Deadwood, SD to Greybull, WY
Pam, the waitress at the Best Western restaurant, was a hoot and really knew a lot about Deadwood history, specifically Al Swearengen and Calamity Jane. The food was excellent, too, especially the bacon.
My first stop of the day was Devil’s Tower, but first I had to cross back into Wyoming. As I crossed the border from South Dakota, the wind picked up as if turned on by a switch. I don’t think I spent a single second in the state of Wyoming without the wind blowing.
The side road to Devil’s Tower is beautiful. Imagine pine trees, green grass, and rolling hills on a quality road with hardly any traffic. Yeah, it was that kind of experience. If you’ve seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, however, Devil’s Tower itself is somewhat of a let down. It’s cool, but it’s exactly the same as you see in the movie so seeing it in person is somewhat underwhelming.
I backtracked back to I-90 and caught it westbound about 100 miles to Buffalo. That stretch of freeway, as you would imagine, is uninteresting.
I ate lunch at the busy Hardees in Buffalo before taking highway 16 west into the Big Horn Mountains. 16 was great except for the muddy and dusty (yes, both) construction and REALLY slow cars coming down the western slope of the mountains. The curves seemed to have these drivers freaked out of their minds and anything above 25 mph for them was out of the question. I eventually got past them.
The rest of 16 is hot and dry to Worland, then I turned north to Greybull for more of the same. There is a lot of erosion and the geology of the area looks like it was once under a great inland sea (which it was). Apparently a lot of dinosaur fossils are found in that area.
It was hot when I got to Greybull, a small farming community centered around a once-busy railroad switch yard. There was construction going on downtown but I looped around and found the Greybull Hotel from a back street.
The Greybull Hotel was unexpectedly one of the highlights of my trip. The owner, Myles Foley, is a great guy and a total crack-up. He’s also one helluva great host. The hotel was built in 1914 and had a speakeasy in the basement. Myles gave me a full, personal tour. The room rates are an excellent value, too.
Dinner was in a common room of sorts on the ground floor, just inside the front door, although the restaurant proper is in the basement with a nice, cozy feel to it. I sat at the same table with several locals and we talked and laughed well into the evening. I had a great time meeting my new friends. The prime rib dinner that Myles had on special was fantastic, too.
John, one of the local regulars and the Realtor that sold the hotel to Myles, suggested I take a different route for the next day than the one I had originally planned. At first I intended to head straight west through Cody and into Yellowstone National Park, but John suggested I go north into Red Lodge, Montana, then enter the park over the Beartooth Pass. I’m so glad I took his advice.