Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

This is the flag flying over the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor which serves to remind me of the the commitment that has been made by our military forces throughout history to secure our extraordinary freedoms.  Uncle Les, your sacrifices in WW2 are etched in the memories of your family.  Despite being captured at the Battle of the Bulge and being treated mercilessly, you made it home, retooled your life, became a lawyer, kept your family on course, and left a legacy of appreciation of the price of freedom.  Freedom isn't free.
Of interest to some may be video of the ceremony of the surrender to the Allied Forces on The Missouri

Cody to Jackson, WY via Yellowstone's South Entrance

So many miles of burn in Yellowstone.
But, everywhere there are the little trees that have come up to replenish.

Yellowstone Lake where snow has covered the ice and both are melting now.

More bison babies
Lunch at Jackson Lake Lodge with its huge picture windows and historic murals.  I had a buffalo/elk burger which was really, really good.

The historic murals are above, and of course, all the tables look out over the Grand Tetons, some of which are 13,775 ft in elevation!

After lunch, we sniffed around for a home of friends of mine who are in CA, of all things, but they gave us excellent directions.  It was the next best thing to seeing them -- we have been missing each other for too long.

This is antler country!  Chandeliers at our hotel, huge walk-through arches, and more.  Tomorrow I will show you some of Jackson.

Uniquely Cody, WY

Can you spot what's unique?  There are lots of them!
They eat some not-so-common things.  Not mentioned above is "rocky mountain oysters".  You gotta ask a guy if you don't know what they are.  I almost ordered some for kicks, but thought I'd probably puke.
See what's unique?

They've got a rodeo!  Starts June 1 and runs every night, but we're leaving tomorrow for Jackson Hole -- boo hoo!

Lots of dinosaurs!  Click for a larger picture, and click again when it comes up.

VERY wide streets because Buffalo Bill, who laid out the town, wanted streets to be wide
 enough to turn around a wagon drawn by 6 horses!

A killer dam that bankrupted 3 contractors in the process of building it.  It was Shoshone Dam but the name has changed to Buffalo Bill Dam.  When completed in 1910, it was the tallest dam in the world.  Don't miss the gripping story at  and the visitor's center is awesome.

Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor's Center.  The dam is below and to the right of the Center, and that color of the sky?  Well, it's the real deal!  It looks just like that. 

And here's another "real deal".  A real cowboy who is a long-time friend of Richard's, and splits his time between here and Wickenburg, AZ in-between forays to New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and who knows where.  We had a great time this evening, Norm!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

"OH GIVE ME A HOME . . . "

A couple of days ago, while driving in the country, and again today as we drove outside Cody, WY, nostalgia overtook me.  My dad often sang "Home on the Range", which came to mind a couple of days ago,  words and all, as we've been driving in the country.  I nearly could hear his voice . . . and the 4 of us travelers began singing it at lunch in Cooke City!  I bet I forgot to teach it to my kids!
(Pictures are clickable.  Click once, then click the next image one more time)
"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day."

The song was written in the early 1870s in Kansas where it became the state song in 1947.  It had several revisions to the words and by 1910, the date my dad was born, the words had settled down to those written under the picture.  The song was adopted by settlers, cowboys, and others and spread across the USA, and even today, it is considered the "national anthem" of the West.

We have photographed "deer, antelope and buffalo (bison) at play" for nearly a week now, and the photo above, of course, is of a home where the deer play.  It  urged me to pray for families to seldom hear a discouraging word, as I realized now how well that fit my dad.  Despite many obstacles in his life, including his final battle with cancer, he did not have a discouraging word. Not a  "collywobble" (upset tummy ( or "hook my cookies" (throw up) brought complaint.  He was (still is) a powerful influence on my life's bent toward optimism.  Thank you, Dad.

How many deer can you find?  Sam (5) found ALL six!!!

A home, acreage, black angus cows, and a stream.  Reminded me of our farm where Alli and Doug were raised on some acreage, a home, a river, horses, ducks, geese, 60 chickens, guinea hens and infant raccoons, with black angus next door.  I was thankful then, and maybe even more so now as I watch families trying to keep a "country" focus in towns where nature is elusive.  Sam and Ben are the beneficiaries of a mom and dad who value nature so much that they purpose to take the boys TO it practically every day.  That takes enormous effort and commitment, while all I had to do was wake up each morning and be greeted by all the farm animals.  ^5 Dave and Alli.

Ranches of the West -- THE NEW . . .

The older . . .

The oldest . . .

Just some sights I liked . . .

Irrigation on wheels - I need to find out what it's called.  (Above) At rest.  (Below) At work.

I loved the sweep of the cloud.

Time for lunch.  I mean, after all, Richard's been having to pull over to the side of the road constantly so I can take pictures!
Richard says there's one in Jackson, WY, too.  I bet they'll be seeing us there, too!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming

Famous statue of Buffalo Bill at the Historical Center in Cody, WY

I am running amok with exuberance about this museum, so if you're curious why, check out the link above.  Allow 2 days for this remarkable museum.  It has several, very large sections, all assembled using the latest in display and teaching venues.  Awesome!
There are 5 museums in 1:
Firearms Museum - the largest assemblage in the world
Museum of Natural History
Plains Indian Museum - with a fair perspective
Gallery of Western Art
Buffalo Bill Cody Museum

A small section of the firearms exhibition of about 2,700 historic and rare guns.

How they were made.

MUSEUM OF ART:  we are treated to an amazing display of great Western art.
Custer's Last Stand by Paxson
Near the end of 1899, Paxson completed Custer's Last Stand, which he had begun painting eight years earlier; a painting he was determined to finish nearly a quarter of a century earlier. The monumental documentary painting measures 6 by 9 feet and contains nearly two hundred figures, many of which are identifiable participants in the battle. In his efforts to achieve historical accuracy in essence and detail, Paxson had interviewed 96 officers and soldiers who were close to the battle. One of the most notable tribal Indian leaders he encountered of the Cheyenne was "Two Moon" who accompanied Paxson over the battlefield not long after the event ended. Paxson acquired photographs of the men in battle, both Indian and white, and had personal collections of relevant artifacts from the Indian wars.

In 1963 Dr. Harold McCracken, the noted historian and Western art authority, deemed Paxson's painting "the best pictoral representation of the battle" and "from a purely artistic of the best if not the finest pictures which have been created to immortalize that dramatic event."

Complex art is expanded by using interactive, touch screen displays.

I have a great appreciation of the life of a Plains Indian after spending time in the very large section devoted to their lives.

Displays are accompanied by push-button stands which have audio along with the text which appears on the green screen you see.  The lights for each area increase and decrease depending on whether the sensor registers that someone is at the display.

I was so absorbed in the Natural History museum, I almost forgot to take pictures, so I don't have a "representative" photo.  There were interactive nooks where video is available of an animal along with pertinent facts.  Parts of flooring had been removed to insert burrowing animals, like Prairie Dogs in their burrows, and cover the scene with walk-on glass.

Full-sized restorations of such things as this Pony Express US Mail wagon.

Historic wagons.

Buffalo Bill Cody
Well-respected by Indians

Indians were integral to his shows. 
My dad would have loved this museum - he was an avid historian who took special interest in the settling of the West.

Time to wrap up a great day with some grub!

L to R is Murray, Helen, Oli and Richard
If you're in Cody - eat here!

Yellowstone, Day 5 and on to Cody, WY

We passed this by so many times, thinking "it's so small, there can't be much in there."  But today, facing our last chance to do it, we acknowledged it's the small museums which often are best, and we weren't disappointed.  This is an excellent museum!
A tandem freight train, pulled by a team of 12 horses!

The museum is housed in the old Union Pacific Railroad station, and it's here that the old ticket office is featured, along with some of the old equipment and uniforms. There's a room devoted to the earthquake of 1955 and the great fire of 1988, each with a movie of the well-publicized event, but which my brain doesn't retain for all those years!

As we exited Yellowstone, we met up with one more bison ambling by our car.

We left the park via the Northeast exit, but these elk were at the north exit.  I wish these guys would park on my front lawn!
We head to Cody, WY via Chief Joseph Hwy which Richard really wanted me to see, and for very good reason.  The scenery is spectacular!

Lunch here in Cooke City, before getting on Chief Joseph Hwy.

Richard and Murray plotting the way. 

Cooke City is a very small town, but clearly Western, don't you think?  Richard is smacking a mosquito on his nose!!  hahahaha, he's skeered it'll take away his whole nose, I think!

On scenery pictures, if larger is better for you, click once on the picture, and when it comes up, click again on that picture.
Gorgeous Gorges!

Remarkable plains
Mountains at 8,000 ft elevation looking at 12,000 ft mountains!

The sun kept dodging behind clouds, but we got lucky on this one!

Yea, dinner's next!  We're in Cody, WY at the Proud Cut Saloon, serving "Kick Ass Country Cuisine"!  Steak night for us!

That's our server!  It was crowded when we arrived, but we cleared 'em out.

L to R: Murray, Helen, Oli, Richard