Orlando Bingles’ Rocky Mountain High: Day 16

by Bingle on Jun.03, 2009, under Richard Bingle Family

Alyssa at Mt. Rushmore

We started out day sixteen with a trip back to Mount Rushmore to see it in the daylight. It turned out that it was a good thing we went first thing in the morning, as soon after we got there the mountain became socked in with clouds. Every once in a while there would be a few seconds where you could see the faces again, but by the time you tried to take a picture, they would be lost in the mist again.

Karen and girls posing as the Presidents

We spent some time doing a .8 mile loop that on a clear day provides several different views of the faces on the mountain. The loop also includes a stop at the Artist’s Studio which includes a 1:12 scale model that was used during the carving of the mountain.

Then it was back in the van for another long day of driving, again in the rain. This time to Cody, WY. Most of the route was back along the highway we had driven east on the day before, I-90. We again saw lots of pronghorn antelope along the way. We left the highway just west of Sheridan, WY and got on US-14. Immediately the terrain changed from rolling prairie to a mountain pass and we got high enough to be driving in the clouds. Most of the drive up US-14 to Granite Pass took place in dense clouds/fog – which may or may not have been better for Rich’s nerves as the road was switchback after switchback. At one point, Rich and Karen both swore that they had seen a large animal (like a buffalo) run across the road less than fifty feet in front of the van in the fog, but it immediately disappeared. They had just come to the conclusion that it must have just been the swirling of the fog/clouds playing a trick on them when the truth became “clear”. There was a car in front of them and they had seen its vague form going around a curve in front of them. Even though their lights were on and it had been so close, it had tricked us completely.

Moose near Granite Pass

The clouds thinned considerably after we crested the pass, which was nice as we spotted a couple of cars pulled over with people out looking at something. It turned out to be our fourth moose of the trip.

The trip back down was again through the clouds, but the visibility wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been on the way up. Once back down through Shell Canyon the terrain returns to prairie and the road runs almost straight to Cody.

Gunfight at Irma Hotel in Cody, WY

We arrived in Cody in time to see a “gunfight” put on daily during the summer. It was conveniently located right in front of Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel which was our destination for the day. The gunfight was pretty corny but entertaining nonetheless. Afterwards we checked into our room at the Irma and had a nice dinner in their dining room.

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