Month: July 2014

Wall Drug: South Dakota Shave Supplies

Wall Drug is a small drug store, nestled between Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands National Park.  A country stop where I figured I could find some old-fashioned shave goods.

Or, at least that’s what I thought.  It turns out that Wall Drug, located in Wall, SD (a town whose primary existence, from what I can, is to facilitate the drug store), is a straight up tourist attraction.

According the the menu/history pamphlet that we were given, Wall Drug was struggling until the owners came up with the idea to offer free ice water to anyone who stopped.  Several decades later the store now consists of…well, pretty much everything.  Bookstore, restaurant, leather goods, candy shop, giant fiberglass jackalope, an animatronic piano playing monkey, and more gift shops than you can shake a stick at.

And, as it turns out, a small apothecary style shaving shop.

The old fashioned shaving selection.  It's small, but quality.

The old fashioned shaving selection. It’s small, but quality.

Most drug stores these days will carry some off brand razor blades, maybe a generic bar of shave soap.  To its credit, Wall Drug’s stock may have been small, but it was quality goods.  There were several Muhle brand razors, which use the same razor head as my Edwin Jagger de89L (the difference is in the handle).  There was a number of bowls, and even a couple of scuttles, which is a shaving bowl with a hot water bowl underneath to keep the lather warm.

Finally, they had a full line of Col. Conk’s shave supplies, both shaving soap and aftershave.  I’m a big fan of Col. Conk’s, and with my last bar having been used up a couple weeks before I was already thinking of buying more.  Wall Drug’s prices, oddly enough for a tourist stop, were quite good.

So I picked up some souvenirs!

 

Amber, Almond, and Bayrum.  They also had Lime, but honestly, Lime smelled kinda funny and I didn't see myself using it.

Amber, Almond, and Bayrum. They also had Lime, but honestly, Lime smelled kinda funny and I didn’t see myself using it.

Wall, SD might be a bit out of your way simply to get some shaving goods, unless of course you already live in south-west South Dakota.  But if you’re visiting Mt. Rushmore and places east, it might be worth your stop. 

And they still have free ice water.

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Review II: Treet Platinum

I think that it is pronounced like "treat."

I think that it is pronounced like “treat.”

When I last reviewed the Treet Platinum I had a hard time coming up with things to talk about.  Not because it I hadn’t been paying attention those weeks, I had.  Nor because I was having writers block, because I wasn’t.

Rather the Treet Platinum was some a mild razor for me that I didn’t know what more to say about it.  It was forgiving, gave no irritation, and a thoroughly workable shave.  Were I to pick one razor blade for beginners, it would compete with Derby as an excellent place to start.

This round of shaving is little different, I don’t know quite what to say about it.  While I had slightly more irritation this time the shaves were close and very comfortable.  Not the closest shaves, nor the longest lasting.  Other blades are simply more fun.

But Treet still has something going for it: consistency.  While the good shaves aren’t excellent, the bad shaves aren’t terrible.

It’s a shave you can count on, and a good one at that.  It’s not a blade I get excited over, but it’s both a good and a reliable shave.  Hard to go wrong with that.

6,500 Miles to Shaveland

Flying out of DCA.

Flying out of DCA.

With my sister getting married in Utah, and my wife and I planning a cross country road trip back, I found myself once again with shaving decisions to make.  The situation raised several problems:

  • There would be two plane trips, one of which would be carry on only, and I would need to shave sometime after both.  As double edge razor blades are not allowed in carry on bags, this would be tricky.
  • I wouldn’t be shaving for several days at one point, so when I shaved again I would have more and longer hair than I’ve ever had with a safety razor.
  • There would not be much time to allow a brush to dry during the trip before I would have to pack it, which risks mildew or damage.

The shaving cream solution was quickly solved with a $1 travel size can of Barbersol.  It’s small, consistent, can be applied by hand, and does a good job of lathering.  No need for a brush, and consequently, no need to dry a brush.

Devil's Tower, seriously cool.  Beautiful weather, low crowds, beautiful country, and a magnificent sight.

Devil’s Tower, seriously cool. Beautiful weather, low crowds, beautiful country, and a magnificent sight.

Taking a Mach3 was debated up until the very end.  It would be able to go through the TSA lines, could get lost or left without any heartburn, and it would give me some interesting shaves to blog about.  But the fact that it was my sister’s wedding won out, and I decided to go with my DE razor as I wanted to get the best shave I could for it.

I opted to bring Derby blades with me for several reasons.  First, I had more of them than any other blade so if I threw one or two away after just a couple uses I wouldn’t be hurting (they also only cost about 7 cents a blade, so it won’t break the bank).  Second, I’d be shaving under a bunch of different lighting, water, and time conditions, so I wanted something that was reliably good.  While Derby is neither the sharpest nor my favorite, they rarely disappoint me and are one of the most dependable blades I’ve found to just get the job done.  Finally, since my hair would be much longer I wanted a blade that never gives me problems with irritation.  There are a few of those to choose from, but Derby fit the rest of the criteria so it was the obvious choice.

Sunset in Nauvoo, IL, looking west over the Mississippi river.

Sunset in Nauvoo, IL, looking west over the Mississippi river.

The trip went spectacularly.  We flew out on a Wednesday, I shaved the next morning with a new blade for the wedding, drove to Arizona Friday, shaved on Saturday, dumped the blade and flew to Utah again on Sunday, rented a car and started driving east on Monday (hitting a bunch of landmarks and sights), shaved again on Thursday for the Nauvoo temple (four days growth), then made it back to DC by Sunday. 

St. Louis...yeah, it's a pretty big arch.

St. Louis…yeah, it’s a pretty big arch.

The total miles ended up being around 6,500 in a week and a half.  The Derby proved itself more than up to the task of taking down some extended scruff, and I picked up some great shave soap along the way (but that’s another story). 

Great times, great shaves, and a great vacation!