While we are just beginning to plant our roots in "the West", our hearts have belonged to it for years.
Our introduction to the West was on our honeymoon in 1995; it was love at first sight. Then, in 1997, on a cross-country camping trip, we stumbled upon Cody, WY. One night, we decided to drive from Red Lodge, MT to the Cody Nite Rodeo. A week later, on our trek back to our home in Florida, we discussed our mutual desire to someday own property "out there".
After visiting numerous areas in the Rockies over the next couple of years, we decided that Cody was the place to be. Each year during Doug's off-season (as a flats fishing guide in the Florida Keys), he and I (an RN), were able to spend each Fall in Wapiti, WY building what we thought was our future retirement home. Each year, with money saved up from the fishing season, we would work on another portion of the house, finally completing it in 2008. At the end of each Fall, it became harder and harder to leave Wyoming and return to Florida.
In August 2011, our dream to live in Wyoming became a reality when we purchased the historic Wapiti Lodge. Although neglected for years, it was easy to see that the lodge had so much potential. While gutting the interior (previously a lodge converted to a restaurant), we uncovered the original log walls, erected in 1904; it was evident they took extreme pride in their work, as the structure appears to be as solid today as the day it was built. With some modern upgrades (brand new septic system, electrical system, plumbing, and fire sprinkler system), we are combining the necessities of today with the charm and history of days past.
Our plan is to operate the lodge for the Summer and Fall seasons, accommodating travelers and outdoor enthusiasts to the Cody area and Yellowstone National Park. From January to May each year, we will head to Florida, where I can return to nursing, and Doug can return to his other passion ... guiding his long term anglers who have all become like family to us.
Some say that we have " the best of both worlds", which we cannot deny. We have certainly learned that the harder we work, the luckier we get. We look forward to our new adventure and all of the new friends and experiences that await us.