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For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More


Comparing Notes With Other Tourism Folks

February 28th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I don’t know about you, but I can always tell what time of year it is here in Cody without even looking at the calendar. Colorful lights means Christmas is approaching. The first day I see that huge car with the loudspeakers bolted on the roof and longhorns attached to the hood means the start of June and the Cody Nite Rodeo. Dan Miller walking down the street in a cupid outfit must mean that it’s Valentine’s Day.

Okay, I made that last one up. But I can hope…

Cody, the wildest way into Yellowstone.

If it’s late in February, it must mean that I have just gotten home from the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism. We all know that Wyoming is a big state, and I am reminded of our glorious open spaces, soaring mountain ranges and stunning beauty when I make my annual drive to our state capital of Cheyenne every year for the conference.

I lived in the big city where there are more people crammed into 10 square miles than we have in our whole state of almost 100,000 square miles (97,818 to be exact), and I am reminded of one of the main reasons I came home and Read More


Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

September 28th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Fall has finally arrived here in Cody after an absolutely breathtaking and busy summer. In some ways it seems like yesterday that I was putting my flag up to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but it also seems like a long time ago when I start thinking of everything I did and the people I met in a little over three months.

The biggest obstacle I face in summer is overextending myself. When someone suggests to me on a quiet Monday morning that we grab our cameras and head up the Wapiti Valley on Tuesday afternoon because several moose and grizzlies have been spotted near Sleeping Giant ski area, I immediately say yes.

Historic yellow buses are a great way to tour Yellowstone in the summer.

An early morning run to my favorite trout stream before the sun is too high? I’m there.

Taking an out-of-town visitor on a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone National Park is one of my favorite things in the world.

Next thing I know I’m booked solid and in danger of missing my favorite cowboy musician for the week. And I get grumpy if I go too long without hearing “It Takes a Whole Lotta Liquor to Like Her.”

So what do Read More


West Meets Midwest

August 24th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

If you see me walking around Cody next week telling stories about the town to someone who is feverishly taking notes, please don’t be concerned.

Tap your feet along to the sounds of Americana, bluegrass and songs of the American West at Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue.

You see, we are hosting a conference for the Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA), and this group of journalists is coming for more than just Yellowstone Country’s Western brand of hospitality.Over the years there is a good chance you have read an article by one of these writers. Before the Internet turned our lives upside down, travel writers researched and wrote their stories for magazines, newspapers, newsletters and other publications. Many of those publications are now found online, and professionals supply the stories.

This conference is our opportunity to showcase our attractions. The plan is to start with a welcome reception at the Chamberlin Inn followed by a short walk over to enjoy Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue. I know that Dan will promptly win over the female journalists in the crowd, but we cannot just send them home after his performance. We will take the next several days making a trip to Yellowstone, taking Read More


Moving Ground in Yellowstone Country

July 17th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

We have a lot of thermal activity here in Yellowstone Country.

Old Faithful’s eruptions varies from 51 to 120 minutes

Inside Yellowstone National Park (around here we just call it “The Park”) is the world’s largest concentration of geysers and other thermal features totaling in the 10,000 neighborhood. Everybody knows about Old Faithful, but many people are surprised to find so many other geysers as well as fumaroles, hot springs and mud pots scattered throughout the park.

Here in Cody we also have our share of thermal features, and I’m not talking about our “hot” cowboy musicians. Back in the early 1800s, John Colter was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition who went on side trips. Colter made his way in what are now Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. He also made it to what is now our humble town of Cody, where he came upon thermal activity that became known as “Colter’s Hell.”

In 1807 John Colter discovered an active geyser district: steam mixed with sulfur fumes and shooting flames escaped through vents in the valley floor. This is now known as Colter’s Hell

Heat and the smell of sulfur lend themselves to colorful nicknames. That thermal area is Read More


They’re Called Wildlife for a Reason

May 15th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

For the past few days it seems whenever I open the newspaper, turn on the tube or connect to the Web there is one story that keeps showing up. The good news is that it has nothing to do with the Kardashian clan.

What I keep seeing is a story and video clip of tourists who got too close to a bear sow and cubs on a bridge in Yellowstone National Park. Nobody was hurt, and the bears seem to be fine.

Bears in the wild are not Teddy Bears.

In the clip I see tourists with cameras getting too close to the bears, and the mama bear starts to run to round up the cubs. That action startles the tourists who then start to run back to their cars. Some of them scream which makes the situation seem even worse.

Around here we are pretty used to seeing wildlife, and we are well-versed in how to act in bear country. The worst position you can find yourself is to be caught between a mama bear and her cubs. It’s even worse than getting between me and a sale at the cowboy music store.

Even awkward moose appear tame in the wild.

And even Read More


Cody Holidays Like No Others

May 4th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Like many of my townsfolk here in Cody, I took Friday off. At least in spirit, I did.

No, it’s not an early Cinco de Mayo, and I am not like my accountant who celebrates the end of tax season by turning out the lights, locking the doors and sneaking off for her version of Spring Break (or as I call it, “CPAs Gone Wild”).

It takes weeks for plows to clear snow and ice from the Cody/Yellowstone East Entrance Road.

I read the other day that the director of our chamber of commerce thinks May 1 should be a town holiday because the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park opened that day. Even though said gate is 52 spectacular miles up the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, we see a marked change in the traffic patterns as out-of-town visitors return for the season.

Let’s face it. We in Cody love our tourists, in fact many refer to them as “guests”. Several of our businesses are built upon visitors who have discovered over the years just how much there is to do on a Wyoming Vacation. The mixture of new, returning and multi-generational visitors has created an atmosphere that makes a visit to Cody Read More


Getting Ready to Spring into Yellowstone

April 2nd, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In honor of springtime, I did what lots of people who live in Yellowstone Country do. I bought myself some new bling for around my neck. And we’re not talking about another turquoise necklace. No, I went whole hog and invested in this darling camo-colored pair of 8 x 32s with ultra-clear fluoride HD objective lenses, multi-coatings for exceptional resolution, magnesium construction that is durable but lightweight, nitrogen purged, fully sealed and abrasion resistant. Oh yeah. These babies are the bomb.

And every one of my friends – women and men – will be coveting my new binoculars when I break them in at this year’s Spring into Yellowstone Festival May 13 -17.

Happy Explorers on the Spring Into Yellowstone tour.

This is the third year of the Spring into Yellowstone Birding and Wildlife Festival. I took a peek at the festival website, to see what’s in store this year, and it looks to me like the line-up is bigger and better than ever. The festival kicks off at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West on the night of the 13th. And the next two days are jam-packed full of guided hikes, seminars, tours and workshops led by some of the Read More


ORD to COD. And Back.

March 6th, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Comments(1)

Although I now live in the small town of Cody, Wyo., I have taken a bite out of the Big Apple and seen all the stars as I walked down Hollywood Boulevard. I love the conveniences, walkability and mix of cultures of the big city. Not to mention the various types of food and even the art house movies.

But after spending some time in several big cities, I decided I would return to my hometown. I missed chatting up the clerk at the grocery store as we compared notes from our childhood. I missed the scent when the breeze blew through the national forest on a hike and the hiss of steam escaping thermal features. I missed many things.

A weeks visit to Cody/Yellowstone Country is easy from Chicago.

Once I moved back, however, I missed friends I had made. In particular, I became very close very quickly to a group I met in Chicago.

You can imagine my excitement last year when United Airlines introduced a summer route and began flying non-stop between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Yellowstone Regional Airport here in Cody. That’s ORD and COD to those of you like to use airport codes like me.

While flyers have Read More


Spreading the Word of Cooperation

February 23rd, 2015 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Just returned from the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism, and I am ready to spread the word.

Over the years I have become good friends with my counterparts from various towns all over the state. The conference provides an opportunity for us to compare notes about things like festivals, rodeos, museums and who has the best-looking cowboy musicians. (I’ll let you in on a secret: Cody does.)

We brainstorm and share ideas, and we always  want to see each other succeed. Sure, there are times when people forget just where the last great idea came from, but we all understand that even though we are thousands of feet above sea level, the rising tide raises all of our boats.

It’s easy to get “Buffalo Bill’d” during your Cody visit.

This attitude of cooperation is one reason Wyoming is such a great place to visit. As the least populous state in the union, Wyoming is blessed with some of the world’s truly spectacular natural features. At the same time, we don’t have an exorbitant number of people concentrated in our tourist attractions and generating huge businesses.

Nevada has Las Vegas which has as many people on a given day as Yellowstone sees all summer. Personally, Read More