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I heard someone describe the various phases of travel as “dreaming,” “planning,” “experiencing” and “remembering.” That makes sense to me. Here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, we welcome the bulk of our visitors during the months of June, July, August and September and most of them probably spent time dreaming about Cody before they got here.

I do the same thing. During the winter, I find that my eyes linger on the pretty pictures in magazines of destinations to which I’ve always wanted to travel. I know I’ll never see some of those destinations – I’m a girl on a budget, after all – but it is fun to fantasize that someday I will. That exclusive beach resort in the Caribbean is probably not going to see the name “Corrie N. Cody” on the register anytime soon. In Cody, though, few people will stop dreaming about this destination because of budget concerns. There are plenty of options for all budgets, from camping and RV sites to quaint and historic inns. And all of Cody’s museums and attractions are reasonably priced.

Winter is the Time to Dream

Dreaming of a Cody Sunset?

Next step is planning. That’s when you get serious and start looking at your calendars, chequebook, clothes, flight schedules and hotel options. Not all destinations make it easy. That’s one of the many reasons that Cody is such an appealing destination. The Yellowstone Country website,  offers a virtual encyclopedia of regional information about lodging, attractions, shopping, restaurants and more.

Plan your trip around a Cody event – the Wild West River Fest.

Experiencing is, of course, the best part of all. And sometimes it is as fun for me to experience the reaction of our visitors as it is for them to experience Yellowstone Country. I find incredible enjoyment when I see the eyes of the little ones get big when they hear our fun-loving Old West Gunfighters concoct and tell their outrageous stories, ultimately ending in a loud and oh-so-hilarious gunfight. Last year I was happy for days after watching an elderly woman from the East determinedly battle to bring in her very first trout while her dedicated fishing guide gently offered tips and encouragement. And I was thoroughly amused after talking with the middle-aged woman from the Midwest breathlessly recounting the performance by a certain cowboy musician and telling me she felt like he was singing just to her. I swear that’s what she said.

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Share and Remember your vacation of a lifetime in Cody/Yellowstone Country! (Morning Glory Hot Pool, Photo Credit NPS)

And finally, it’s time to remember. I recall when my grandparents would sit us all down in a dark room and show us their vacation slides. Many, many vacation slides. Well, there’s a new form of vacation slideshow called Facebook, and it is apparently quite popular. You can even post a picture of the breakfast you had each morning if you are so inclined. While some people like to post their pictures before their vacation is even concluded, I suspect that number is somewhat limited among Yellowstone Country vacationers once they realize how much they might miss if they are looking down at their phones. That moose wandering through the willow flats isn’t going to wait for a vacationer to finish posting. But remembering can also take the form of reflection. That’s what I like to do after I return from a trip. Close my eyes and start the reruns in my mind. And I try to make it a rule to savor the “remembering” phase before I start dreaming about my next travel experience.

So, for all of you who are starting to slide into those February doldrums, now is a great time to start dreaming. And I hope that all of you dreamers out there will soon take the next step and begin planning your trip to Yellowstone Country.

Until next time, I’m dreaming about cowboy musicians and lovin’ my life in Yellowstone Country.