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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


Where Else Would I go on “National Prime...

April 29th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

What did you have for dinner Saturday? You might have to think about it, but as soon as I heard it was “National Prime Rib Day” it was a no-brainer for me.

I headed straight to the Irma Hotel which serves Wyoming’s best prime rib special, according to the web site Cheapism. Locals and out-of-towners alike have been enjoying this tender cut of beef for as long as we could hold a knife and fork, and many people I chat with say they remember going to the Cody Nite Rodeo and eating the Irma’s prime rib as kids. As adults they have returned to do the same with their own children and grandchildren.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Irma Hotel was built by Buffalo Bill and named for his daughter. The hotel’s famous room-long cherry wood bar – still in use today in what is now the hotel dining room – was presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by England’s Queen Victoria. Like most kids, my nieces and nephews love watching the antics of the summer-season Cody Wild Bunch gunfighters from the porch of the hotel before enjoying buffet-style dinners in the charming Western-themed dining room.

The cherry wood 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

Vote Early, Vote Often

April 11th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It could have been Al Capone. Or possibly it was Chicago Mayor Richard Daley or his mayoral predecessor William Hale Thompson. We’ll never be sure which jokester with nefarious notions encouraged minions to “vote early, vote often,” but it’s darn good advice now that USA Today has identified Cody Yellowstone as a contender in a Reader’s Choice competition to choose the best historic small town in the U.S.

The media giant has just released a list of 20 historic towns from Arizona to West Virginia. Cody is the only town from Wyoming to make the list. This is one contest where your vote matters again and again and again. You can vote once every day until the contest is over at the end of the month. At that point the folks on the Reader’s Choice staff will launch an epic publicity blitz to showcase the winners in all of the categories, which also includes small towns known for adventure, shopping and food.

Cody is one of 20 US towns that have been nominated for a USA Today/10Best Reader’s Choice award for the best historic small town in the country.

Voting is easy. Sign up here and then vote every day. As of Read More


Be Still, My Country Heart

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

Just when I thought this summer’s anniversary of the Cody Stampede couldn’t get any more exciting, I learned today that Cody will be hosting one of my all-time favorite country singers – in addition to Dan Miller of course – to kick things off.

Clint Black will be “Killin’ Time” in Cody on June 27 for a charity concert to benefit the St. Jude’s Research Hospital. One of my favorite charities, St. Jude’s provides no-cost, top-flight health care to seriously sick children, and it helps families with travel and lodging expenses so they can be with their kids while they’re in the hospital. The concert will be free, and guests will be encouraged to make donations in return for enjoying the musical fun.

Clint Black will play a special charity concert in Cody to benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

The concert will be held at the Stampede Park with enough room for thousands of fans.

Clint – we’re on a first-name basis – came on the country music scene in the late ‘80s with a breakthrough album called “Killin’ Time.” The album had a whole bunch of hit singles, including “A Better Man” and “Nobody’s Home.” (Nobody’s home, coincidentally, is exactly what a 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


Is Thomas Molesworth in Your House?

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

If your living room has a table with elk antler legs or a credenza with a carved silhouette of a cowboy, you might just have Thomas Molesworth in your house.

Thomas Molesworth and his Cody-based Shoshone Furniture Company created furniture and artwork in a distinctive design that became popular in dude ranches, rustic lodges, homes and other buildings. Known as “Western style” or sometimes “cowboy style,” the always-functional pieces incorporate aesthetic elements found in nature or reflective of the Western lifestyle, such as wood burls, large brass tacks, Native American weavings, cowboy and wildlife motifs, leather elements and vertical poles.

Furniture designer Thomas Molesworth created rustic Western-style furniture.

Soon after opening his furniture company in 1933 in a storefront location in Cody, Molesworth received his first big break when his furniture caught the eye of Philadelphia Enquirer publisher Moses Annenberg. The affluent, influential Easterner was on a mission to furnish Ranch A, a 700-acre complex in eastern Wyoming – now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a U.S. Historic District.  Molesworth was commissioned to create nearly 250 pieces of furniture for the log lodge. His designs were quickly noticed, and commissions for the Shoshone Furniture Company took off. Read More


March Madness, Cody Yellowstone Style

March 18th, 2019 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I have a theory that male grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park are college basketball tournament fans.

Cody Country features both black bears and grizzlies (above).

Almost like clockwork, the male of the species emerges from hibernation right around March Madness. Females with cubs, on the other hand, emerge in April/early May, after the NCAA basketball ends.

In 2018 the first bear was spotted March 7, and the National Park Service just sent me a press release saying tracks were found March 8 between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction, but an actual bear was spotted March 11 between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge.

Mama bears and their cubs do not emerge from their dens until April or May.

The announcement did not mention the bear’s favorite team – I’m thinking the UCLA Bruins – but it did provide some good tips when you’re in bear country.

Here they are:

Prepare for a bear encounter.  Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible.  Stay alert.  Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise. Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night. Do not run if you encounter a bear.  Stay 100 yards away from black and 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