09/20/2001: Thurs 9/20/01
By dawn, it was chilly. Not quite frosty, but still, it's cold. A bi-plane started buzzing around at 7:00. There are no crops around. I found out later that it was spraying mosquito killer. We drove to the shower house with our laundry, showered and did laundry. I've written this sitting by the dryer in the laundry room (I only need a light jacket in here).
It was a completely clear, blue day. By the time we struck camp, and finished our laundry, it was 10:00, and the car in the sun was comfortably warm. We went into town (Thermopolis, WY) and found Pumpernick's on Broadway, an eatery recommended by the white-hatted gent who lives at and runs Country Campin'. Good food served slow, but presented nicely. We read local papers while waiting. Mostly reactions to the attack last week. The article I found most disturbing was about radio stations censoring music which deals with destruction (Talking Head's Burning Down the House), or flying (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds!) or performed by artists with Muslim leanings (Cat Stevens).
Anyway, after breakfast, we walked to the Western History Museum, which we'd heard was excellent. But we decided not to pay to go in, since neither of us are really old west history buffs.
We proceeded to the other end of town (many blocks) to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. I didn't pay to walk out to the dig, and dig. But the museum is excellent. After a while there, we did a soak session at the free bath. The hot mineral soak is relaxing, although it really tightens up the skin. So, at 2-ish finally, we headed toward Yellowstone via Cody (SR. 120 north, then Fed. 14/16/20 west. We passed plenty of spectacular geological scenery (yawn). I think we're getting saturated.
But, Shoshone canyon, with it's deep cut through ancient breccia and spires and chimneys was impressive. We couldn't visit the Buffalo Bill Dam, though. Security.
It seems silly to me. The total explosive tonnage used last week probably wouldn't seriously bother this little dam. And, if the dam went, some ranchers lose profits, and more electric power needs to be imported. Not a major security risk. I did talk to one fellow who was stopped on the road in his truck coming from Alabama. He was questioned, but released. Odd.
So we drove through Shoshone Canyon into a fierce, low sun. I'd finally found some polarized sunglasses at Wal-Mart in Cody for only 3 times what I normally pay at Walgreen's. We were planning to drive through Yellowstone, and get an inexpensive room on the far side, in Montana. But, driving those steep, windy roads alternating between blinding sun and deep shade tired me fast.
As we descended to, and drove around one end of Yellowstone Lake (elev. 7,733), I saw (and smelled) a small steam vent by the side of the road, and a wolf by the shore, and we also had to slow for a dozen or so bison crossing the road. We just passed the gathering, although others had stopped on the road to watch.
We stopped at Yellowstone Lake Village to ask about room rates. High. They did have 3 cabins available. Re-done in the 60's. No phone or TV. But, private bath and heat. For only 5 times what we'd spent to camp last night, or twice the price of the Victorian Mansion king-bed room. I was pooped, so we stayed. We are a short walk from Yellowstone Lake. The cabin is sort of rustic, and smells as if a large old dog with dubious continence has been staying here. Given the sag of the mattresses, it might be that a bear had wintered there. But there was heat, and a private shower.