The day before the Yellowstone entrance was to open, we moved farther down the road past Cody to the Elk Fork campground on National Forest Service land. First, we made a quick stop in Cody at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. We do try to sneak in something deliberately educational for Bode every now and then.
Even though this huge museum is known as the Smithsonian of the West, Bode was pretty much only interested in the huge gun exhibit. It was large, categorized by time period and war and completely impressive to a gun novice like myself. But what blew me away, considering we are together nearly all the time, was Bode’s knowledge of guns and his (at lease plausible) explanations to me about things like a Gatling gun (by the way, he just corrected my spelling on that). Bode asked one of the workers if they had his favorite gun, a Sten gun from WWII. Apparently, it’s in the vault. I had no idea he knew this much about guns. Next time we’ll hit the ‘Dug Up Gun Museum’. This is Cody, Wyoming.
Next, we visited the Natural History museum. It was mostly a collection of taxidermy, but we found it oddly informative considering we weren’t familiar with some of the animals in these parts. We also hit the Buffalo Bill exhibit, which Bode declared lame.
Before May 15, many of the USFS campgrounds around here are free. They don’t have many amenities and can be a little chilly this time of year but are usually empty, peaceful and beautiful. Maybe because of the pending Yellowstone opening, this place was full. We snagged the last site.
We were immediately greeted by a neighboring camper who was eager to tell us about the 3 of his 16 kids he’s visiting back in Cody. He lives in West Virginia now, but lived here a while and apparently left some kids here. He’s got one set of quads, 3 triplets, and 6 singles. He’s been here in a little trailer all by himself for 13 free days and gets by on some sort of disability payment. There’s a 14 day camp limit, so he had some stories to share before he had to leave. Fortunately, we arrived after his buddies left. They were here a few days ago and after drinking all night, snuck through the campsites and stole all of the food from the other camper’s bear lockers.
This was apparently before the camp host arrived: a brick-shithouse of an ex-trooper with a square-jaw, crew-cut and questionably small mustache. Things seem to be under control now.
Despite the initial weirdo factor, we met some really nice people, got a good night’s rest, and washed some dishes in some REALLY cold water.