Great day today, shortest yet but the weather was great. About 6 degrees early but for once the promised forecast was on the money and took us to a high of 22 degrees late in the afternoon. Even had sunshine. A bit iffy as we crossed the Big Horn Mountains but at that height, that's to be expected.
I've been a bit lax in being clear as to where we are. We have been in the state of Montana since we came out of Canada until we entered the Yellowstone National Park yesterday. The exit to the park put us in Wyoming and we have been there all day.
Before leaving Cody this morning, we toured the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West. This is a big centre consisting of a couple of separate buildings with really well presented museums and history. The life and times of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody are interestingly presented and the complex also includes museums for the Plains Indians, an incredibly detailed and beautifully presented Firearms Museum, Art Museum, Natural History museum and Research library. You could spend a couple of days there if you wanted to see everything. The only thing I found particularly disappointing was the temporary exhibit of a live Bald Eagle. This poor bird, a magnificent flying raptor was housed in a cage, about 6 metres square and about 3 metres at the highest point. This bird was sitting on the concrete edge of the cage looking extremely forlorn and unhappy. Had to really consider if we would take a picture.
From Cody we headed north-east to Lovell, a nice little town and the first time we have found a green space with tables where we could stop for our morning coffee. From there it was east to traverse the Big Horn Mountains. This is a massive range with a very steep, tight and winding climb on the west side to get to the gentler slopes of the higher plains. Of course, the climb initially to about 7000ft gave magnificent views over the plains below, not that the driver has many opportunities to look. By the time we reached 8700ft there was snow on the ground and it was snowing on the slopes nearby. Yesterday, we reached the peak crossing point in Yellowstone at about the 8700ft mark, today the peak was 9830ft. The run down the east side is winding but gentler curves allow opportunities to view the eastern plains below. These plains are much greener than the western side.
Next stop was Buffalo for lunch. Another nice little community park in which to have lunch. Ended up spending around two hours here as we looked through a few shops before ending up in a strange little "curio" shop and spent time talking to the proprietor and a friendly local customer. From here we looked through the lobby and saloon of the Occidental Hotel, a quite historic building which counts a number of Presidents, Hoover was one, authors, Hemingway, Bill Cody and Calamity Jane as former famous customers. The internal corridor has a history through photographs on display and the saloon walls have a big collection of hunting trophy mounted heads of animals including deer, bear, moose and elk. A really nice friendly town and even met a woman from St Kilda in Melbourne.
We're in Gillette tonight and had a meal in a little Chinese Restaurant. And I do mean meal. Basically doing a banquet meal for two or more for $11.55 a head. Soup, entree, rolls, three meals, rice and tea. this would be $25 to $35 at home. No way we could do any sort of justice to the amount of food, but it was good.
That's about it for today, tomorrow we are off to see the Devil's Tower, used in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
419 klms today, total to date 3029 klms.