Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It’s Getting Better

July 19 – Both the weather and the tension finally broke. Although this was basically just another day of driving, it was through some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen. And, even better, the girls were slightly more animated, making it a pleasant day overall. (Very few pictures were taken, for a variety of reasons, most notably the fact that I didn't bring the good camera and I'm a horrible landscape photographer).

IMG_3620The road from Gillette to Cody, while mostly boring highway, crossed through Bighorn National Forest. We spotted our first (and possibly last) moose, but for the most part the beauty was in the scenery, ranging from rugged mountains still covered in snow in mid-July to massive fields of wildflowers. The highest pass is nearly 10,000 ft., and you can really feel the altitude. And, most remarkably, there were cyclists – dozens of them – making their way through the mountains with us. Really, I can’t imagine anything more insane (yes, I’m talking to you Michael and Kevin).

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We made it to Cody around 2 p.m., had lunch at a local diner, then found our way to our home for the next four nights, the Rand Creek Ranch. The scenery along the way was even better, if that was possible, as we crossed over the Buffalo Bill damn and into what is known as "the fifty most beautiful miles in America." IMG-20110719-00069

The girls immediately found their way to the stables and went for an hour trail ride as I relaxed from a week of driving, and made onward plans (Jackson Hole – in; Santa Fe – out). Then it was back to Cody for dinner at Bubba’s Bar-B-Que (where none of us had bar-b-que) and a wind storm that came from nowhere and disappeared the same way. Then a bit of time was spent at the campfire before we settled in for the night.