Summer Road Trip Through Cody, Wyoming, and Devil’s Tower National Monument

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Editor’s Note: This post is written by a member of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.

We left Yellowstone behind and continued our caravan tour, driving east from the Gallatin National Forest in western Montana. Our next stop would be Cody, Wyoming. What is there to do in Cody? Plenty! Everything from river rafting to museum exploration, along with dinner, a concert, and the longest-running rodeo in the world.

We parked our Leisure Travel Vans at Ponderosa RV Park in Cody. The RV park is conveniently located within walking distance of the best museum I have ever explored, and I have explored a lot of museums.

Ponderosa RV Park, Cody, Wyoming From left: Nathan and Paula’s Unity Murphy Bed, Our LTV Unity FX, and Danny and Paulette’s LTV Unity FX.
Entrance to Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a must-see the next time you’re in Wyoming. It’s five museums in one, and to see everything there allows at least one to two days, perhaps three, especially if you like to read and see everything.

MaryAnn, me, and Buffalo Bill Cody.

Cody, named after Buffalo Bill Cody, a historical icon of the Wild West, has much to offer anyone interested in learning more about how the West was won and tamed.

Dinner, Country Music concert, and Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming. From Left: Danny, Paulette, MaryAnn and me.

The Cody Cattle Company offers a great deal on dinner (Old West Style), a country music concert, and a rodeo on the same night. A van came to the RV park to pick us up and transport us to all the festivities. First up is an all-you-can-eat country western-style dinner and concert. After the concert, the van transported us to the longest-running rodeo in the world. After the rodeo, the van takes people back to the RV park—a great night of entertainment. If you don’t like rodeos, there’s a ticket that doesn’t include the rodeo, and the van will bring you back to the RV park after dinner/concert.

After a great weekend in Cody, we continued driving east. Our next stop will be Devil’s Tower National Monument in eastern Wyoming. About 20 miles south of Devil’s Tower, the skies started to blacken and look ominous and foreboding. Then, weather alerts sounded on all our cell phones, telling us that a tornado had been sighted in our area and we should find shelter immediately.

We became storm chasers that day. Or was the storm chasing us? We could see the clouds spinning in the sky! We decided to turn around and drive south out of the danger zone. But it seemed as though the tornado was following us.

We headed for the small town of Moorcroft, Wyoming, where we parked our LTVs behind a school and took shelter in a breezeway of the school for protection from the storm.

Sirens were sounding the alarm, and loudspeakers were giving the town of Moorcroft instructions to seek shelter immediately. The voiceover of the loudspeaker said a confirmed tornado had been sighted on the ground just northwest of town. We were praying for protection from the storm, and the Lord Jesus was faithful in keeping us safe. It was a scary experience, but in the end, the tornado missed us, and eventually, the danger passed so that we could drive further east and stop for the night in Sundance, Wyoming.

RV park in Sundance, Wyoming, where we spent the night after the tornado passed. We saw a lot of hail damage to cars in the area: broken windshields and huge dents from baseball-sized hail.

The next day, the skies still looked threatening.
The road east to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.

Devil’s Tower National Monument

Devil’s Tower is the site of the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The film crew for the movie only spent a few minutes filming here for the movie, and they were never at the top of the tower, as indicated in the movie.

Devil’s Tower (also known as Bear Lodge Butte) is a butte, possibly in the Bear Lodge Ranger District of the Black Hills, near Hulett and Sundance in northeastern Wyoming. It rises 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet (264 meters) from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet (1,558 m) above sea level. (Wikipedia)

Devil’s Tower National Monument was the first United States national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument’s boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres. (Wikipedia)

We were determined to get to Devil’s Tower, so we drove north from Sundance to Devil’s Tower the next day. As we approached the tower from the south, the tower became visible from a long distance away.

Devil’s Tower dominates the landscape.

The name “Devil’s Tower” originated in 1875 during an expedition led by Colonel Richard Irving Dodge when his interpreter reportedly misinterpreted a native name to mean “Bad God’s Tower.” (Wikipedia)

According to the traditional beliefs of the people of the Kiowa and Lakota, a group of girls went out to play and were spotted by several giant bears, who began to chase them. The girls climbed atop a rock to escape the bears, fell to their knees, and prayed to the Great Spirit to save them. Hearing their prayers, the Great Spirit made the rock rise from the ground towards the heavens so the bears could not reach the girls. The bears left deep claw marks on the sides to climb the rock, which had become too steep to climb. Those marks appear today on the sides of Devil’s Tower. When the girls reached the sky, they were turned into the stars of the sky. (Wikipedia)

Every year, people from the Lakota nation climb to the top of the tower at night with only candles for light to commemorate this legend. MaryAnn and I were here in 2018 and got to see them climbing the tower at night from the campground.

MaryAnn and Paulette hiked around the base of the tower.

Nathan, Paula, MaryAnn, and Paulette hiked around the tower’s base. Danny and I sat on a visitor center bench and waited for their return.

As seen from the base.
Maryann looks tiny compared to the boulders around the base of the tower.

The top of the tower can be seen from the base.
Can you see the people climbing the tower?

Can you see the people climbing the tower? They’re about a third up the side of Devil’s Tower. A permit must be obtained from the park to climb the tower.

Before we left Devil‘s Tower, we took a group photo from left: Me, MaryAnn, Nathan, Paula, Paulette, and Danny.​

In our next post, we will continue our summer road trip in 2022, driving east to South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, and beyond. Come along as our road trip adventure continues…


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