Friday, May 04, 2012

Longmont, CO to Dinosaur National Monument

Tuesday, May 1

Carol & Oliver in the camper.
We left Suzanne’s house about 8am. Met John and Linda in Idaho Springs for a really good lunch at Beau Jo’s Italian restaurant.  They must offer a hundred ways to order pizza. After lunch we continued on to Silverthorn with the intent of camping at the USFS Prairie Point campground on the Green Mountain Reservoir. In Silverthorn, I spotted the USFS Field Office and pulled in to get updated camping information. As it turns out, none of the campgrounds were opened yet I spite of the USFS web site saying Prairie Point would open on the 1st. Got real lucky.  The ranger I talked to in the office was in charge of all the district campgrounds. I asked him disbursed camping in the area. He said he would show us a disbursed camping area right on the Blue River and if we didn’t like that, he would lead us to the Prairie Point campground and unlock the gate for us.  The Blue River disbursed was OK but it was adjacent to the highway and would be very noisy so we opted for the Prairie Point campground.  $5/night with the Old Age Card.  John and Linda and Carol and I were the only people there. The dogs liked it because they could roam free. The reservoir was very, very low; it's been a dry winter in CO.  The last time we stayed here water access was much nicer.  We cooked out tonight.


We left Prairie Point about 9am heading towards Steamboat Springs. On the way, we went over Rabbit Ears Pass (9,426’). There was still snow on the ground as you would expect in early May.  We stopped at the Yampa River State Park Headquarters campground. It was OK and if electrical hookups and a concrete pad were important, it would have worked. We're more interested in a nice location rather then an electric hookup.  The lady behind the desk suggested the Maybell Bridge campground which is right along the Yampa River  just east of Maybell. That’s where we are now. The campsites are right along the river bank.  It’s a rustic campground. $17/night. It’s just the four of us.

We headed out about 8am. Stopped at the City of Maybell RV park to dump the tanks and top off the water then headed to the Dinosaur National Monument which is partially in Colorado and Utah.
We all toured the Dinosaur Quarry Visitor Center. A very impressive building. It’s built right into a cliff that contains hundreds of bones from the Morrison Formation. The bones here are from 147 to 155 million years old.  You can actually touch some of the bones imbedded in the rock.  Among other Late-Jurassic dinosaur groups represented are plant-eating sauropods, stegosaurs, and ornithopods, and flesh-eating theropoda.
After the tour, we went to the Green River campground. Our Lazy Daze friends, Don and Dorothy Malpas, were there. For dinner we all cooked our own entrees on the grill and shared some common dishes.  This is a nice campground right on the banks of the Green River. There is a ranch across the river and horses and cows wander down to the river for a drink. While walking the dogs,  John  and I saw four deer at the river.
We’re staying for tomorrow as well, but John and Linda need to head home for a baby sitting assignment.

Quarry Visitor Center

The "logjam" of bones


Nothing special today, mostly trip planning for the next few weeks. We’re running into issues with opening dates of some USFS campgrounds. I’ve had to call the local FS offices to see what our choices were. Limited, but there are some.
We’ll meet up with the Oregon Trail pioneers at the Three Island State Park in Idaho


Jim and Gayle said...

So were you impressed with the new visitor center? Great picture of the three LDs at Green River. That is a nice campground if it isn't too hot.

Jimbo said...

The USFS park I will be working at was scheduled to open on 5/20 however there is no snow and they asked me to get there earlier if I could. Trying to make it between the 10th and 13th.

Thanks for sharing all about the fossils.

Russ Krecklow said...

Sure enjoyed your photos today! Having recently visited the John Day Fossil Beds Sheep Rock unit visitors center, it was doubly interesting to see those photos you took! Looking forward to seeing your progress on towards Oregon!

Spotted Dog Ranch: said...

You're in my old stomping grounds, where I grew up! The Yampa River State Park is right across the highway from my family's ranch. And we spent a lot of time hiking the canyons out by Ladore and Spit I mean Split Mountain. Some cool country!

Old Age Card - LOL. Sounds like you're having fun and beating the crowds.