“Ole, don’t be a blanket hog,” I yelled at 6 o’clock this morning. “Just give me some d–n blankets please!” Ole was wrapped up in the comforter and my backside was hanging out developing frostbite because Senior Citizen Simon and Lucy were snuggled up against him and all the blankets, and weren’t passing any of their BTUs to me. It was a mere 48 degrees here at Meeteetse this morning. A far cry from what we’ve been dealing with over the last 10 days at Sturgis or the last 3 months at home in Minnesota.
Meeteetse is a wide spot in the road with a population of 297 and at an elevation of about 4200 feet. This town may be small but it has more going for it than you can imagine. If you ever get to the Cody, Wyoming area I highly recommend making a stop at Meeteetse.
We spent the evening last night at the Cowboy Bar visiting with Big Jim, the owner for the last 18 years. He’s a walking history book – although he’s tied to a motorized wheel chair at this point in his life. The research that he carries in his head is extraordinary, although he’s starting to write it all down and to this point has published 11 historical novellas and is currently working on 6 more!!
You see, the Cowboy bar opened its doors in 1893 back in the days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and various other outlaws from back in those days, that all frequented the Cowboy Bar. At one point one of the well-known outlaws was involved in a standoff on main street, got shot in the head and his body was brought into the Cowboy Bar, layed out on the bar, his pockets emptied and his money spent on drinks for the house for the evening. A local resident, who was a doctor, went up to the bar, poked his finger in the hole in the guy’s forehead and the back of the outlaw’s skull popped off and his brains went flowing out onto the bar. There are still bullet holes in the walls and ceiling from various gun fights that took place in the bar “back in the days.” The bar is full of historical pictures and documents and even has the original player piano that still works sitting up against the wall waiting for someone to play a tune.
Big Jim is quite an interesting character and it’s so easy to spend hours talking to him and listening to his historical tales. We spent two hours with him last night and another couple of hours this afternoon that went by so fast it was like snapping your fingers.
So today when we dropped our boots over the saddle of the “Iron Horse” (Harley) we stopped for lunch at Lucille’s Cafe – another business that’s been operational since the turn of the century. I had the best egg salad sandwich I’ve had in a long time – served by wonderfully hospitable people. As we were eating Lucille (the cooke) came out and visited with us. What a refreshing atmosphere from all the franchise restaurants. This was real hometown cooking and hospitality. It was so fun to watch all the local cowboys come in and eat their lunch and listen to their conversations about sheep and cattle and lack of rain.
After visiting the two museums in town and getting an understanding of the local history, we once again dropped our boots over the saddle of the “iron horse” and took off on the first hard-surfaced road we found. We rode to the end of it (yes, there is an end to the pavement out here) where we were forced to turn around. At the end of the road was something called the Pappy Po Butte, where a very important battle took place between two Indian tribes. Yes, they fought each other back then, not just the White Man. It was a pretty impressive butte, and looked like a sleeping buffalo.
Then we decided to take the first hard-surfaced turnoff road that we came across and ended up going down the Wood River Road. The Wood River Valley was filled with wild life and oil wells, all living together in comfort. We saw more antelope and mule deer this afternoon than we’ve seen on the entire trip along with a timber wolf that was hunting the antelope. I have a long lense on my camera so I was able to get a decent shot of him.
Then it was back to the Main Street of Meeteetse for ice cream at the Chocolatier. The young man who owns this business wanted a new saddle so he could participate in a local rodeo. His parents wouldn’t buy it for him and his mother told him that because he could make good candy to go to work and make his own money. So he started the Meeteetse Chocolatier and now has a nation-wide business. I didn’t sample his chocolates but they looked delicious – I opted for ice cream instead. Just in case you didn’t know, I’m an ice creamaholic. Don’t keep it in my house because I can’t leave it alone.
While at the Chocolatier we met the nicest two couples from Texas that are staying up in Cody. One of the gentlemen in the group told me I was a “girl after his own heart.” At my age that really sent a thrill through me. He told me it was because I was eating ice cream – he would have chosen ice cream over the chocolates also. It’s pretty pathetic when that type of comment makes an impression – does it mean my age is showing? (No comments from the peanut gallery, Burl.)
For those of you who read me and don’t know who Burl is, some day I’ll have to tell you about Burl – ole’ buddy, ole’ pal. (Love you, Burl.)
From the Chocolatier it was back to the Cowboy Bar and more visits with Big Jim for another couple of hours. You just never get bored talking to Big Jim. We purchased two of his most recently published books – I can’t wait to read them. He’s a gem. I just wish his health was better – I will be surprised if he’s still walking this earth if we come back here in a year or two.
More pictures – click on the link.