Monday, November 15, 2010
The U S Capitol Christmas Tree came through Meeteetse on its way from Thermopolis to Cody on Sunday, Nov 14th. Local papers reported that it was to be in those two towns on its way to Washington DC. Those were the only two towns in the basin that had scheduled stops. We wondered why it was coming way up here when they cut it near Jackson. The Park is closed so it couldn't go that way and going all the way around and back up here seemed strange.
Well, as more news reports were unveiled we learned it was crisscrossing all across Wyoming. Since this is the first time in history that a tree has been chosen from Wyoming it was a big deal. Kids from all over the state have been making decorations to send with it, as well as other groups of people. The towns selected for the scheduled stops were all having special events in honor of the tree. Thermop was having Mr & Mrs Santa Claus there, the Jr Hi band to play, and many other events. Cody was having the Hi School Choir sing, stores open for the event, the first 500 people would have their picture taken with the tree wearing Buffalo Bill goatees and mustaches, plus other stuff too.
The paper published a web site for the tree tour and I bookmarked it. This really is a Big Deal! Its kinda exciting to follow it along. They even have links to facebook and twitter. There is a tracking link. It tells where it is, but doesn't give the highway numbers.
We figured if it went from Thermop to Cody it would have to go through Meeteetse. Thought if I parked in front of the Museum I should be able to get a picture as it went whipping down the hill through town. It should go through around 2:00 p.m. as it was to leave Thermop at 1:00pm and be in Cody by 3:00pm. I guess it could have gone through Worland, Basin & Greybull to Cody, but that would be a longer trip and they only had two hours to get from one to the other. It would take approximately one and a half hours to get there, or a little less. Its a big truck and probably wouldn't be whipping down the road terribly fast. There was also quite a caravan of vehicles as they had law enforcement and another semi full of decorations, plus forest service people.
So Gma and I went down about 1:45 and its a good thing we went a bit early as there was a crowd starting to gather. We got the choice parking spot. The Museum was open so people could go in there to warm up. Was 37 degrees. Ann said the Fire Department went out to meet them. Her husband works there. They reported the caravan left Thermop at 1:08pm, so it would be awhile. Pretty soon three State Trooper cars came. The caravan was about 10 minutes behind them. They talked to Ann and she told them about this 102 year old that came to see the tree. They said they couldn't actually stop here, but they would "pause" for a brief time and the officers would escort Gma across the street. Wow! Great!!
These guys were the advance group for crowd control. They stopped traffic at the top of the hill and at the bridge. Said we'd have about 5 minutes. When the truck rolled to a stop the officers were right there to get Gma's arm. They really visited with her and she met all the truck drivers. The publicity girl asked it they could get a picture and post it on their blog. I said "sure". So they did. I even got in one. I did get lots of pics of them escorting Gma and of the crowd. The 5 minutes turned into 15 or 20, but everyone got to look in the one opening to see a few branches on the tree. And lots of people signed the banner on the side of the truck. The Forest Service lady gave Gma a complimentary gift. The bag had several things in it and Gma thought she was just to pick one, but the whole bag and contents were for her.
We found out lots of info about the tree and how much fun the "Tree Team" was having just because the people were so enthusiastic. They would stop anywhere along the route where there were people out to greet them. The couldn't officially stop, but they would "pause". Worked for us. They did put Gma's pic on their blog and on their facebook. It really was a fun and exciting thing. Glad we were able to be part of it.