Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Longmire Days-A Literary Tour of Durant, Wyoming!

As most of you know, my good friend Christine McCann and I set off earlier this month for Wyoming and a celebration of everything Longmire.

We started by flying into Denver and visiting the Denver Zoo, which really has nothing to do with crime fiction, but I wanted an excuse to share my picture of the clouded leopard cub with you.

After our visit to the zoo, we started our trek north to Wyoming. It's amazingly beautiful country and we enjoyed every minute, but we were plagued by spots of rain throughout the drive. This wasn't entirely bad as it also resulted in three rainbow spottings. Photographer extraordinaire Chris managed to catch them out the window while I was driving--didn't drop her camera or hurt herself or anything! They were good signs to start our trip.

The most memorable part of the road trip had to be Chris' sighting of camels as we crossed the Wyoming line. Not really high on our list of what we expected to see in Wyoming. Cows, horses, pronghorn, maybe on the off chance some elk or buffalo, but camels? Didn't see that coming!

We stayed at a quaint little motor court called The Big Horn Motel. Both Chris and I highly recommend it if you make a visit out there. The owner, Trudy Schoonover, is vivacious and fun. She checked in on us regularly to make sure all was going well and let us know good places to visit and eat in the area. The other really fabulous characteristic of the motel is its location. It was close enough for us to walk to every event we attended at Longmire Days but at the same time, it wasn't right in the midst of the activity of thousands of folks. We would both definitely go back!

Trudy was also in the Longmire spirit and we loved that! Here's her chalk drawing outside the motel entrance:

But this is what greeted you most everywhere you looked. People were staying in Sheridan because all the hotels were full in Buffalo. So if you ever plan to go during Longmire Days...make your reservations well in advance!

Since we arrived Wednesday night, we had Thursday to walk around Buffalo, a.k.a. Durant. We ate at the Busy Bee Diner, which is adorable! Every table in the place is different. One is like a picnic table style (with bench seats), another looks like it came from a soda fountain, another is a high boy.

They have this grand bar counter that was brought in from a different Busy Bee when they had to remodel. Evidently their foundation was slowly slipping into Clear Creek, which runs right along side the building--Yikes!

And yes, they even have Walt's "usuals" on the menu. Chris tried the Beef Tips and Noodles and I had the Chicken Fried Steak. They're very comforting foods and golly were they good!

We visited the Occidental Hotel, where you can wander around the lobby but the actual upstairs if off limits unless you're a guest.

They have a collection of vintage hats that you can try on (but please be careful, some are in the neighborhood of 80 years old!), a nice large chess table (where's Lucien?), and effects of the Old West galore!

Toured the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum housed in the old Johnson (a.k.a. Absaroka) County Library building. And we all know what's supposed to be in that old library right? The sheriff's office, of course! Photography is off limits in the museum so I don't have interior images to share. However, there are exhibits featuring the Indian tribes of the region, the Basque, early settlements, transportation, weaponry and more. Very fascinating tour.

Other fun things around town: The Cold Dish frozen yogurt shop. They weren't open on Thursday, but we did indulge in the yummy treat over the weekend.

How about these characters? Meet Georgia and her traveling dog, Cody. I could imagine them showing up in Walt's world...

There's quite an appreciation of art in the city, too. There are several lovely murals in the town like this one:

Numerous statues representing the West pepper the town and for as small as it is, you'll find a number of little galleries. Even our motel featured local art in the lobby! Here's some art behind a gallery right in the downtown area.

And art was appreciated right in this family's front yard. Now THAT'S creative and they don't require watering!

I saw this and started looking for Boss Hogg. O.k. his car was white Caddy convertible and didn't have Wyoming Whiskey painted on the front fender, but still...

We finished up our day of wandering by driving through Crazy Woman Canyon--yep, it called me home. Really, though, it was stunning! Nature is so incredibly amazing sometimes, isn't it? And I do have to admit I almost had a run-in with what we think was probably an elk. It was dark, fast and I'm pretty sure I suffered a minor coronary while that bugger was crossing the road in front of our car.

It was a pretty full day but oh so glorious. Needless to say, we both slept quite well and were ready to go the next morning when the official festival began the next day.

Thanks for taking the Longmire tour around Buffalo, Wyoming with me. I'll have more on the fun that ensued the rest of the weekend, so check back! Happy Reading...and Boy Howdy! ;-)


SuziQoregon July 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM  

I loved all your photos and tweets from your trip. I was totally jealous the whole time!

What fun.

Jen Forbus July 29, 2014 at 6:21 PM  

Hey J, this is most definitely a trip you and the husband need put on your list. I know you'd love it!

T. Forkner July 30, 2014 at 1:15 PM  

Loved this post! I always wonder what people are thinking when they see the camels at the state line. Great stuff here. Buffalo is an awesome place, and Craig is such a great ambassador for Wyoming.

maddee james July 30, 2014 at 8:15 PM  

Wish I could have been there!!

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