Friday, July 24, 2009

Cody, Wyoming

(Jan) We left our boondocking site SW of Buffalo Monday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed our drive through Ten Sleep Canyon. It's a steep, switchback road heading down and we were grateful that we have an exhaust brake on our diesel truck to manage the 7 & 8 percent grades. The drive after Ten Sleep is mostly through arid ranch land dotted with several small interesting towns. We arrived in Cody, Wyoming by early evening.

Cody has been a very good stop for us. There are many things to do in this town and we have enjoyed many of them. So where have we been? The Buffalo Bill Historical Center, The Cody Dam, the Gun Fight at the Irma Hotel, strolling on Main Street and the Chief Joseph-Bear Tooth Mountain Pass drive. Plus that we found a good Tire Business to get a trailer tire replaced; Rim Rock Tire. We highly recommend them! And we also, had a great laundry stop! For a traveler, finding a clean, well equipped, well-taken care of place is a find. Hats off to Cody Laundromat.

We drove up the North Fork of the Shoshone river, earlier called Stinking River by the Indians because of the sulfur smell, to the Buffalo Bill Dam. Originally built in 1910, it's height of 325 feet made it the tallest dam in the world at that time. The Visitors Center sits near the dam and gives a wonderful view of both the reservoir and the deep gorge as the river plunges down the valley below it.

We mosied on down to the Irma Hotel one evening to find seats for the evening Gun Fight. They've got a great deal going; you can rent a chair for $1 and come back just in time for the show. Featured in the gunfight were Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp, the Sundance kid and Fred. Fred? Well, you just had to be there! The Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and was his headquarters in this area. It's an amazing place; fun to wander through the Lobby, elaborate Dining Room with an elaborate back bar which was a gift from Queen Elizabeth of England and world famous Barroom with it's stone and fossil fireplace and cherry wood bar.

(Chuck) Cody, Wyoming is through and through a cowboy town. It features a nightly rodeo which has a performance every night from 1 June to 31 August which has earned Cody the title: Rodeo Capital of the World. This town is comprised of two kinds of people, cowboys and tourists. Cowboys wear boots and hats and the tourists wear tee shirts, it seems to be a rule and that is the way it is. When you walk the sidewalks of main street you will notice the unmistakable smell of leather from the shops that feature saddles and horse equipment. (Hats and boots frequent here.) Other stores on Sheridan Street feature art and trinkets that are well attended by the tee shirts. Colonel William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody founded the town of Cody in 1896. He was a soldier, hunter, adventurer and a gigantic showman who took his Wild West show across America and toured Europe.
The Buffalo Bill Historical Center is actually five Museums Under One Roof. This is as they are listed in the brochure.

Buffalo Bill Museum …. The Life and Legend of Buffalo Bill Cody. Whitney
Gallery of Western Art …. Artworks Portraying the Beauty and Myths of the West.
Plains Indian Museum …. Native American Cultures, Art and Heritage of Yesterday & Today.
Cody Firearms Museum …. A Grand Exhibition of Thousands of Rare Firearms.
Draper Museum of Natural History …. Humans and Nature in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
The Historical Center is more than a one day excursion. They offer a two day pass for $15 per person. Just be cautious because you will “wear out your legs” at this place. It has a lot to offer and you have to pace yourself.
One thing Jan and I have noticed from Rapid City, SD to Buffalo, WY and now Cody, Wyoming is that there is a great expression of art in the towns. We have enjoyed the large outdoor bronze sculptures. There are many store fronts with paintings and bronze works that don’t have the “trendy feel” but do have a genuine Western appeal. The Historical Center relies heavily on the arts and it mixes well with the actual history of the West. It is a good stop and I recommend it to anyone who journeys through this area.

Yesterday we took a drive North of town up the Chief Joseph Highway and on to the Bear Tooth Highway to Red Lodge, Montana. Forty years ago we drove the Bear Tooth and it has always been one of the most enjoyable mountain drives of our memory. It was truly one 'wow' moment after the other. We were overwhelmed with the beauty of the mountains and the flowers that carpet the valleys. It is a beautiful sight and we feel privileged to be a part of it.


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Chuck and Jan Moore said...

We've been using this site for the past couple of years. It's a wonderrful resourse no matter where you are. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your posts, we are planning an rv(28' class c) trip for Summer 2010. Do you know anything about the more direct route on 14 from Sheridan to Cody? Heard it was awful steep w/ lots of switchbacks.

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