Moving right along (at a snail’s pace), it’s time to tell you about the last segment of our trip. Cody, WY, some desolate scenery, a mining “ghost” town, some desolate scenery, a Japanese internment/concentration camp, some desolate scenery.
I’ll spare you the desolate scenery because I didn’t take many pictures of it. After all, endless acres of tumble weed loses its charm after the 1st 100 miles, maybe even less.
Leaving Yellowstone via Lamar Valley area, we drove the 2-ish hours to Cody. I drove the whole way and we didn’t stop for pictures. We tried to find a picnic area along Yellowstone Lake as we left but we didn’t find any tables available. The ladies in the backseat made our lunch of sandwiches as we drove along.
At one point we had contemplated driving Beartooth Hwy, at least a good bit of it, and heading down to Cody via Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. I’ve heard both roads have spectacular views and I’m still a little disappointed we couldn’t do that. Time was not on our side to do that. We had tickets for the rodeo in Cody that evening, and we had friends who were on their way to Montana, who were going to join us until the next morning and we didn’t want to have to rush to unload and get to supper.
The road between Yellowstone and Cody is no slouch either! Again, we kinda moseyed on through and I have no pictures to show until just a handful of miles from Cody.
You can see EXACTLY where the irrigation is. Coming from an area where there is ample rain each year (60ish inches), places like this are such a change from my norm.
We had rented from airbnb, a 3-bedroom house with a full basement and plenty of room for 6 of us. Prices here were much more reasonable than the other places we stayed on this trip. Before we went out for supper, we went to see the free, gunfight reenactment in from of the historic Irma Hotel. The Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill Cody and named after his youngest daughter. The town of Cody, btw, was begun as a tourist town. While it still pretty touristy, it still has charm befitting small western town. Back to the gunfight, we found it to be slightly too cheesy (acting-wise) for our limited time and we snuck out the side and left to get supper. Not meaning to come across as snooty … it felt to me that for as often as they do this show (daily), it would have been a little teensy bit more polished.
The bummer of all of this was that the restaurant we decided to try had an hour plus wait time and we ended up eating outside at a fast food restaurant (inside was closed due to covid or understaffed, I can’t remember). So much for a fun, sit-down supper. 🙂
The rodeo was fun. I would recommend taking one in somewhere “out there.” I hear Jackson has a great one as well. We got our tickets ahead of time and they are good for any show except for the July 4 special events. There was plenty of seating even on a Saturday night.
In doing some research about what was available to see and do, we discovered that there was an internment/concentration camp not too many miles from Cody. There are many Americans who are not aware that Japanese Americans were forced to leave their homes and businesses and move to camps. Heart Mountain was one of the ten camps that were built for them during WWII. If you are not familiar with this aspect of American history, I encourage you to do so. There are heartbreaking stories of people losing everything except for their lives.
Most of the original buildings are no longer standing but there were buildings setup to look like the originals. Imagine a family living in the space below. They were not slackers and they raised a garden that helped feed them their their time there. That was no easy feat when you consider how harsh the conditions are.
There were (thankfully) stories of friends and neighbors who looked after their things while they were gone.
The building below is what is left of the infirmary (hospital).
Another thing we did was spent an evening with a family who are friends of Carolyn. She worked with the wife at a restaurant/deli in Lavonia, GA. We had a fun evening with them and they drove us around to see the places where they rent for cattle & crops. Usable land is crazy expensive to buy.
The last thing we did is the Buffalo Bill Museum of the West. There are actually 5 museums all under one roof and they are all full of information! The tickets are good for 2 days, in case you need plenty of time to take it all in. We had a few hours and there were parts that I didn’t even get to see. Even the gun museum, which was low on my interest level, was interesting with thousands of guns from old to new, tiny to large. I’m sorry that I don’t have better descriptive words but I am so not a gun aficionado!
The art museum had some beautiful art from the area.
Recognize this ^ from Yellowstone?
The “chuck wagon,” the most important (?) wagon on the ranch.
Somehow I didn’t take many pictures in the museum. I thought I did but I can’t find them anywhere. It always feels like the tail end of the trip I slow down on the picture taking because you are oversaturated in new things to see and info to absorb.
Cody also had neat little shops along the main street and of course my attention was drawn to the photography/art galleries. There were some top-notch large photography prints and I couldn’t help but stare in awe!
Our flight was out of Salt Lake City and we spent a day meandering down to Park City, just a bit east of SLC and one of the host areas of the 2002 winter Olympics. This is the ski area of the Olympics.
Back to the meandering though, I forgot to show you some of the sights we saw getting there.
We went through a beautiful canyon with a river and a railroad…
We stopped for a bit to tour South Pass City, a mining ghost town from the 1860s.
The buildings were very well furnished to look like a functioning town.
A small scale replica of the gold mine itself.
We passed desolate scenery as I mentioned. Miles of not a human or animal to be seen!
And we past an area with beautiful ribbons of earth.
Wyoming’s estimated population in 2022 was 581,381. Their population per square mile in 2010 was 5.9. Georgia’s estimated population in 2022 was 10,912,876. Our population/square mile in 2010 was 185.6. So how much bigger is GA than WY? It’s not. WY is 69% larger than GA! (Facts courtesy of Census.gov.) Now throw NY into the mix. They have 10,000 few square miles than GA but nearly double the population as of 2022 estimates. So now you see why there are so many places with few to no humans in WY!
Anywho …. we made it to Park City where a motel awaited us. We had a late afternoon flight home so we shopped the touristy little towns before we left Park City. We enjoyed a lunch at the famous In-N-Out for Carolyn’s birthday (her choice) before we headed out. This was 1st time I had a chance to try them. I wonder if they will expand further east??
So ends the trip of the Summer of 2021. We put on a lot of miles, saw a lot of gorgeous scenery and learned a lot of history and facts and saw a new part of our beautiful country! I hope that if you have not visited these places, that you will have a chance to do so.
Thanks for “traveling” along with us.