Monday, June 17, 2013

Cody, WY - Day 20 and 21

I left Yellowstone  looking forward to getting back to some civilization.  I went out the northeast entrance and planned to take a northerly route over the Beartooth Scenic Byway to Red Lodge, Montana and then turn south back to Cody.  The Beartooth Byway tops out at a little over 10,000 ft.  The northern section to Red Lodge had just opened.  I started out climbing up to Beartooth Lake.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  There were some ups and downs and I noticed my antilock mechanism on my front brakes was kicking in every so often around the corners.  I‘m not sure if there was some gravel in the road or if my brake pad were glazing from over heating.  But with more climbing to go and more downhills, I decided to turn back and take the easier route into Cody over the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway.

View from the Beartooth Scenic Byway

View at the start of the Beartooth Scenic Byway

I drove the first 30 miles of the Beartooth and got some good pictures.  But the rest of the road would have to wait until another time.  I would not be disappointed with the Chief Joseph Byway.  This road cuts southwest avross the Abrasoka Range  It tops out at Dead Indian Summit at a little over 8,000.  No snow covered peaks, but it goes thru some very scenic canyons, climbs over mountains, and drops down into the Big Horn Basin.

View from Dead Indian Pass

Cody sits at the foot of the Abrasoka Range at an elevation of 5,000.  It’s a gateway into Yellowstone but its also a real cowboy town of  9,000 people.  Like some of the other small towns in Wyoming, its an island of people surrounded by miles and miles of undeveloped open range.  Like Jackson, Laramie, Lander, and Dubois, Cody still has most of its businesses along a wide Main Street.  It has a real western feel. 

 Two of the big attractions are the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and the Cody Nite Rodeo.  I visited both.  The Buffalo Bill Center is made up of five distinct museums; one dedicated to natural history, one on Buffalo Bill’s Life, a firearms museum, a museum on plains Indians, and a western art museum.  These are all pretty extensive museums.  The firearms museum is extensive with displays of guns from all major manufacturers.  It rivals the Springfield Armory National Park in Massachusetts.  The art museum also has an extensive collection. I spent 2 ½ plus hours walking thru the displays and could have easily spent double that.

That evening I went to my first rodeo at the Cody Nite Rodeo.  From June through August, there’s a rodeo every night at a small outdoor arena (there were maybe 400 people in attendance).  Its all local folks (amateurs) competing at real PRCA rodeo events like bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel riding, calf roping, and bull riding .  Its great local entertainment much like going to a AAA baseball game or a local race car track.  They put on a great show and display great talent at the horse riding, roping, and riding bucking animals.  It’s the real deal complete with rodeo clowns and pickup men.

I was very enjoyable and entertaining.  The rodeo clowns get the kids involved between events.  The funniest part of was an event where they had a contest with about 8 kids to see who could act out the best at being shot.  It was hilarious.  Here’s a real short video of one of the kids.  They had been prepped ahead of time to act it out and once they were shot the clowns piled them up like cord wood.

I spent two days in Cody and would recommend it as a stop if you‘re going to Yellowstone.  It was busy with lots of RV’s passing through.  I stayed at the local KOA (my planned stop, the Absaroka RV Park was full), which was pricy but after staying in Yellowstone, I needed utilities and a laundry.  The local Walmart had about 20 RV’s overnight in their lot.

Downtown Cody
 On Day 22, I headed east to Sheridan, WY 

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