Sunday, August 06, 2006

Water and the Hell's Angels in the Bighorn Basin

Between the Bighorns and the Rockies there is a flat, dry stretch of land, about 150 miles wide. Thanks to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir in Cody, the local farmers have irrigated the hell out of it. You can see fields of green in between the desert plants and formations.

We spent the night in the Ten Sleep RV Park. A local gossip warned us not to camp in town, and that the local law had even kicked out a group of firefighters who were camped out in the town park while combating a forrest fire.

We took Norwood road to Manderson, which had a population smaller than the change in my pocket. The two women running the store invited us in for a home cooked meal when we stopped for malts. We had casserole and and fresh garden veggies. Manderson gets two thumbs up, even though they didn't have a functional sewer system when we stopped through.

We followed the Bighorn River through Basin and Greybull before striking out into the open plains.

The irrigated areas are a massive mosaic of soybeans and sugarbeets.

The rest is scrubby sagebrush managed by the government. We camped by a section of BLM land between Greybull and Emblem.

This is the only town on the sixty mile stretch between Greybull and Cody.

It's also the spot where the fields thin out and the land opens into forty miles of desert. There are wild horses in the canyon, and mule deer hang out by the river.

All the way to Cody, I passed the time thinking about how long my water would last, rocking out to proto-punk on my ipod, and thinking about what it would be like to meet the Hell's Angels.

People had been warning us about the notorious motorcycle club ever since we entered the Basin, because they were holding their international run in Cody. I was excited, because motorcycle gangs are more interesting than rodeos.

Cody brought in police from three different states. The Angels gunned up and down the street on tough looking Harleys with young women hanging off the back, and walked around in their vests looking badass. The police harassed everyone, but at the time we left, had not cited one Hell's Angel. It was a fun spectacle, but made me tired of hearing Harleys. We met the president of one of the state clubs and had an interesting conversation about a variety of subject matter, over a couple of tasty beers.

Here's a shot of me in front of the reservoir that makes farming the Bighorn Basin possible. It was created by damming the Shoshone River and is quite impressive.

Here's Andrea riding through the tunnels used to build the dam. The dam is huge, and the reservoir is miles long.

We just spent a week in Yellowstone and will be posting about that soon.

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