|Western Travels '99 -WYOMING-
|August, 1999 Wyoming
In August of 1999, I had the pleasure of going to the United States once again. I boarded at a guest ranch near Yellowstone Nat'l Park, in the state of Wyoming. My accommodations were acquired through Wild West Adventures, Inc. I was able to discuss my travel plans with them via E-mail, and up to date information regarding the local area was readily available. My trip was exhalent due in no small part to their efforts, answering any question I had in detail, and quickly handling any changes I made to the plan. I am very grateful to them.
I flew into Jackson Hall Airport via Denver, rented a car at the airport, and drove into Jackson, WY. Then through Grand Teton, and a night in Yellowstone Nat'l Park, followed by a night in Cody, which is located just east of the park. I then stayed three nights at the Shell Creek Ranch, which is further east again, then drove north for three hours to Billings, where I returned the car. In all, I spent about a week in Wyoming (though I wish I could have spent double that time). Other than Wyoming, I also visited Niagara Falls, New York, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, but have chosen to report on only those things in my travels that directly pertain to Cowboys and the West.
Jackson is located near the southern entrance to the Yellowstone Nat'l Park, and as such, it is only a short drive from here to the park. Jackson Hall Airport is located between Jackson and the park, and is also a short drive from Jackson. If you wish to go to the park, it would be a good idea to utilize Jackson as your starting point.
There are many western wear shops here, including the very large Corral West Ranchwear. Souvenir shops are also aplenty. During the summer months, a gunfight show is conducted every evening on the streets, and a small rodeo is held once a week, after which, you can enjoy the night at the Cowboy Bar. Jackson is also known for it's great skiing during the winter as well.
This was actually my second time at Yellowstone, but its beauty is indescribable with words, and it never fails to overwhelm me with its grandeur scene. Of course, these pictures do not do its beauty justice by ant means either. It is a splendid drive, and the vehicles move slow, so it is definite must, even if you have never driven in the States.
The scenery in the park is a shining example of Mother Nature's magic, and the many gorgeous hot springs are a banquet for the eyes. While driving, should you see a cluster of parked cars, it is strongly suggested you do likewise. You may have the pleasure of seeing wild Buffalo, dear or other wildlife roaming.
Other than being able to view real wildlife up close, there are many other attractions in the park such as horseback riding and wagon tours. However, the riding is intended as a family attraction, and therefore may be a bit lacking for those wishing to experience Cowboy life first hand. If you are with your family though, you can enjoy the ride with a Cowboy breakfast, which is great fun for the kids to enjoy pretending to be a Cowboy. Please remember though, the attractions do require reservations by phone, due to their popularity. There are also horse-riding facilities outside of the park, so you should check with the hotels or the Jackson City Visitor's Center.
Yellowstone is the oldest of the national parks and there are many other ways to enjoy them. If you are going to the US, it is highly suggested you visit one. You can't truly say you have seen the United States by going only to its major cities.
Cody lies two hours east of Yellowstone Nat'l Park, and is named for the wild man of the west, Buffalo Bill Cody.
It's a small town, but the Buffalo Bill Historical Center located there, is definitely worth a visit. The center is comprised of the Buffalo Bill Museum, which displays many historical artifacts of the west, the Plains Indians Museum with its native artifacts, and the Gun Museum, which contains thousands of categorized firearms. There is also the Gallery which displays many western paintings and sculptures. You should set an entire day aside just to visit this magnificent museum.
Cody Nite Rodeo
Click each pic above for more pics
There is also the Cody Nite Rodeo held once a week. There is only one large rodeo held in July, but smaller ones are held every week during the summer from eight in the evening. Also during the summer months in the evening, are the gunfights out on the street.
Small and large western shops line Main Street. There are also stores here that carry rodeo equipment, where I myself purchased a protective vest and rodeo chaps. I purchased them more as a collective items, and doubt I will ever actually put them to use.
Around Shell Creek Ranch
Click HERE for more pics
The highlight of my trip, was the guest ranch, "Shell Creek Ranch" referred to me by Wild West Adventures Inc. The ranch is located in a very small town named Shell, which is about two hours east of Cody. It is a place where you can relax and take in the endless scenery, and is fit for long stays.
You can ride out into the land aboard horseback and stay out 2-5 hours, you can fish in the near by creek, or you can play with the dogs on the ranch. Whatever you do though, this is a place that is enjoyable just being there. There is a beautiful waterfall nearby, and loads of other things for you to spend your time and enjoy. As for me, I spent two whole days riding around the land. Crevasses that remind one of the Grand Canyon, or crossing the creek and riding into the forest was nothing short of fantastic.
The meals were the best I tasted on this trip as well. You can spend your days relaxing, and fully safe. Even in the U.S., if you go to the country, there are many places where you can spend your days safe, and consume delicious meals. The owner of the ranch had spent time in Japan, and his wife was Japanese.
I was only able to spend three nights there this trip, but wish I had a week to spend there. I was told the owner and his staff had their hats custom made by their neighbor (though some distance away) and I am extremely regretful I did not have the time to go by there this time. Click HERE for more pics
It goes without saying that I made my rounds at every western shop I could find on this trip! I even found a western shop on Broadway in New York, and the shop in San Francisco was quite interesting in it's own right.
- There are three or so small and medium western shops in the downtown area of Jackson. One of them sold used ropes, and as I walked through the airport carrying one I had bought over my shoulder, I was often asked, "Just get back from the rodeo?" The western shops downtown are enough by themselves, but there is also CORRAL WEST RANCHWEAR chain store on the outskirts of town as well. And let me tell you, this place is huge! Go west down the main road that stretches from the center of town, and it is located just a bit to the south outside of town. You can get just about anything here.
- There are quite a few shops along the main road here. I myself purchased a pair of rodeo chaps and a protective vest.
- New York
- I even found a western shop in the Big Apple. It is located in the SOHO area on Broadway. It's a fairly large place, but their merchandise and prices seem aimed more at tourists.
- WESTERN SPIRIT
- 486 Broadway New York,
- New York 10013
- Tel: (212)343-1476
- Las Vegas
- Right about in the middle of the Wall Mart Shopping Mall, between the Strip and the airport is where you will find the Shepler's store, famous for it's mail-order system. Of course, they have everything there, but the only way to get there is by renting a car or catching a cab.
- 3025 EAST TROPICANA
- Las Vegas, NV 89121
- Tel: (702) 898-3000
- San Francisco
- Golden Gate Western Wear is probably the only western shop in all of San Francisco. This store is unique, even for the U.S., due to the fact that they only carry merchandise that are replicas of the frontier days. Even the shirts and boots are modeled after that era. They've even got Calvary uniforms and gun-belts. It is definitely the place to go for old western fans (although it may not present much interest to those who prefer modern western wear).
The owner has a wealth of knowledge concerning the old west, and answered many questions I asked. He also makes hats for western movies, and allowed me to wear a ten-gallon hat for a picture I have posted on the Cowboy Gear page. You can find the store by going to the cable-car stop from the large crab at the Fisherman's Warf, then two blocks, and it is on your right.
Golden Gate Western Wear
- 2629 Taylor St.
- San Francisco, CA94133
- Tel: (415) 441-1187>
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