The Best A Man Can Get

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Friday, July 27, 2012

Howdy folks,

Steffie and I were up early on our last day in Grand Teton and were in the car by 7:30am. We have our morning routine pretty well downpat these days and can get wake up, pack the tent, have breakfast and brush our teeth in an hour. Not bad really! On our original itinerary, we had planned to go south to Thermopolis before heading to Gillette, but we decided to go back via Yellowstone Lake and through the Wild West town of Cody instead.

Our first stop of the day was at Bridge Bay Marina where we decided to go on a 1 hour boat tour at 9:15am. We just made it there in time and were given an informative talk by a Park Ranger as we toured around past Lake Village Hotel and Stevenson Island. Apparently there was a guy called EC Waters who ran a lake cruise there at the turn of the 19th Century and built an absolutely huge boat that held 600 people, but only ran for one season. He got into trouble for setting up a zoo on tiny Dot Island and was run out of town and had to leave the boat to rot! It certainly was an interesting story about how much National Parks have changed over the years.

We drove up the Hayden Valley towards Canyon because it is supposed to be a good area to view wildlife. There were certainly plenty of bison perhaps 500 or more and we spotted a coyote playing around the river plus another one high above some bison, but that was about it. I don't need to see any more bison or Canadian geese for that matter, I think I've seen enough already! Sadly Steffie didn't see her wolves. On the way back we stopped at the Mud Volcano and Sulphur Cauldron which are hydrothermal features of boiling muddy water and a pool of steaming, yellow sulphur.

We made two more stops to look at the Lake Village Hotel, which is the oldest in a national park, and at Lake Butte Overlook which gave us a pretty bright, clear view of the lake and surrounding burnt remains of a wildfire. Steffie was driving and we went out the East Entrance after crossing Sylvan Pass which is a huge scree slope. It was another 85kms to Cody from there so I had a nap and woke up as we were coming to Buffalo Bill Reservoir with the landscape having changed to be dramatically drier. Driving through the tunnels, we came out at Cody named after William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody who was a 19th Century Wild West showman and founder of the town. The place was very commercialised and definitely set up to take advantage of the Wild West history.

We setup camp at Ponderosa Campground and headed into town to take a look. At 6pm at the Hotel Irma which was the hotel that Buffalo Bill built, there was a gunshow setup outside on the street and very bad acting with good costumes and loud gun blanks! We had dinner at the Silver Dollar Saloon which had good burgers before heading out to the summer nightly Cody Rodeo on the outskirts of town. There was a 2 hour show which had bareback riding, calf roping, team calf roping, bull riding, steer wrestling and made others. It was really good entertainment and definitely showcased a completely different lifestyle than I'm used to. There was even a rider from Australia there.

In the morning, we had a later start and had a Walmart carpark breakfast after picking up supplies. We drove east out of town on a very straight, long road which we thought would take us all the way to the Interstate 90, but at Greybull we missed the turn and found ourselves heading south instead.
We ended up taking Highway 16 to Buffalo instead of Highway 14 to Sheridan, but we ended back on the Interstate anyway. On the way to Buffalo we crossed through the Tensleep Canyon and over the Bighorn Mountain Range where we went through roadworks and got a crack on our windscreen. Due to the hot weather, the bugger continued to crack across the drivers side so it looks like we are going to have to get it replaced soon.

We only made a roadside stop for lunch because we wanted to drive the 400kms as soon as possible and ended up in Gillette at 3pm. Finally after a week, we checked into the Best Western hotel and had a comfortable bed to sleep on. We spent the enitre afternoon relaxing in the room, cooking a carpark Lemon Chicken for dinner and going for a swim in the pool. Sometimes it pays to spend a bit more and enjoying being normal for a change!
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