Home > northern states > Hard Drivin’ and the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody (Day 45)

Hard Drivin’ and the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody (Day 45)

September 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Stayed the night with Jon and Erin in Victor, Idaho. I was particularly impressed by their mature lifestyle that was a clear departure from how a college student might live. In the morning, we had breakfast!, which, somewhat confusingly for me, did not consist of high-fiber Pop Tarts:

IMG00055-20090830-0831They have more kids than I do.

Then it was off to the open road. From Victor, headed onto Highway 22, which goes steeply and windingly over Teton Pass (not sure if that’s the name, but it seems like it could be) to Jackson, Wyo., which is a town whose amazingness seems a little lost on me. Maybe because I never get out of my car when I’m there.

From Jackson, the road headed north back up through the parks — Grand Teton and Yellowstone. A couple things about Grand Teton. One, the mountain itself looks pretty cool:

grand-tetonAnd you don’t even have to get out of your car to see ’em.

The other is that in order to get from Victor, Ida. to Sheridan, Wyo., no matter what the fastest route goes through Grand Teton and Yellowstone, which becomes somewhat less cool when all 50 or so miles grinding through Grand Teton look like this:

grand-teton_trafficFine: not quite *all* 50. But pretty close. And it’d be nice if there were a highway somewhere in this country that wasn’t being re-surfaced.

It’s also repeatedly disappointing that people don’t understand that when they’re driving slowly through national parks, you’re supposed to use the pull-outs. I think it makes complete sense to be doing 20 under the speed limit while driving through Yellowstone — but if there’s someone behind you, get out of the way. OTOH, I got to practice tailgating and high-beam flashing quite a bit, so maybe I should just be glad for the experience.

Once I escaped the parks, it was a pretty easy shot over to Cody, Wyo., home of the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, a museum that sort of tells the story of the West. They have, for instance, the biggest collection of firearms I imagine could exist under one roof:

cody_museum-firearms (1)Then multiply by 48.2 to get the full effect.

The great thing about the firearms wing of the museum is that you learn that you don’t know anything about the history of firearms. I figure learning what it is that you don’t know is probably about as important a thing to learn as anything. Museum also had big exibits on western art (

cody_museum-bear-hunters (1)No, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have taken the photo straight-on.

), the Plains tribes of Native Americans, the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody, natural history of the West, and a temporary exhibit on Lewis and Clark. I liked that the museum was unapologetic. The displays are all professional and the write-ups show the sort of scientific detachment you’d expect from a museum, but there was no sense of emotional manipulation around any of it, which could have been easy to do from a number of directions. It’s a solid half-day museum (but kind of expensive: $15/adult).

Oh, also: I had some fantastic New Mexican food in Cody. No photos and I can’t remember the name (there’s only one New Mexican restaurant on the main drag in Cody), but it was pretty fantastic.

From Cody you have two different ways to get to Sheridan: 14 and 14A. Supposedly 14A is prettier, so I headed up that direction. The road goes through Mormon flat-land farm towns for a while, but eventually takes a sort-of dramatic turn and heads up into the hills.

highway-14aAs always, I think the bug splatters make the photo.

It was pretty, winding, and steepish. Would probably make a fantastic sled hill in the winter. It got up high enough that there was a patch of snow next to the highway in one spot. Near the top, there’s a turn-off to go visit the Medicine Wheel. After driving a mile and a half off the highway to visit it, though, they inform you that you can’t use the road that goes to it and have to walk the last mile and a half. Feeling used, I declined.

Driving down out of the mountains, I encountered family after family of deer, most of whom were galloping single-file across the road at inopportune moments. The three closest calls I’ve ever had with deer came within about a half-hour of each other on this little stretch of road. It’s like they have this death-wish. And it probably doesn’t help that they built fences on either side of the highway such that the deer appear to be trapped on the road. OTOH, if they’d just stay *off* the asphalt.

highway-14a_deerBambi’s mom: none too bright.

And it’s good to know that my brakes work. By the time I got off the hill, I was getting pretty mad at the road. I think an hour a day of winding mountain roads is plenty. Three or four hours is probably too much.

Finally rolled into Sheridan a little after 8 PM, got to my brother’s house, and had some leftover beef stroganoff that was really good. Pretty tired, though. I appreciate roofs and permanent structures now more than I used to.

bkd

  1. September 2nd, 2009 at 07:38 | #1

    I will refrain from commenting on that photo of me.

    Yes! We do not live like college students! (At least not when we tell you lengthy stories about how someone a long time ago said we lived like college students, and you’d better not say anything like that on your blog, followed by threats of retaliation on my blog, etc.) (Also, thanks for ignoring the things that do indicate a college student lifestyle, like the hand-me-down and often broken furniture.)

    Thanks for staying with us!

  2. Char
    September 2nd, 2009 at 07:54 | #2

    Brian! We’ll be at the Cody museum in a couple of weeks for an art show. My dad-in-law has a lot of art there, including some of the life-size sculpture out front. Sorry we missed you, but glad you got to stay with Jon and Jake. Safe Travels.

  3. September 2nd, 2009 at 08:04 | #3

    No joke? That’s awesome — I really dug the art wing there.

  4. MD
    September 2nd, 2009 at 22:28 | #4

    You’re seeing some interesting stuff. We spent a night in Victor many years ago when the pass to Jackson was shut down due to much snow. Chicago was good – it all worked out well 🙂

  5. Craig Dunn
    September 3rd, 2009 at 08:12 | #5

    while the rearview mirrors provide context, they are not beautiful in photos. Please crop.
    Glad to hear Chicago “worked out well” for anyone.
    Join the NRA if you want to hear about guns, or thehighroad.org. While I would always support a basic familiarity with firearms, some persons seem to go a bit extreme.
    Western Artist of the Decade: Fred Oldfield. You’ll meet some of his work soon.
    I have a friend that thought the Tetons were the ultimate mountains. He now has my shot of Shukshank as his screensaver. All mountains have their charms.
    Since realized that learning what you do not know is so important, now you should be more grateful to the ranger that showed you what a bear looks like. If you’re on foot, you’ll lose your breath for a second.
    Nobody ever loses the student life entirely. We all try!

  6. Craig Dunn
    September 3rd, 2009 at 08:21 | #6

    That should be Shuksan, but I’m too lazy to proofread.

  7. December 4th, 2009 at 21:29 | #7

    Hey what was that bro looking at, that’s insane

  8. December 5th, 2009 at 14:00 | #8

    A whole bunch o’ antique rifles!

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