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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Yellowstone & Bear Tooth Pass

In the last post, I mentioned how cool the weather has been here in Cody.  Well, It's pretty much gone the other way now with temps in the high 80's in the day and 60's at night with low humidity. It's actually about perfect and supposed to be in low 90's later this week.  The only complaint is there are five  wildfires still burning in Yellowstone Park generating plenty of smoke, making visibility and photography a challenge. Speaking of wildfires, the park lets the fires burn in a contained manner. It's considered to be a part of the natural evolution process. In fact, the lodge pole pine trees depend on extreme temperatures, like fire, to release their seeds. The south entrance into Yellowstone has been closed about a week, and is still closed.

 Saturday we went to Dan Miller's Cowboy Music Revue at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West that was great. Afterwards, we went to the well known rodeo here in Cody that was quite good. We haven't been to a rodeo in ages and this one is way cool. Sunday, we loaded the truck with snacks and drinks and headed out for Yellowstone. The park is huge and would take many days to see it all. We were here two years ago, and decided to go into some sections of the park we haven't seen before. For our newer blogger friends that weren't following us then, you can read about it here and here. The park was nowhere near as crowded as our last visit. I assume that's due to it being later in the season and the wildfires.  Monday, we went to Beartooth Pass via Chief Joseph's Highway. This is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in America, and it was magnificent again. This drive is easily in our top five most picturesque destinations. Fortunately, the wind shifted to the east Monday blowing the smoke out of the area and was the prettiest day we've had since arriving here. The temperature on top of the pass was a cool 62 with a brisk breeze, but was still comfortable. The pass had been closed due to snow last week for one day.

Tomorrow we're saying goodby to Cody and heading north into Montana where it will take us two days to reach our destination, Rollins RV Park in Rollins, Mt.  We plan to meet our  Cajun buddies, Terry and Kathy Derouen who have been work camping there. I understand they're ready to retire again and hit the road!  We'll spend the night tomorrow night  somewhere along the way, close to I-90.

Eleanor Lake

Burned forest near Yellowstone Lake

Picnic area adjacent to Yellowstone Lake

We saw plenty of Bison in the park. The park does manage the herd size.

Area of the park known as Mud Volcano. This is a spring that was so hot it was boiling.

Another boiling spring but this one is in a cave and produces waves with a gurgling noise. It's called Dragon's Mouth

Muddy boiling spring and is the "Mud Volcano"

This area of the park has a walkway to keep patrons on the path and away from some of the dangers.

Beautiful valley with the Yellowstone River winding through it.

Trumpeter Swans that are native to the river. 

Yellowstone River

Lower Falls on Yellowstone River

Upper Falls on Yellowstone River

Ranger Station at Northeast entrance to park.
Pretty valley on Chief Joseph's Highway

I'm sure I mentioned the highways in this area are deemed "open range" which means livestock are free to roam on the roadways. This herd of Black Angus cattle was in the middle of the road on Chief Joseph's Highway.

Cool entrance to ranch on Chief Joseph's Highway. The sign on the right says "Thanks Firefighters". We saw similar signs at many ranches. They really do appreciate the work and sacrifice of their firemen.

I love the pretty blue and puffy white clouds.

Beartooth Lake

Scenic area in front of Top of the World Store. We had to buy a few trinkets there!

Snow plow parked across the road from the Top of the World Store. It's not unusual for the area to receive snow even in the summer. The road is closed about half the year due to snow.

Here's my Chevy shot in front of Island Lake. The truck is covered in bugs and dirt and can't wait to get to Montana so I can wash it. I'd be ashamed for my good friend Ed to see it look like this!

Scenic view in front of Little Bear Lake.

On top of Beartooth Pass! Beautiful view and gorgeous day!

Also on top. This group of bike riders are from Belgium and were having a blast. They flew into the US and rented the bikes and are touring the country.

Here's the elevation on top. Notice the boiling point of water at this elevation which is 192 degrees. I believe it's 212 at sea level.

View from an overlook on the way down into Red Lodge, Mt. It's a long way down!
Back in Cody, we ran across this field of sunflowers.

Very pretty.

Entrance into Old Trail Town on west side of Cody. It's basically a collection of old cabins and buildings from the old western days that have been relocated here on the site of the original "Cody City" in 1895. 

I thought the bell in the foreground against the mountain background was pretty cool.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cody, Wyoming

You guys back on the east wouldn't believe the weather here in Cody. Since our arrival Tuesday, the daytime highs are running in the 60's and lows at night in the 40's. In fact Montana DOT closed the highway at Beartooth Pass due to snow! We're running our fireplace here in the RV to keep us comfortable. The weather here has been unseasonably cool for this time of year, and is supposed to warm back up this weekend. We're planning on going to Beartooth tomorrow, so hopefully we should have some interesting photos to share from that trip.

 We have a neighbor here in Absaroka Bay RV Park that has a most unusual and interesting hobby. His name is Jeff Parker from Kingman, Az. and Jeff raises and hunts Harris Hawks. We first noticed Jeff outside with one of his birds and had to meet Jeff and find out more about the hawks. Jeff is a very nice guy and seemed happy to tell us about the hawks and his passion for them. He has five hawks that travel with him in his Toy Hauler RV. The garage part of his RV is the area where the hawks live. Jeff takes the birds out in the desert and primarily hunts quail, jack rabbits and cottontail rabbits. When one of his birds makes a kill, he lets the bird eat his fill and then Jeff takes the remains and freezes it for them to eat later.  Jeff has trained the birds where they will return to him on command, but does put a miniature transmitter on the hawks when hunting and training. He has a receiver that will indicate the direction of the bird if they get out of sight.  The females are about one third larger than the males, and is the only way to tell them apart. Jeff told me the only way he can identify his individual birds is by their mannerisms.  When young, they have more red in their color, but are primarily brown when they mature and are the only raptors that are social as they live in groups and are more tolerate of humans as a result. The Harris Hawks are native to Western Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Arizona. Jeff is licensed by the state of Arizona for falconry and has a breeders permit issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He's been working with hawks about twenty year. Falconers consider working with birds of prey a lifestyle.

We met another interesting neighbor here in the park recently, at of all places, a barber shop. On Wednesday we went to Frank's Barber Shop here in Cody, when a nice lady entered and asked about a haircut and Frank said he could accommodate her. She got to talking and said she was from North Carolina! I asked where, and she said from Waxhaw,  just east of Charlotte in Union County, which is maybe sixty miles from where we live. She also said she is a full time RVer and I told her we were part timers, and asked where she was staying. Turns out to be the same park we're in! Small world, huh! She said she sold her farm and travels the country by herself and was very comfortable pulling and backing trailers as she had horses on her farm and trailered them to different areas. I told her good for her and wished her well. 

Meet Jeff Parker from Kingman  Arizona

This Harris Hawk is only 15 weeks old and is a female. is a female

Check out her talons! Jeff says they are needle sharp and can easily go through a person's finger if not careful.

She is a young bird and will turn darker as she matures. Jeff has had her from a chick and is teaching her hunting skills.

Beautiful tail feathers

Jeff doesn't need a watch dog with these guys around!

Our Campground in Cody
Here we are on G-13

Entrance to Buffalo Bill State Park near Cody.
Pretty scenery with desert, lake and mountains.

RV Park. Some sites had power and water. Most did not.

Magpie bird common to this area. They're size is between a blue jay and crow at home. Very pretty bird. 

They have a very long tail.

Don't know what these guys are, but they're pretty. Sort of resemble a pelican
They're 3 tunnels on Highway 14 which goes to Buffalo Bill State Park

Inside the longest one.