Memories are a funny thing.
It’s not always the best, most pleasant occurrences that stick with us; that lodge themselves deep inside our brain. Often times it’s something shocking, absurd and downright frightening that we seem to latch onto forever.
We had one of those moments on our recent cross-country trip. Even though we experienced plenty of really cool, beautiful things this is the memory that I know will be engrained in our minds as one of the “highlights.”
We were driving down the highway mid afternoon somewhere in South Dakota. No houses were in sight and very little traffic. Every little bit we would see some grazing land with a few beef cattle roaming in the distance. Out of nowhere we noticed a sign in the distance stating there was a general store at the next exit selling buffalo jerky. My husband is a big fan of dried meat so we decided to pull off and visit the shop.
The place was called Buffalo Ridge General Store. As we stepped out we noticed things weren’t exactly in pristine condition. The building was a bit dilapidated and there was no other vehicles in the parking lot. However, we forged on with our mission to get some buffalo jerky for my husband.
As we entered the store I was dumbstruck. It appeared as though we had exited the year 2013 and were catapulted into a time warp from 1978. The merchandise scattered here and there had a thick layer of dust on it. Everything was dirty including the floors and shelves. I really had to go to the bathroom but there was no way I was going to explore the facilities that were located right up front with the door half off it’s hinges and the words “Bathroom” painted on in crude handwriting.
Two men greeted us. One was fairly old and the other was middle-aged. I’m assuming they were father and son. They were very friendly and asked where we were from. When we told them Wisconsin, they wanted to talk football and we enjoyed some banter with them for a bit. On the counter in front of them sat a bin of packaged buffalo jerky. We inquired about it and they told us that they make it themselves and that it’s the best around. We purchased $20 worth. The men then motioned to another door and told us there was another room that the kiddos might enjoy.
Here is what we saw when we entered:
It appears that it is just another room filled with more merchandise that they are trying to peddle. Tucked away though in various corners of the room were life-size animated figures behind cages. When you put a quarter in the slot the rooms would light up, the figures would move and a recorded commentary or music would come on.
Here is an old saloon set-up:
There was also one with a man tanning buffalo hide:
And then we found the icing on the cake:
The gorilla guy is quite possibly one of the freakiest things I have ever seen. I also think he scarred my children for life. Notice the looks on their faces while they are watching him:
It’s safe to say that Buffalo Ridge General Store is like nothing I have ever experienced. It will be a memory I will carry with me until my dying day. It’s not just due to the bizarre, off the wall nature of the store itself either. It’s because 3 hours down the road, my husband asked me to crack open that bag of buffalo jerky I purchased so he could give it a try. As I began to search the car I realized I didn’t have it. I must have set it down to put a quarter in one of those crazy animated shows and forgot it. My husband will never let me live that one down.
Melissa thank you for sharing stories, and photos of another part of the world. It is great to share not everyone have the means to travel. Your children will appreciate their trip with the family, and all lessons learned later in their future. Continue to Be A Blessing because you’re Blessed. Mtetar
Thank you Mtetar! I’m sure the older two kids will always remember this trip and I hope they do because I’m sure it will be awhile before we are able to afford to do it again!
I’m thinking you saved your husband the worst case of food poisoning in history! I can’t believe he was going to eat ANYTHING from that place, let alone buffalo jerky!!!
I like your thinking! What a positive spin to put on that situation! He should also be happy that I didn’t stock up on canned corn as well. All of the cans on their shelves were dusty and dented!
Time stood still …. and you got an up close view of it !! AWESOME … LOL !!
Oh yeah, you’ll carry that memory with you forever!! Greatness!
I think hubbie forgot the jerky so he could go BACK:-) Happy travels
He actually considered for a minute turning around and going back!!
Gotta love the creepy memories from road trips! haha! I think the gorilla ate your jerkey. 🙂
He does look like the perfect criminal! If it was him I would have been too afraid to ask for it back too!
I bet that jerky would have been the best EVER! 😉
I think it’s awesome you guys checked out the quirky. And then shared it. And years from now when they see their faces in these pictures they will immediately be transported to that long ago 2013 twilight zone of 1978.
I’m not a jerky connoisseur or anything but it truly did look like the freshest, best looking thing in the place! We really are “take the road less traveled” kind of people and stayed off of the major highways. It took us a little longer I’m sure but it was a lot more fun!
We will be heading out at the end of July for some less traveled roads. I hope America never loses these treasures. 🙂
haha… think Chatter Master hit the nail on the head. As I read your post, the twilight zone theme was playing in my head. 🙂
That song was playing in my head the whole time I was there!!
Haha… Definitely memorable!
Talk about quirky.
Some of those exhibits actually look cool, like the card players.
I suppose you take a chance when you walk the beaten path.
Yes, the card player one was cool actually and I’m sure in it’s heyday the place was quite revolutionary. It just appears they kind of gave up and I’m sure it was due to the location they didn’t get a ton of customers.
You are probably right. The weird thing is that they have given up as you say, yet they continue to operate.
Oh Mel – I’m sorry but I have to say – glad they weren’t playing banjos! Then I look at the pic of the buffalo…and think how their life will turn out 😦 Hopefully hubby has forgiven the mislaid incident now. x
He has forgiven but he has teased me about it no less than 50 times since then. For his birthday I will have to find another source for buffalo jerky and flood him with it!!
Oh no! And here I was waiting for you to describe the deliciousness of the buffalo jerky! That’s funny how in the middle of nowhere, you came across a “funny show”! I bet that’ll stay with you until your dying day. And the look on the boy’s faces says it all!
I know! The kids have talked non-stop about everything we did on the trip but no one was has mentioned Buffalo Ridge one time!! I think they are trying to block out that memory!
That actually looks pretty cool! Except I can’t believe you forgot the jerky. Shame on you!
The funny thing Joyce is that I actually think I handed the bag to my husband to hold and that he set it down somewhere and forgot it. However, since he can’t take the blame for anything he keeps saying that I forgot it. Every time he brings it up I say it is a good possibility that it was me but it could have also been him. This will be one of those “comedic arguments” for the rest of our lives!
And $20 worth!
Hi Mother hood…. another good post. I just gave you a follow… this is Ellie, I have a new blog now and used to follow vs versa, nice to see your still on the up and up !!
Oh my goodness! Hi Ellie! It’s so nice to see you! I can’t wait to see what you have been up to as well!
Hi Sweetie……thank you so much for saying so. And definitely vs versa……..!!!
I love those places and it brings back such memories! TY!
Those kind of places are really the best memory makers! Thank you so much for reading and following! I can’t wait to read through your blog! I have found many wonderful blogs through Colleen!
Wow, just wow )
I know! Wow pretty much sums it right up!
Looks like an interesting trip! I love feeling like I stepped into another world…
Yes! That’s exactly what it felt like!