Thursday, 6 May 2010


It was going to be a hard driving day. I was headed to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. After that I would turn south.
Cody is a cow town. This I discovered easily enough when I ventured into “Irma’s”, the hotel built by Buffalo Bill in 1902. As I walked across the street two cowpokes was kissin’ on the sidewalk. Only when I got close did I realise this was not a Brokeback Mountain scenario going on. It was a cowboy and his cowgirl. Both identically dressed and equally rangy. I followed them into the bar. Or should that be saloon.
The place didn’t go quiet when I went in but it may as well have. Everyone in there was a cowpuncher. They all had Stetsons on. Some had fringed jackets and they all had hand tooled cowboy boots. They may have had Colt 45’s. It was difficult to see through the smoke. Not that there had been a shoot out. It was just that, as I outlined the other day, this part of the US seems to still be “Marlboro Country”. Although they did advertise their own shoot out once a week. Not sure that would be such a floor-filler in parts of Moss Side!

A wild eyed/haired/unshaven man in sandals was probably not what they needed right now, so I lit out for the “Silver Dollar” further down and on the opposite side of the street.
What fresh hell was this? An all-consuming tobacco fug. Dogs running wild and food being served.
In the UK this would have been a health and safety nightmare.
This was Cody and if you don’t like it, talk to my gun!
I had one drink and slunk back to the Cody Motor Lodge, conveniently located next to the “Cigarette Barn”

I had a long way to go. However I had never seen this level of cowboy activity so I had to go into a store to ask for myself. The “Custom Cowboy Shop” beckoned. It was a treasure hose of saddlery, ropes, hats and spurs. If you think this is pure comedy, later in the day I was at a gas station and a pickup truck disgorged two cowboys complete with Stetsons and spurs. You can hear my encounter with the lady in the shop via “Audio boo” go to “@Alexthedarklord” and you will find it.

The open road beckoned and, in fact, it was so open I travelled for miles without seeing a soul.
As in Yellowstone, there are lots of memorials and roads named after Native Americans. After all we are in Big Horn territory. I was heading to a town called Custer!
Not sure it was much consolation for the Nez Perce, The Shoshone, The Crow etc to have been slaughtered, to have a road named after them! Not that we in the UK can ever claim the moral high ground in this area.
Not having had any breakfast as most of Cody seemed to be feasting on fags. Not sure but didn’t see any evidence of a dining area at the Motor lodge by lunchtime the stomach was giving it that old Yellowstone Grizzly growl.
Ten Sleep Wyoming is in the Big Horn basin and compared to “Emblem” I passed through earlier (Population: 10) is a hopping town of about 300. Most of whom appeared to be elsewhere.

In the “Crazy Woman” cafĂ© there were about 15 of us. A party of women who sounded like they were on the local school board. They were doing meeting minutes and awarding $500 scholarships between mountains of food being delivered to their table.
Few guys on their lunch break. The back of their shirts read: “Wyoming Weatherization” No don’t ask me. They were based in nearby Worland though.
Waitress was 20 if she was a day and had a necklace tattooed round her neck. Have mention tats in previous American Adventure blogs. She was sassy and as she wiped my table she said:
“Women been sitting here so it’s not really that dirty”
“I’ll get in touch with my feminine side and make sure I don’t make a mess” I riposted slightly pompously.
She regarded me for a moment and said
”Like your accent “
“Can you guess where I am from?”
She thought for a moment and then said;
The more times I visit the fewer times my speech can be pinned down.
In 1985 in San Francisco I was obviously Australian
2007/8 Adventure 1 and 2. I was French
This time I seem to be Canadian.
What does a Brit sound like to an American these days?
I ordered a Chilli Bowl.

As I type this, nearly 12 hours later, I am still not hungry and have not eaten since.
The rest of the afternoon passed in a blur of spectacular scenery, country radio and weather warnings of snow. Will this stop me from seeing Mount Rushmore?


  1. You sound VERY American to me. I can hardly even tell that you have an accent. I find it rather bizarre that you sound like a D.J. even when you're not on the air. Do you do that on purpose?

  2. Hello Dark Lord, the days of cowboys, breakfasting on fags, and leather fringe jackets are in decline in these United States. I love Yellowstone but have only been there twice in my life. You are traveling through a rather remote part of our country. Look forward to your next blog entry.

  3. Alex, love the audioboo with the woman in Cody. Hope you were outfitted properly with western attire. I so enjoy your blog across my country.

  4. Waiting for your desription of an American Breakfast - but events seem to always overtake you and it's a meal you cannot take!

  5. Great read Alex in your inimitable fashion, keep it up. Malc'

  6. Great blog alex its as if we are on holiday with you the first week has gone quick look forward to your next blog

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  8. Oooh, I think I'm tempted to twitter up (have so far resisted the temptation), just to hear the "Custom Cowboy Shop" conversation.

  9. hi Alex..a great read..i should have warned you about Yellowstone i spent an unforgettable
    honymoon in yellowstone in May 1972. snow blocked most of the roads but we made it to the main lodge where i was poisoned by a hamburger. For the next 24 hours i was very sick and gushed like old faithful!

  10. When you get back, please could you play a request for me ..... RAWHIDE (Blues Brothers) .... dedicated to Alex Lester, ha ha.

  11. Howdy Alex, has this American trip got anything to do with you trying to get new (daytime) listeners?
    Your list of USA followers are increasing - wink.