Absolutely Nothing . . .

Has Been Going On Here.

Trucks go in. Trucks go out.

So here’s what we were doing a year ago today.

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Buffalo Bill and Granny . . .

Originally Posted on July 25, 2011

Today was another ‘play tourist’ day, so after coffee at the rig and a quick stop at McD’s for a breakfast sandwich we headed over to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Buffalo Bill Historical Center

Today would be a ‘twofer’ with a 1 hour trolley ride around Cody, and then coming back to the Center to go through the five museums inside.

The trolley ride was fun and interesting, with a lot of good information from both Chuck, the driver, and Greg, the narrator.

BBHC Trolley Ride

It was interesting to discover that Cody (the town) was designed from scratch by Buffalo Bill to be a ‘tourist’ town. It was laid with very wide streets like the ones Buffalo Bill had admired when he toured Europe with his Wild West Show.

Also interesting was the story of his death and burial in 1917. He died in Denver, CO while visiting his wife Louisa. Cody hated Denver and its leaders with a passion, because they had once foreclosed on him due to a debt he owed.

His 1906 will stated he wanted to buried on top of Cedar Mountain just outside his beloved Cody. However when he died in Denver, the town supposedly paid his wife $10,000 to bury him there.

To the public they said that Cody on his deathbed had said he had changed his mind and wanted to be buried in Denver. The folks in Cody said “Yeah, right” and started hatching plans to steal his body back.

Hearing about this, the Denver leaders stationed the National Guard and a WWI tank at the grave. They kept this up for four years before finally sealing off the gravesite with 20 tons of concrete. You would think this was the end of the story, but it wasn’t.

Buffalo Bill died in January 1917 but wasn’t buried until June when the ground thawed out. Now as the story goes, a vagrant died in Cody who somewhat resembled Buffalo Bill, so the town mortician and several townsfolk got together and did some creative makeup on the vagrant’s body so he looked even more like Cody. They then put the body in a automobile, drove down to Denver, snuck into the funeral home where Cody’s body was being stored, swapped corpses, and hightailed it back to Cody.

They then buried his body on top of Cedar Mountain like he wanted, in a unmarked grave so Denver could not steal him back.

Now all this might seem kind of fanciful, but there was a break-in at the funeral home recorded in a police report, and apparently no one thought to look closely at the body, which although it looked like Buffalo Bill, was more than 6 inches shorter than Cody’s slightly over 6 feet.

Now this story didn’t come out until after Denver had concreted over the gravesite, so there was no way to really check.

But the people of Cody, WY say they know for sure.

My favorite part of the Historical Center was the Firearms Museum.

In the main hall they have over 1200 firearms on display, starting from the 1500’s to the present.

Cody Guns 1500

They also have rooms by manufacturer, with pretty much ever gun that Remington, Colt, Winchester, Browning, Savage, etc., have ever produced.

They also have a number of unique firearms, like the very first production M1 Carbine from Winchester in 1941. During WWII they made over 800,000 of these.

First M1

Another very unique weapon is this Colt 1883 Gatling Gun.

Gatling Gun 1

It was acquired by Winchester in 1949 to test the feasibility of adding an electric motor to power it. This electric-powered Gatling Gun was the prototype of the M-61 Gatling Gun still in use on today’s military aircraft.

M61_Vulcan

Except instead of firing 200 rounds per minute of .45-70 caliber ammo, the Vulcan fires 6000 rounds per minute of 20mm ammo (approx. .78 caliber)

I think one of these would be real nice mounted on the roof of our RV. Idiots would think twice about cutting me off.

Another little fact about Gatling guns. Custer had two of them with him at the fort before he took off chasing Indians, but he didn’t take them with him because he thought they’ve slow him down.

I imagine he was rethinking that decision a little while later.

According to the one of the museum displays much of how we see Indians of that era, tipis, warbonnets, warriors on horseback. etc. comes from Cody’s Wild West Show. But these only applied to a very few tribes of the Plains Indian.

I guess this is like supposedly much of the way we visualize Santa Claus today comes from Coca Cola advertisements of the last 100 years or so.

And apparently like many of today’s rock singers, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show did ‘Final Farewell Tours’ for a number of years. An ad in the Stockton Evening Mail of October 8, 1910 states that "Buffalo Bill Positively Bids You Good-By". But 3 years later the show was still on tour around the country, including another show in Stockton 18 months later.

I’ve got a lot of other pictures but I’ll save some for later on a slow news day.

Leaving the Center about 2:30 we had a light lunch at McD’s before heading back to the rig to pick up Jan’s cat, Emma, and take her to the vet

Lately she’s been losing weight, always hungry, and always thirsty. She’s about 15 years old and we wondered if she had diabetes.

But after blood tests and $200 later, it turns out she had hyperthyroidism which should be treatable by a pill twice a day.

I do want to give a big thumbs up to Lifetime Small Animal Hospital here in Cody, and Dr. Erin Pedersen, our vet. She was great!

Two of our other friends recommended Lifetime and they were right.

After getting back to the rig, and a nice nap, we headed out for dinner about 8 pm, and ended up Granny’s Restaurant. It was very busy, and very good, just good down-home cooking.

Coming home we stopped off at Albertson’s to get a large disposable aluminum roasting pan to use as a secondary cat litter box.

Tomorrow we’re going down to Grand Teton National Park for a couple of days and this will make sure we don’t have any messes to clean up when we get back.

More tomorrow from Jackson, WY.

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Thought for the Day:

“It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature,” – Henry James

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3 Responses

  1. Interesting about Cody!! Never heard that before…sounds like a nice place to explore. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. It was great hearing about one of your trips. Perhaps on the days when nothing is happening you can continue down memory lane!

  3. Elizabeth,

    Cody is a great little town, and the perfect jumping off place to visit Yellowstone National Park.

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