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Yellowstone 2012

Wyoming Tetons

Our Wyoming Trip Home

Story by Brandon Allshouse

My parents & I decided about a year ago that we needed to go back to Wyoming to see Yellowstone and the Grand Teton since the last time they were there in that area was in 1988 during the infamous Yellowstone Fires that burnt 35% of the park.  It would also serve a way to have a family reunion for my dad to see his siblings in Cody, Wyoming.

On the day we left Oklahoma City, we drove to Amarillo, Texas.  We had heard about a place that had good food that was a part of a bar.  The food we had was very good and rich.  Surprisely, that night would also be the night of a major tragedy at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado which was on our route towards Loveland, Colorado for our second night on the road.  The second night we stayed at the Embassy Suites in Loveland.  We couldn’t watch T.V. since all it was playing was the news about the shootings in Aurora.

Our third night would be at the quaint little town in southwest Wyoming, Kemmerer.  It’s the home of the very first JC Penny’s Store, built in 1902.  Surprisingly, it’s still open!  One our way over to Kemmerer, we stopped in Laramie and we got me 3 Wyoming golf shirts and a bumper sticker at the Brown & Gold Outlet store on Grand Avenue.   We then drove on I-80 towards Rock Springs towards our way to turn off to go northwest to Kemmerer from I-80 we encountered a bad thunderstorm that dropped the outside temperature by 20 degrees.  For a while there, we though we might hit some hail but fortunately we never got any.

After Kemmerer, we travelled thru Star Valley.  We saw the home of Rulon Gardner, the Olympian who beat a Russian who was undefeated for 13 years in the wrestling event in the 2000 Sydney Games.  He won the gold medal in the event.  While at a gas station in Cokeville, I got another Wyoming shirt but this one had nothing to do with the university.

We drove to Jackson and we got to the hotel before it was ready.  We drove around town for a while and took pictures.  We decided to eat dinner at the Mangy Moose Restaurant over at Teton Village.  I had a buffalo meatloaf with potatoes which was very good.  Our waitress was a lady from South Carolina.  She enjoyed working there and was planning to stay around for the winter season in the Jackson area plus go skiing whenever possible.  We even met a busboy who was from Peru and his English was impressive.  Better than most people I know of.  Although he did mispronounce Florida, I caught what he was trying to say.  Mom and Dad didn’t.  After dinner, they ended up talking to a lady was biking up thru the area since my parents are big on the cycling thing.  Fortunately, I had realized while they were talking that Dad forgot his camera at our table.  I managed to get it back along with his cap.  Amazing how those two could survive without me.

Next day after was interesting.  We keep having problems leaving Jackson but all of our problems allowed us to see the Tetons and take pictures after they were hidden by a very thick fog.  And I do mean THICK!!!!!  First we were going towards Grand Teton National Park by the way of where the airport is when dad thought we should go back to Jackson to get gas at a cheaper place.  Second time we tried to leave, we decided to go another route which would take us near a famous barn that’s used in hundreds of pictures of the Tetons.  This route took us near Teton Village.  While getting near the village, it dawned on mom that we never checked out of our hotel in Jackson so….while dad was laughing at the situation we drove back to Jackson to take care of that problem.  By then the fog in the whole valley had lifted and Dad could take hundreds of pictures of the Tetons.  We wanted to do some of the interior of the Church of Transfiguration but there was a wedding there so we could only take pictures of the exterior.  The interior of the church is very beautiful.  It has an Old West feel to it.

We went to Jackson Lake Lodge that gives a spectacular view of the Tetons.  We had a good lunch at the hotel.  I even chatted with a lady from Cleveland, Ohio in the elevator.  After the Tetons, we made it to Yellowstone Lake Lodge and while my parents were checking in and getting a cabin for us they had run into my Grandmother on my mother’s side.  That worked out great since cell phone service in Yellowstone was pretty much non-existent.  My grandmother was staying on her camper over at Fishing Bridge which is only 6 miles from our cabin.

While in Yellowstone, for 3 days and 4 nights, we saw pretty much all the major places except for Norris due to construction.  We did go to West Yellowstone to see the updated Grey Wolf/Grizzly Discovery Center.  My grandmother & I went to see it back in 1996.  It has really been expanded and improved.   On our way to West Yellowstone, we went past 10 miles of backed up traffic heading into Yellowstone due to some people at the beginning of the logjam taking pictures of a buffalo and a elk.  After we passed the West Entrance into the Park, Dad parked the van and went to the ranger station at the entrance and told them of the problem.  They had a ranger go into the park and get the mess cleared up so Dad was a hero without anyone in that mess knowing it.

After Yellowstone, we went to Cody to see the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, my dad’s side of the family plus see the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  At the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, we saw almost every gallery they had there plus had a quick lunch at the museum.  We ended seeing one of my cousins, Baillie, working there.  We chatted with her while we got our lunch.

The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center was built about a year ago to honor the Japanese American who were sent there during the early days of World War II after Pearl Harbor in Hawaii got bombed.  They stayed there until just after the war ended.  For a while, it was the third largest city in Wyoming.

Also while in Cody, we went to the City Park for family reunion picnic.  While there I got to see Chaser, Uncle David’s horse.  Chaser was the horse my cousin Baillie, rode on in the 2011 Cody Parade as Miss Cody Stampede 2011.  I’m very proud of her of that honor!  Dad’s bothers and sisters all had their vintage cars and trucks.  It was like being at a vintage car show.  Fortunately the rain that looked like it was going to hit didn’t happen until about 3 hours after the picnic started.

After Cody, we drove to my hometown of Casper and saw it had really changed since the last time we were there in 2009.  We had a nice little dinner with an old friend of ours, Dale, who used to live across from us when we lived on Washington Street years and years ago.  He told us about his exciting trip with his wife to Africa a month earlier.

After we left Casper the day after, we drove to Medicine Bow and saw the famous Virginian Hotel which served as an inspiration for the classic western novel, The Virginian, by Owen Wisler.  The novel inspired a famous T.V. show in the 1950s.

Laramie was next on our way back to Oklahoma City.  We stopped by the Brown & Gold Outlet to get a shirt for mom and a nice shirt and a coffee cup for Dad.  The blue golf shirt they got for me days earlier was there in Dad’s size.

As we left Wyoming for the time being, we decided to go east thru Kansas since I-25 in Colorado was a mess with construction and really bad drivers.  As we drove back into Oklahoma, we noticed the temps were climbing rapidly.  Welcome back to Oklahoma!!!!

I took 2200 pictures and Laurie got about 1000,  it has taken this long to get them all down to 496 so I could add them to this website. I am sorry it took so darn long.

 Link to 1st half of trip pictures.

Link to 2nd half of trip pictures

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last modified March 12, 2013