Friday, July 31, 2015
Chapter 35 - Billings to Buffalo, Wyoming
Our drive from Billings down to Buffalo, Wyoming was entirely on our interstate highway system which is remarkable considering that over the course of this almost 170 mile drive there was little traffic, we passed through remote and scarcely populated areas, and about a third of the drive was through the Crow Indian Reservation. What a great country we live in where our federal government would build a divided highway system through miles of almost empty land (excluding cows) to get to a city like Buffalo with a population of under 6,000. And I am definitely not complaining and here again the scenery on the drive today was beautiful. It is going to be hard to return to the east.
Believe it or not the local history books tell us that Buffalo, Wyoming was named not after the thousands of bisons that used to roam the area, but after the City of Buffalo, New York. I am sure that it had nothing to do with the fact that Buffalo, WY and Buffalo, NY are both serviced by I-90, nor does it have anything to do with the fact that I was born in Buffalo, NY. What we are told was that the name Buffalo was simply drawn from a list of possible names placed in a hat. Pure luck as the case may be.
Most of the other buildings on Buffalo's Main Street were also fairly old, however none of the stores within the buildings offered anything as interesting as the Occidental Hotel. Furthermore, most of the tourist brochures describing visitor options in the Buffalo area describe the beauty of the surrounding area particularly scenic drives up into the Big Horn Mountains immediate to the west of the city. Kathy and I decided that tomorrow we will drive out and see for ourselves the "spectacular scenery at every turn."
The southern portion of the 1.1 million acre Bighorn National Forest is immediately to the west of Buffalo, Wyoming and today one of the things that we wanted to do was to drive out U.S. 16 West, a highway they are calling the Cloud Peak Scenic Highway, and have a look for ourselves at the Bighorn Mountain Range. We drove the highway approximately 25 miles before deciding to return to Buffalo as we had no particular destination in mind other than to checkout the beauty of Bighorn. The views for the entire drive were spectacular and we took many photographs.
We also did not see any big game although we did see this scene of two White Tail adult deer (perhaps parents) walking across a field with two younger deer (perhaps their children). In the background is a very interesting stone house set on the top of a hill. In the near distance is the Bighorn Mountain range. Here again the photograph is a poor substitute for the real thing that unfortunately only lasted for less than a minute.
I did take this final photograph in our campsite of a few of the children who were staying with their parents in the camper across the street from our own travel trailer. The kids were practicing roping a small metal model of a calf. This weekend in Buffalo, Wyoming is the conclusion of the Johnson County Fair and Rodeo Week and these young kids were practicing for the calf roping contest for young folks their own age. We left the next morning before asking how they performed in the competition. I am sure that they had fun in any case.