Well, when last we met, I was galloping through West Texas in pursuit of fame and fortune. (Actually, I was in pursuit of a great taco and some tequila, but why quibble?) In any case, before my Texas detour we were about to enter Cody, Wyoming, which is named after that great American showman “Buffalo Bill Cody.” Young William, as he was known as a child, was born on February 26, 1846, in what was then “Iowa Territory.” As many of you know, he grew up to become an army scout, pony express rider, bison hunter, Indian fighter, gold prospector, and showman. (The poor lad obviously had trouble keeping a job.)
Mr. Cody, like yours truly, had an interesting circle of friends and associates. Among his closest buddies were “Wild Bill” Hickok, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, and Civil War generals Sherman and Sheridan. (How’d you like to have dinner with that group!) When those folks went to a restaurant they let Chief Sitting Bull handle the “reservations.” (Ouch!)
Most folks think of Buffalo Bill as just a showman, but since he makes an appearance in my next book, I have been doing some research about him, and I’ve discovered that he was also a civil rights activist (for Indians), a supporter of women’s rights, and an ardent conservationist. (He was actually one of the first people to propose hunting seasons in the West.)
Cody, Wyoming, is a charming little town with much to offer. We spent the entire afternoon at the Buffalo Bill Museum, which is one of the best museums in America. (Fabulous gun collection!) The town also hosts a DAILY rodeo during the summer months. We went to the evening rodeo, and it was simply smashing. (The bulls smashed most of the stuff.) One cowboy got injured and taken to the hospital, but they said he was in “stable condition.” (Ouch!)
After Cody, we saddled up our ponies and made our way across the Big Horn Mountain Pass, which is a death-defying road that goes straight up to the clouds and then veers west toward Yellowstone National Park. The Big Horn area is almost indescribably wild and beautiful, and when you reach the highest point, you are actually ABOVE some of the clouds! I couldn’t even imagine how the road was built, and I would definitely not want to be around when the snow starts falling. (There were still patches of snow on the higher peaks in July!)
More about Wyoming next week, but let’s move on to another topic…. My speaking engagement at the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club was a HUGE financial success. (I found some guy’s wallet) But seriously folks, it was another wonderful event, and I actually sold many books. I would like to thank my good friend, Loyd Smith, for making all of the arrangements.
Next weekend is the Texas Book Festival, and once again, I will be honored with some sort of gala dinner and a new book award….. (which I can’t detail until it becomes official) All I can reveal for now is that my new mystery novel, CAPONE ISLAND, has been singled out for some welcomed praise. (I need all the head-patting I can get!) More on the award next week!
For those of you who love the American West, please scroll down when you finish reading this highly entertaining and educational blog post. Your efforts will be rewarded with some lovely photographs of my western pilgrimage. The photos may not be in sequence, so to speak, but they show a panoramic view of this gorgeous area, and as you will see, this is truly God’s country.
Well, I’m feeling a little “grizzly,” so I think I’ll take a shower and shave. (My wife can’t “bear” how I look unshaven!) I hope you all have a wonderful week. Enjoy the photographs and remember how lucky we are to live in such a magnificent country, surrounded by so much beauty. Un til next time, Iove to all,
Doc Yanoff, Bronco Buster