June 24, 2017
We decided to get an early start to our day. The kids helped pack the tent and camping stuff, so we gave them some cash and sent them to the camp store to buy some cinnamon rolls. Lynne and I packed the car and picked up the kids, then we were in the road by 8:30.
We blasted north and west to Devil’s Tower. On the way we noticed that the terrain changed almost exactly at the state border. We’ve seen this in several states; Texas to New Mexico, Iowa to South Dakota, etc. Wyoming looks more westerny, and South Dakota looks more plainsy.
Looking at our car’s hood, it seems we’ve brought several hundred thousand insect carcasses displayed in various splatter patterns all the way from Iowa.
Devil’s Tower was a strange sight to behold, a large igneous tower made of phonolite. The kids worked on Jr. Ranger packets and we went on a short nature hike. We saw a few mountain climbers scaling the ridges of the Tower. The kiddos got their badges and some patches, and we were on our way.
More driving through expansive plains and rolling hills. At Buffalo, Wyoming, we headed west into the Bighorn mountains on highway 16. This area in Wyoming, in addition to the Black Hills in South Dakota, is really popular with motorcycling clubs. We saw one particular biker gang while fueling up in Buffalo, about 15 bikes in all, and oddly enough I heard the song “Eastbound and Down” blaring out of ALL of their bike speakers at the same time. How is this technically possible? Is this a thing, or did I imagine this?
A beautiful climb to about 9500′, and a gorgeous drive through rocky canyons with roaring rivers on the other side of the Bighorn range, then down to arid rolling desert. Lynne said it reminded her of San Isidro in the south part of the Jemez in New Mexico.
We arrived in Cody, checked in to the Best Western, then began doing laundry while the kiddos swam in the hotel pool. Cody is a cute western town, with saloony-type restaurants and Buffalo Bill themed attractions, but still with enough integrity to be a decent little town.
As I mentioned in another post, wifi and cell service can be spotty out here in the West, so posts might not be as frequent. We’ll spend the next 3 nights in Yellowstone, and we’ll see how things go!