Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Kill Something and Eat It

Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

We left the Grand Tetons Sunday morning. Saturday the temperature never got above 50 degrees and we had rain most of the day. We debated heading North to Cody and the Buffalo Bill State Park in Wyoming. In the end we flipped a coin and the Flaming Gorge and Dinosaur National Monument to the South won out.

A little town in Utah had this statue of a Mountain Man. They were having a small farmer's market so we bought some vegetables. I picked out three little tomatoes and was astounded to find the price was $6.75. I guess I should have looked at the $5 a pound price first.

The Flaming Gorge recreation area in Utah is a lake that is very popular for boating and fishing. We spend the better parts of two days and 600 miles grinding up and down steep mountain roads. I'm a little worried about the RV transmission. I've added two quarts of fluid and it's still almost a quart low. Sometimes it doesn't shift properly. It's less than a year old so that shouldn't be happening. The Toyota's brakes are gone, but that seems OK, considering that they have better than 120,000 miles of operation. We've driven it 60,000 and towed it about the same. When we gear down the RV on a steep descent or just hit the brakes, the gadget in the Toyota applies the brakes back there.

We spend a morning in the Dinosaur National National Monument, which is in NE Utah and NW Colorado. The rock formation here is called the Morrison layer. It was formed in the late Jurassic, about 150 million years ago. This particular spot has a rich deposit of bones from rotting dinosaurs which were apparently swept here in a jumble during a flood. We take a short hike of about a mile.

You could spend several days here camping, hiking and driving though canyons formed by the Yampa and Green rivers. The Flaming Gorge reservoir, 100 miles south, was formed by damming the Green River. Last year we took a very interesting raft trip on the Green River below the dam. Our guide wore a necktie. This is the vertebra of an Allosaurus. These were carnivores, about 36 feet long. Like us, they were on top of the food chain.

Notice the femur between us at about hip level.

The Dinosaur National monument was established by President Wilson in 1915. Originally it was 80 acres, but it has been expanded to cover 200,000 acres. The area has many petroglyphs. Most of these are not shown on maps because of trouble with vandals. As we travel south along the valleys formed by rivers, we see much evidence of oil drilling and natural gas extraction. We see several compression stations for natural gas and many pipelines being constructed.

We end the two days of travel in Grand Junction, Colorado. We're at the RV Park where we stayed last year. We'll spend a day playing tennis and maybe take in a movie. I want to see "Public Enemy" with Johnny Depp.

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