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Old 09-19-2010, 12:16 PM
 
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I am wishing to move to Cody Wyoming in a few years, I want to get to know the area some and what I can expect in the worst time of the year as far as weather and over all city conditions. To this extent I have a trip planned for the first week of February. Since I am a Florida native, and have lived all my life here I do not know what I will need for a successful trip. I plan on busing to Billings Mt. then renting a car for the week. What can I expect and what type of things will I need, clothing etc. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:16 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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If you are going to Cody (or anywhere in Wyoming) in February bring plenty of winter gear. I would also rent a car that is four wheel drive. I have not driven the stretch from Billings to Cody in the winter but it is best to be cautious. It is good that as native Floridian you are looking at Wyoming in the winter. Keep in mind while you are there that that temperature will be around five to six (or more) months out the year. I am not trying to scare you away, just being honest. I hope this helps.
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:17 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Before you go check out WYDOT Travel Information Service (Laramie) and Montana Traveler Information.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:34 AM
 
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greatly appreciate the info wyoeagle, most definitely will check out the travel info sites. I have been planning this now for almost a year and done nearly everything I can to research Wyoming and Cody and what to expect. Being a Florida native i am not familiar with much in the way of cold weather gear. It does get cold here but nothing like it does there. Most of the cold weather gear here for purchase is rated for prolonged exposure of plus 20 degrees and they are all dry weather gear, zero snow rated stuff. I am hoping to get some idea as to a good online site to order from and what type of clothing I will need. Good call on the four wheel drive, found a four wheel Subaru, how is that going to do in the weather up there? Thank you for replying.
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Old 09-27-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandjnclan View Post
greatly appreciate the info wyoeagle, most definitely will check out the travel info sites. I have been planning this now for almost a year and done nearly everything I can to research Wyoming and Cody and what to expect. Being a Florida native i am not familiar with much in the way of cold weather gear. It does get cold here but nothing like it does there. Most of the cold weather gear here for purchase is rated for prolonged exposure of plus 20 degrees and they are all dry weather gear, zero snow rated stuff. I am hoping to get some idea as to a good online site to order from and what type of clothing I will need. Good call on the four wheel drive, found a four wheel Subaru, how is that going to do in the weather up there? Thank you for replying.
I suggest you check out "Sierra Trading Post" online. They are an overstock/discounter seller of the type of clothing that you'll need and appreciate having around here. Headquartered in Cheyenne, they sell a lot of high quality stuff on-line, name brands that will do the job for you ... at a substantial discount over regular pricing.

Rather than getting an expedition type parka rated for extreme cold weather, you'll do better to get clothing that can be layered for your needs. Think in terms of a thermal (silk or capilene, for example) set of tops and bottoms (and socks), flannel or wool shirts, a vest, and then a parka. A wool (or synthetic, like synchilla) "watch cap" keeps heat in on your head, and gloves ... are essential. I like the lined watch caps that are South American style, with long ear flaps to cover the ears, and water resistant/breathable fabric gloves (like Goretex). You'll also find that a silk "wild rag" handkerchief wrapped around your neck will keep that area warm and sealed against the winds when you're outside. The key to all this is to "layer up" or not as needed to keep you comfortable through each day ....

A good set of warm footwear is advisable, too. IMO, the most cost-effective way to get these is to buy lace-up leather workboots ... I like Justin's or Chippewa's, made in the USA. There are many others available, with ballistic fabric uppers, that are lighter and can be warm and waterproof ... so if that's your style, then that's available, too ... for reasonable money. Figure $60-100 for decent cold/wet footwear at the discounters. If you're going to be outside, you'll want taller boots like the workboots, not low-cut boots which can let in snow or wet through as you walk through stuff.

You'll find other sources on-line, too ... Cabela's, or your choice of a number of outdoor targeted clothing manufacturers. I wear a lot of Filson clothing in the winter months ... but this is pretty expensive, durable stuff that's hardly justified for one trip out here. I've got coats handed down from my Dad, and I expect to hand them down to my kids ....

The Subie AWD car is very appropriate for the winter driving you'll encounter around here. Our rural post carriers use these on a daily basis. If the weather conditions are more severe than these cars can deal with, then you are in a serious storm situation and that's the prudent time to park the car and stay in for the duration.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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The road from Billings to Cody is generally fine, I think the worst time of year is an early spring storm or ground blizzard where the wind blows the snow on the highway, terrible passing conditions - don't rush. The roads in Billings are usually more icy than the roads in Cody. The stretch between Clark and Heart Mt. is sometimes blown over in areas, but passible at a slower speed.

Layering clothes is fine. Hat, gloves, etc. I wear 2 pairs of socks in the winter and hikers - don't need eskimo gear unless you are planning overnites in the mountain. Might want some long underwear. You'll be surprised how sunny most of our days are, but prepare for the wind.
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
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This is NOT meant to discourage you from buying (begging or borrowing) plenty of warm clothing for your trip. But for driving in your car, shopping, going out to dinner, etc., you won't normally need to do much to keep relatively comfortable. I've got plenty of warm gear as I've lived here (Wyoming) for the past 40 years and used to do lots of outdoor activities, but most winter months I never actually wear more than a light jacket, baseball cap and driving gloves.

I throw a heavy parka in the car when I go out of town, and on the very rare days when it's -20 I'll wear it, but unless you'll be out for awhile, long johns and arctic outerwear isn't needed. You MIGHT need it if your car breaks down or if you'll be outside for more than a few minutes at a time, however.

The diesel fuel in my pickup gelled up on a particularly cold (-30) morning a year or two ago and stopped the engine. I happened to be less than a block from my son's house, so my wife and I walked there. She was wearing her heavy parka, but I was only wearing a light fleece jacket (the liner for my nylon shell), the baseball cap and driving gloves. I'll tell you what, I was glad my son's house was only half a block or I'd have been knocking on doors! Another time driving across SD when it was -30 the alternator quit on my car and the battery froze up. I called 911 immediately to have them send a tow truck. Was it an emergency? Well, it could have been in short order.

You may not see temps drop below zero while you're here, but you never know. Winter weather can change from annoying to life-threatening pretty quickly in this neck of the woods. You've got to be prepared for the worst. And one thing I have learned is that vehicles of all kinds are more prone to trouble in cold weather than warm weather. Wind chills can easily drop to -50F, and that's a dangerous condition even with lots of warm clothing. You do need some "survival gear" when traveling outside of town.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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kandjnclan ... keep in mind that you're coming from a warm climate zone of the USA, where it's really really cold when it reaches freezing temps ...

and there's a lot of us here who have acclimated to a much lower temp range for 5-6-7 months of the year.

So, when you get comments in this thread that Feb weather might not be that cold ... consider the reference point. Sure, some of us can handle the cold temps for awhile outdoors, which may be down into the single digits or below ... with the wind howling around us ... and wearing minimal clothing, perhaps even less than you'd need in FL in sub 40F temps. I've gone outdoors to feed livestock in -20F weather wearing only a t-shirt and a Carhartt lined chore coat ... but I'm working out there, physically active ... not just standing around. When I've got to do chores that aren't so active, I'll pull on lined Carhartt coveralls and the chore coat and a cap and the coat hood and the thermal/gore tex mittens and my insulated boots ... frostbite isn't fun or pretty, and our winds make it a risk anytime in the deep months of winter.

But, for you ... leaving a heated building and going outdoors, even just a modest distance to a cold vehicle, will be an entirely different experience. It's likely to be brutually cold the instant you leave the building, and it's going to be cold in the vehicle until it warms up. As good as the Subie heater is, it's still some number of minutes before the motor warms up and the heater delivers copious quantities of welcomed heat and defroster air. You may even appreciate the seat heaters if the car has them. Conversely, getting out of that toasty heated car will be a rude shock of cold unless you're bundled up for that time until you're indoors again; you'll need to pull on as many layers as you can before you exit the car.

Consider, too, that unless your car is parked inside, you may find that the windshield will have snow/ice sticking to it that needs to be removed with a snow brush/ice scraper. You can't depend upon the defroster to remove enough to be able to drive away just after starting the car, and the wipers are no help to remove stubbornly stuck on ice until the defroster is really up to temp. Plus, you may need to brush off a bunch of snow from the outside of the car before driving away. So, you may be spending some time outdoors ... more time than may be comfortable in lightweight clothing such as folk who are acclimated to this weather ....

IMO, you will need to layer up just for those few moments you're outside, unless you're really insensitive to extreme cold temps. It's not just the thermometer reading, it's a combination of the wind and gusts that will drive the cold into you ...

Best to be prepared for this situation. You can always remove layers if it's too much when the car warms up. As mentioned, you don't need "artic" level cold weather clothes, but you do need at least a decent mid weight long coat or parka to layer up with over your other clothes. I think you'll find that thermal silk clothing is a great all-around first layer ... lightweight, breathable, warm, but not stiflingly hot ... and not very expensive.

Last edited by sunsprit; 09-27-2010 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Also keep in mind that your freezing temps in FL, with the humidity, are MUCH more bitter than what you'll find on most any sunny winter day in WY. I was born and raised in WY, used to wear shorts and walk to school in the winter (about half a mile). Happened to live in DC and Atlanta for ~8 years, and when it got Near freezing, it 'felt' colder than -20F in Wyoming. I much prefer the weather in the Rockies for the lack of humidity, more comfortable all around.

Yes, it's conflicting info to the above.... but some of those folks haven't been out of the Rockies for awhile. You SHOULD plan on being cold, wearing layers (easiest way to regulate temps), and being prepared for "the worst". Just don't be too surprised if it doesn't turn out to be as bad as some have portrayed it.
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:19 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
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Kandjnclan, I have usually run into the worst winter weather in March. Keep in mind also that while Montana is not so eager to close highways, Wyoming will do it at the drop of a hat. It is also good as other people have said to dress in layers. A Subie should be just fine, I know lots of people who drive them and was considering one myself.
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