“Imagine a place where the deer and the antelope outnumber the people. A country where, even today, being a cowboy means living on a ranch, in symbiosis with desolate scrubland, wild open uncontaminated spaces. Towns where the legends of the Far West celebrated by the movies are a tangible, daily reality. All of this is Wyoming.” This is how the Italian journalist Tiziano Cantatore (Mototurismo magazine) begins his account of his trip on a Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NTX, starting from the city of Denver, set in the stupendous Rocky Mountains. The first stop was Cheyenne, a frontier city discovered in 1804 by the explorers Lewis and Clark on behalf of President Jefferson. The next destination is Casper, reached through Laramie, Bosler, Rock River, Medicine Bow. From Casper, Cantatore made for Buffalo, in the heart of Wyoming.
“The scenery makes for a uniquely enjoyable riding experience. You move from the immense empty plain to mountain canyons, then to the Wind River Lake, An explosive, solitary, intact nature. As you travel through these landscapes you rediscover the true sense of motorcycle riding. With no traffic to oppress you, you feel the bike move along the road in perfect harmony with the rider and everything flowing around you. The Moto Guzzi Stelvio moves like a dream, the ideal travelling companion for a touring holiday.”
Cantatore has countless images and memories of the wonderful places seen during the trip: Buffalo where “the atmosphere is one of the most genuine in the whole of Wyoming, and the site of the famous Hole In The Wall, the first hideout of the gang of outlaws including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Then Devils Tower, the majestic monolith that rises up from Wyoming’s north-west plain, the first declared United States National Monument.” And Fort Phil Kearny, “built in 1866 as protection for immigrants travelling to Montana along the Bozeman Trail. The fort was the scene of frequent battles between the U.S. Army and the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Fort Phil Kearny is located in a powerful setting and the approach on our ‘steel eagle’ along a dirt track makes us feel we have jumped back in time or wandered into the set of a Hollywood western.”
SHERIDAN, THE HOME OF BUFFALO BILLL
A place not to be missed is Sheridan, whose “main claim to fame is the historic Sheridan Inn, also known as the ‘House of Buffalo Bill’. It was here that Buffalo Bill, Wyoming’s most famous celebrity, held auditions for his Wild West Show.
“On the road from Sheridan to Cody, the Bighorn National Forest and the Bighorn Mountains unveil their spectacular scenery. In these mountains, without even realising it, you reach passes at altitudes of more than 3,000 metres. U.S. Highway 14 (the Bighorn Scenic Byway) is a panoramic route that seems designed especially for bikers”.
CODY, FOR A REAL RODEOCody Nite Rodeo
Close to the Montana state border, Cody (the final destination), “is the eastern gateway into the Yellowstone Park, the world’s largest national park: a wonder of nature that by itself is worth a journey to Wyoming. Cody takes its name,” Cantatore explains, “from Colonel William Frederick Cody, named Buffalo Bill, the legendary bison hunter, civil war hero, explorer, showman and entertainer. A true American icon, Buffalo Bill was so much the personification of his age that he has become the image of the American West. The town of Cody has a museum dedicated to its hero, the “Buffalo Bill Historical Center”, a visit not to be missed; another must is the “Old Trail Town”, an open-air museum to which 26 authentic buildings from a western town of the period 1879-1901 have been relocated, and with a fascinating exhibition of native American objects. Here, visitors can watch a real rodeo, by far the most popular form of entertainment in Wyoming. The Cody Rodeo is one of the best, attracting the state’s top cowboys. Being a cowboy in Wyoming has nothing to do with folklore: it is a way to discover your roots.”>
(Photos: Tiziano Cantatore)