We have been on the go for the last week, very different than the previous one. There is so much to do in the Cody area, one could easily stay busy for weeks. So with that bit of trivia, let’s get started on our “Next Chapter”. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge.)
Yellowstone National Park was our nation’s first NP, established in 1872. It was an easy uphill 52 mile drive to the east entrance of the park. Today we decided to do the southern loop which included the thermal mud pits and the geyser fields. As we approached our turn, traffic slowed abruptly, for one of the local residents. He walked by the car so close, I could have reached out and touched him, but didn’t as there are signs everywhere warning of such dangerous behavior around these unpredictable animals.
The geo-thermal activity in Yellowstone is volcanic in nature. Several of the rivers were closed to fishing due to warm water, and the need to protect the fish. We saw several people swimming in one of the rivers, and when I asked them about the water temp, they replied “it’s very nice”.
We have visited many of the NP’s this year, each one is distinctively different, but there are a few things they all have in common; waterfalls, rocks and trees. Below are all three at the Kepler Cascades.
Now, on to Old Faithful, which is not the largest geyser in Yellowstone, but it is the most predictable. We arrived shortly after 1 pm and asked one of the Rangers what time the next eruption would be. She got on here walkie-talkie and was told 2:39 pm plus or minus 10 minutes. Well, it looks like we have some time to kill, and CC and Carla wasted no time in high tailing it to the gift shops. By the time we returned to Old Faithful, the crowd had gathered and we had a less than favorable location from which to witness the eruption. It never fails; shopping wins again.
The eruption started around 2:42 and lasted about 5 – 7 minutes. It starts slow, with steam being released, and then water up to 10 – 15 feet tall, and then, in the blink of an eye, erupts to 50 – 60 feet for a few minutes. It then reverses the order, ending with a few puffs of steam.
By now it was 3 pm, and we still had half of our southern circle to complete; more steaming geysers and mud pits, with a waterfall or two thrown in for good measure. By 4 pm we turned Carl’s Dodge Ram loose and headed for home 110 miles away; about 2 hours max. But then, traffic once again abruptly stopped. People were pulling off on both sides, and others just stopped in the road, blocking traffic completely in both directions. The attraction? More critters; this time elk.
The traffic jam cleared in about 20 minutes, and we were, once again, “On the Road Again”. By now it’s close to 5 pm, and the critters are starting to move. This time a herd of bison held up traffic for almost 30 minutes as they slowly meandered their way across the highway.
The following morning we visited The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in downtown Cody. Tickets are a little pricey at $18 each, $16 for seniors, but they are good for two days. So we asked if we could defer our second day until day after tomorrow, due to previously made plans. The lady selling tickets said, “No problem, just hang onto your tickets”, as she wrote the date and her initials on the receipt.
Every time we see a moose, we think of a friend of ours in Colorado. So, Ed, this one’s for you!
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center (BBHC) is much, much more than a tribute to Bill Cody. It has over 5,000 guns and rifles on display, some dating back to the 1300’s. If you’re a gun nut, this place is for you. Personally I was overwhelmed.
The Buffalo Bill Exhibit opened a few months ago, and it pay homage to the most famous scout, hunter and showman in the 1800’s. Bill Cody traveled over 250,000 miles in his life performing in his “Wild West Show”, made a fortune in his lifetime, and died penniless. The complete story is told here, and it is indeed, by itself, worth the price of admission.
Also incuded in the BBHC is an exhibit on Yellowstone (naturally), The Plains Indians, and Western Art. Since we were not fortunate enough to see a bear when we toured Yellowstone, I took the liberty of “shooting” one here.
The following day we decided to save our legs and get some windshield time, driving the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway to Cooke City, MT. The monument at the summit of Dead Indian Pass commemorates the passage of the Nez Perce through here, but it does not mention the confusion they created for those tracking them. just a mile or two beyond the pass the Nez Perce played a trick that was figured out by Chief Scout S.G. Fisher.
We arrived in Cooke City and visited the tourist information center, followed by, you guessed it…….shopping. While the girls shopped their hearts out, Carl and I sat outside enjoying the fresh mountain air in this town of 100 year round residents. The girls finally rejoined us outside looking malnourished so we decided a lunch break was in order to prepare them for their afternoon shopping spree at “The Top of the World”. After lunch we set out to conquer the highest paved road in North America.
We drove the 64 mile highway to Red Lodge, MT, in about two hours, where we stopped for a potty break. Yea right, more shopping; the potty was just a ruse to get us to stop. Carl & I did more sitting, and the girls, more of their usual “spreading the wealth”. Southward from Red Lodge to Cody in a little over an hour, we were home in time for “Happy Hour”.
The following day Carl and I used the second day of our passes at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, and the girls? Need I even comment? This is starting to sound like a broken record.
Friday morning we decided on more wind shield time to visit the town of Kirwin, WY, about 85 miles south of Cody; 64 miles of paved road, and 21 miles of dirt / jeep trail. This was on Carl’s bucket list; to visit a ghost town. Along the way, Carla spotted the elusive moose; our first moose sighting in the area.
We arrived at Kirwin, walked around for awhile, and took a few photos. Yep, looks like a ghost town to me.
Back on the road once again we decided to stop in Meeteetse, at the Cowboy Bar for pizza, and it was, if not the best, the second best pizza I have ever eaten. Who would have thought a tiny bar could serve up a pizza this good? If you are ever in the area, this is a must stop.
Well, that sums up our week in Cody. Tomorrow we all will move to Lander, and the following morning CC and I will bid farewell to Carl and Carla, as they have reservations for the Durango-Silverton train ride on Friday the 31st, and we’re moving to Cheyenne and then to the Denver area. We had a great time together, and the days seemed to fly by; until we meet again mi amigos, hasta luego!
And once again, to you, thanks for taking the time out of your busy lives to check in on ours. Until next time, take care and stay well……………….