House books.  I pick up a DVD too, Savages, with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman from 2007.

I walk over to the Kodiak Coffee in the back of one of the stores on Main that just opened this summer.  I get a mocha and the lemon poppy seed muffin that was calling out to me.  There was a sign for an espresso bar on the building that houses an oil change shop, I thought that was a bit strange and when I stopped in I found out the ownership had recently changed and they were removing the espresso...I guess they thought it was a bit different too.  There is also a place called Mocha Moose, but they don't sell mochas...I'm told they did at one time though.  The seasonally open Prairie Food Parlor also has specialty coffee drinks, but I try to avoid going by work when I'm not working.  That's not new this summer...that's part of my habit long before I even started seasonally....some places I've been it's unavoidable. 

I have been known to stop in when I want to buy something...I've picked up some cowboy boots and a fancy western shirt, for example.  By the way, about 10 days after I applied to Rancho de los Caballeros, I talked to the Chef and received an offer that I accepted.

(I also have a few prescription drugs that I get filled at the pharmacy at Wall Drug)

First I go over to the benches on South Blvd and finish my drink as I do some people watching.  I then head home and get ready for work.  I arrive a little early and there are not a lot of people in the back, so I head on inside.  There's a duster that I'm thinking about buying before the end of the season.  I had one years ago and really liked it...here there is a bit of an employee discount....so if I'm going to get one... I also go up to the office and check if I have any mail, something I usually do twice a week.

We had a very nice lunch rush.  It's been a few weeks since I had to just throw a few of these and some of those on the grill to squeak by.  But it is the beginning of the Labor Day weekend and people are on the move.  Filip, a J1 from Slovakia came in from the Prairie Parlor to give me my break.  After, David, also from Slovakia, asked me if I wanted to switch for awhile.  So I got to be fryer for the rest of the evening.  There have been several times that I've switched with both, and also Mateusz from Poland...but his season was completed already.  It gives both parties something to break the day up.

It was not nearly as busy tonight as lunch, but busier than the last several days.  And not uncommon, we had several people right at closing.  I'm so use to it here that it is actually expected.  We clean up, I write out a quick list for maintenance in the morning.  Tomorrow is my day off this week...not planning much.  I take a little walk around a couple of couple blocks and pick up a sandwich at Subway before heading home.

(There are places to sit and rest as you wander around the maze of shops in Wall Drug)

After I finish this blog, I'll probably read for a little while and fall asleep.  Well, not finish totally just the writing.  In the morning I will choose the pictures and placement.

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Comment by Mike on September 3, 2016 at 8:40pm

Keith-

Enjoyed reading your "days in a life"

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