Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

At the Buffalo Museum

Annie Oakley Display

My favorite bronze

Buffalo Bill Monument

Shell River Falls

Madison Granite, 330-360 Million Yrs. Old

In the Shell Valley

Shell Valley

An overly friendly chipmunk from Beartooth Hwy


Again visited the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum. There were four other wings to explore. We arrived just in time to see the Birds of Prey Demo. There is a bird rehab center connected to the Museum. Presented were a great horned owl, buzzard, peregrine falcon, red tail hawk and a golden eagle. All had been injured and were unable to live in the wild. It was an interesting program.

Next was the Plains Indians wing. The displays were informative and impressive. They had many authentic high quality artifacts. Besides their history they explored the move to reservations and the impact on the Indians' lives. There is a resurgence in Indian heritage pride.

We then joined a Natural History wing tour about the wildlife and animal habitat of Yellowstone. The docent was very interesting and passionate about preserving the Park and the animals for future generations.

After the tour we split up. Tom went to the Gun of the West section and I went to the Western Art collection. The only guns I was interested in were the ones used in old TV series and movies. Tom wasn't interested in any of the art exhibit. Each of us really enjoy our choice. I saw some impressive paintings, sculptures and bronze pieces. Tom saw some interesting guns.

We closed down the Museum at 6PM. It was Tom's choice for dinner since it was his birthday. He chose the restaurant at the Irma Hotel. We enjoyed their prime rib buffet. The Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill when he was establishing the town of Cody. He named it for his youngest daughter Irma. The bar is very impressive but I wasn't able to get a picture of it. It is an oak bar presented to Buffalo Bill by Queen Victoria of England in appreciation of a private performance of his Wild West Show. It cost $3000 when it was built. I can't imagine the value now. It was a bout 30 ft. long with a back bar of the same length. The back bar had a mirror running the full length. Several carved buffalo heads adorned the top of the mirror. The coat hangers on the end of the booths were brass buffalo heads. The restaurant is still decorated in the period of its building.

Found space at the Cody Walmart Campground for the evening.


Treated ourselves to breakfast at McD's with BOGO coupons on the back of our rodeo tickets. Also used their wifi to post and charged the laptop.

We set out on Rt. 14 east towards the Black Hills of South Dakota. Traveled through ranch/horse country. Probably for about 20 miles outside of Cody there were small parcels of a few acres. Each house had a leanto or small barn, a corral with horses and a horse trailer parked nearby. We then entered the "big ranch" area. The average spread around Cody is 3500 acres. Pasture and rolling hills covered with sagebrush was the scenery.

We found an RV & truck wash in Greybull and gave our poor baby a bath. The bugs are particularly gummy in this area. Tom sprayed while I scrubbed off bugs with a dobie. She looked so pretty when we were done - you could almost hear her sigh with relief. Of course 10 miles down the road we could barely see out the windshield because of the new accumulation of bug guts!

When we came to Shell, WY the mountains turned red. We entered the Shell Valley and found another world of beauty. Limestone mountains rose on either side of the road. There were several signs along the way indicating the age of the limestone. One sections was labeled Madison Limestone, 330-360 million years old. The levels that built the mountains were limestone, siltstone, shale, dolomite and granite.

In the summer the elk and deer in the area go high into the mountains. During that time ranchers are permitted and encouraged to have cattle and horses grazing in the valleys. At the end of summer these are rounded up before the wildlife come down out for the winter. We saw a cowboy on his horse rounding up 3 head of cattle and chasing them into a stock trailer.

We descended out of the mountains through pine forests interspersed with open ranges. In several places we saw 100 head or more of cattle grazing and many horses. There were warning signs along the road: Open Range, Loose Stock.

We picked up I-90 at Sheridan, WY. Rolling hills, sagebrush and endless sky was the scenery. Around Gillette, WY we found a huge coal strip mining operation. Across the Interstate was a train with about 100 cars filled with coal. For the next 10-15 miles there were trains parked on the rails each with about 100 empty cola cars waiting to be filled. The line was endless.

The mountains were again replaced by rolling hills with flatt fields near the highway. We saw many bales of straw in the fields. One industrious farmer had baled the grass in the right-of-way between the highway and his fence row.

We made it to Rapid City, SD about 6:30 PM. Looking for a place to eat we found Famous Dave's BBQ. Apparently this is a franchise throughout the upper midwest and northeast. What a yummy choice it was. Tom ordered a grilled chicken & bacon sandwich and I ordered the brisket & bacon burger and then we shared. Oh my - delish. Tom's side dish was grilled pineapple - another winner.

Overnighted at the Rapid City Walmart Campground.

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