Sunday, July 5, 2009

Those Oysters Ain’t from the Ocean – A Trip to Cody

I got behind on my posting last month and have to catch up, starting with the trip to Cody, Wyoming, Pat and I took at the beginning of June. We left San Francisco Friday morning on a 6:10AM Delta flight bound for Salt Lake City where we transferred for the hop to Cody. The trip got off to a rousing start when we boarded the flight at SFO to the crowing of roosters who were apparently just waking up in the cargo hold.

Our flight to Cody was smooth and on-schedule and Mom and Robert met us at the Cody airport.

A view of Cody - Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains in the distance

As is our custom upon mid-day arrivals in Cody, we immediately headed downtown to the Proud Cut Saloon for our traditional “welcome to Cody” lunch of Rocky Mountain oysters and Big Sky BrewCo’s Moose Drool Brown Ale. As we later saw on another menu later during our stay:

“These oysters aren’t caught at sea pardner. These babies are from one angry steer!”

We then checked in at the Skyline Motor Inn and greeted the manager, Roger Bjornson, who sports quite an impressive beard to say the least!

Pat and I then headed over to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody where we spent the afternoon at the Center’s diverse exhibits of firearms (yikes – LOTS of them, plus many stuffed animal heads on the wall!), Plain Indian culture, Buffalo Bill memorabilia, and the Yellowstone ecosystem. Sadly the Center’s Whitney Gallery of Western Art was closed for renovations, although we may not have had the energy to do it justice in any case.

The weather report for the weekend was a bit threatening, and after some mulling we decided to try to drive into Yellowstone Park on Saturday. The weather did not look too promising as we started off to the Park’s East Gate, about 40 miles west of Cody, but by the time we got into the Park there were patches of blue sky.

After a stop at Fishing Bridge to warm up with some soup (even though it was June, there were a few snowflakes in the air!), we took a counter clock-wise loop through the heart of the Park that took us to Canyon Village and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Norris, Madison, Geyser Basin and Old Faithful and West Thumb, before heading back to Cody.

We were also able to see a variety of wildlife, including buffalo (actually bison) and elk. From the ominous warning we received about the buffalo at the Park entrance, it seems that a few people may have been getting to close recently.

That evening Pat and I headed over to Cassie’s Place, a restaurant and dance hall at the edge of Cody where, with the assistance of Levi, who may have been working his first night at Cassie’s, we had a couple of pretty good steaks.

When we stuck our head out the door at the Skyline on Sunday morning it was clear our decision to drive to Yellowstone on Saturday had been the right one -- about four inches of snow had fallen and it was chilly.

However, by the time we had walked over to Robert’s apartment and had finished our breakfast, the snow was melting pretty quickly so we decided to drive over to Powell, a town northeast of Cody. On the way back we stopped by the memorial for the Heart Mountain Relocation Center between Cody and Powell, one of the ten War Relocation Authority internment camps where Japanese-Americans – over 10,000 in the case of Heart Mountain - were interned during World War II. As you can see from this video I took, and the below shot taken of the camp during World War II, it is a wind-swept, bleak place, even in June much less in mid-winter.

After a lunch at Bubba’s in Cody, we stopped by the Cody Library where we heard a lecture by an author named Guy Gertsch, author of "Following Lewis & Clark: a 4,200 Mile Walk.” As described in the program announcement,

"Two hundred years after Lewis and Clark embarked on their 1804 adventure of western discovery, Guy Gertsch began walking the same path from Illinois to the Pacific Ocean, following the explorers as closely as the 21st century would permit. Gertsch, then 60, made the 4,200-mile trip alone and on foot. Gertsch tells the stories and shows photos of his two years trekking with the spirits of the Corps of Discovery."

Sadly, the announcement was a bit more interesting than the program.

For dinner we headed down to the
Irma Hotel, once owned by Buffalo Bill Cody and named after one of his daughters (and the location of the famous Cherrywood Bar, made in France and a gift to Buffalo Bill from England's Queen Victoria). We had some very good bison.

On Monday morning, before heading to the airport, we headed down to Mom and Robert’s favorite breakfast spot, My Place. It did not disappoint.

We are already looking forward to our next visit!

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