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The East Gate is Open

May 8th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

If you remember my “Corrie Calendar” you know that I have this strange, mystical and almost creepy ability to tell what the date is – sorta, kinda – based upon weird factors. Just as the smell of leaves burning tells some people to turn on the television to watch college football, I know that roof racks full of skis and snow boards signals the opening of Sleeping Giant and hunting season is upon us when men in fashionable orange clothing are chowing down at the Proud Cut.

And a historic yellow bus heading into town from the direction of the Buffalo Bill Dam means that the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park is open.

Most of the roads inside the park are closed to regular wheeled vehicles during the winter. You can drive from Gardner, Mont. to Mammoth Hot Springs to Roosevelt Lodge and then east through Lamar Valley to Cooke City, Mont. where the road is closed again. The rest of the park roads are open only to over-the-snow vehicles such as snowmobiles and snow coaches. Many of the tracked vehicles, including the famed Bombardiers, have been replaced the past few years by fun modern coaches with oversized tires.

The Lake Yellowstone Hotel is always worth a visit.

So much of Yellowstone Read More


A Few of My Favorite Things to Know About...

April 22nd, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I’ve been talking about the Cody Stampede Rodeo so much this year that I think people are avoiding me. The other day as I headed over to the porch at the Irma Hotel I thought I heard someone yell “Code Red” followed by the distinct sound of several pairs of cowboy boots thumping across the wooden deck. As I turned the corner I found an empty table with half-finished beverages.

The Irma Hotel is a popular gathering spot for Corrie’s friends.

Not to be deterred, I tucked a few wayward strands of my red hair behind my ear, walked just inside the side door and waited quietly a few moments. Sure enough, a head popped out of one of the retail shops and a voice called out “All clear.”

At that point I made way to the table and joined my friends who had the telltale look of defeat on their faces. For some reason the phrase “The struggle is real” popped into my brain, but I persisted and decided to share my list of eight things people should know about the Cody Stampede as we celebrate its 100th year.

Here goes:

The Cody Stampede was spearheaded by Buffalo Bill’s friends to honor his Read More

Still Time (But Not Much) to Win a Free...

April 1st, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I used to go to a bunch of community events where I would throw my business card in a big fishbowl for a drawing at the end of the evening. Prizes were usually provided by meeting sponsors, and I always watched as someone else claimed the baseball tickets, cheeseburgers, overnight accommodations and fly rods. One guy (no name since he really ticks me off) seemed to win more often than anybody, and it became a bit of a joke that we should just dispense with the drawing and give him the prize directly.

The other day I called No Name and asked if he had entered to win the free trip to the Cody Stampede Rodeo’s 100th anniversary this July.

I am happy to report that he has not entered and has already made his plans to vacation elsewhere this year. That means that the rest of us still have a chance, but we are quickly approaching the drawing date.

The Duke was grand marshal one year. Who will it be in 2019?

On April 15 someone is going to have a very happy Tax Day. That is when we will learn who will win airfare, accommodations, VIP rodeo tickets, activities, rental car Read More


Lopsided Loving in Wonderland, and Where...

March 8th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

March 1 was Yellowstone National Park’s 147th birthday. Or maybe I should say it was “Wonderland’s” birthday because that’s what a Northern Pacific Railroad advertisement called the world’s first national park in an advertisement promoting the newly accessible destination.

The moniker played on the popularity of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and it effectively awakened the imagination and wanderlust of a generation.

Inspired, and with travel made easier – or at least doable — wealthy Easterners loaded families, servants and steamer trunks and boarded the train for an adventure of the lifetime. And so did the next generation and the generation after that.

Year by year, more visitors came, eventually trading train and stagecoach transportation for private cars, buses, motorcycles and in the winter, snowcoaches. In 1904, nearly 14,000 visitors entered the park. Last year, the number of annual visitors reached 4.1 million.

With that kind of increase, it’s no wonder park-lovers concerned that visitors are overwhelming the park’s fragile eco-system and infrastructure have said that we are loving our beloved Wonderland to death.

I can see their point, but we seem to be loving Yellowstone lopsidedly.

Rangers will tell you that 97 percent of the visitors to Yellowstone experience Read More


The Cody Yellowstone Calendar

March 4th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I have two calendars. The first probably looks a lot like yours with 12 months and 31 days hath September and so on. You know, the calendar Julius Caesar reformed in 42 BCE that was refined by the Gregorians in 1582. Everybody knows that, right?

That calendar is where I write things like appointments for haircuts, doctor visits, teeth cleaning and vet checkups.

The second is my “Cody Yellowstone Calendar.” If I were to fall into a “Sleeping Beauty” slumber where I didn’t know how long I was out until a cowboy prince kissed me, I could still tell the time of year by the sights, sounds and smells around me, each offering clues about what is happening and what is about to happen.

Here are some examples and their meanings:

When the plows start clearing the roads in Yellowstone National Park, it’s a sure sign that winter is almost over.

While I was up the Wapiti Valley the other day getting in some late runs at Sleeping Giant Ski Area one of the boarders told me that snowplows (snowplows one word) inside Yellowstone were starting to clear roads. That means winter is coming to end and we should stop climbing waterfalls. When the Read More

Have you heard the news?

February 26th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

“Have you heard the news?” As I was making the rounds on Sheridan Avenue on a clear February day last week, at least six of my friends and neighbors posed that question to me. Each time, I answered with the question, “which news?”

Cody Yellowstone is chock full of enough news to keep even the most prolific local journalists in stories. And there have been plenty of stories lately.

You already know about the 100th anniversary of the Cody Stampede this year. Planners are in meeting mode to nail down details like the parade theme and to choose a grand marshal. This year’s Stampede runs from Sunday, July 1 through Wednesday, July 4. We know there will be a great line-up of PRCA rodeos, parades, concerts, fairs and fireworks, and we’re all still waiting to hear about this year’s parade theme and grand marshal. Stampede tickets go on sale on March 1, and yours truly will be at the Stampede Park ticket office as soon as it opens that morning.

My history- and art-loving friends are super stoked that the By Western Hands Museum & Archives is opening in downtown Cody this summer. Years in the planning, this new attraction is Read More


Tips to Make Your Vacation the Best...

February 14th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

In my office overlooking Cody Yellowstone, I am in the position of offering all sorts of tips for vacation planners.

There are countless ways to visit our region and so many things on which to focus that I like to treat each request for information differently. Some folks are looking for help on everything from accommodations and meals to attractions and activities while others just want to know where to find pull-through sites for their Class A Winnebago.

I have developed a short list that I call “Corrie’s Tips to not Fritter and Waste Your Hours in an Offhand Way.” Here they are:

Take the time off in the first place. Workers in the United States leave way too much vacation time on the table, according to the U.S. Travel Association. While people may think they are indispensable or that their employers will think they are slackers if they are not at work all the time, studies show that time off helps people be more productive and is good for their health and minds. Take into account distances. The atlas that devotes a page to each state can be pretty misleading. The drive across Illinois on Interstate 80 is significantly shorter than Wyoming’s. Plan Read More

This Year I’m Finally Going to Fire the...

January 2nd, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It took four men to fire the Model 1862 Gatling Gun during the Civil War, but I’m going to fire it all by myself in 2019…with a little help from the instructors at the Cody Firearms Experience.

The Gatling gun, also known as Patent 36,836, was an early version of the rotary canon. It featured multiple barrels, a cooling system and a synchronized firing and reloading mechanism. First used during the Civil War, the gun is a forerunner to the modern machine gun.

The Model 1862 Gatling Gun is one of dozens of replica firearms available at the Cody Firearms Experience indoor shooting range.

The Model 1862 Gatling gun was invented by a serial inventor from Indiana, Richard Jordan Gatling, in 1862 to accomplish battlefield victories with fewer casualties.

As a lifelong student of American history, I’ve found that studying and understanding the history of firearms can be a solid way to learn about the ideological thinking of the times. That’s one of the many reasons I’m so lucky to live in Cody Yellowstone Country.

The Cody Firearms Experience features a variety of working replicas of important guns through history, and the largest of those of course is the Model 1862 Gatling Read More


Give yourself the gift of time and plan...

December 4th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As the year comes to a close, working Americans around the country are realizing that they still have vacation days to use before the turn of the calendar. Since the month of December can often coincide with office budget planning and project wrap-ups, more than half of all American workers will wind up not taking the vacations to which they are entitled.

The U.S. Travel Association (USTA) has concluded that Americans leave more than 662 million vacation days on the table, and the organization also found that this pattern is good for neither the employer nor the employee in the long run. Employees who take vacations are generally happier and healthier than their workaholic counterparts.

The travel industry organization also found that workers who take the time to plan their vacations early in the year are more likely to use all of their days vs. those who leave vacations to whim.

In my experience, both conclusions are spot on. I meet happy vacationers just about every day in Cody Yellowstone, even in the winter, when the region welcomes adventurous visitors taking advantage of our cold-season outdoor recreation.

Plan ahead for Cody Yellowstone events like the 100th anniversary of the Cody Read More


Psst, Want to Win a Free Trip to the 100th...

October 25th, 2018 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I love chatting up multi-generational vacationers. They are easy to spot as the little ones clearly enjoy being with the grandparents, and the grandparents enjoy spoiling the little ones. Meanwhile, the parents get to escape work, house maintenance and back-to-school shopping while “letting” the grandparents pick up dinner checks and buy souvenirs.

For many of these families, this is not their first trip to the coolest Western town ever. The parents and grandparents are busy pointing out local landmarks that really haven’t changed much. The Irma Hotel and other Sheridan Avenue structures look much the same. The Poker Church is a comforting site, and Cassie’s is a constant reminder of simpler times.

The one thing the older generations remember best, however, is our status as the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

When I asked older (non-kid) visitors what they remember about their childhood visits to Cody and the area, far and away the most common answer is “the rodeo.”

Yes, we love our rodeo, and nobody remembers when it was not an integral part of our community. While the Nite Rodeo happens every night in June, July and August, the biggest summer event is the Cody Stampede Rodeo at the beginning of July.

In 2019, Read More