Wednesday, August 23, 2017

2017, August 15 - 29 - Buffalo Bill Center for the West, Park County RV, Eclipse 2017 and other outings

We camped at the Absaroka (pron. 'ab-sorka') Bay RV Park in Cody WY is a nice park in the center of the city, next to a reservoir. Generally, it is clean, organized and reasonably priced. The fact that it is in town makes it very convenient, and it is directly off of State Hwy 14, so it is easy to get to and go just about anywhere from it. However it has two major flaws: 1) While most of the sites are 'pull-thru' the roadways behind and in front of the site are very narrow, making it virtually impossible for anyone in a site to leave their site without asking the next door neighbor to move their parked car/truck, parked in front of their rig; and  2) The spaces and side yards (while having lush grass) are very tight. So much so, that we were unable to fully open our awning without touching the neighbor's slide. Also, some of the sites have large trees in the narrow space between them, which makes satellite reception impossible if they have the satellite dish in the front (top) as must large Class A's have. Also the sites are very short (about 50 feet total length, including parking. Therefore, like our rig is 41 feet, so that leaves about 9 feet to park our truck across our rig in front, with the back of the coach abutting the street behind it. The streets are about 16-20 feet wide. So you can imagine that with these dimensions it makes it very hard to navigate in and out of sites, especially when there is another car sticking out the front of the neighbor's site, where one has to turn a 40+ coach into. We might stay here again, but would need to secure the right space before doing so, or we would need to follow another more navigable space, elsewhere.

 See how narrow the sites are...
 And how narrow the streets are once a towed vehicle is parked in front of each RV.

At our first assigned site we had to dry camp until we could be reassigned to another site the next day, because 1) we could not get any satellite whatsoever, and 2) we could not even open our passenger front slide (let alone our awning) due to the proximity of the tree next to us. Even after we moved to the site next to it the next morning, there must have been 3 or 4 other 40+ foot motor homes assigned to that very site, while other smaller trailers were assigned to other sites with no such problems, instead of to those with trees like this one, since trailers don't have overhead satellites or as many slides.

Across the street from us there are a group of about 8 RVs from Texas (3 of them Texas Aggies, like Bill). So one of them offered us tickets to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West for the next day. They had just been to it that day and were not planning to return the next day, though the tickets is good for two consecutive days. So, even though we were not planning to go right away, with the benefit of saving the $36 fare ($18 each senior), we opted to go on Wednesday. That alone would have been a great day... a visit to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (5 museums in one place) plus a savings of $36; but it got better. Towards the end of our walk of the museums, as Bill is taking photos we hear a familiar voice say, "Well...  I''ll be damned, look who is here, Iris?" It was our great friends J.T. Bowyer and his wife Iris, with their daughter, Lindsey, from Harker Heights, TX. You may have heard about them in our posts from last year when we were detained at J.T.'s RV Service shop, (Lonestar RV Center) when we had the Thor Challenger gas coach and were there first for service and then due to having been creamed by a car out of control. It was during that time that we went shopping for the coach we have now, and it was J.T. who got a more favorable deal for it as he was the President of the Texas RV Dealers Association. It was such a delight to see them again.
 I was taking this photo of the scene without even seeing JT standing there...
 It's a good thing he recognized us.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West was a fabulous place to visit, not to mention HUGE to walk all through it. It is five separate museums in one...
1) the Draper Natural History Museum; 
2) the Buffalo Bill Museum;
3) the Paul Dyck Plains Indians Museum;
4) the Whitney Western Art Museum; and
5) the Cody Firearms Museum ...
PLUS, a research library featuring art and artifacts of the American West, located in Cody, WY. It was founded in 1917 to preserve the legacy and vision of Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. It is the oldest and most comprehensive museum complex of the West, and so important that it has many exhibits on loan from the Smithsonian Museum.

The Cody Firearms museum was Bill's favorite, displaying the most comprehensive collection of American and foreign firearms in the world, ranging from the 16th century to modern manufacture. The Winchester Collection, the heart of this museum, was transported from New Haven CT to Cody WY in 1976. Visitors are able to trace the evolution of modern firearms technology from its earliest days through today's variations. If you are into firearms, you'll know why from all the photos.

The Draper Natural History Museum features approximately 20,000 square feet of interactive exhibits highlighting geology, wildlife and human presence in the Greater Yellowstone region. The taxidermy of the animals portrayed in the museum are of world renowned taxidermist, such as Jack D. Putnam (prev. Curator of exhibits at the Denver Museum of Natural History  for nearly 25 years), and Nature's Design collection  Taxidermy of Cody. All wildlife are excellently portrayed in action as they would be in life. .

 The Grey Wolf

See-thru view of subterranean hornet hive

and Prairie Dogs in which rattlesnakes sometime invade.

In 2007 the Buffalo Bill  Center of the West acquired the Plains Indian Buffalo Culture  Collection, recognized as the most historic, important and privately held collection inn the world of Plains Indian artifacts. The Plains Indian Museum features  the stories and objects of the Plains Indian people, their cultures, traditions, values and histories, as well as the contexts of their lives today.

No Photography was allowed within this museum, but it features paintings and sculptures of the American West. This gallery first opened in 1959 and was later united with Buffalo Bill Museum, but in June 2009 it re-opened following a re-installation. The gallery is organized thematically, with spaces dedicated to heroes and legends, the heroic cowboy, wildlife, horses in the West, inspirational landscapes, first people of the West, and the Western experience. Replicas of famous artists like Frederic Remington, Alexander Phimster Proctor, N. C. Wyeth and others help visitors learn about the artists and their techniques.

The inaugural museum opened in 1927 in a log cabin across from the current location.  It was reinstalled in 1986 and is now part of the 5 museum complex. It offers a comprehensive view of the life and times of William F. Cody, as well as of the "Buffalo Bill" character he created through his Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.. The exhibit also reveals an intimate portrait of this major American figure, including his personal successes and failures, as well as his financial fortunes and misfortunes.

 Pony Express route...

 Representative model of the Wild West Show layout.

Wild Bill's saddle

 These are the crew of actors
 of the Cody Wild West Show

 All the cities where the Wild West Show performed in the US...
 and in Europe.
 These were silver dollars that Wild Bill would shoot in the air...
and then became d├ęcor on his show saddle
 The Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for Queen Victoria in London UK
 Famous women of royalty that the Wild West Show performed for...
 This was the type of tent Wild Bill used for his show. This one was made from different parts of the many tents that he used and all furniture he actually used.

 Time piece China (1905-1910), silverware and spittoon actually used
in the Irma Hotel (Wild Bill's hotel named for his daughter)
 Roulette table from the Irma Hotel

Wild Bill with his daughter Irma

Wild Bill

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