27th June 2006, Canada 8

I made an easy start in the morning approaching the Douglas Pass 8268 ft. The photo is looking back. This road - 73 miles long - has no junctions apart from the odd track. It runs along in the valley for miles and miles, then suddenly makes a climb up to the pass.

On the other side of the pass it again drops steeply, then runs along, and along, in the valley. The scenery is different.

I stopped at a couple of places to take a short walk to see some pictographs - ancient rock paintings - and petroglyphs - drawings pecked out of the rock. Very well worth the walk. I took a visit to the Rangely Outdoor Museum. This was free and also very well worth the price!

I was really planning to move directly to the Flaming Gorge but couldn't resist calling in at a Visitor Centre where they seemed to think I should call in at the Dinosaur National Monument. It was a 30 mile drive to the main viewpoints and 30 mile drive back. I found a spot to stop on the way, for the night, and in the morning continued on.

Certainly the views were interesting.

I had barely taken to enjoying the views at the end of the road, Harper's Corner, when I was joined by Tom, a traveller from Virginia. He was making a 6 week trip, his wife was working still and had flown out to join him a couple of times on his trip. We took the short walk to the main viewpoint together, about 200 yards.

Hardly had that been sorted out than Yves arrived, from Brittany in France, also travelling for 6 weeks, and also alone, because he liked hiking, his wife did not, so she had given him a pass to travel unencumbered! We walked back, all three.

Tom left for the Grand Mesa, on my suggestion, and Yves took the 13 mile drive down to the river, to camp for the night. Me, I went to see fossils of dinosaurs.

There actually are dinosaurs at the Dinosaur National Monument but the entrance is another 30 miles further on. Here they have dug out an incredible number of dinosaur fossils from the dinosaur quarry. They have now stopped digging fossils and have left those remaining in situ. Well there are probably many more underneath but who can tell. In an area about 40 yds long by 15 high there are now showing some 1600 fossil bones of dinosaurs, all these bumps on the photo below are fossils. The concentration is thought to be caused because there was a watering hole here, which dried up, so the animals died. There are 3 layers of fossils, so this happened 3 times a the same spot, after each occurrence the sand blew along and covered all the old bones. Humans have been in existence around 100 thousand years. Dinosaurs were the powers on earth for 100 million years. Hmmm.

I headed north again, found a forest road, and parked for the night.

In the morning I explored the flaming canyon.

Actually it's now a reservoir 91 miles long, 235 miles coastline, 65 square miles of water. (I remembered all that. Didn't just copy it from the brochure!)

I called in to see a historic site, and old farmstead. Dale showed me round. One farm implement I said I've operated one of those. He said we've been wondering what it was for, what is it? So I've added a touch of information for them. It was a binder, for cutting corn like wheat, and tying it into sheaves, before the advent of the combine harvester.

They have humming birds.

I continued to the main visitor centre, chatted to the couple of volunteer rangers there, they have been living full time in their RV for 6 years. Makes my total rather tiny. I just calculated the other day, I have now spent 1 years living in my RV but of course most of that time has been spent touring, jumping, staying at a different place each night.

I went to look at the canyon view and spotted a familiar figure. Yves, my French friend from Brittany! He was camping in an adjacent camp site en route to Yellowstone.

I took a couple more photos

then we adjourned to my van for a beer and a chat. He had not stayed by the river at Dinosaur, there were too many mosquitoes and he was a magnet for mosquitoes. I found a paper I had picked up with a homespun remedy, a vitamin B1 tablet daily produces an odour unnoticed by humans but unpleasant to mosquitoes. He's going to try it and let me know if it works!

We compared future routes and although we were passing the same places our timings were completely different. We parted hoping to meet again some time and I took a quick turn on to the national forest to park up for the night.

I picked up another viewpoint in the morning

then headed out to a fire tower - the first one built in Utah and he only one still operating. Dale - the volunteer from the homestead yesterday - told me he would be here, and he was. The tower is at 9,000 ft.

Not a special photo, this was the road to the watch tower.

Sheep Creek Canyon had some amazing rock formations.

Now. there was no other route but to take the Interstate 80 for a while. One good point. While around Flaming Canyon I noticed petrol at for me a new record price of $3.25, here it was back to $2.70. Petrol (gas) is now my most significant expense, probably 75% of my expenses, and is on the whole running double the price I paid when I was last here.

I was able to turn off after 35 miles, to Evanston. They have a museum! A nicely organised little museum, I liked it. I talked to several people there, it prompts me to remark, how pleasant Americans generally are, everywhere. Really pleasant.

Everywhere, except I have to say, for that asshole of an FAA inspector who screwed Micki so much she is unable to fight back, he should be hung drawn and quartered. But he's not typical, I suppose people who abuse their authority exist in every country. I've met a couple of others here too, there was the immigration guy when I came in from Canada who spent 2 hours going through all my papers trying to find a problem and finally gave up in disgust because he couldn't find anything wrong. Or there was the customs guy, when we flew in from Mexico in a Cessna had us empty the plane, checked it out with his dog, came back and said he couldn't find anything, like he was angry about that.

Anyway, after that lovely little museum I headed north to find a road marked as pretty heading west towards Layton where I am hoping to meet up with Tom Rathke. The road rose to 9,000 ft and entered National forest territory, I pulled off to park for the night around this height.

Continue to Canada 9

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