What, Automobiles in Yellowstone!

Onward – to Yellowstone – In an automobile

The Official Route Book of the Yellowstone Highway Association in Wyoming and Colorado, published in 1916, first invited people to visit the park in their autos.

The association, started in Douglas, Wyoming (1915), with a stated purpose of promoting good roads everywhere, but had a special emphasis on roads leading to and from Yellowstone Park in Wyoming’s Northwest corner.

Care was taken in promoting a route through towns and cities with the best accommodations and also homes one of the commissioners/members, of the Yellowstone Highway Association. It took a bit of time to convince the United States Government that automobiles would be safe in the park, but at long last they reluctantly went along with the idea. They finally allowed with a note that, it looks like maybe automobiles are here to stay.

All cars were to be inspected to make sure they had enough gas to make the trip through the park and that the tires were in very good shape, along with the general condition of the car. No motorcycles or busses, with paying customers, were allowed. Each driver was given a copy of driving regulations when entering the park, these included the time it should take to reach various destinations around the park.
1916 Ford
-The following rules were to be followed when driving through the park-

Speed- Limited to 12 miles per hour going uphill and 10 miles per hour going downhill-8 miles per hour on curves

Teams- “When teams, saddle horse, or pack trains approach, automobiles will take the outer edge of the roadway, regardless of the direction in which they may be going.”

Charges- $7.50 for a drive through the park or $10.00 for the year, October 1 to the last day of September

Fines- Times where checked and recorded and fines were given for arriving at the desired destination too fast, how much? Fines were .50 cents for each minute early for the first five minutes then went to a dollar a minute if the driver arrived more than five minutes early. Faster than that, could be fined $25.00 dollars and ejected from the park.

I visited the park last September and am ready to go back.

Not sure who was most excited when we saw this Grizzly, Me or my grandson
Must have been quite an adventure, driving through the park, come to think of it, it is still quite and adventure.


Fort Laramie Council of 1866

After the famous Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and before the second Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868 came an important but less know event, The Council of 1866.
Parade Grounds at Fort Laramie
During this meeting between soldiers and nearly 2,000 Sioux Col. Henry B. Carrington showed up, with his men, on their way to establish a series of forts on the Bozeman Trail. The forts, soon to become, Reno, Phil Kearny and C. F. Smith in Montana ruined any chance at peace the meeting had. The Indian delegation wanted the whites out of the Bozeman trail area, not more forts, and more soldiers.
 Housing at the Fort
Modern Day Camp on the Laramie River, near the site of Sioux Camp in 1866
Red Cloud accused the whites of treachery and left the meeting. The treaty of 1868 did little to appease the feelings of the tribes, and within a decade the Indian wars were at their height in Wyoming and the west.


Flag Day

What better way to celebrate Flag Day than some Little League Baseball - will soon be time for some apple pie and a hot dog.  A great day to celebrate America and get together with family.

Airborne Rangers - The Big Jump

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching the 143rd Infantry Regiment, Airborne Rangers, jump onto the John Edmunds Drop Zone north of Guernsey.

The drop zone was named after Specialist John Joseph Edmunds who was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom. Specialist Edmunds was one of the first American causalities, killed in action, in Pakistan, Oct 19, 2001. Edmunds is one of two Americans officially killed in Pakistan as most of the fighting was in Afghanistan.

The 143rd is an elite Texas Airborne unit that has been engaged in wars all over the globe since WW1. Monday, 288 Rangers jumped in full battle ready dress, each solder and pack weighing between 300 and 350 pounds.

The entire jump was impressive, and over in 40 minutes, after three passes with four military C-130 aircraft, dumping supplies on the first pass, and the rangers on the next two passes.

The Jump was important enough that Camp Guernsey Garrison Commander, Col. Richard Knowlton, hosted three Generals, including, Lt. Gen (3 star)  Joseph L. Lengyel, Vice Chief - National Guard Bureau, out of the Pentagon.

For readers unfamiliar with the Guernsey Wyoming area, and Camp Guernsey, the site is a bit over 80,000 acres (125 square miles) and is a joint training site, hosting National Guard, Army and United States Air Force. The site is listed as a Regional Collective Training Capability Center, by the Army, and a Regional Training Center by the Air Force.  The Camp hosts Soldiers and Airmen year-round and continues to grow.

It was a wonderful, proud, day to see how really good our soldiers are. Great that the public was allowed into the event. Word is that next year the jump will be with nearly 600 paratroopers, wouldn’t miss it for anything.


Oh- one final note, ambulances and medics were on site and the injury total was zero. Not even a twisted ankle from the 288 jumpers, these guys are good.


A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words

A picture, or in this case a photo, is worth a thousand words. Many writers might take exception to this, but a good picture really can tell a great story.  Here are five photos that tell their own story. Or if they don’t, use your imagination and see what you come up with.
North or South?
80 year old camp site
Here's looking at you kid
For everyone who believes Eastern Wyoming is flat - yea Right!
Home Sweet home to someone at sometime

Wyoming Forts

Wyoming has some of the best known forts in the west. Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger were busy Oregon Trail stops and both still support active tourist’s trade. Today most westward expansion forts are but footnotes in history books, or even less. I found four Wyoming Forts that have great names, but seem lost to all but a very few locals, too bad they didn’t last.

Fort Nonsense - Built in 1832 by Captain Bonneville, six miles west of present day town of Daniel. It was the first fort built in Wyoming specifically for the fur trade. Before it was finished Bonneville realized it was a bad location, too high and too hard to reach. Bonneville and his company abandoned the fort soon after it was completed. The fort was actually named Fort Bonneville, but it was usually referred to as Fort Nonsense or even Bonneville’s Folly. The fort was a stockade, described as 100-foot square and built of 12-inch cottonwood logs, 15 feet high with blockhouses on opposite diagonal corners. The location was close to several of the famous mountain man rendezvous held in the 1820s and 1830s. But they were held in the summer and Wyoming has great mountain summer weather.

Fort Stand Off - Obscure even to citizens of Wyoming and not found in many history books. That is unless a Teton County history book is checked then one might find something about Fort Stand Off. Some believe it to be more legend than fact. It wasn’t really a fort, nothing like a fort in the military sense. Fort Sand Off was an area surrounded by rocks where outlaws held off U.S. Marshalls. Outlaw Cal Thompson was the most famous of those who used this hideout. Maybe it could have been as famous as Hole-In-The Wall if Butch Cassidy would have used it, instead of Cal Thomas, an outlaw lost in history.

Fort Yellowstone – The Military ran Yellowstone Park from 1886-1918. It was the first National Park and congress had not yet set up a way to manage national parks. The headquarters were at Mammoth Hot springs and were called Fort Sheridan, after the Civil War general, but it was soon changed to the more appropriate Fort Yellowstone.

Fort Davy Crockett – Located in Sweetwater County and named by a man who had a friend killed at the Alamo. Like many obscure forts, in the mountain west, it was a fur trading station. And also like other of these forts, it was short lived, opening in 1836 but reportedly abandoned and falling apart by 1844. Must not have been much of a carpenter who built this one.
Trail Ruts a half mile south of our house and 13 miles out of Fort Laramie