Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Crossing the Big Horn Mountains to Cody, WY

We left Buffalo, WY for the 170 mile trip to Cody, WY which is at the doorstep of Yellowstone Park. We took Highway 14 west to Cody and first had to cross the magnificent Big Horn mountain range. We enjoyed this trip and found that this is the definition of "Big Sky" views (with apologies to Montana!). As you can see, the road is good, but the mountain range is directly ahead!

We crossed the Big Horns at the Powder River Pass at an elevation of 9,666 feet. It was a bit cool here and there was even a touch of snow on the ground. Not surprisingly, you could see seemingly forever! After leaving the pass, we faced 16 miles of 6% downgrade, but this was no problem for our Diesel engine brake, which Rick was very glad to have.

Cody, WY was founded by none other than Buffalo Bill Cody in 1896 and is the classic western town. We have been here a couple times and have always enjoyed our stay. We will be doing quite a bit of exploring during our week stay here.

Cody is obviously thrilled to be in Cody, WY -- in fact, he is named for Cody! You can tell by the enthusiasm he displays here as we arrived in town.

The views around Cody are amazing as this picture shows. We are about 50 miles through the mountains to the east gate of Yellowstone Park and plan to visit in the next day or so.

We toured a few miles to the west of Cody to the Buffalo Bill Dam which dams the Shoshone River. There has been quite a bit of rain this spring and apparently there is LOTS of water being released at the dam given this picture of a very full Shoshone River.

The Buffalo Bill dam was completed in 191o and was the tallest dam in the world at that time. It is now some 350' high and offers some amazing views of the river gorge and reservoir.

There is a great, free visitor center that is well worth a stop. There, you can learn all about the dam project as well as information about the surrounding area. While we were in the car on this trip, there is plenty of parking for the largest RV in the parking area.

No wonder the Shoshone River is so full! This shot shows the spillway draining into the river bed and it sounded like thunder, even when I was 350' above it. This was a powerful feeling to look straight down and see the water pouring out. The spillway pipe is a 30' or so diameter pipe and it is really rushing!

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