Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Elusive Jackalope - our last big adventure in Wyoming

The Jackelope.....

I had heard of it and couldn't remember where or why, but we FOUND him!!

From Wikipedia:
"The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a so-called "fearsome critter") described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail (and often hind legs)."

"During days of the Old West, when cowboys gathered by the campfires singing at night, jackalopes could often be heard mimicking their voices. he Jackalope was first encountered by John Colter, one of the first white men to enter what would one day be the State of Wyoming. In 2005, the House of the Wyoming state legislature passed a bill to declare the jackalope the "official mythological creature" of Wyoming, by a vote of 45-12 and referred it to the state Senate, where the bill was indefinitely postponed on March 2, 2005."

"Tiny the Jackalope" was a recurring character in a series of sketches on the American TV show America's Funniest People (1990-1994), where he would play pranks on people."  - And that is where I think I first heard about Jackalopes. 

Well - we found the Jackalope! That would be why it pays to research and plan before going on an adventure. I was planning our long road trip from Cody back to Jackson and we wanted to avoid going back into Yellowstone, so we took the scenic route and it about doubled our time, but was so worth it!!  When using you can search hotels or restaurants, but you can also search attractions in certain areas. Well, I was looking for attractions in some of the towns that we would be driving through and I found...The Giant Jackalope Exxon Country Store. It is ranked #3 of 3 attractions in Dubois, Wyoming. :)  Yep, Don really wanted to stop there!! Upon further research, we discovered that this location was also listed in as a must stop in Wyoming. Too funny!!! So we couldn't pass it up! shop inside and lots of advertising!

in the back room - they have the World's Largest Jackalope

and he was friendly enough to let us ride him :)

another "fake" Jackalope outside for tourist purposes :)

  We had done it, we had found the elusive Jackalope and Don and the girls were happy! So now, we headed into Dubois (another cute little western town) and went to The Cowboy Cafe for lunch.

3 more hours to Jackson and lots of beautiful countryside before we finally said hello to the Tetons again.
major highway and nothing visible for miles

actually seen before Dubois  - more neat land formations

It still amazes me that in our busy, big country - there are areas that are undeveloped for miles! It was a beautiful drive - and I think I appreciated it more because it wasn't National Park protected land. This beautiful countryside is "just there."  I am so used to suburban life and the people, buildings, and congestion.

So, we finally got to Teton Village around 4:00 and everyone was still happy and ready for our last night in our "home." We love Jackson and the girls were ready to be back among the living. They couldn't wait to do more shopping and wander with people, congestion and buildings. :) 5 days exploring small town Wyoming was enough for them.

We had dinner and did our final shopping and then our final night of animal hunting and we found the BEST Bison of them all!!
He was a bit hard to capture!

So our 10 nights in the Wild West was coming to a close - it was awesome (in the literal sense and figurative)! This is Don's equivalent of my Disney World, so I know we will be back -

Goodbye Wyoming!

Stay tuned for the start of school and what lays ahead with the end of summer! Our next big adventure will be Columbus Day Weekend as the 3 girls are Broadway Bound with Rina!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Time in Cody, Wyoming....

We left Gardiner and headed back into Yellowstone to make our way towards Cody, Wyoming.....the next few pics will chronicle our journey towards Cody....

We drove the top loop of Yellowstone to exit through the Northeast Entrance..through Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley is home to many more Bison...

this guy crossed the road almost right in front of our car

just resting...

We reached the end of our Yellowstone adventure - exiting and hoping to return in another 3 years or so...


The first town outside of Yellowstone was Silver Gate.....very small - not much there!

This is Cooke City, Montana - a bit beyond Silver Gate - we ate lunch at the Bistro Cafe

Cooke City - population 100...another VERY small town we passed through

back in Wyoming for good...

this was the cut-through road to Cody from Cooke City! A few hours with lots of beautiful scnery and LOTS of hairpin curves and turns...
the GPS says it all, the pink line was what we were driving! Most of those turns were on cliffs with no guardrails.....

amazine land that is right along the people, very little civilization, and lots of beauty!!
 We got to Cody about 2:30 in the afternoon and our room was ready. The girls were very excited that we had TV and nice beds, nice bathroom and free WiFi.  It's sad, but yes, we are a family of the 21st century and value our technology and nice amenities.  Don't know if we would have made it in Little House on the Prairie times. :)

We had a nice relaxing evening in the hotel - went out to dinner and then returned, watched the Olympics and went to sleep.  The next morning we had breakfast, and then went on a short road trip to Pahaska Tepee. It is a "tourist spot" right before the east entrance to Yellowstone. We didn't enter Yellowstone - just visited Pahaska Tepee, enjoyed the scenic drive and returned to The Cody - our hotel.

more amazing land

When we returned to Cody, we had lunch in town and then visited Old Trail Town. This tourist spot was right across the street from our hotel.  All of the western buildings are originals and relocated from places around Wyoming and Montana to a central location. The stories behind each building were very interesting. Katie was a little freaked out by the outlaw stories and the gunshot holes in the doors, etc.

looking at our hotel from Old Trail Town

the girls were determined to try and master the Lasso....not very successful! :)
 After Old Trail Town, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner - we were eating at The Irma that night. The Irma is Buffalo Bill Cody's hotel/restaurant that he named for his daughter. It was the original building and a very fun place. We had an early dinner because we were then headed to the Cody Nite Rodeo that evening!

After dinner, we stopped and got the girls their cowboy hats for the rodeo and we were was a really fun experience. I've never been to a real rodeo, and this one was genuine, wild west cowboys and everything!
we got there early and the parking lot was still empty - it was general admission and we had been told where the best seats were.....

We had time for the girls to get their picture taken on Hollywood the Bull - he just sits, and poses, not in the rodeo.

They are actually very excited!!

the section we were told that we wanted to sit in - right up front and able to watch the cowboys get ready before they entered the arena

still excited!

watching some of them get ready for their rides

our hotel was also right across from the Rodeo grounds - in the other direction....great location!

and it starts!
 The rodeo was a lot of fun and we all had a great time. It was amazing was these guys and girls did. They had quite a few kid competitions also. With kids as young as 7 years old competing on horses and bulls. We decided that the rodeo competitions were the equivalent of Soccer, Basketball, Baseball back here in Virginia.

about halfway through was the kid's competition - 12 and under - Carleigh went with lots of encouragement, she did it for Katie....

they had to catch the ribbon tied to the tail of three baby calves set free in the ring - prizes for the three kids that pulled the ribbon off of the tail

first warm ups with the Rodeo Clown


chaos...and they didn't win - they weren't upset - the prizes were gift certificates to Dairy Queen ;)

All done and headed back to the hotel!
The rodeo was over and we drove across the street to our hotel. :) Ready for a good night's sleep, tomorrow we would begin the long road trip back to Jackson Hole for our last night before flying home.

Stay tuned for : dinosaurs and more spectacular views of unknown parts of Wyoming!