From Thermopolis WY to Buffalo WY is only about 130 miles except if you are the Wintles and you are on the hunt for a pair of cowboy boots! Cody WY has a huge western store with shelves and shelves of cowboy boots and Garth knew exactly where it was so .... we took the lonnnngggg way to Buffalo!
We left Thermopolis just before 10 am and we arrived in Buffalo at 5 pm but what a fantastic day! In the hot springs pool at the place we stayed in Thermopolis we met a really nice young couple and she gave me great advice regarding what kind of cowboy boots to look at. When we got to the store a great gal, Tracey, helped me to figure out what I was looking for and I bought 2 pairs of boots. GW was shaking his head and being very quiet because he knew that come hell-or-high water I was packing these boots and like every determined woman on a mission I got them to fit!
So with boots on board we turned our bikes south-east again and made our way towards the Big Horn mountains and Buffalo. Oh yes I have to tell you about the elderly couple we met when I was packing the boots onto my bike. They had parked right beside us. He used to love to hunt up in Saskatchewan and their daughter married a Canadian from Alberta. He told us that his son-in-law has a big 1200 BMW and then we got onto the topic of government spending and oil. He said to us "I know, I know you guys do it right and we just screw things up over and over" ... "except healthcare" chimed in his wife and he responded with "come on Margaret we don't want to start a fight with these people". It was quite funny. They wished us a good trip and went on their way.
As we approached Greybull Garth saw some older aircraft so we stopped for a closer look. Although fenced in remarkably they were old ÔÇ£Royal Canadian Air ForceÔÇØ planes. This was kind of unique as just a few weeks earlier the Canadian government had introduced the fact that there were going to rename the Canadian Armed Forces back into their original names and the Air force would get the Royal Canadian Air Force moniker back
We stopped in Greybull for lunch at Lisa's Crazy Woman cafe and we had the best burgers and I bought a t-shirt because Garth is always calling me a crazy woman.
From Greybull we turned south and connected with highway 16 and the Scenic Cloud Peak Bypass which took us across the south end of the Big Horn mountains. The beginning of the mountain pass was phenomenal ... lots of red rock buttes with green fields or beautiful homes at their bases. Such a contrast in colour.
And then we started to climb with switch backs and amazing scenery.
We went up and up and up until we reached the top of the Powder River Pass at 9666 ft (to put this into perspective Dryden's elevation is approx 1100 ft) so we were just about 1 1/2 miles above you.
The whole mountain pass is about 60 miles long. Just when I thought ok we are starting to go down the highway would turn and up we would go again ... this happened about 5 or 6 times ... so many peaks and valleys ... and the colours, because the leaves have all changed colour up there, was beautiful.
Every imagined fear that I had about height, steepness, tight corners, quick stops ... well they were all conquered today! In all of that we only saw 1 deer, haha, crap I can see that in my back yard on a daily basis.
We also saw another forest fire today. We spotted a smoke plume when we were about 15 miles out of Greybull and it didn't look that big (GW figures .3 acres) but when we left Greybull after lunch it was about 10 acres and the smoke plume was huge. On our way to Cody this morning we could still see the smoke plumes and smell the smoke from the Yellowstone fires we saw yesterday ... crazy!
So now we are in Buffalo and found a room at an old motel called the Mansion House Motel and the main house was built in 1900.
Tomorrows journey will take us to Devil's Tower and then down into the Black Hills.