The ride from Fort Collins, Colorado, to Billings, Montana, is mostly interstate highway with very few interesting sights (such as the ruins in Texas). The trip is about 7 hours long.
However, there is one stop you really should make, and that is Buffalo, Wyoming. Buffalo is the county seat (what else?) of Johnson County, Wyoming. The population Buffalo was 4,585 at the 2010 census.
You might think that, because it is such a small town, that it would not have too much to offer. It actually has a lot.
We stopped to have lunch at City Park, a park built by the WPA way back when. The lunch facilities were quite nice, as shown below. We were able to sit right at the water’s edge.
After lunch, we roamed around the trail for a while, part of which consisted of the EDL Peloux Bridge near. The Peloux Bridge is a Pratt pony truss bridge that was built in 1912 by the Canton Bridge Co. specifically so children could cross Clear Creek to get to school. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.
I would be remiss if I didn’t explain what a Pratt pony truss bridge is. First, a truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements usually forming triangular units. There are about 30 different types of truss bridges.
Next, a Pratt truss bridge includes vertical members and diagonals that slope down towards the center. The interior diagonals are under tension under balanced loading and vertical elements under compression. The Pratt truss was invented in 1844 by Thomas and Caleb Pratt.
Finally, a pony truss is a span where the truss webs extend above the deck, but are not connected together overhead. Why it is called a pony truss – I don’t know.
Anyway, here is a sign for the Peloux Bridge.
Photo by Donna Hansen
After walking a while, my feet began to burn, so I stopped and soaked them in Clear Creek. The water was brutally cold and, therefore, did wonders for my feet.
Photo by Donna Hansen
After soaking my feet, we decided to wander into town. Below is a picture of something I have never seen before – public RV parking AND a public mulch bin. FYI – I do not know where City Park ends and Prosinski Park begins, but they are right net to each other.
After that, we went into town, where we saw the coolest mural on the side of a building.
I learned that the artists Aaron Wuerker, Jenny Wuerker, and Marchel Kelley finished the “Creek Runs Through It” mural in downtown Buffalo Wyoming on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. This mural complements and faces other murals across the street (and across Clear Creek) in what is known as Crazy Woman Square.
and visited the Occidental Hotel. The hotel has a great history, and has had, as residents, Buffalo Bill Cody, Teddy Roosevelt — and Calamity Jane, who drove freight wagons on the Bozeman Trail. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid rode to the Occidental from their hideout at the nearby2-1887 Hole-in-the-Wall.
The hotel was purchased in 1997 by Dawn Dawson, who began the painstaking ten-year process of historic restoration. She further initiated and achieved getting the hotel onto the National Historical Register.
It is worth going inside to see the period furniture.
As we walked back to our truck, we stopped by the pickleball courts in City Park. From what we could tell, the town tor up two tennis courts, put them somewhere else, and added 8 pickleball courts. If it had not bee so windy, we may have played for a while. They appeared to be in great shape.
With everything it has to offer, it would seem that Buffalo would be a great place to live except for one thing – it can get down to -32 in the winter.
Next stop – Missoula.