We’ve driven by Sheridan, Wyoming a number of times in our travels, and always promised ourselves that some day we’d stop and explore the area. Finally, our schedule allowed for a three day visit on our way to Montana. We chose Peter D’s RV Park because we couldn’t resist the message on his web site: “Peter D’s has nutritional value – if you don’t stay here, Pete don’t eat”. Who could resist? Peter turned out to be a delightful individual with a great sense of humor, and Sheridan turned out to be far more than we expected. We started with a trip to the downtown area, and were impressed that almost every store front was filled. We saw the old-fashioned sign for a J.C. Penney Store, and hey! It really was a J.C. Penney store! With it’s tin ceiling and portable fans for air conditioning, it was like stepping back into the 60s. There were a number of typical strip-mall stores, like Maurice’s, that also occupied downtown stores. Everything was neat and clean, there was a nice variety of restaurants, and even the trash containers had wildlife statues on them. They would have had one less had Brenda been able to get the moose loose.
A few blocks from downtown is the newly restored historic Sheridan Inn, built in 1894 and originally managed by Buffalo Bill Cody. The original inn had 64 bedrooms, but after being restored over the years the inn reopened this spring with 22 rooms, each with a historical theme of a key characters in Buffalo Bill’s life. You can read about the history of each room’s character on the web site – it’s interesting reading.
Peter D recommended we visit Trail End State Historic Site, and we’re glad we did. The home of John B. Kendrick, governor and US Senator was completed in 1913 and is without doubt, the most impressive restoration we’ve seen. With ten bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, eight fireplaces, ballroom, and servant’s quarters, the mansion is huge, and the rooms have been renovated with clothing and furniture taken from original photos. The house was wired for electricity, had indoor plumbing, an intercom system, an elevator, and, believe it or not, a central vacuum system. Located in the basement, the vacuum is about the size of a refrigerator, but it worked!
And on the third floor, the ballroom and musicians room:Building the mansion was quite a feat – everything had to be brought by rail. Montana granite, Missouri clay roofing tiles, and custom made furniture from Michigan. The total cost at the time was $165,000 – at a time when a three-bedroom house in town could be purchased for $4000. This is an amazing place to visit, and if you’re ever in the area, don’t miss it!
Sheridan sits at the base of the Big Horn Mountains, and US Highway 14 has always been a route that RVers are told to avoid. So off we went in our CRV to check it out. The road climbs quickly and passes a number of rock formations like this one, the “fallen city”. Once into the mountains, it’s a fairly level area of meadows and forest, with snow at the higher elevations. Driving along the highway the views were stunning, from sandstone cliffs to alpine forest and finally, a view of the valley on the other side.
Brenda was, as usual, hoping to see a moose, but the usual habitat, willows along the creeks, were still bare. Then suddenly, next to the road in the meadow, stood a cow and bull moose, grazing quietly and paying us no notice. The bull, a young one, we think, was having trouble grazing; moose necks are short and they prefer to eat the tender shoots and leaves shrubs at eye-level while standing in water. He couldn’t reach down to graze without spreading his front legs wide. That stance looked very uncomfortable, and he finally did something we’ve never seen – he kneeled and walked around on his knees while grazing.
We’re so glad we took the time to stop in Sheridan and the Big Horn Mountains. It’s an amazing area – don’t miss it if you’re in the area!
Next stop Missoula and a visit with our friends from our volunteer days at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge – and a surpirse for Brenda! Stop back and see!