17 May, 2012

Wyoming to South Dakota: Day 1

I am behind on this blogging lark. Problem is the past two weeks have been rather awesome and busy. Saturday morning we got up and left Gardiner. We chose to avoid the Interstate and drove through Yellowstone one last time, in which time we saw the grizzlies (have we mentioned that we saw grizzlies, at all?), passing the lake (see previous post) and then descending down a long valley towards the East Entrance. This had only just reopened which wasn't surprising when we looked at the valley we were driving through. The road clings to the side - it's very well built - but it is high and clings and there is a big big drop and lots of curvy bends.

Eventually we passed out of the gate and found ourselves at the Pahaska Tepee which is not a Tepee but a large restaurant and cabins, together with the original cabin built by Buffalo Bill. Yes, that one. We ate a reasonable lunch there and read news items about a bank robbery in 1904 by the Hole in the Wall gang. It was apparent that Buffalo Bill wouldn't miss an opportunity for tourism and self-promotion, as he raised a posse which included several English noblemen!

From Pahaska Tepee we drove down the most beautiful road. It reminded us of Utah - high cliffs in oranges and reds, lovely spring colours along the river.

Once we got to the other end at Wapiti, we found we'd just driven along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Highway. From there were headed to Cody past the Buffalo Bill State Park and a huge reservoir dammed by the Buffalo Bill Dam. They seem quite proud of him in north west Wyoming.

We arrived in Cody and stopped on Tom's impulse at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, which wasn't all about Buffalo Bill. In fact that particular exhibit was closed so we only got to see his childhood home which had been hauled from Iowa and I think repainted.

So after all the build up, I left knowing not much more about the man than I did to begin with. But we did see a really wonderful exhibit on the Plains Indians which was worth the price of admission alone. There were beautiful artifacts and photographs, recreations of homes, cleverly done audio, video - it was interesting, moving and respectful and didn't gloss over the history. If you are heading anywhere near Cody I highly recommend the museum - and not just for that: there was a good natural history exhibit on Yellowstone (possibly better still if you haven't just left and actually seen quite a lot alive rather than stuffed), as well as a big Western Art exhibit in association with the Whitney which we didn't visit, and what is apparently one of the world's largest exhibits of firearms (ditto - but I heard good things if you're into that kind of thing).

We headed east. The landscape was flattish - high plains of dry grasses, red rocky outcrops. We saw horses and Pronghorn antelope.

Eventually we arrived in Greybull to stay at the Greybull motel - clean,  comfortable, friendly owners - and eat at Lisa's (good food, if as usual TOO MUCH - ever since we left Seattle meals have come with soup or a salad, and they honestly didn't need to). Greybull is at the foot of the Big Horn National Forest - which looked a bit more like mountains that a forest to me and was the next day's first challenge.

No comments: