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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 4: 2 Badges and NO Mountain Trouble

Today was a very fun day! We started out at Dinosaur Monument.
Lon had 18 badges at this point. He was so excited to get this one.
Lon still looks for little lizards everywhere
He is really having a great time doing this!
You  park at the Visitor Center, every 15 minutes there is a shuttle to take you up to the Quarry. This is where the bones are!
Exploring where the bones go.  The wall is impressive! So many dinosaur bones. It is an amazing record of the Jurassic period
Just part of the wall of bones.
Lon got his entire Jr. Ranger booklet done up there
We were having fun. We met a family from France, and a family from Germany and a couple from Japan.  Not much English was spoken, just some smiles and waves.
We learned why the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh has the second biggest collection of dinosaurs in the country. Earl Douglas came to Dinosaur National Monument, in 1909 before it was a monument, and sent them back to the museum.   Lon now wants to go to see them there. I really can not come up with a no. We can't do it this trip, but maybe later on.
Lon with Earl Douglas.
Getting badge number 19!!
This is East Four Mile Draw Rest Stop.  I found the little sansa clip and plugged it in to the speakers. It worked fine for about 20 minutes. Now it is not working at all. darn it.
I was thinking this was not a bad road, this Higway 139 down from Rangely to Loma.   Then joining up with 70. Again, perhaps I thought a touch too soon.
This is a part of the road, I still felt comfortable taking pictures. It seems Colorado does not like guard rails. Thinks they are for wimps.  I LIKE guard rails.  And yes, in case you were wondering, this is a drop off down the mountain. It is a small, narrow VERY twisty road. It goes over a pass that is 6,852 feet high. You go up, you go down. Switch backs that are marked 15 miles an hour.
One person was very anxious to get where they were going and passed me.  Then he slammed on his brakes about 50 yards ahead. Seems he forgot about the deer and the cows. He almost hit a doe with two fawns. They were beautiful. They were fine.  He then sped off. But we caught up with him a little later as he was forced to stay behind a gas tanker truck.  He got so frustrated that he passed him on a curve.  I hope whatever he had to get to was that important.
Finally off that mountain!  It was then I realized I had given myself a blister gripping the steering wheel so tightly as I went around those unguarded curves.
No more scary mountain roads for me. I want a highway over the passes, not just paved goat paths.
We stopped at Colorado National Monument in Fruita. This is right before we got onto Highway 70 East.   The Ranger told us we had to do a hike for his badge, but there was a very easy hike and I did not have to do all of it. Lon did the entire mile. I waited for him about 1/2 way.  There was a couple from Australia that were also hiking that tiny trail. They said he was a wonderful little man.

Lon wanted to see what the rock felt like. He said it pretty much felt like rock
Running ahead, this was the last thing he had to do before getting his Jr. Ranger Badge!!!

Jr Ranger Badge Number 20! He is learning a lot about the parks.
The view from the Visitor's Center at Colorado National Monument
We got gas in Fruita
Mileage 1664.8
gallons: 5.289 (wanted to make sure we had enough to get over the BIG pass)
Price: 21.26
Along Highway 70
We crossed over the Rocky Mountains at Vail Pass (just east of Vail) Elevation, 10,603 feet. It was high, but the road was bigger, wider and had guard rails.
We went through a long tunnel, the Eisenhower tunnel, I think. It was marked halfway through Continental Divide.
We pushed on to Colorado Springs. This was a bit too long, we had delays on I-25. Construction, and an accident. We did not get to our hotel till about 9pm. Driving in the dark with big rigs and construction in the dark is not very fun for me.  I am hopefully not going to be doing that again.
We got gas in Littleton, Co
Mileage: 1918.7
Gallons: 9.955
Price: 37.02
The only places left open for dinner were a barbeque place and applebees. We went to Applebees.  Lon ate his entire dinner so he got a dessert. He picked Chocolate Lava Cake.  I think he was happy with that.
Tomorrow we are going to drive though Garden of the Gods, then on to Bent's Old Fort. We hope to spend the night in Kansas near Dodge City.  Western History is up next, the fossil part of our adventure is over.

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