Tales From The Camping House

Tales From The Camping House

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sightseeing in Cody, WY

We began our day early since we wanted to visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and take the trolley tour through town.  We found out we could save a few dollars purchasing the combination ticket for the trolley and historical center.  We got our tickets and headed over to the center since the trolley would pick us up there at 11:00.

The historical center is actually 5 museums in 1:
     Buffalo Bill
     Greater Yellowstone Natural History
     Western Art
     Plains Indians

Luckily, the tickets are good for two days, because we only made it through the Buffalo Bill and Greater Yellowstone Natural History museums.

The Buffalo Bill Museum was fascinating.  There was so much information about Willam (Buffalo Bill) Cody.

There was this buffalo exhibit

and items that belonged to the stars of the show as well as Buffalo Bill.  This trunk and guns belonged to Annie Oakley.

We had gotten halfway through the Buffalo Bill museum when it was time to catch the trolley ride.  We have done these in several towns and it really helps us to learn more about the town and know where the important things are that we might have missed.

This was no exception.  The tour lasted an hour and pointed out all the high points in Cody as well as making a trip out to the Buffalo Bill Dam.

Some of the interesting things we learned were that Buffalo Bill purchased the land in hopes to create a town.  At the time, Yellowstone National Park had two entrances, the north and south.  He was instrumental in getting another entrance to the east.  He even put down $50,000 of his money to help build a road to the park.  He envisioned Cody as a tourist town, a stop over and gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

There are extremely wide streets in all of Cody.  That was also his idea.  He had traveled in so many countries and towns with his wild west show and was always frustrated with the narrow streets.  He also build the Irma Hotel for travelers, but also build a tent campground because he knew not everyone could afford $3 a night at the hotel.  It sounds like he would have definitely been an rver if they had been around in his lifetime. :)

 After the trolley tour, we went back to the museum, going through the Greater Yellowstone National History Museum.  It was full of information about the animals and environment in the Yellowstone area.

We left about 4 and plan to return tomorrow to see everything else.

We had tickets to the gunfight this evening, one takes place every day during the summer in front of the Irma Hotel.  You can stand and watch for free, but we chose to pay $2 for reserved seats.  We had a front row seat for the show.

Buffalo Bill began with the introductions and history of Cody.

Then, we all sang the national anthem.

Then, the gunfight began.  There was lots of shooting, corny humor, and overall good fun.

Everyone posed for a photo op.

 It was a busy, fun day, the best kind!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kayaking The Big Horn River & Cody, WY

We spent Sunday morning doing pretty much nothing, then decided to take our kayak down the Big Horn River.  We knew it would be pretty calm because mainly tubers went down the river.  After shuffling the truck and car, we put in at Wedding at the Waters landing (that's the furtherest you can go before being on the Wind River Reservation and then you need a guide) and planned on taking out at the Hot Springs State Park.

We got started in our Sea Eagle kayak.  We weren't sure how many miles we were going, the rv park had told us, it took the tubers 4 hours.  It was a beautiful sunny day, about 90 degrees.

As we began, the first of seven bridges we would go under came into sight.

There were 7 other tubers that began when we did. We quickly passed them and were by ourselves until we got closer to the state park.

We passed these beautiful red cliffs.

As we were floating, we passed this deer eating the leaves while in the water.  We just floated by and it looked at us for a moment and then just kept eating, a great nature moment!

We floated down to the state park making the 7.4 miles trip in 2 1/2 hours.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Today, we traveled 90 miles to Cody.  We stopped in at the Visitor's Center and found out there will be plenty of activities to fill the week that we will be here.  Stay tuned, more to come. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thermopolis, Wyoming

We arrived in Thermopolis on Friday staying at the Eagle RV Park.  We were glad we got here early, because they were full by Friday night.

Thermoplis is a cute, little town with the name meaning "city of heat" in Latin with the world's largest mineral hot springs located here.  A treaty between the U.S. Government, the Arapahoes, and the Shoshones made part of it accessible to all people.  

Bob and Susan from the blog Travelbug always seem to run across neat things when they go on a Volksmarch.  So, we found out there was a Volksmarch trail here and decided to do it this morning.

We picked up the directions at the Bath House and began the walk.

First, we took the boardwalk around the terraces.

Next we went back and forth across the suspension bridge that goes across the river.

We walked by terraced gardens

 and heated pools.

We followed the road by the river

looking at these natural vents in the side of the mountain.

We took the riverwalk that weaved through the town and passed by the Teepee.

This structure "grew" around a vent pipe that had been placed here in 1903 to allow underground mineral water to escape.

We ended the walk back at the bath house.  You can soak in the mineral pool 20 minutes for free at the state bath house, so that's what we did.  It felt really good after the walk.

We returned home for lunch and then decided to go back out to

We weren't sure what to expect, but I have to say it was beyond our expectations.  It was really neat and I'm not really a dinosaur buff.

There were many fossils like this one that looked more like works of art.

Then, the dinosaurs,  there was a large collection of them.

We were both really impressed by the Wyoming Dinosaur Center!

Yesterday, when we had come into Thermopolis, we had come through the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway.  We wanted to go back through it in the car.  Jim wanted to see it again without pulling a fifth wheel.

Pictures just can't show how spectacular it is, but I'll try.

The walls surround you as you drive through.  You can get an idea of the massiveness of the walls when you see the car below in perspective.

There were also 3 successive tunnels to go through.

So, we wound our way back home after a busy day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Trails Museum & Fort Caspar

We spent two nights in Casper.  On Thursday, we went to

It's operated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, so we were able to use our America the Beautiful Passport to get in.

We didn't know what to expect, but it had very good reviews on Trip Advisor.  We weren't disappointed.

The center is a history of all the trails that passed through Casper - the Mormon, Oregon, California, and Pony Express trails all came through Casper.

We watched a 15 minute interactive movie telling the story of all the trails.

There were other interactive exhibits.  We took a wagon across the river, rocking motion and all.

Then, we traveled the roads on a stagecoach.

 There was a nice view of Casper and the mountains from the balcony.

 It was a very well done exhibit and extremely informative.  This is worth a visit if you are ever in Casper.

Next, we went to the

Inside, there were lots of details about Casper, its beginnings and development through the years.

We went outside to tour the reproduced fort built by the WPA in the 1930's.

Many of the rooms were completely furnished.

 Both of the museums were well done and we were certainly glad we had taken the time to see them!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Fort Laramie

We knew it was going to be another hot day so we got an early start and arrived at our destination about 9:30.

We checked into the visitor's center, watched the introductory film, rented the audio tour recordings and took off to tour the fort.

The first place we went was the enlisted men's quarters.

This is the dining hall

and the bunkhouse.  There was a large plexiglass wall between the rooms and us.  You could see in just fine, you just couldn't go in.  We could not believe the details in all of the rooms.

Next, was the enlisted men's bar with even a pool table.

Three different buildings had historical guides.  In this one was the bartender.  We even tried birch beer and sarsaparilla both forms of root beer.

The fort was originally built for fur trading and then purchased by the United States to protect settlers as they moved westward on the Oregon Trail.

The fort became a small town built around the parade ground in the center.

Next, we went into the general store.  It was set up the way it would look in the 1860's with a storekeeper that could answer any question we asked.  I was amazed at how much inventory was carried in the store.  When settlers reached Fort Laramie, they were only 1/3 of the way to their destination.  This was a place they could replenish their supplies.

This was one of the officer's house.

It was really pretty nice inside.  This was during the Victorian Era, so everything was decorated accordingly.

This was the unmarried officer's quarters

and the Guardhouse.

We spent about 2 1/2 hours here looking at all the building and talking with the guides.  This was one of the best reconstructions we have seen.  The fort was extremely important and it was a great stop to see it and learn more about its history.