Cowboys and Dinosaurs

Days: 18
Kilometres Travelled: 349
Total States Visited: 7
Total Kilometres: 4,771

Finally it was time to explore the real reason we had chosen this particular route - the town 'Dinosaur' had caught our attention on the map, and we were very intrigued to see it. 

Truth be told, the town itself was barely more than a few derelict shacks but the real treasure was at the Dinosaur National Monument nearby. Just driving in to the park, the landscape bore uplifted shards of earth rippled with colours, and it looked like dinosaurs lived there! From the visitors centre we caught the shuttle to the quarry - with no idea what to expect at the other end. Our anticipation grew, as did the sensation that we were living out Jurassic Park in real life. 

The quarry turned out to be a preserved collection of fossils, over 1000 specimens from 400 dinosaurs embedded in a wall of rock that was once a riverbed, and we gawped and gaped for quite a while, completely in awe of it all. And we got to touch a real fossil!

Childhood dreams made true, we continued on through Craig to Steamboat Springs - a very charming (but large) ski town that just so happened to be hosting the USA Pro bike race that same weekend. The town was busy but buzzing, an atmosphere that made it all to easy for us to commit to our first real rodeo that evening. 

Another childhood fantasy played out for the second time that day, as we watched in fear and awe of the incredible skill of the real life cowboys. We also learned that night just how intensely proud and patriotic Americans can be, especially despite the torrential rain and storms that loomed overhead.

We rounded out our epic day with our first stealth camp in a random carpark - complete with a midnight freight train!