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dinosaur national monument

Airstreaming in Dinosaur National Park, Utah—then Colorado I70


Spring t-storms were blowing across the west during the first week of my journey to Alumapalooza, and my visit to Dinosaur National Monument was short and soggy.


Dino NM is a fun and colorful Airstream destination, no matter the weather. The famed dinosaur bones are in the nice big warm dry Quarry Exhibit Hall, built around the remains of more than 500 huge dinosaurs and other large animals that perished there 149 million years ago. Go ahead, touch the bones!


On the drive to and from the park, enjoy the neighboring towns of Dinosaur, Vernal, and others that get into the act with silly statuary and dino-signage and their own little attractions. (Did you know the Stegosaurus is the Colorado state fossil?)


After speaking to a very helpful ranger in the visitor’s center, I chose not to camp at Green River (the highly rated campground in the park) but opted instead to keep forging ahead toward my next destination in Colorado. After conferring with the ranger and her map, I was now more than a little afraid of the combination of factors awaiting me on the only practical route to Palmer Lake: up and over the Rockies on 70 West in the rain and possibly snow, on a highway that includes obstacles like Vail Pass (elevation 10,666) and the long, steep, brake-burning slog into Denver after the summit. Plus, I don’t love how I’m rigged; the trailer, tow vehicle (and driver) are heavier than usual; and my lame V6 4-Runner labors on uphill slopes.


I contacted Roger—a Airstreaming mentor and the friend I was on my way to see—and he had some wise advice that soothed my anxiety. Somewhat. Tonight, I’m staying at River Camp RV Park in Meeker (nice! friendly! wifi! right by a rushing river! only $15!) and tackle the 70 tomorrow after dumping my fresh water tank to lighten my load. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “you must do the the thing you think you cannot do.”


One Response to “dinosaur national monument”

  • rg coleman:

    Quinn Martin epilogue: Pfft! Piece of cake. My fears were unfounded (though I still wouldn’t want to attempt that drive across the Rockies if it were icy or unplowed, or on a low visibility day. Mother Weather sent me a sunny spring morning). I70 is a normal huge highway like any other, except steeper and better looking. I’m not sure what I was picturing; the area is home to some of the most popular ski destinations in the world. Rest areas, fast food, gas stations, and upscale condo communities line the length of the highway. When you enter from the east—at Rifle—you’re already higher than 5000 feet. Stop at the Glenwood Canyon rest area even if you don’t have to, it’s gorgeous. Vail is a cute town. Take it slow on the relentless stretch before Denver.

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