My own bed.  My own yard.  My dogs, my cows, my chickens.  I love being back home.

But what a trip.  What a delicious pile of memories and pictures to go over and over to remember those precious few days.

I got home around 8:30 this morning, after the redeye last night from Salt Lake City.  Glenda’s back in Knoxville, Ben’s back in Loveland, Sam’s still in Salida, and Amy’s still relocating to Orcas Island.

After our adventure in Black Canyon, Amy and I stayed in Grand Junction, Colorado.  We had dinner and delightful conversation at a little Italian restaurant right across from our hotel, and a lazy morning the next day.

You knew I'd put this in somewhere.
You knew I’d put this in somewhere.

We headed out toward Dinosaur National Monument, which is located in both Colorado and Utah.  I couldn’t find statistics on annual visitors to this park, but I rather expect it’s one of the least-visited, simply because it’s in the middle of Nowhere, Utah, and it takes a big effort to get to it.  However, it is by a huge exponent worth the trip.

Friendly little fellow welcoming us to the park.
Friendly little fellow welcoming us to the park.

I can’t resist posting both of these shots – there was an entire wall of drawings of dinosaurs made by visitors to the park of the child variety.  So cute.



In the park, the main display is the Quarry itself – a mass concentration of dinosaur fossils formed when the animals’ remains were washed into the area and covered with sediment, which then shifted in mountain-building movements in the Uintas chain about 150 million years ago.  The fossils were discovered by a paleontologist, Earl Douglass, in 1909.  His thought to have the main dig preserved, covered, and offered for citizens to visit and discover was brilliant.

Here are a couple of pics in the Quarry:



Here’s the big Allosaurus skeleton on the bottom level of the Quarry:


The Quarry building was built in 1957.  I visited the park as a teenager with my family in 1977-ish, and I remember being astonished with how many fossils were in one condensed area.  The building itself suffered structural problems and was closed in 2006.  In 2009, as part of the Obama administration’s stimulus plan, the building was shored up and repaired and opened again in 2011.

We ventured off on a hike loop where we found fossils on our own.

We guessed femur of camarasaurus, because it's the right size, and that's the most common species whose fossils are here.
We guessed femur of camarasaurus, because it’s the right size, and that’s the most common species whose fossils are here.
A fellow sightseer
A fellow sightseer
So many formations like this, with deep, rich colors and textures
So many formations like this, with deep, rich colors and textures


Amy and I had a delightful time in this park.  She and I travel well together, and we enjoy one another’s company.  But the plan was always to go as far as Salt Lake City with her, then head back home to study, while she kept going til she reached the ocean, then go one island farther.

We left the park, headed west, got to visit with Amy’s boyfriend’s sister Laura in Midway, Utah for dinner, then back in the car for the SLC airport.  I don’t have to describe the feeling of watching that child drive away for her solo adventure, but it’s a familiar feeling for the mother of 4 Supertramps, and I would not have it any other way.  (Thursday night — she just texted me that she’s outside of Teton National Park, sleeping in her car, excited for sunrise so she can see the mountains at first light.)

What a wonderful 6 days with the children.  I am so grateful when I get to hang out with them, hearing them laugh, listening to them rant, watching their eyes sparkle as they interact with each other.  I am simply never happier than when I’m with them.

IMG_0592Thanks for reading!