Cody, Wyoming to Deadwood, South Dakota
Woke up in Cody after an "interesting" ride in the mountains during the rain last night. I wasn't scared...but I sure was concentrating! This morning it was off to visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a complex housing five different museums under one roof.
There's old Buffalo Bill himself, quite an interesting character...Indian scout, Pony Express rider, buffalo hunter, showman, founder of the city, hotel owner...and on and on.
The natural history museum houses exhibits illustrating the evolution of the area including land formations, animals, and archaeological digs.
I walked up on this one and thought these guys were real at first.
The golden eagle is the primary bird of prey out here.
They can have a wingspan of six feet.
The feathers of the eagle are regarded as sacred and have been used for centuries by the Indians as a symbol of status. Here's a war bonnet and a graduation cap with eagle feathers.
The buffalo are celebrated here. This is a painting of a buffalo jump. The buffalo jump was a way to hunt them. The Indians would herd the buffalo toward and over a cliff.
The Museum of the Plains Indians features exhibits illustrating life as it was lived by Native Americans for centuries. Here are some beautiful deer hide clothes, decorated with beads.
This was a way for a woman to carry her baby.
More clothing and artifacts.
How the Indians lived their nomadic lifestyle.
They used dogs as well as horses as beasts of burden.
The feather bonnet of a war chief.
Hides and war shields depicting battlefield heroics.
Here's a war shield depicting a warrior killing an enemy from another tribe.
They still use their customary dress to celebrate achievement. This young lady just graduated from college.
Artifacts from the battlefield at the Little Bighorn. The painting on the deerskin depicts the battle.
Beautifully embellished clothing, adorned with glass beads. The beads were traded for and likely came from Europe.
The feather bonnet of the Crow scout "White Man Runs Him," who escaped the massacre at the Little Bighorn.
A buffalo coat.
A statue of Sacajawea.
Cody's boyhood home was moved here.
This is Jade. He's a part of the Raptor Center here. He was injured and can't go back to the wild, so he lives here now and gets a lot of attention. He's well fed, too.
Speaking of well fed, they do a demonstration every day of how the cowboys cooked on cattle drives. Beans and coffee.
In the big Dutch oven he was cooking biscuits!
They have a Museum of Firearms that has THOUSANDS of weapons from the earliest of times in Asia and Europe until modern times. It's the most impressive collection I've seen anywhere ever. Above is a rifle owned by John Wayne.
This is John Hart's pistol. He played the Lone Ranger for a year.
This is Audie Murphy's pistol.
Every war that America has fought has all the weapons of both allies and enemy represented.
Winchester made this presentation M-1 for General Patton.
Thousands of guns of every kind. Just amazing.
Then, of course, there's Buffalo Bill's Museum. Here's a typical chuck wagon.
A typical stage coach. These are all authentic.
All of Bill's things were donated to the museum. This is a portrait from his home.
He was quite the celebrity. His idea of taking the wild west to the world was really an endeavor on a massive scale.
He performed for kings and queens. This was a command performance for Queen Victoria in London.
Part of the act was an Indian attack on this stagecoach.
Some of Bill's personal clothing.
The pistol was taken from an Indian that Bill killed and then scalped for revenge over the massacre at the Little Bighorn.
Bill's beer stein.
Comic books about Wild Bill.
Bill's Medal of Honor.
Bill's coat and rifles.
Then it was off to downtown Cody for a little lunch. Bill built a hotel in Cody (he laid out the plan for the whole town), named the hotel after his wife, and it's still here.
This is the inside of the Irma Grill.
This is the outside, complete with a saloon called the Silver Saddle. The porch is a great place to sit and watch the world go by.
Or you can sit with Bill.
Cody's Main Street.
The inside of the hotel. Bill still has an office there.
Yamacraw looking a little bit battle weary after last night's trip through the rain and mud.
They've even got a beer here named for him.
Then it was off for about a six hour ride east. Wide open country is what you'll find crossing Wyoming.
Another mountain pass, this time through the Bighorn Mountains. The temperature dropped from 86 to 59 with the climb in altitude, and then reversed itself in the way back down.
The Bighorn Mountains.
About forty minutes away from Deadwood, I crossed into South Dakota. Chalk up another state and another dog bone on the back of my helmet.
Got to Deadwood just before dusk.
The Sturgis rally, the world's largest biker rally, is in its final weekend. There are thousands of bikes here.
I walked the main street and saw some of the sights. Deadwood was a wild town...in fact, the whole town was illegal, started on Indian land because of gold being found. It's still a pretty wild place.
Here is the Bullock Hotel... supposedly haunted by a very unfriendly ghost.
Wild Bill's bar.
This is the location where Wild Bill Hickok was shot in the back of the head while playing cards. He always sat with his back to the wall, but didn't on that particular day, and it cost him. When he was killed, he was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights...now known in card playing circles as "The Dead Man's Hand."
The Number 10 saloon moved across the street after a fire.
This is my hooch for the next few nights, in the Hickok hotel. Now you're all caught up! More later.