July 14, 2018

img_20180714_085902Woke up feeling good and rested, which doesn’t always happen, so yea! Used both packets of hotel provided coffee in their pot, nice and strong, and of course added sugar and Ripple. I love this creamer and hope I can find it across states. The door doesn’t have a doorknob, inside or out. Took a few times before I stopped grabbing for one.

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Outside for smoke with my coffee, I met a woman who I’ll guess was in her 30’s. She had slept on a bench, was very thin and shaky; otherwise, she looked ok. Gave her a peach, cup of coffee and few cigs, then we chit-chatted about generic shit. I have no clue about her story, but said she was waiting on a friend who usually stayed at this motel. Gave her toilet access, then she headed out on foot. Can’t imagine what it’d be like to not have a vehicle around here, but it’d definitely suck!

img_20180714_110507Lisa stopped by and I loved our talk. She’s a strong, beautiful young lady who works hard managing her uncle’s (I believe) motel; she is the only person on site for bookings, check-in and room cleaning. She has a beautiful smile and uses a crutch to balance her missing leg. She appears so positive, but there’s a sad, heavy undertone. Felt familiar, but different. When I asked about the area’s employment opportunities (only curious), she seriously told me to just keep moving, to not get stuck in that town. She was the perfect size for the pretty blouse from Savers in NM that was too small for me.😁

Packed up and hopped less than a couple minutes to the Colorado Welcome Center. The building is small, with awesome wood-carved statues outside. I love the bench, even with  the big moose’s missing antler.

img_20180714_112126Inside, there’s a surprising amount of information to read and see. The woman there provided information about the town history, as well as the Dinosaur Quarry in Utah, my next destination.

img_20180714_111130Although the photo is dark, the story is these two were battling, got locked and died locked.

Across the street, I swung into the Loaf N Jug (like the name) for frozen cappuccino, 30 lbs of ice (leftovers went to man at thrift store) for food chest and cooler, and filled up ($3.12/gal). There was a sports car with Bulldog colors Matthew would like.

img_20180714_115955I headed W on 40 with stomach not feeling so good. Maybe cappuccino on empty stomach not so smart, but a hop, skip and jump down the road and I was in … UTAH!

I started feeling so much better at the Utah Scenic Lookout in Musket Shot Springs (BLM managed), just a few miles from Colorado. Although hot, I walked around to work out internal kinks (ha), then used potty couple times. Renewed!😀

Drove over Green River into Jensen and stopped in the Utah Welcome Center. Browsed the cool setup that reminded me of the tri-fold brochures made in school, to advertise a made-up product or service. Anyway, there was great information on state events, parks and history. Bear country warning signs were posted in and out of the building.

Asked the woman about the closest bank or ATM, for upcoming campsites; Vernal is the closest town with either. Just around the corner from the WC, I hit the road that runs straight to the National Monument. Beautiful area!img_3205img_3207I was surrounded on all sides by salt and rust colored mounds. It was stunning! I couldn’t help but make a few stops on the way to the entry point. Fee here is $25 per passenger vehicle; my pass covered this😀

The Visitor Center is fantastic and the a/c rocked! I read heaps of information about the discovery of the bones, excavation and preservation, fossils and rock formations, as well as maintenance and funding. Seriously, this is totally fascinating!

The tram up to the glass-enclosed, air-conditioned Quarry Exhibit Hall, located over the world-famous Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry, is no additional $ and takes only a few minutes. The driver of my tram talked about the quarry on the way up, but I couldn’t hear him. Sucks when that happens!

Inside is fantastic and the a/c rocks!🤗 There are replicas and real bones that you’re allowed to touch. I watched several mini videos of the initial discovery that gave me goosebumps. The wall of exposed real-bones is massive! Hard to wrap my brain around the fact that the bones I saw and touched are about 149 millions old. Mind blowing!img_20180714_135922

Headed down and back to the truck for more exploring. The Morrison Formation with multi-colored mudstone and sandstone is incredible. The Green River, really? Looks more like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river!

Just a few miles from the quarry, I found this incredible Green River Overlook, just above the campground where I was headed, the Green River Campground (go figure). img_3228-1Drove down the hill, checked out sites, then paid the $18 fee at self-pay site. set up camp, watched a guy fly a kite for a bit (James), updated journal and made my pizza dinner, with corn tortilla, mozzarella, jalapeños and Tabasco. Very tasty!

Stretched by the Wonka water and explored the grounds. Always easier to relax after landing somewhere and even better when it’s insanely gorgeous! Came across a bunch of wild turkey babes following their mom (I think) and a mule deer.

img_3253I met this friendly couple, Gwen from Houston and Mike from Las Vegas, who get together annually to travel. They have an older camper and I joined them around their fireless fire pit, to listen to stories of their travels and share a few of mine. They were sweet to be concerned for my well-being as a solo traveling woman.❤️img_20180714_172358I joined Ranger Amy’s Critter Walk, consisting mainly of children, and had a wonderful time. Learned about native critters, nature preservation, touched various pelts and walked along the River where we found prints and nests. Lila would have loved this! The water was getting choppy and dark clouds were rolling in.

There was loud, awesome music playing a few sites from mine, which I felt was a personal invite. Introduced myself and next thing I knew, I was hanging out with an awesome group of guys, surrounded by great tunes and the best meatloaf ever, made in a cast iron Dutch oven over the fire pit (I thought of Michael immediately). These guys get together to play and explore back-country with their 4WD jeeps. Jim (Lubbock, TX) is a singer-songwriter for 30+ years. He played guitar and shared his soulful voice with us a bit. James (Charlotte, NC) and his noteworthy beard work for MS and has the most awesome camp set up I’ve ever seen. Kenneth (Albuquerque, NM) sounds like he’s on the constant-ready for extreme and dangerous fun. Loved listening to their stories and could have hung out late into the night, but was too beat. Said my goodnights, stopped by the potty house, brushed my teeth and zipped for the night.

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