Riverton, Wyoming To Cody, Wyoming -- August 7, 2021
Cody Comfort Inn (free with points)
August 7, 2021
Another “quite the day.” From small towns to river canyons to high desert, today's drive had a little bit of everything.
Shoshoni wasn't much. Lots of empty hotels and buildings. I asked a local what had happened to the town — her answer was oil bust and no more train. It looked like the town was trying - it had a new park and KT’s restaurant was a bright spot. Another local told me it was the best place in town to eat. I thought to myself you need three places in order to have the best; from what I could tell I had one option in town. Regardless, the grill cheese and fries were great.
Shoshoni is a town in Fremont County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 649 at the 2010 census. The town is named for the Shoshone tribe of Native Americans, most of whom live on the nearby Wind River Indian Reservation.
Geography and climate
Shoshoni is located at 43°14′25″N 108°6′52″W (43.240161, -108.114540).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.58 square miles (9.27 km2), all land.
Shoshoni has a continental arid desert climate and is, some years, the driest town in the entire Mountain Time Zone; occasionally it receives less than 4 inches of rainfall annually.
Shoshoni's closest body of water is Boysen Reservoir, which is also the confluence of the Wind River, Badwater Creek and Poison Creek. As the water exits the dam it flows into the Wind River Canyon and joins the Big Horn River at the Wedding of the Waters at the canyon egress.
Established as a railroad and mining town, Shoshoni lies at the intersection of U.S. Routes 20 and 26, which together were formerly known as the "Yellowstone Highway." Shoshoni has a dramatic increase in visitors in the summer, when roads to Yellowstone National Park are open. Visitors also stop to camp and fish at nearby Boysen Reservoir and the surrounding Boysen State Park. Anglers participate in fishing derbies at the reservoir, including an ice fishing derby in the winter.
Ranching is, and has been for decades, the major agricultural endeavor in the nearby area.
Charles Henry King, a prominent millionaire businessman and banker later based in Omaha, Nebraska, built the C.H. King Company and First Union Bank Building, formerly occupied by Yellowstone Drug Store. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. King and his wife Martha were the paternal grandparents of President Gerald Ford, who was born in their Omaha house in July 1913.
In 2004 a water-intensive mushroom processing plant began operation on land that was annexed by the town and put within its limits. At first it was staffed by prison labor, who were paid minimum wage, in a prison industries program. When they had trouble with production, the plant hired skilled labor from Guatemala. This labor practice stopped when a Department of Homeland Security investigation revealed that some of the workers had problems with their immigration histories. More recently the plant has ensured all migrant workers are legal. During operations, the plant's composting bunkers emitted unpleasant odors, resulting in numerous complaints from residents during 2005. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality investigated the situation and air quality issues. The plant installed a stack and ventilating system in early 2006 to control and disperse odor from the composting bunkers. As of early May 2009, the facility was up for sale.
As of the census of 2010, there were 649 people, 278 households, and 180 families residing in the town. The population density was 181.3 inhabitants per square mile (70.0/km2). There were 337 housing units at an average density of 94.1 per square mile (36.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 1.1% African American, 5.1% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.6% of the population.
There were 278 households, of which 32.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.3% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.83.
The median age in the town was 39.3 years. 25.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 29.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 51.0% male and 49.0% female.
Next was the Wind River Valley.
The next town was Thermopolis:
"Thermopolis" (ΘΕΡΜΟ - ΠΟΛΙΣ) is from the Greek for "Hot City". It is home to numerous natural hot springs, in which mineral-laden waters are heated by geothermal processes. The town is named for the hot springs located there.
The town claims the world's largest mineral hot spring, appropriately named "The Big Spring", as part of Wyoming's Hot Springs State Park. The springs are open to the public for free as part of an 1896 treaty signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes.
Dinosaur fossils were found on the Warm Springs Ranch in 1993, and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center was founded soon after.
Thermopolis is located near the northern end of the Wind River Canyon and Wedding of the Waters, where the north-flowing Wind River becomes the Bighorn River. It is an unusual instance of a river changing names at a point other than a confluence of two streams. The dual name is ascribed to the mountain barrier between the Wind River and Bighorn basins, obscuring the fact that the river that drains the two is the same. The term "Wedding of the Waters" dates to at least 1934, when a marker was placed at the location.
Thermopolis is ringed by mountains, with the Big Horn Mountains to the northeast, the Bridger Mountains to the southeast, the Owl Creek Mountains to the southwest and the Absaroka Range to the northwest. Thermopolis is the southernmost municipality in the Big Horn Basin.
Roundtop Mountain, on the northern edge of town, is a unique geological formation shaped much like a volcano. It sits at approximately 6,000 feet and is the highest area in the immediate vicinity of Thermopolis.
A large body of water, Boysen Reservoir, lies approximately 17 miles south of Thermopolis and is inhabited by many species of fish including rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, walleye, northern pike and perch among others.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.47 square miles (6.40 km2), of which 2.38 square miles (6.16 km2) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.
Thermopolis experiences a cool semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with freezing, dry winters and hot, dry summers. In fact, the town features Wyoming's highest average daytime temperatures averaged for the whole year.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,009 people, 1,389 households, and 818 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,264.3 inhabitants per square mile (488.1/km2). There were 1,583 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 1,389 households, of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.1% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.70.
The median age in the town was 47 years. 20.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 30.5% were from 45 to 64; and 22.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.
Because of Hot Springs State Park, tourism is of considerable economic importance to Thermopolis. A state maintained herd of American Bison reside in Hot Springs State Park, which extends into the northeast corner of town. Two hot mineral water concessions with numerous water slides and other attractions, the Teepee Pools and Star Plunge are located within the park. Two hotels, Days Inn-Safari Club and Best Western-Plaza Inn, are also in the park. Other tourism-related businesses in and near the town include the Downtown Thermopolis Historic District, the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center and the Wind River Canyon Whitewater Rafting. Thermopolis (indeed, all of Hot Springs County) levies a 4% lodging tax for boarders in county hotels and motels.
The Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center has an eclectic collection of memorabilia from local pioneers circa 1890 through 1910, with plans to focus on Tim McCoy, who lived in Hot Springs County from 1912 to 1942, during which he built the High Eagle Ranch about 45 miles west of town. He worked for many years as an actor in what are now called B westerns, or lower-budget cowboy movies in Hollywood.
Nearby East Thermopolis is home to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, a non-profit corporation that conducts paleontology digs in the area and maintains a visitor center with a museum, gift shop and snack bar. They offer daily tours of the dig site that allow visitors to participate in excavations.
Every May since 1993, thousands of basketball players have descended upon Thermopolis for the annual 3 on 3 Hot Spot Shootout Basketball Tournament. The event is typically hosted on the first weekend in May (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), but has also been held on the second weekend in May. The tournament shuts down several blocks of the city for the weekend, as up to 60+ temporary basketball courts are constructed on city streets in the downtown area. The event is co-sponsored by the Hot Springs County Chamber of Commerce and Hoop World Basketball.
The next town was Meeteetse -- if you look closely at the bottom right of some of these photos you'll see a fellow who looks like Zac Brown.
The town's name is derived from a Native American term for "meeting place".
Meeteetse is located at 44°9′21″N 108°52′8″W (44.155954, -108.869022).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.87 square miles (2.25 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 327 people, 153 households, and 94 families residing in the town. The population density was 375.9 inhabitants per square mile (145.1/km2). There were 177 housing units at an average density of 203.4 per square mile (78.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.6% White, 0.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.6% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.
There were 153 households, of which 20.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 5.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.6% were non-families. 33.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.74.
The median age in the town was 51.3 years. 20.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 16% were from 25 to 44; 35.1% were from 45 to 64; and 23.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 51.7% male and 48.3% female.
And here are some photos from the rest of the drive to Cody.
I did my best to eliminate the effect of the smoke from these photos. The smoke was quite pronounced today. I thought it would be fitting for all the songs in the slideshow to be about smoke.