Once Upon A Time! 
     There happened a couple in Arizona who thought....Why not go to Wyoming in January on vacation?
    For those of you who don't really know what 125 in the shade feels like when you have to live through it every year, this probably doesn't sound like a real intelligent thing to do.  But to those of us who live here in the summer time we figured...Why Not???
    Actually, Joe has been going up to Cody every winter for quite a few years with his dad, or just about anybody he can con into going.   This year it wasn't all that hard to convince Teri of the benefits of escaping the snowbirds around here for a week or so.
    Dad, Teri and Joe blasted off out of Lake Havasu in the afternoon on Wednesday January 10th and we made it all the way to Mesquite Nevada for the evening.  Whew!!!  Driving 250 miles in a day can really take it out of ya.  Anyway.....by Friday afternoon we'd made it all the way to Cody and had great weather except for the rain the whole way.
    Friday nite it decided to do what Joe said it rarely did in Cody, SNOW!!  Surprisingly enough we slept pretty soundly thatUnsolved Mysteries of Cody nite even with the pounding of the snow flakes on the roof all nite long.  We woke up to about six inches on the ground and Teri pleading with Joe to go out and help her build a snowman of all things.  Luckily for Joe the snow proved much too dry to complete this project he got to remain warm and dry inside.
    Saturday January 13th was Ray's (Joe's dad) 74th birthday.  Teri baked Ray an outstanding spice cake and we both presented it to him at dinner, complete with candles that mysteriously re-lit themselves.  To our good fortune, Dad still has a sense of humor.
  Happy Birthday Dad!!
    The seasons in Cody mean more than just a change in the weather pattern.  Cody in the winter time bears little resemblance to its summer counterpart.  With the tourist season ended and only locals to support the economy in a town of less than 8,000 souls the place is beyond quiet.  Just what the doctor ordered after having to follow motor homes down the road.  Which for some inexplicable reason are quite unable to reach anything even remotely resembling the speed limit.
    Anyway......We had a full week to entertain ourselves in a town that is not geared too well for entertainment in the winter time.  This didn't prove to be too much of a barrier as we are easily entertained we've been told.

    Last year Joe was introduced to skiing in Colorado so, this year was Teri's turn to be introduced to skiing in Montana, Red Lodge to be exact.  There wasn't all that much snow on the mountain for this time of year but Teri came to understand why I like this place so much.  What snow was there was excellent and the people are friendly.  We spent all day Monday on the mountain trying to prove to ourselves that we really are as young as we used to be and had a blast in the process.  I must ad at this point that Joe managed to stay on his ski's all day even taking Teri down a black run but for some reason Teri had some snow on her back by the end of the day, 'nuf said.
    Teri has made it known that she is not afraid of the great outdoors and the predominantly male sport of hunting.  Wyoming is known for its big game and with that in mind Joe thought to bring along several of his guns, not the least of which is his prized hunting rifle.
    The three of us set off one day in quest of trophy to Elk Basin where Joe and Dad have bagged their limit on many occasions.
    At this point I need to explain something important.  Elk Basin is an oil field of massive proportions which I'm sure given the fact that humans love to name things after the animals they destroy developing it, once did and probably still does contain a few Elk. Ummm....Good!!!
    Name not withstanding the trophy we sought this day was not Elk but none other than as Teri puts it, "The Wiley Wabbit".  Armed with Joe's trusty Marlin 22 long rifle and Teri's eagle eye we soon spied our quarry.  This ferocious cottontail lurked but a few yards from the road sunning himself in the afternoon light, only to be finally brought down by Joe's marksmanship.  It only took four shots to hit the damn thing at twenty yards.
    After having taken our prey and bringing it the whole way back to the truck it was time to field dress this prized animal.  The one thing that Teri never actually explained was that after encountering her suicidal antelope she never really had to do anything but shoot the poor critter.  Somebody else got to clean it!!
    Gary, if nothing else you will be proud to know that Teri now knows how to clean a rabbit.  Hopefully she will someday go hunting again.  If only I could reproduce the sound of her voice exclaiming, "GROSS!!!"
    Joe's grandma is in the nursing home in Cody, she'll be 99 on March 2nd of this year.  She was recently moved to the Alzheimer's ward where she receives much more personalized care and is doing well.  If only you and I will be as happy in our lives at half of her age, we will be blessed.  Grandma may not be able to tell you who you are but she can outdistance most of the other residents with her walker easily.
    We made arrangements earlier in the week to rent a couple of snowmobiles on Thursday from Pahaska Teepee and sled in through the east gate of Yellowstone Park to explore.  Supposedly starting next year snowmobiles will be restricted inside the park and eliminated the following year altogether.  If only the park service would use that policy against the motor homes in the summer time.  (Sue & Glen, will you ever talk to Joe again?) 
    We left Pahaska at the east gate around ten in the morning and headed for Old Faithful 65 miles west.  Bear in mind the speed limit in the park is a maximum of 45 mph and the sled trails rarely are in good enough condition to even attempt going that fast.  We arrived at Old Faithful around two thirty to find out that we'd missed the event by about ten minutes.  Not wanting to wait around for another hour freezing and burning daylight that we would need to return over Sylvan pass we opted to get moving on the return leg of our journey. 
    After eight hours and 142 miles on snowmobiles we were beat badly by the time we got back to Pahaska but it had been a beautiful day in Yellowstone.  After having traversed the Park in August and not seeing one single Buffalo Teri has been telling everyone that there aren't really any Buffalo in the Park.  The return leg around Pelican Creek proved that her theory was grossly incorrect.  We encountered over two hundred of these two thousand pound critters with calf's smack in the middle of the road, stretching over a mile, requiring what has been referred to as sled herding.
    For those of you who are unfamiliar, Buffalo are not cows!!!  Protected by the Park Service and numerous environmental groups these animals have grown to huge numbers both inside and outside of Yellowstone.  They are extremely unpredictable and dangerous animals and being within six feet of one on a sled rates a very high pucker factor.  Suffice it to say, Teri no longer doubts their existence. 
    Unfortunately our time in Cody was cut short by the fact that one of us had to come back to a real job, so we managed to find our way back south by Sunday the 21st.  Back to motor homes as far as the eye can see and the horrible winter temperatures in the seventies.  (Glen & Sue you can park on our lot anytime)
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