Buffalo Bill Blog

Sep
19

Finding that Perfect Balance in Cody — Seasons in Yellowstone Country

Twice each year the planet reaches a point where I pause and think about balance.

When the Autumnal – also called the “Fall” – Equinox arrives on September 22, Earth will momentarily be neither tilted towards nor away from the sun.

All over the planet we will see 12 hours of light and 12 of dark before the days shorten in the northern hemisphere and lengthen in the southern.

I am just geeky enough to get a big kick out of factoids like that.

Like many places in this country, Cody, Wyoming used to be primarily a summer vacation destination. Kids were out of school roughly from the beginning of June until the beginning of September, and families took their Wyoming vacations during that time.

Summer sunset over Cody, Wyoming

Summer sunset over Cody, Wyoming

Summer is still the busiest vacation season in Yellowstone Country, and July will probably always be the busiest month of the year in and around Yellowstone National Park. Through the years, however, many factors have come into play to not only stretch the tourist season but to make the region appealing at any time of year.

- We are always looking to achieve a better balance. Here are some reasons why we are succeeding:Changes in school schedules. The traditional school calendar came about so that kids would have summers off to help out on the family farms. Since we no longer live in an agricultural society so dependent upon family workers, many school systems have adjusted schedules with shorter summer breaks while adding a week off in the fall or several shorter breaks throughout the year. Add in home schooling, and there are opportunities for families to get away throughout the year.

- Facilities set up for cold weather. The classic Yellowstone hotels – Old Faithful Inn, Roosevelt Lodge, Lake Yellowstone Hotel – were constructed at a time when people simply did not visit the park other than during the summer. These hotels were not designed for a winter visit. When the Old Faithful Snow Lodge opened in the late 1990s, however, the property was built specifically for winter visitors. Around Cody most hotels accommodate guests year round.

- Activities geared for the seasons. Instead of running inside and waiting for warmer weather, we have learned to embrace our shoulder seasons. Fall is a great time to fish the area streams. Hunters are welcome, and we have found these groups to be among our responsible visitors for leaving no trace and respecting the environment.  In the winter, we have a terrific local ski hill, Sleeping Giant Ski Area, and great trails for Nordic skiing and snowmobiling. Because of the high concentration of frozen waterfalls, we have the best ice climbing in the lower 48 states.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West a popular winter stop.

Buffalo Bill Center of the West a popular winter stop.

- Attractions open all year. While our Cody Nite Rodeo and the gunfighters next to the Irma Hotel take a break, there is still much to do all year. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West shortens its hours, but is still open with the same great artwork and interpretive displays which have made it a world-class museum. The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center’s exhibits tell the same powerful story regardless of the weather. Restaurants in town are open, and finding a seat is easy. And there is still plenty of good music to be enjoyed.

The story of 14,000 Japanese Americans’ internment at Heart Mountain can be heard year round.

The story of 14,000 Japanese Americans’ internment at Heart Mountain can be heard year round.

Many visitors have also figured out that they simply like to see the country at different times of the year. Often these are the same folks who get off the interstates and are more interested in exploring the area instead of trying to cover as much ground as possible.

These are my kind of people. I bet they know that the word “equinox” is derived from Latin meaning “equal night.”

Until next week, I am lovin’ – and balancing – life in Cody, Wyo.

Sep
05

Plan a Fall Vacation in Yellowstone Country

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Summer begins Memorial Day weekend and ends Labor Day weekend. Even though officially we still have a couple more weeks of summer, in my mind fall has begun.

I love this time of year. The dry air in the West is something that has always agreed with me. When I spent my time in the Big City in my early 20s, the humidity was something for which I was unprepared. It took me a long time to get acclimated, and I was always wearing the wrong clothes. How could 80 degrees feel so hot and 60 so cold?

Cody fall landscapes often include sunflowers, blue skies and rugged hills.

Cody fall landscapes often include sunflowers, blue skies and rugged hills.

 

With our dry air, I don’t feel that much difference between 60 (or lower) and 80 (or higher). Sure, my jeans and cowboy boots are a little more comfortable in the cooler temperatures, but the days when the weather dictates my lifestyle simply don’t happen often.

The first day I dig my favorite sweater out of the dresser however, signals several things.

— The bounty I have been enjoying from my garden is winding down. The squashes and tomatoes have been plentiful, but if I want large quantities I will need to find them at the farmer’s market or grocery store. The fall crops such as Brussel sprouts and root vegetables are getting better every week.

— School is back in session, and the empty nesters rule. A fall vacation in Cody features a different demographic. There are still school age children (homeschoolers and those on year round calendars are common) to be found, but I notice a more “mature” crowd.

— Sports have gotten more interesting.  My dad taught me long division when I was a kid by showing me how baseball batting averages were calculated, and I have always enjoyed major league baseball since then, especially when the pennant races heat up. Our local school teams are competing in fall sports as well, and I expect great things from our boys and girls.

— The leaves are close to changing color, and hikers and photographers are anxious to take advantage.

— The animals are active. A trip into Yellowstone is a great way to see various species as they prepare for winter. Bears are wolfing down as much food as they can, and wolves are chasing elk who are chasing each other.

Majestic bull elk roam meadows and river banks while bugling for a mate.

Majestic bull elk roam meadows and river banks while bugling for a mate.

— Rendezvous Royale means I get to dress up and mingle with old friends as we check out some special Western art, western furniture and western fashions.

An artist puts the finishing touches on his sculpture during the Buffalo Bill Quick Draw, an event of Rendezvous Royale.

An artist puts the finishing touches on his sculpture during the Buffalo Bill Quick Draw, an event of Rendezvous Royale.

— The Yellowstone Quilt Festival features local talent and a “block challenge” as donated blocks are assembled into one quilt to be raffled. One of these days I am going to win that raffle.

So, dig out your favorite sweater and come join me for a Wyoming fall adventure.

Until next week, I am lovin’ life in Cody, Wyo.

Aug
27

Close Out Summer By Spending Labor Day Weekend in Yellowstone

 

Aug
20

Rendezvous Royale: Where Western Style Meets Elegant Taste

Mix the Western charm of Cody with the prestigious elegance of fine art, fashion, and dancing, and you’ll get one of the most anticipated events of the year: Rendezvous Royale.

Drawing people in from all over the country, the Rendezvous Royale is a week-long festival (September 15-21) that celebrates the West with a renowned art show, auction, fashion show, studio tours, a gala and more.

Western style is showcased on the runway at the 2013 Cody High Style event.

Western style is showcased on the runway at the 2013 Cody High Style event.

Mountain Living magazine said it best when they quoted this event as being “to western arts what the Oscars are to film; the most prestigious event at which to make a splash”.

It’s also the perfect time to plan that autumn vacation you’ve been craving.

Rendezvous Royale gives out-of-towner’s a rare glimpse of Cody, and art enthusiasts a complete immersion into the tradition and history of Wyoming through an array of aesthetic treasures.

Visitors pack the downtown streets of Cody at the 2013 Boot Scoot N’ Boogie.

Visitors pack the downtown streets of Cody at the 2013 Boot Scoot N’ Boogie.

With cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, visitors will have the pleasure of experiencing the town of Cody in a unique season while digging down deep into its cultural roots with a series of shows and exhibits.

The week consists of 5 main events: the Cody Culinary Cook-off (September 18), Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale (August 20-September 20), Cody High Style (September 17-21), Boot Scoot N’ Boogie (September 18)  and a Patron’s Ball (September 20). Most events will take place at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. 

The Buffalo Bill Art Sale will run September 19 & 20th with a live and silent auction showcasing original artwork in watercolor, pastel, sculpture, ceramic, and mixed media.

“South and West”, a piece by Buckeye Blake on sale through the Silent Auction.

“South and West”, a piece by Buckeye Blake on sale through the Silent Auction.

The Culinary Cook-Off will tantalize your taste buds with some gourmet Western dishes prepared by local chefs. Cost to participate is $10.00 for adults and $5 bucks for the kiddos.

All the events are relaxed and a ton of fun, but ditch the cowboy boots on Saturday, September 20th and don your best evening attire for the 38th Annual Buffalo Bill Center of the West Patrons Ball–a sophisticated evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and dancing among fellow cowboys and cowgirls of the Northwest.

Ready to dive in to this charming event? There is limited seating available for most events, so be sure to register soon!  Look up places to stay, where to eat, and other travel necessities on our website. 

All photos credited to: redezvousroyale.org

Aug
15

Fly me to the Moon, or at Least to Powell’s Wings ‘N Wheels Show!

When you live in the wide open spaces of Wyoming, transportation is important.

Our towns here in Yellowstone Country are certainly small enough that you can walk from end to end. Riding horseback is still a way of life, and the bicycles and motorcycles coexist just fine.

But let’s face it: We love our cars and trucks. While we don’t compare to a place like Alaska where it seems every other person flies, there is more than our share of private pilots and small airstrips around here.

Open landscapes add to the great air show.

Open landscapes add to the great air show.

This weekend I intend to accept a standing offer from a “pilot acquaintance” who has been after me to go flying in his single-engine Piper Dakota. My plan is to meet him Saturday morning at the Cody Yellowstone Regional Airport where he keeps his plane. While I know any direction is okay with him, I want to make the short flight to Powell. This will be a simple flight with no special tricks, unlike what we will see later that morning.

The air show is always spectacular at Wings 'N Wheels.

The air show is always spectacular at Wings 'N Wheels.

You see, this Saturday is Powell’s Annual Wings ‘N Wheels Fly-in & Car Show at the Powell Municipal Airport. Plane and car owners will be displaying their vehicles, most of which have been restored or customized. There are great photos on the website of vintage cars and planes positioned next to each other on the runway.

Vintage automobiles are popular at Wings 'N Wheels.

Vintage automobiles are popular at Wings 'N Wheels.

The owners of the cars and planes are proud of their vehicles and always happy to discuss them. These aficionados enjoy each other’s company, share information and generally just love talking about engines, wings and wheel covers.

Breakfast starts at 7 a.m., and I really want to be there early enough so that I am ready for the car show at 9 a.m. followed by the air show at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. trophies will be presented, and we will reluctantly depart until next year.

Cars of all makes and models are displayed with pride.

Cars of all makes and models are displayed with pride.

If you can make it, please head to Powell on Saturday and look for me. I will be the one negotiating with the Corvette owners to buy one of their cars.

In the meantime, I am lovin’ life – and tipping my wings at everyone on the ground – in Cody, Wyo.

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