I saw a lot of the great outdoors today.
I thought about going to the Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody’s big attraction . But it’s a beautiful day, too nice for indoors, and a friend commented the Museum is just ok. For Guns and Indians, I will rewatch Dances With Wolves.
So I’m going to drive the 222 miles to Bozeman, Montana, which will take me through Yellowstone.
Last nights Motel was a bed and a scrub, nothing to write home about.
They had a very nice Bible. Not something I mentioned before but, I’ve been taking the Bible, as a souvenir, from every place I stay in. I believe they are free. Every Bible tells the story of the lodging. It will be fun to decide which Bible from which town I give to which friend as a memento of my trip.
Disaster ! I left my Kiehls moisturizer with Butch in Buffalo. I had to pick up some common or garden facial cream at Walgreens. I hope I don’t break out in some strange Cowboy rash.
Back to Rawhide Coffee for a poppyseed muffin and cappuccino breakfast. It was on my way out of Cody.
Wyoming was not even on my original list of destinations and I’ve spent three great days there.
This driving leg took me through Buffalo Bill National Park , through Shadonic State Park and into Yellowstone, making this my new most spectacular drive ever.
I used to consider motorcyclists the rebels of the road, oozing danger and cool. Marlon Brando – The Wild One; Fonda, Hopper & Nicholson – Easy Rider; PeeWee – Big Adventure.
Now all Harley riders I meet or see are just south of octogenarian . I was stuck behind one on the way to Yellowstone , riding slowly enough I thought he’d topple.
Part of today’s Yellowstone drive took me through the burn and around the radiant Yellowstone Lake. The Burn, as the name might suggest, is a vast swathe of the forest that was taken out by fire in 1988. 36% of trees went up in flame.
The forests here like their burns, they keep the ecology healthy and typically take down older trees that take in Pine Beetles. Just not that big. Unless homes or structures are threatened, the policy is to let the fires burn. All this info from the lady in the bookstore.
Ron and Diane Varley, were taking photos, in a pond just off the Lake, of what looked like a beaver dam. Coming from just north of Dallas, they are very seasoned travelers and gave me some great guidance as I heading North towards Glacier National Park.Ron was in the air force, stationed in Germany and traveled over to England a lot.
I returned some guidance for their possible impending 10 trip to Ireland, after they visit Barcelona and Copenhagen as part of a European cruise.
Dam, no Beaver.
But a Buffalo just walked past my parked car.
I did quite a bit of moseying around Yellowstone.
I checked out the Dragons Mouth Spring, a violent cauldron of boiling water exploding from a cave. Then on to the broiling Mud Volcano. Nature at its most impressive. The mud volcano stinks more that anyones warning led me to expect.
Needed to wee so used the public bathrooms. The hot springs don’t smell so bad anymore.
Bumped into Ron & Diane again, taking photos across the fly fishing river. They highly recommended I see Many Glacier, they’d seen a lot of grizzly and brown bear up there, but warned that there are fires up at Glacier National Park. Found out they also lived 14 years in Hawaii. This delightful couple is living life. Uplifting stuff.
My intention was to drive through Yellowstone today but it’s impossible not to get caught up in the place : rivers, mountains, plains, Buffalo, geysers and I just scratched the surface . If you’ve not been, add to your bucket list.
When I got through the park I stopped in West Yellowstone, Montans and found Book Peddler, a combined coffee shop and bookstore. Stopped in and had a very good marmalade scone and a decent coffee. The bookstore primarily deals in western history, Yellowstone related travelogues and coffee table books and a spattering of fiction, mostly mysteries . Of course a Longmire display.
I bought a book called The Big Burn about the immense forest fire of 1910, in Yellowstone.
West Yellowstone is built for the tourists but has some interesting older buildings and vintage Motel signage.
Headed on to Bozeman, winding along the river , through the Montana mountains, then through Big Sky. I started to see orange warning signs for an “Incident Ahead”.
I figured there was an accident, but no, a forest fire. I drove through smoke for a few minutes, with trees burning on my left. Seemed to be par for the course here, no one seemed particularly concerned or interested.
My first forest fire!
Bozeman is the home of the Montana State University, so it’s got a buzzy Main Street with good looking bars and restaurants.
Before heading to the hotel, I stopped for a burger at Backcountry Burger Bar on Main Street, Bozeman. Most places close at 9.
Started a conversation with Weston and Elliot, two young dudes at the counter. Elliot came here from Portland four years ago for the skiing and works as a carpenter . Weston is s college graduate currently working construction . There’s a lot of new building in town.
We talked RVs a bit. A lot of people out here live that lifestyle and have personalized jobs done on their vehicles. There are two customization outfitters in Bozeman, for RVs. The primo RV would seem to be the Mercedes Sprinter, starting at $80k barebones.
The guys recommended I stop at Missoula on the way north to Glacier National Park, they described it as pretty hippy. My researcher informs me it’s the home town of David Lynch. Sold!
They also recommend the hiking around here, there’s a lot.
Talked to Sam Crotchlow, the founding head of schools, for a new private school here in Bozeman. They started up two years ago. There are currently at 25 students but steadily growing. It’s a day school not boarding and they will be looking for new digs soon.
Sam was a fountain of information and recommendations. A man after my own heart, he pointed me to Atlas Obscura and a couple of local obscure sites. Both his father and sister are involved in film.
Bozeman is a money town. The Yellowstone Club ,Big Sky is close by with the likes of Tom Brady as members. They have a private airstrip.
Bozeman is the fastest growing small city in the country. A lot of tech people are here out of Silicon Valley, functioning remotely. It’s also become a hub for some optics firms .
Sam was heading off to a Poker game at one of his locals , The Cats Claw. Gambling licenses are relatively easy to get here, unlike the east coast, and a lot of bars run games. There is an $800 legal limit per pot. On a good night, Sam said, you could walk away with a couple of Grand .
So the crew at the burger joint gave me a cart load of things to do tomorrow. Very pleased with my dining spot.
To do : Norris Hot Springs; Bear Tooth Highway ….
Checked in to the Ramada . Huge room but it’s in a Ramada.
Gas : $47
Dinner : $9
Some of my movie recommendations based in ,just departed, Wyoming:
Lots of excellent movies: Wind River; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (please tell me you’ve seen it) ; Brokeback Mountain (robbed of best picture Oscar by the lousy Crash that no one remembers); Unforgiven; Shane; Cat Ballou; Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Tarantino’s last film “The Hateful Eight” was recently set here but it’s his one dud,
Books: I can’t think of a Wyoming based book I’ve read!