Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God. (1 Peter 4:10)

And here we are at the Cody, WY, KOA. We are, by now, quite the experts at setting up camp. It’s a nice campground, and they are absolutely packed full. I guess it was a good thing I made a reservation a few days ago!

The weather is very pleasant, around 80 degrees right now. Skies are clear, and I don’t see a lot of light poles around, so we should get a good view of the Perseid meteor showers tonight. Two years ago, I watched them up at TLHITWBTL with Steve, Mary, Matt, and Q. Last year I didnt’ get to see them, but this year the viewing promises to be excellent.

We had such an enjoyable stay at my brother and sister-in-law’s in Greybull that we really hated to leave. Yesterday, the temperatures got into the upper 90s, so we didn’t do as much outdoors. Matt and I repacked Sophie in the morning to make better use of space and reorganize our stuff. I bought a large storage bin to replace two cardboard boxes which had not recovered well from their exposure to the dew our first night out, and that gives us much better access to things. Also, our food is all in one cooler with regular ice. I’m thinking dry ice is for much bigger jobs than just using it in my Coleman cooler. The 12-volt cooler is currently serving as an additional storage box, but we may put it back in service as we get into cooler weather. It has limitations in very hot weather.

Yesterday morning, we went with my brother to the fitness center he uses in Basin, just down the road. Both Matt and I were glad to get in a good targeted workout after all the hiking and climbing we had done. It is a very nice facility.

The weather in north central Wyoming is going to be very hot the rest of the week — temperatures are forecast to reach a high of 100 on Friday! Yes, the humidity is very low — but that is still HOT! It would be very easy to get dehydrated, because sweat evaporates so quickly you don’t realize you are sweating. When we hiked on Monday, I went through 2 liters of water and was still pretty thirsty.

When we got our tent set up this afternoon, we went on into Cody to look around. It’s a very, very busy little city, and I think everyone is out for a last-blast vacation before fall comes. I hear that this area has had snow as early as Labor Day in some past years, and I know that two years ago, an early October blizzard created brought things to a standstill over a wide area. August is about it for summer vacations here. Anyway, we found the Buffalo Bill Center on the west side of Cody and decided to check it out. We got there about 90 minutes before it closed, and the guy at the desk very kindly gave us a very big discount on our admission fees — more than 50% off. The center houses several museums, from art to natural history to wildlife to firearms to historical exhibits. We made full use of our time and managed to see quite a bit of the place before we left for dinner. We ate at the Hotel Irma, which originally was built by Buffalo Bill Cody (and, incidentally, which eventually ruined him financially). The food and service were great.

When we get up in the morning, it’s another campsite breakfast; then we will break camp and head West to Yellowstone. The plan for the day is to drive over to the Old Faithful area, hike around the geothermal area, have lunch at the Lodge, and then head on out, taking the southern route out of Yellowstone through Jackson. We will get as far south as we can manage tomorrow night and look for a campground. Then Friday we will drive the rest of the way down to the Grand Canyon. We’ll have a couple of hotel nights there, as I was not able to find any available campsites within a reasonable distance. That gives us all day Saturday to explore and hike. Sunday morning I will find a church where I can attend Mass, and then we will begin the journey home. We’ll be back in Lansing sometime next Wednesday.

It is always wrenching to leave family, especially when I only see them once a year. At the same time, it is exciting to get back on the road and see new sights — always, seeing them through Matt’s eyes as well, and enjoying how much he is loving the experience. It has been wonderful to get to know him better and see our relationship deepen. I would dearly love to have the opportunity to do this with all my grandchildren, but given how deep they are in their own obligations it may not be possible. ! I’m already hatching a plan to do a trip like this with those three little great-grandsons once they are old enough to enjoy and appreciate the experience.

I’ll sign off for tonight. Tomorrow I will have stories of animals, and geysers, and waterfalls, and wonderful sights.

Cheers to one and all!

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