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1843 - October is end of Wyoming`s convertible season

If you love Wyoming, you love seasons.

         Sometimes you can enjoy all four seasons in one day. Especially during this time of year.

         It is not unusual to wake up to chilly weather, suddenly feel a Chinook-type wind warm up the place, then a big cloudbank appears and by nightfall, a wet snow is falling.

         This is common in all corners of Wyoming from Newcastle to Evanston and from Cheyenne to Powell. And everywhere in-between including Worland, Greybull, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Kemmerer, and Riverton.

         This is the time when you run your furnace and your air conditioner on the same day.

         Veteran Wyomingites wear layers – you start out in jeans and sweaters and by mid-afternoon, you are down to a short-sleeved shirt . . . some times even shorts.

         My wife Nancy gets frustrated when we run errands because I insist on putting the top down on our ancient 2002 convertible.  She thinks it’s cold and it musses her hair. My excuse: “This might be my last chance to drive with the top down. Sit back and enjoy!”

         The above story reminds me of when I was attending a Greater Yellowstone Coalition event in Cody and managed to get loose from the activities early.  I had always wanted to drive through Yellowstone Park in a convertible with the top down. So off I went.

         The sun was shining but that infamous Wapiti Zephyr was blowing cold air and there were storm clouds on the western horizon. No matter. “This might be my last chance to drive with the top down. Sit back and enjoy!”

         As I worked my way toward the park (my favorite place on earth), through the wondrous Wapiti Valley, the weather became threatening. I had on a sweatshirt, stocking cap, and heavy coat.

         Yellowstone Lake was gray with whitecaps. No matter. The Lake Hotel is a place where I feel centered, especially in its famous sunroom.  After a 15-minute dose of tranquility then I was off.  Huge bison were hanging out around the hotel.  The road north was clear of tourists but had become the main track for herds of buffalo.

         The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is one of the marvels of nature. The name “Yellowstone” comes from its rugged yellow walls. Its thunderous waterfalls were overflowing at this time of year emitting clouds of water vapor. I love that place but the way the sky looked, there was no time to linger.

         Next stop was the most hellish place on the planet – the Norris Geyser Basin. There probably is nowhere else on earth with such sights. The warm steam felt toasty against the chilly wind as I did a quick hike along the boardwalks.

         Besides Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon the most photographed place in the park is Grand Prismatic Spring, my next destination. It is the largest such spring on earth. It is normally a brilliant turquoise blue but on this day it was shrouded in hot fog blown around by continuing swirling winds.

         In recent years, the park has become so busy you often cannot get in to see this famous spring because of a lack of parking. Not on this day.

         The most popular place in the park is Old Faithful Geyser Basin. At Old Faithful Lodge, you can buy lots of interesting treats. It is the biggest log building on earth and narrowly escaped burning down in the devastating 1988 fires. I love its spectacular fireplace and the huge open lobby. But it was time to move.

         It was getting dark as the sun was hiding behind some heavy clouds and dusk was in a hurry.  So was I.

         I paused by the Yellowstone sign at the south entrance of the park and snapped a selfie. I was shivering with my hoodie pulled down around the face.  You could see my breath.

         The top was still down on the car with the heater going full blast.  I had made it around Yellowstone National Park in a convertible with the top down. In October, no less.

         Then it started to spit rain.  I reluctantly put the top up and headed south down the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway on my way home to Lander.

It appeared that I had experienced all four of Wyoming’s seasons during this trip.  It was sunny when I left Cody. It was cold and windy throughout the park with rain spitting.  As I left the National Park area and headed over Togwotee Pass, it even snowed a bit.