After Little Bighorn our next stop was Yellowstone National Park. But after all our stops and travel time on this particular day, there was no way we were going to be able to even get a start into Yellowstone. So we decided to stay at Cody, WY, just outside the east entrance of Yellowstone.
The drive from Little Bighorn to Cody was 2 to 3 hours long, taking us through Billings, south central Montana, and into north Wyoming, just east of the vast expanse that is Yellowstone. Beautiful rivers, immense prairies, grandiose mountains, other-worldly canyons and even a few peaceful stands of timber could all be viewed from the comfort of the car, along the scenic drive.
We had no plans for the night. So we starting calling around to make hotel reservations. There is a historic hotel in town, called the Irma Hotel, which was built and run by Buffalo Bill Cody, the founder of the city of Cody, WY. This is where I wanted to stay. But word reached Erin that it is ‘haunted’ so that option quickly went out the window. (I’ll have to tell you about our stay at the Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, SD sometime)
We did, however, stop by the hotel to check it out. While (I assume) the rooms are very modern and comfortable, the lobby & hallways were almost like taking a trip back in time. It was great just walking through the place. There was a little gift shop on the floor level and a bar and dining room in the style of the time it was built. The decor was very rustic and outdoorsy. Just perfect.
We trotted on down the road and found an AmericInn (that wasn’t haunted) to stay at for the night. We got checked in and then headed back out to see more sights. We stopped at a local Mexican restaurant, Tacos El Taconazo, (or Double Taco Nozzle, as I called it) for dinner. Pretty standard Mexican joint, not bad at all.
After dinner we went back down the street to Sheridan Ave, where the Irma was, to take in some of the shops along ‘the main drag’. Sheridan runs right through the heart of the town and all major roads leading to and from town connect with it. It’s lined with local stores, restaurants and touristy little shops. Luckily, most were open late for our browsing pleasure. It was a magnificent evening, clear skies and cool weather, perfect for walking from shop to shop. We got quite an eyeful, as just about anything could be found within the collection of shops, and picked up a few things along the way as well, before returning to our hotel for the night.
The next morning we got up early (had all of Yellowstone to see!) but before we left town I wanted to see Old Trail Town. Erin had no interest in going in and felt her paying admission would be a waste of money so she stayed behind and sat in the car. Which was fine with me because this meant I could wander the recreated town at my leisure.
I have seen a lot of recreated old west towns in my day, I stop at every single one I see. Old Trail Town has got to be the best one I’ve seen. The owners over the years have gathered a great collection historic buildings and artifacts, even relocating graves. So you’re not just seeing replicas, you are in the actual buildings from the time. And not just old shacks that somehow never fell down, actual buildings where historic people interacted and historic events happened. Immensely fascinating.
Peculiarly, there was a couple there, also looking around, who we had seen at the Little Bighorn the day before. WEIRD.
But all in all, Cody, WY was an awesome little town. Beautiful, pleasant and historic. Would love to return someday, as there is a lot I was not able to take it. Namely, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and Buffalo Bill Historical Center. And I still need to stay at the Irma. 😉