Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Gun Barrel Fire Near Cody, WY and Hotel Irma

We headed out this morning to Cody, WY and to our surprise ran into a young bull elk in the park, and the Gun Barrel fire in Shoshone National Forest! It's hard to see from this picture, but right in the center you can actually see the flames. We watched the helicopters with their water we can tell they are trying to manage the flames, rather than try to put them out. The fire is killing pine beetles that are destroying the forest! We also saw the Le Hardy fire in the park that is still burning. It was impressive but frightening! Let's say a little prayer that all the firefighters will be safe, and that the fires are managed.
We had lunch at the Irma Hotel in Cody! The food was superb. The bar in the restaurant was the original from 1902 and gorgeous! We walked around town a bit and checked out some galleries...we like Red Lodge and Jackson better, but I have to admit we didn't go to the huge Buffalo Bill Cody museum. Here's how the hotel is presented at

"Step back in time… into the old west of today, at the Irma Hotel, – a place that Buffalo Bill Cody called “a gem” just outside of Yellowstone National Park. Stay in historic rooms that housed some of the most famous personalities the world have ever known such as Frederic Remington, Annie Oakley & Calamity Jane. You can even stay in Buffalo Bill’s private suite, or in a host of other historic or non-historic rooms, all with up-to-date amenities and air conditioning.
Enjoy the finest dining in the West, including our famous prime rib. Enjoy a drink and friendly camaraderie at the Buffalo Bill Bar or in the Silver Saddle Saloon. Fancy enough for royalty, and comfortable enough for cowboys and cowgirls, the Irma Hotel is the heart and spirit of Cody, Wyoming!"
We're heading home on September 21st! It will take us a few weeks to get home...we are planning some side trips to the Arches National Park in Moab, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Sedona and, of course, Murfreesboro, Arkansas to dig for diamonds! Hopefully we'll be home sometime the first or second week of October. We'll keep you posted. It is already starting to slow down here in West Yellowstone and we're noticing a difference in the park with fewer cars. I'm still chasing a moose with horns, and we're probably heading back down to the Snake River in the Tetons as we've heard there are some there. This has been an incredible opportunity for us to learn that we don't want a gallery, that retail is really hard work, and there are tons of fun people in the world! We had more countries represented in the store than states! With the dollar weak, and other countries' currencies strong, the foreign tourists were here in force and buying lots! Thanks for supporting our faltering economy!
I'm watching CNN and struggling to understand an Obama/Biden ticket...I'm not fond of McCain...but I'm struggling without Hillary in the race. This may be the first time that I just throw in the towel and flip a coin. I'm not an Obama fan, Biden is not someone I have much respect for given his inappropriate remarks in the past...where is Hillary going to end up in this scenario. I'll try to keep an open mind and watch the next few months of campaigning before making a choice, but this has been a very disappointing political season.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another Day! Another Car Show!! and a Moose!!

Sunday we went to Bozeman, MT for a car show and a visit to WalMart!!! You know we live in the boonies when it's more than 80 miles to WalMart! Woody enjoyed walking around the seeing the cars, even if some of them had been at the Rod Run here in West Yellowstone. While he looked at cars, I shopped! This was a great show because it was downtown on Main Street in Bozeman, and all the shops were open. Some of the galleries were fabulous...hard to believe you're in the middle of the western prairie and mountains and ranches! My favorite place was the Montana Gift Corral which had fabulous stuff! I bought a new paper towel holder with a pewter moose on top, and a beautiful sterling silver cuff bracelet with a moose on an onyx background. Since I can't seem to find a moose with a rack, or as Woody calls it "a horny moose", I just bought two! The downtown is darling, with old buildings but upscale shopping. I do love college towns near high-end resort areas like Big Sky! If it just weren't so cold, I'd love to live here! It's below zero a lot with lots of wind! Not as much snow as West, but lots of ice according to one of the young sales clerks I talked to during my shopping.

Of course, we went to WalMart, but also Michaels, Borders and Johnny Carino's Restaurant for dinner, which serves country Italian! A real town! Yea!!! If it sounds like I'm homesick for Hendersonville and Nashville, you're right! Woody is ready for a boys' day out with Bill and company!

Happy birthday to Libby...she turned 32 on Saturday, August 16th! Hard to believe that I'm only 39 and she's already 32!

Resting today and tomorrow...we've been going hard for weeks and now I'm pooped. We're having dinner out with friends tomorrow night...back to Bar N Ranch...we may go every week til we leave as it's the best restaurant in West Yellowstone and maybe in the west! There are eight of us going tomorrow night so it will be a blast!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Jackson Hole, WY is Gorgeous!

Years ago my Dad told us that Jackson Hole was the most beautiful place in the world. Today we saw what he meant! We went to Jackson, WY, a town located in the Jackson Hole valley of Teton County, Wyoming. The drive through the Tetons and the pass was gorgeous. We were glad that it was in the Mustang not the RV! Straight up and straight down. We saw potatoes growing, which was a new thing!

Once we got to Jackson, we did the Antler Arch picture, walked the square and saw the Cowboy Bar and bought tons of stuff. There was even a Staples and a Coldwater Creek. The Coldwater Creek was unlike any I've ever'd think it was a very affluent community with all the expensive jewelry and suede jackets, etc. I saw a woman with a Chicos bag! We left before I found it, but at least I know it's there! We went to several art galleries and the quality of the work was incredible. There was a moose oil painting for a mere $18,000 that I would love to have had for the living room. Instead we have a post card of two moose kissing that Woody bought me! We headed to Teton Village to ride the gondola, but of course, like Big Sky, MT, it was under construction. We headed through the forest on a gravel road toward Yellowstone, and found Jackson Lake. It was absolutely stunning. Not as big as Yellowstone Lake, but certainly equally beautiful. We stopped and saw the warning bear sign, and then right down the road...the bear!! I think we'll head back to Jackson in a few weeks.
Love to our friends Bill and Jane...Bill's brother died this weekend after a lingering illness.
I do hope all of you are enjoying sharing our retirement...except Holly who hates us! There might be a few others who aren't fond of us...we are having a wonderful time, but are ready to see our friends and family! It won't be too long!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Lewis and Clark Caverns, Red Lodge and Beartooth!

We are entirely too busy! I'm falling down on my job of keeping you all up to date! On Monday, we went to Lewis and Clark Caverns. We hiked up the mountain and then down into the beautiful cavern. It was a tough but easy climb...paved path, but straight up! The caverns were cool but I was disappointed that I never saw the bats. Apparently there are thousands of bats and bat babies, but we just couldn't get them to wake up and play! After the caverns, we went to Virginia City which is a ghost town near Ennis, MT. I reminded Woody again that I'm not overly fond of history, but the homemade ice cream at one shop was fabulous. On Tuesday we headed to Red Lodge, MT via Beartooth Pass. We had to wait to go as the pass didn't open until the end of June due to snow...yep, snow. The picture above is about at the top of the mountain and is a beautiful lake with lots of snow still melting! It was quite cool and gusty. The road was winding and straight up and then straight down! I'll post pictures of the road later.

We love Red Lodge and wish all the lovely people we met safety from the fire. There is a significant forest fire burning 8-9 miles from the town, and the ski lodge is most at risk right now. You can get an update on the fire at The firefighters are doing a fabulous job. One of the things that was interesting, short of the helicopters flying back and forth to dump water/fire retardant while we were lunching and shopping, was the fact that they were using the snow making machines to try to keep the lodge and surrounding buildings wet. You could see the smoke over the hill as you walked down the street. It was a long drive over, so we thought we'd come back a different way through Gardiner and back into Yellowstone National Park. We didn't make it back until almost 10PM, and the park is incredibly dark!!! It happened to be overcast and with the smoke from the Red Lodge fire and a smaller fire in Yellowstone, there were no stars or moon to help light the way. We were concerned that we'd encounter animals unexpectedly, but all we saw was one lonely coyote meandering down the side of the road!

We actually had Friday and Saturday off this week so Woody could go to the West Yellowstone 38th Annual Rod Run. For the uninitiated, it was about 300 hot rods! Our store, Buffalo Trading Company, was a sponsor and Brenda let Woody pick the car that we gave our trophy was a Chevy Nomad that he picked out Friday even before he saw the rest of the cars! Here's the car in the parade going right by our store! At the show, we discovered the car is owned by a woman! So appropriate with Brenda owning the store! After the show, we went to Island Park Lodge for dinner with Dave and Geri, our co-workers! and the ones who coerced us into the Lewis and Clark Cavern visit without mentioning the mountain climb to get there! We owe you!
It's late...hope you're all having a wonderful summer! Bedtime for me!