Another feature that seemed to have changed since my sister and I visited Thermopolis was the availability of camping. I could have sworn we camped in the park area outside the hot springs. There was ample open space and picnic tables, but there was also a small amphitheater so things may have changed. Or, my memory may need refreshing. At any rate, the only campsite we were told of nearby was an RV park on the edge of town so we decided to head on into Cody. (Our previous RV park experience in Casper having not been too exciting.) As we drove to Cody, we did pass a state park with tent camping sites along the Big Horn River. Which leads to another tip of road tripping: finding a place to sleep before it gets dark. Try as we might on this trip or my trip of 1999 (or numerous others in between) it is hard to stop driving when you still have daylight! We might have considered stopping in the state park on the river if we had known about it...but Cody also seemed like a good destination.
I remember Cody being a good ol’ western town. There is the Buffalo Bill Museum, lots of tack and farm stores, many old buildings still in use from last turn of the century, and lots of open range and mountains. At night it kind of looks the same, with the addition of many more chain restaurants. Being dark and since its out of season, we were not going to spend time looking for a campground. When Ken and I departed for this trip, he asked that we sometimes stay in the parking lot of that big chain whose name shall not be spoken. The gianormous RVs do it so it should be ok. I agreed, only to save money and have a 24 hour toilet if we did not buy anything there.
We drove trough town and found the spot, then went out to look for dining. We also wanted to contact our friends in Alaska to alert them of our status. I could have just called, but we wanted to Skype and check in on emails. Unfortunately, I had been talked out of a traveling internet service so we cruised the hotels for an open network. Some of the chain hotels did have available networks, but the range just wasn’t quite good enough. In the search we noticed a retail store network pop up. It was a business that was closed for the night so we did not feel bad parking right in front to gain connection. I won’t mention the name so they do not feel imposed upon, but I was glad to find a route to the internet superhighway. Hey, when you are on a fixed income moving you have to save money where ever possible. We talked to Jim and Lindsay for quite a while and found out the weather in Alaska was cold already. After the call it was back to the resting spot to bundle in for the night. The weather in Cody this night was cool, not quite cold, maybe 40s though they expected frost overnight. The elevation here is about 5,000 so the air is crystal clear. The town was fairly dark so we could see many stars.
Preparing the trailer to sleep in was hard and easy. Easy in that the beds were already laid out. Hard in that we had packed a lot of stuff on top of the bed which had to be moved. We had a suitcase up there, the box of kitchen supplies (utensils and food), shoes, extra coats, and spare packing boxes. Most of the non-valuables we moved into the car, the valuables–computers, cameras and the like–we moved into the trailer with us. This would be our third night in the rig with the narrow sleeping space. Ken cracked open the rear fold-down door for ventilation and we closed the side door. He put the locks closed on the latches out side so no one could lock us in. It was a little uneasy getting to sleep thinking about this but we had no problems.
With the two of us in the small space, we actually kept fairly warm. To liven the home-on-the-road up, Ken installed our battery operated LED twinkle lights. Those really made all the difference! Have to have fun on a trip like this!