Wyoming Motels

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Heading out of Yellowstone National Park (a bit later than planned because of the ironically misnamed "Old Faithful") we wind ourselves through severe mountainsides and curling rivers along highway 14. Past the topaz waters of Buffalo Bill Dam, we drop into Cody and the Big Bear Motel. Just down the road from the North American Wild Sheep Foundation, the Big Bear features a fairly impressive collection of, well, stuffed bears in the lobby along with a wide assortment of dolls, pictures, and other bear-abilia. If a mere lobby of dead animals doesn't impress you, however, you can always visit the National Collection of Heads and Horns nearby. Heading for South Dakota and the mother of all tourist traps, Wall Drug, we stop in Dayton at the Foothills Motel (it's next to the Crazy Woman Saloon). The lapping waters of the tongue river sound mighty refreshing as we give the car a rest. Swaying trees shape the gust of breezes that skirt around the peaks and valleys of Bighorn National Forest while plastic sun flowers turn lazily in the wind.

[camera]Big Bear Motel [camera]Foothills Motel [camera]Stardust Motel

Our first visit to Wyoming ends with our camping at Devils Tower national monument. The tower, dedicated by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906, is the result of a battle between earth, wind, fire, and water. An 865-foot high volcano core, the tower has been eroded over millions of years by the Belle Fourche River and weathering. In my opinion, no trip to northeastern Wyoming is complete without watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind projected off the outside wall of a KOA with the dark tower looming behind.

We return to Wyoming from a quick trip to South Dakota along US 16, heading for Newcastle and the Stardust Motel. Weather beaten doors creak for relief under a blistering Wyoming sun. This is cattle country according to signs from local "cowbelles." Further along 16, Wyoming reveals mile after mile of straight-shot blacktop. All terrain vehicles and compacts jockey for position in a dangerous dance. Two miles out of Lusk, we spot a spray of glass and blood as almost a dozen lives have become entangled by the laws of physics. In town, folks at the main street diner - just down the street from the Covered Wagon Motel - learn about the accident quickly: "I hate it when the phone rings as an ambulance goes by," the cashier sighs.

Return to the lobby.

Last update: April 4, 1999. All photographs copyright © Jenny Wood. Text copyright © Andy Wood.