Day 13-14 Cody, WY   1 comment

Drive from Buffalo, WY, to Cody, WY

Powder River Pass, 9,666 feet above sea level, is the highest point on Highway 16 in the Bighorn National Forest. At this elevation the harsh weather conditions and shallow soil discourages the growth of trees. After climbing the mountain, we had 18 miles at a 6% grade to go. That might not sound like much to the average person, but when you’re pulling an RV, it can be scary. Thank goodness for our D Brake that is now working just fine.

The best part of driving out west is the different terrain you see in one day. It seems like around every bend, brings on different shapes and color.

We traveled through the town of “Tensleep” which was named by the Indians. They counted their days by “sleep days” and this town was ten sleeps from the closest town in either direction.

We were amazed by the number of bales of hay, which is typical of a South Dakota and Wyoming scene.

Our trolley tour through Cody proved to be very entertaining. We could not have had better guides. Patty and Greg were wonderful.

Bill Cody spent years promoting and attempting to raise money to irrigate thousands of arid acres east Cody from the Shoshone River. The Buffalo Bill Dam was one of the first three major ones built by the Bureau of Reclamation, completed in 1910, and was the largest in the world at 328 feet, costing $929,658.

What a beautiful reservoir.

In the visitor’s center there was a chart of animal paws, so now when we take our walks, we’ll be able to identify those little prints in the dirt. Hopefully we won’t see any of the larger prints.

The tunnel to get to the Dam from Cody was excavated through the rock mountain in the 1960s to create the new road. The rock that they blasted through is over 3 million years old. The town designated the tunnel as their bomb shelter during the cold war.

Below left is one of three houses in the town that was mail ordered through the Sears catalog in the late 1800s. Below right is one of their first hotels.

I’ve always been a fan of Western Stars, and Buffalo Bill rates right up there.

The Buffalo Bill Museum is a must see. Plan to spend a few days.

All I can say is WOW! It’s like 5 museums all under the same roof! My favorite was the Bill Cody section all about Buffalo Bill. He was the youngest rider for the Pony Express at age 14. He also played a very big part in putting the town of Cody on the map AND getting a road to Yellowstone built. What made him really famous though was the Wild Wild West Show that he put together, where people like Annie Oakley, Wild Bill, and Sitting Bull played a part.

What was interesting that I had never heard of before, Buffalo Bill played Santa Claus for the Miner’s children in Arizona. Below is a picture taken in 1912.

The museum also had artifacts from Buffalo Bill’s cabin and house. Below is a charm bracelet given to Cody’s daughter, Irma, by the cast of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1899. It originally had 67 hearts engraved with names of performers and performing groups. Another artifact was Buffalo Bill’s glasses and a lock of his hair.

Buffalo Bill died January 10, 1917, in the Denver home of his sister, May. Below is a photo of his funeral procession, accompanied by Knights Templar honor guard on January 14, 1917.

Another interesting thing we found; they had the model buffalo which was used to make the statues located on the bridge going into Georgetown in Washington, DC.

There was a showcase about Annie Oakley which included some photographs and a couple of outfits.

Annie apparently like living out of her tent and she had all the comforts of home.

Beneath her photograph was a picture of Sitting Bull. He apparently took her in as an adopted daughter and even gave her an Indian name.

Dr. W. F. Carver (1840-1927) was a Nebraska dentist noted for his sharp-shooting. In 1883 he was Buffalo Bill’s partner for the first season of the Wild Wild West show. Doc Carver’s famous saddle is decorated with U.S. and foreign coins, shot by Carver during his arena act.

The Redick Saddle was ridden in numerous successful “parade class” competitions.

It is decorated with over 100 ounces of sterling silver. The entire outfit weights about 105 pounds.

The Buffalo Bill section of the museum will be remodeled and completed in 2012.

Another section was devoted to the Indians. When Plains Indians were assigned to reservations during the late 1800s, they were expected to “settle” on single-family plots. Men were urged to farm and women were taught to keep house like Euro-Americans. Communal camp life and ceremonies were discouraged or banned. Families were advised to abandon tipis and earth lodges for houses.

Below is a picture of Standing Bear, Rose Two Bonnets, Lula Two Bonnets, and Louisa Standing Bear, Lakota (Sioux) taken in 1919 in front of the house they were moved to reconstructed house the Indians were moved to as well as a picture of a reconstruction of the inside.

A bear claw necklace is a symbol of power to be worn by a respected leader. The claws represent the bear’s strength and courage while the otter fur signifies power over both land and water. The animals’ qualities guide the wearer during warfare, treaty negotiations, and other important events during his lifetime.

Once a warrior planted his staff in the ground, he would not retreat in the presence of his enemy. A straight staff signified greater bravery than a curved staff. Each society had distinctive adornments; the staffs were painted or wrapped in the fur of an animal.

The Sun Dance Buffalo Skull is worn during the Sun Dance, one of the most sacred ceremonies honoring the sun and the powers of the universe and promoting health, prosperity, and abundant buffalo herds.

Participants fast, pray, and dance in a temporary lodge built around a sacred cottonwood tree. In 1883, the U.S. Government banned the ceremony under the Code of Religious Offenses, but it reemerged in the 20th century with renewed significance.

There was also an art gallery, and a gun museum.

Main Street has every kind of cowboy shop you can imagine. I just loved this stuffed bear that they dressed up.

Bill is “contemplating” on whether he should buy this sword as a gift for our grandson, Shane. No, Bill, maybe in another 20 years……

We had reserved front row seats for the nightly gun fight in front of the Irma Hotel.

The Irma Hotel is an historical landmark because Buffalo Bill built the Hotel and named it after his daughter, Irma.

Below is a photo of what the town of Cody looked like when Buffalo Bill built the Irma Hotel. Can you imagine building a luxury hotel in the middle of nowhere?

Boy, did he pick a good spot, right smack in the middle of town!

We finished our time in Cody at the Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Variety Show. His daughter played a few songs at the beginning of the show before she had to run home to do homework. She’s only in the 7th grade. She was really good.

They finished the night with an all time Roy Rogers favorite, Happy Trails.


One response to “Day 13-14 Cody, WY

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  1. yeah my dad will like this

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