West 2021:
Day 21 - Buffalo, WY


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West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

Sunday, May 23, 2021: We slept in a bit because we had a fairly light day of driving ahead of us, so we were on the road by 8:30 AM.
Buffalo Bill State Park has multiple campgrounds. Ours was at the very end of Buffalo Bill Reservoir where it narrows back into a river.
We drove to Cody looking for their bison statues. You'd think we would have been tired of seeing bison statues by now, and you'd be somewhat right, but these were completely different.
These colorful statues were among 30 bison that were created in 2015. Look closely at this guy's face ...
... and you'll notice that he has a little bird friend with a matching cowboy hat.
When we found our third bison in a hotel parking lot ...
... and noticed the colorful grizzly statue nearby, we knew that we were now searching for two different types of statues.
Sure enough, there's another grizzly. He was among 25 grizzly bears created for "A Gathering of Grizzlies" in 2008.
Here's a third.
We got breakfast at Taco John's because: 1) we had gone without a fast food breakfast for way too long, and 2) the nearest Taco John's is over an hour from our house, so even though they aren't exactly a regional chain, it sort of counts as food that we can't get at home, ...
... and 3) tater tots.
This fun skeleton grizzly was located in front of a chiropractor's office.
Another grizzly.
Another bison.
And another bison. In the end, it was a tie game with five bison and five grizzlies found.
We saw this beautiful northern flicker in a park and watched him for a few minutes.
Cody has an Old West feel to it, with references to Buffalo Bill Cody everywhere.
The Cody Theatre has beautiful Art Deco styling and is still used as a theater, both for movies and live performances.
We noticed some cars pulled over and realized that they were looking at a herd of wild horses, so we pulled over to get a picture.
It turns out that we were in the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area.
There was an area down the road a bit where we could park ...
... and learn more about these wild mustangs.
Off in the distance, we could see our next destination: the Flight & Aerial Firefighting Museum.
It was supposed to be open, but it wasn't. We later learned that it is closed on Sundays.
Tom took a picture or two through the fence.
We crossed the Bighorn River near the town of Greybull.
This building is the Lower Shell School House, built in 1903. The small plaque next to the front door notes that it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
These layers of rock in this hill were much more colorful than shown here.
Cool formations.
We were starting into the Bighorn Mountains.
Signs along the side of the road indicated the geologic age of the layers of rock we were driving through.
Pretty scenery.
We entered Bighorn National Forest.
We didn't know that "Mississippian" was a geological age, but now we do. Wikipedia tells us that Mississippian is so named because rocks with this age are exposed in the Mississippi Valley.
We saw lots of fallen rocks throughout the Bighorns. Fortunately, they were all small.
We were on the Big Horn Scenic Byway. Why is Big Horn two words here? Doesn't anyone proofread?
We rarely saw any other cars as we made our way up in elevation through the mountains.
There's Shell Falls way up ahead in the distance. Let's go there.
Hmmm, maybe we won't go there, because the visitor center gates were closed. So we got this picture by the side of the road. If you look closely, you can see the overlooks and some of the rushing water.
What's this? Just up the road, there was a gravel turn out. We got out to walk to the water and got an even more stunning view of the water that would eventually lead to Shell Falls.
It was just gorgeous.
Check out the markings on this rock. The majority of it is one type of stone, and the end is alternating layers of some other type of stone. Geology is so cool.
By now, we were very impressed with the Bighorn Mountains. We hadn't expected anything but every turn of the road was just beautiful.
We saw a car pulled over and the passengers were looking at something across the valley. We pulled over and spotted it too: a moose. He had spotted us too, and alternated between looking at us and looking at the other car, before deciding to keep walking.
We got out our binoculars and our very zoomy camera ...
... to get this photo of a very handsome moose. (Yes, European readers, we know this is an elk and that American elk are really deer, but we're American so we'll use American terms).
We approached Granite Pass (elevation 9033'), which was really just the highest point of the longest pass we've ever seen, as the plateau seemed to go on for miles. This area is heavily used by snowmobilers ...
... so we passed numerous snowmobile crossing signs.
Further down the road, we passed this unique ATV crossing sign too.
More pretty scenery as we started to descend the mountain range.
The same signs we had seen coming up were now appearing again in reverse order. Here's the Mississippian geologic layer once again.
The view looking out over the valley ahead of us was stunning.
With the rocks, the trees, the plains, and the sky, it was so colorful.
Deer!
It was great to be back on flat land once again. Debbie promised Tom that we were done with mountains now, but she's a liar.
A highway sign warned us of wind gusts of 40+ MPH. No kidding. They had to have been even higher than that at the mountain pass we just crossed.
We drove through Sheridan, Wyoming, a place Debbie knew about because back before she retired, a medical laboratory here used software she wrote.
This sign let us know that we had reached the end of the Black Diamond Trail, which we hadn't realized we were on.
We found the Buggy Bath Car Wash in Sheridan, ...
... and Tom washed another week or two of sand and dirt off of our beautiful The Ocho.
We passed the neon-signed Rainbow Bar, ...
... and the neon-signed Mint Bar, ...
... and the neon-signed Wyo Theater, which has been preserved as a performing arts center.
We headed to Good Times Burgers for lunch. It's a Colorado-based regional chain. We thought it was separate from the Taco John's that appears to be next door, but they were actually combined. Weird.
We got a bag of tater tots, which we later realized were probably Taco John's-brand tater tots.
Debbie's chicken sandwich came with a fistful of lettuce on it ...
... and Tom's deluxe cheeseburger inexplicably came with none, so we split it up.
We continued driving south, stopping to get a panoramic shot of the lovely Bighorn Mountains in the west.
We arrived in the town of Buffalo, where even more bison-based art awaited us.
It was definitely the theme of the trip: bison, bison, and more bison.
Buffalo has a very cute downtown, ...
... but we were here to park our butts at the KOA and do some relaxing.
No one was in the office but our reservation folder was tacked to the bulletin board so we were able to see ourselves to our campsite.
Fortunately, we had just enough quarters to do three loads of laundry since we couldn't get any from the office.
As we have found repeatedly at other KOAs, the big rig sites fill up long before the tiny back-in sites that we use. We were on the edge of the park and not a single other person was camped along the whole row, other than an unoccupied trailer and a pickup truck, both of which appeared to be stored there.
Bliss.
Dinner was freeze-dried lasagna. It tasted like lasagna which meant that it was okay. Neither of us are huge lasagna fans, but all freeze-dried meals have to be tried at least once. Well, all of them unless they contain beans or peas, of course.
We watched the eighth and final episode of "Atlantic Crossing." We were sad to see it come to an end.
Out our window, we noticed that we had a little visitor.
So cute.
We got some spooky clouds for a short time, but not a drop of rain fell on us.
Not by coincidence, this evening's entertainment was "Nomadland," streamed from Debbie's phone to our TV via Apple TV. Part of the film is set in the Badlands Cedar Pass campground where we would be the next day.
The film had recently won an Oscar for Best Picture, so we were lucky to have gotten our campsite reservation when we did.
Debbie had been keeping an eye out for a donut shop for a couple of weeks with no luck. Imagine her delight to see one of the characters in the film bring out a heaping tray of donuts in Wall Drug, where we would be the very next day.

Day 22 >


West 2021: [Day 1 - OakdaleI] [Day 2 - Fargo] [Day 3 - Beaver Lake] [Day 4 - Bismarck] [Day 5 - Little Missouri] [Day 6 - Miles City] [Day 7 - Billings] [Day 8 - Missoula] [Day 9 - Steamboat Rock] [Day 10 - Bay View] [Day 11 - Seattle] [Day 12 - Seattle] [Day 13 - Seattle] [Day 14 - Millersvania] [Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon] [Day 16 - Farewell Bend] [Day 17 - Bruneau Dunes] [Day 18 - Craters of the Moon] [Day 19 - Grand Tetons] [Day 20 - Buffalo Bill] [Day 21 - Buffalo] [Day 22 - Badlands] [Day 23 - Jordan] [Day 24 - Trempealeau] [Day 25 - Heading Home]

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