My first day in Cody, Wyoming

I’ve told my Wyoming story backwards. Before the ranch, the cowboys and the wild horses, I stayed in Cody for a night on my own. In planning my trip, I purposely booked a flight that arrived a day early so I’d be there in plenty of time before the photography workshop.

I flew from San Francisco to Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, Wyoming, changing planes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This was my plane from Salt Lake City. I flew in lots of these while in the US.  Gosh, the sky in Wyoming was big and blue!This was my plane from Salt Lake City. I travelled between states via small regional jets like this one. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was struck by how beautifully blue and bright the sky was.

I got a ride to my hotel for US$15 with Cody’s Town Taxi. My driver was a local girl who was amazed that I’d come all the way from Australia to her home town.

I’d booked a room at The Irma Hotel, which was built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and named after his daughter Irma. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the chief landmark of the downtown Cody historic district.

I arrived too early to check in; the hotel was fully booked and my room wasn’t ready yet.
“Is there anywhere I can leave my suitcase until I can check in?” I asked the cowboy (‘staff member dressed as a cowboy’) at reception.
“Sure thing,” He said. “You can leave it right here behind the desk.”
I hesitated, as it was hardly a secure area. But I really didn’t want to drag my suitcase around for the next few hours. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You can leave it right here, it’ll be safe. We haven’t lost one yet.”

I was nervous leaving my suitcase behind the reception desk. I was nervous leaving my suitcase behind the reception desk, but I decided to take a chance and trust the cowboy at reception.

I stayed for one night at The Irma.I could see my suitcase in the office through the front window. It would be a few hours before I’d be able to check in. I walked past a few times before and after lunch to check that it was still there.

Peter's Cafe Peter’s Cafe and Bakery, where I grabbed lunch.


Cheeseburger and fries at Peter's Cafe. Cheeseburger and fries at Peter’s Cafe. I had the choice of cheese: American, cheddar, pepper Jack, provolone and Swiss. I chose Swiss. It was a pretty decent lunch bar-style burger; my favourite part was the crinkle-thick-cut sour pickles.

Big bear At the table next to mine, a bear, just chilling out.

Two flavours of ice cream from Peter's Cafe - chocolate and custard. I came back to Peter’s Cafe later for ice cream – I got custard and chocolate.


When I returned to The Irma at check-in time, I was relieved to see my suitcase exactly where I’d left it. In fact, it was no longer was the only suitcase behind the front desk.

The Irma has ‘standard’ and ‘historic’ rooms. I’d booked a historic room and was given Room 18, ‘The Bob Rumsey’ (all rooms were named after Wild West/Wyoming historical figures). There was no lift, and no staff member offered to help me with my suitcase, so I lugged it upstairs myself. The floorboards creaked a little and the furniture and decor was suitably old-fashioned, but the room was clean and comfortable, with a not-so historical TV that I could watch in bed, and air-conditioning that kept me nice and cool.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed from the pictures that the bikies were in town. They paid no attention to me and I wasn’t concerned; but I didn’t want Jac to worry about me being alone in a town full of Hells Angels, so I didn’t mention it to her when I emailed her that night. In fact, I didn’t mention it until I had left Wyoming – just to prove there had been nothing to worry about.

My room. My room


The loo The loo, and the the very ornate shower curtain.


My window looked out onto the main street. I had a view onto the main street, Sheridan Avenue.

At 6pm Monday to Saturday from June to late September, the Cody Gunfighters put on a Wild Western show in front of The Irma Hotel on 12th Street. It’s free to attend and it’s first come, first served for seats along the curb, at the Irma’s picnic tables or standing room at the porch; but for US$2 you can reserve a front row seat, which is what I did. It was an entertaining performance that started with a safety demonstration, with lots of jokes all the way until the noisy, smoky gunfight.

Crowd gathering for the Wild West Shoot-out. The crowd gathering outside The Irma Hotel to watch the Gunfighters.

The stage is set for a great show. The stage is set for a great show. You know it’ll be good when there’s an outhouse between the bank and saloon.

DSCF0889See the red and green Cody Trolley Tours information kiosk? That’s where I paid my $2 to reserve a front row seat. They say to get in quick as they sell out fast, but I had no problem reserving a seat at around lunch time for that evening’s show.


I paid $2 to secure a front row seat. It was well worth paying the $2 to get a front row seat – I had a great view of the action. A lot of the crowd were visitors from other US states, but I had a French family immediately to my left and German ladies to my right.



DSCF9728“Phew, Doc Holliday, light a match!” I love toilet humour!

The audience was invited to join in the dancing. The audience was invited to join in the dancing.

Gunfight Gunfight


The cast The players are mostly volunteers and you could tell they had fun. After the show, they sold autographed posters and happily posed for photographs.


For dinner, I went to Millstone Pizza Company, a newish place in town recommended by my Town Taxi driver. It was pretty busy; I could either wait for a table to come free, or sit at the bar right away. Either way, I had access to the full menu, so bar it was. I had the choice of two empty bar stools: one next to a group of blokes chugging beer and talking loudly and animatedly about football, or the other, next to a guy who appeared to be having a quiet a drink on his own. I picked the quiet guy, who turned out to be an engineer named Derek, in town on business. Although I hadn’t been looking for company, it turned out to be a very pleasant dinner, chatting with Derek about all kinds of subjects, including the differences between Australia and the United States. I ordered the BBQ chicken pizza, with grilled chicken, home-style BBQ sauce, red onion, cilantro (that’s coriander back home, and thankfully, not too much) and loads of cheese. At the end of the night, we left the pub and walked together until the next traffic light; as our hotels were in opposite directions, we said good-bye and went our separate ways.

My BBQ chicken pizza at the Millstone. My BBQ chicken pizza (US$12.99) at the Millstone Pizza Company.

The Irma at night The Irma at night – I was ready for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning, I had breakfast in The Irma’s restaurant – Irma’s Scramble with eggs, sausage, red peppers and onions with hash browns, sourdough toast with lots of grape jelly (I should’ve smuggled some of those sachets home!), and a couple of rounds of unsweetened iced tea. It was a bustling dining room and it took a while for my waiter to get to me, but the food arrived pretty fast.

Irma Scramble (US$8.49), The Irma Hotel.The Irma Scramble (US$8.49), with sourdough toast and unsweetened iced tea. The Scramble was pretty good, but the potatoes needed plenty of seasoning.

After breakfast, I checked out of my room and left my suitcase behind the front desk (this time, with a little less apprehension) until late afternoon when I met up with the photography workshop group. You know the rest!

DSCF1004I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful mountains and big sky.


So why did I tell the story backwards? Sometimes certain parts of the story are easier to write than others… so that’s what I work on first.

Mentioned in this post

Cody’s Town Taxi – 24 hour service
Telephone: (307) 250 8090

Peter’s Cafe and Bakery
1219 Sheridan Ave, Cody, Wyoming USA

The Irma Hotel
1192 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

The Cody Gunfighters (warning: auto-play music)

Millstone Pizza Company
They have a video game arcade too.
1057 Sheridan Avenue, Cody, Wyoming USA

My solo USA trip (2014) – about this series

I travelled alone to the United States from late July to mid-August. This trip covered California, Wyoming and Colorado. The primary reason for the trip was to attend a couple of workshops, one on hot air balloon photography and the other on photographing wild horses and cowboys. I also caught up with an old school friend.

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