So we wake up in Cody, Wyoming, and we’ve got the day to split between this town and whatever we can get done in Yellowstone before we camp at Fishing Bridge in the park. We’ve already missed the world-famous rodeo, but then again we have a world-famous rodeo 45 minutes from our house that we can ignore just as well as this one. We did, however, just miss the PowWow, which I am pretty sure would have had an open bar.
Also, I really can’t understand how this can be true, but TripAdvisor is virtually unanimous in its love for the Buffalo Bill Museum. It even goes as far as saying that you need more than one day to see it all.
We decide to put this on the list of things to do next time we are in Cody. Besides, through the wonders of geography, we found ourselves staring right at one of our favorite online stores, Sierra Trading Post. When I squinted my eyes, I was pretty sure I heard angels singing.
After beating the last ounces of patience out of our children, dropping what seemed like many hours and was certainly many dollars, we were finally pried from the clutches of Sierra just long enough to hit the local Albertsons for another grocery stop. Earlier in the trip, I think I had what may have been my first Slim Jim, which I have to say are pretty damn tasty! And out west here, stores have entire dried meat areas, which include the standard Slim Jim. Here we purchased what was called the “monster” Slim Jim, which as it turns out, disappears just as fast as the regular size.
Two observations: I found the people of Wyoming to be a very friendly bunch, possibly because most of them have not yet been shot in the face by Dick Cheney. Also, this tattoo craze has gone a bit far. Bears can’t even resist getting a bit of ink done.
Off we go, again behind schedule, and getting behind someone like this never helps.
But it’s getting late and we need to get to Yellowstone. Wait, what’s this? Buffalo Bill Dam? Let’s do it.
The kids LOVE dams. They are immensely impressed by the engineering required to perform such a monumental task as holding back massive quantities of water. They can’t get enough of what goes into turbine-based power generation. Who am I kidding? They love dams for the jokes.
“Can we buy a dam souvenir?”
“Hurry up and take the dam picture!”
“Is there a dam tour?”
The impounded lake is formed within a tree-lined canyon, so whenever any trees burn, die, etc. they fall into the lake and they end up here. Every 6 months, they bring a crane in and they clean up the debris.
Look at the dam rainbow!
This was originally named the Shoshone Dam, but the name was forced onto some scrub land and it was renamed for Buffalo Bill Cody. At the time it was completed in 1910, it was the tallest dam in the world, and it remains the tallest.
No, wrong slide! Skip that one! Continuing on, the space between the dam and Yellowstone is a very nice stretch of landscape. Looks like a good place to be rich and have one of these ranches.
And I have no idea what this is, but it seemed interesting.
Aaaaand, we made it!
The views really are quite striking, and once we crossed into the park, we were rewarded immediately with snow-capped mountains, flowing waterfalls, and wildlife.
Bighorn Sheep. We saw some cars stopped and small boulders falling down around us on the road. I thought that these guys were so nimble that they barely disturbed the surrounding earth? Guess not, because we were in danger of some serious body damage from falling rock. They were about 30 feet up, and we had to stay back because they will ram ewe if you get too close. Ram Ewe.
But the kids got a bit mouthy, and I was forced to send them out of the RV to think about what they had done.
Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America – which, to me, sounds like “is not really the largest lake in North America.” In any case, it’s huge and beautiful.
We checked in at the Fishing Bridge RV Campground where only hard-sided campers are allowed because it is Grizzly territory. Luckily we brought our bear spray (Which it turns out we never took out of the package. None of us were mauled by bears though, so I guess it worked!). The ranger at the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center diplomatically steered me away from my plan to go to Old Faithful at this late hour, so we instead went for Mud Volcano.
Dragon’s Mouth Spring looks and sounds like an actual dragon’s mouth. If dragons were real. Good naming, in any case.
The smell around here was pretty strong. One of the kids asked if it was safe to breathe in. Of course, I said, as I happened to spy this metal grate in the parking lot.
Continuing past Mud Volcano, we notched a few wildlife sightings before it got too dark.
Bison were out in force.
And even some elk.