After I got done with the drive through the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, I needed a camp near Cody, Wyoming because I had one more Scenic Drive in the area, the Buffalo Bill Scenic Drive which starts at Cody and heads due West up into the Yellowstone National Park. It’s the last of the five entries into Yellowstone I needed to drive.
I wasn’t familiar with the area at all so I stopped at the BLM Ranger office in Cody and asked about dispersed camping. I explained I wanted to see the tourist attractions in Cody and then drive up the Buffalo Bill Scenic Drive, but I had to have cell and data signal. She said she had just the spot and it was on the Scenic Drive I wanted to take! If you take 14-16-20 West out of Cody in about 15 miles you’ll come to the Buffalo Bill Reservoir and at the west end of the lake you can take a road south and then curve around on Stagecoach Drive and it follows the shore for a long time. It’s a wide dirt road that was a little wash boarded but while I was there they graded it which improved it.
Much of the way you are alongside the Buffalo Bill State Park mixed in with private property. After a mile or so I was on BLM land so I just started looking for little 2-track road leading off into the sagebrush. I came across one going off to the left toward the lake and it looked really good but it was rather steep. I knew the van could handle it because it was so short. Once over the top it split off into another road and I took the one to the right to get further away from the main road. After a few more up and downs the road ended and it had just enough of a semi-level spot for me to tuck the van into.
I was totally in love with this campsite! I had an amazing views of the lake below me, I was far enough off the road I couldn’t see or hear it and I had a great view of the mountains looming behind me and toward Cody. But best of all, had a great Verizon 4g data signal. I had stopped at the Walmart in Cody to get online and I had a better signal in camp than I did there! I liked it enough that I ended up spending about 2 weeks here in-between trips around the area. I could easily spend a summer at this camp because the town of Cody has everything you need to spend extended time there like a well-stocked Super Walmart and plenty of tourist attractions and many beautiful drives within a day’s drive of camp. If you are a fisherman, the Reservoir is stocked and has good fishing and the Shoshone River runs right through the area and has very good fly-fishing.
There was a small herd of antelope in the area and they were amazingly tolerant of Cody and I. As long as we didn’t try to approach them they just ignored us. I greatly enjoyed having them around! I also ran into a rattlesnake that let me get much too close to him before he rattled. I was easily within 4 feet of him which was close enough for him to strike me. I’ve tried to watch closer for them but they blend into grass and sagebrush so well it’s very difficult to see them.
One thing I’ve consistently run into in most of my campsites this summer is they tend to be off level making sleeping more difficult, . Some were just a little off-level so I could ignore it, but some were pretty bad and I had to do something about them; this one is also pretty far from level. For a very long time I’ve carried a 10 pack of Camco stacking blocks which are intended to stack under the tires to level the van. Get them from Amazon here: Camco Leveling Blocks – 10 pack
I’ve never been very happy with them. They are an inch thick and so if you put two of them together you lift that tire by 2 inches and the van rolls up on them just fine. The problem comes if you need to lift a tire by more than two inches—which I often do! The tire will roll up on two blocks, but it will not roll up on three, instead it just pushes it ahead of the tire or pulls them apart. The solution is to use 3 blocks beside each other and put one block over one joint and two over the next one, which creates a ramp. Generally that will work but you just used 6 blocks of the ten you have and you only gained 3 inches on one tire. What if you need to raise that tire by 5 inches and the other tires also? You’re out of luck!
One other problem I’ve had with them is that I almost always camp on Public Land and the ground I’m using the blocks on is rocky and uneven. I’ve broken quite a few of the blocks because the ground was uneven or there was a rock in just the wrong place. When the weight of the van rides up on them, they cracked and sometimes splinter into pieces
Because I have a trailer that I live in, I need to have the blocks to go under the jack up front and the leveling jacks in back, so I don’t regret carrying them, but I have always wanted to find a much better way to level the van. I’m glad to say I finally found it! Get the leveling blocks from Amazon here: Camco Leveling Blocks – 10 pack
Last fall I was in an RV store and came across the Camco Tri-Leveler leveling system. It was expensive but it looked perfect, so I bought it. I’m so glad I did! Because it’s wedge-shaped the tires drive right up on it and I’ve never had it slide away from the tire. The three levels allow you to decide what is the right height for that particular location; if you want it higher just keep driving forward or stop in the middle. Another big advantage it has is that it spreads the weight over a larger surface so it doesn’t sink into the ground like the blocks do. Best of all, it is very strong. I’ve used it virtually every day this summer and it still looks very good.
I’m sure I paid $40 for it at an RV store but as I’m writing this Amazon has it for $15. That’s such a great deal I’m ordering a second one and would encourage you to do the same thing.