Tag Archives: Utah

Utah – A Land of Transitions

Western Utah

Utah contains landscapes similar to those of many of the states that surround it. Perhaps its most famous area is in the south, where you find all of the fantastic national parks with their brilliantly colored rock formations, which are reminiscent of northern Arizona and New Mexico. But not all of the state is like that. To a large extent, central western Utah resembles Nevada, with its brown hills dotted with shrubs and its wide expanses of desert.

Desert Utah

This is pretty far south of the Great Salt Lake area – but even here you can smell the salt in the air. At least here it doesn’t get all over your feet and car!

Salt Lake Mountains

Sunrise comes slowly in the shadows of the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City and its many suburbs. I was surprised by the amount of traffic that now pervades the area – it really seems to have grown in recent years. Not, in my opinion, an improvement.

Route 6

Route 6 east of Salt Lake City – the road leading towards Wyoming, as you can tell by the greener, more tree-filled landscape. There’s far more traffic through here than one would imagine. A truck came barreling down the mountain on me so fast it nearly ran me over! Fortunately I realized the driver wasn’t going to be able to stop in time, and I took advantage of a nearby pullout to get out of the way.

Descent into Price

The descent into Price, Utah. Those are some rocks! Perhaps one of the most incredible things about Utah is the way the roads have been built. They did an astonishing job of putting highways in where it seems no highway ought to go. This reminded me of the drive along I-15 from Arizona, where the cliff faces hover so close over the road that they nearly seem to be trying to crowd you off it.

Stratified Rock Layers

Stratified rock layers in the so-called “Dinosaur Diamond” in the upper northeast corner of Utah near Colorado. All along the highway you see signs identifying the age of the layer of exposed rock and the fossils that can be found there.

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If you would like to see more photos from my cross-country travels, please follow my new Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/lorilschafer/.

For updates on my forthcoming memoir The Long Road Home, which I am drafting during this road trip, please follow my blog or subscribe to my newsletter.

Dinosaur National Monument – Where Jurassic Park Doesn’t Come to Life

August 17, 2014

Today I visited Dinosaur National Monument. It’s part of what they call the “Dinosaur Diamond” in the upper northeast corner of Utah and northwest corner of Colorado. This is an area in which a large number of dinosaur fossils have been found, mostly thanks the combination of mountain-building forces and erosion, which led to the exposure of previously buried layers of rock.

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But even for this fossil-filled area, Dinosaur is stunning for the number and variety of dinosaur bones that have been found there. While they do have some reconstructed skeletons on display…

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… the main feature of the Quarry Exhibit Hall is a giant wall of rock in which literally hundreds of bones are embedded and clearly visible.

Dinosaur Wall

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You can even touch the ones you can reach; evidently they aren’t harmed by the oil from your fingers, as so many relics are.

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There’s a rather sad story behind this amazing paleontological find. Evidently the site used to be a riverbed. During a drought, many dinosaurs died in the area. In the course of subsequent flooding events, their skeletons were covered with mud and sedimentation and eventually fossilized. Later they were exposed by the uplifting of the Uintas Mountains, which caused the rock that had been beneath the ground to be pushed up out of it, leading to paleontologist Earl Douglass’ amazing discovery back in 1909.

You can experience a bit of what Douglass did by taking the Fossil Discovery Trail, which is an outdoor trail that walks you through various rock formations in which, if you study carefully, you can find exposed fossils! Not as plentiful, and you have to search pretty hard to see them, because they certainly aren’t obvious. Their colors blend perfectly with the rocks, which I guess is a part of the process of fossilization, but if you look closely, you can pick them out, because the shapes of bones are there, and also, they tend to be a bit shinier. It’s tricky, though. I can’t even spot the one I found in this photo – can you?

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Dinosaur is a very neat place – well worth the visit and the searing desert heat. But I must confess that the rarest fossil I found was actually in nearby Vernal. I mean, dinosaur bones are one thing, but I never dreamed of seeing one of these again:

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If you would like to see more photos from my cross-country travels, please follow my new Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/lorilschafer/.

For updates on my forthcoming memoir The Long Road Home, which I am drafting during this road trip, please follow my blog or subscribe to my newsletter.

Arches National Park – Videos

My visit to the amazing Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

A view of the Windows Arches – and the gloriously full parking lot of people waiting to see them!

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If you would like to see more videos from my cross-country travels, please check out my new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb5RugrJMSHh6_4hkgHmkMA.

For updates on my forthcoming memoir The Long Road Home, which I am drafting during this road trip, please follow my blog or subscribe to my newsletter.

Living and Working on the Road

What with all the pictures, you might think I’m one of those people who is a fanatic with a camera. Not so. In fact, before my trip to Oxnard last month, I had fewer than fifty photos total of all of my travels from the past twenty years. I had never taken a photo with my phone, and never shot a video with my digital camera. Since when does a phone take pictures? Since when does a photo camera make videos? Why didn’t anyone inform me about this?

I guess I’m a bit – by which I mean years – behind the times. These are the first two videos I recorded, and boy, does it show! Not only was I unaware just how shaky “handheld” would be, I also evidently kept forgetting that in video mode, you can’t just turn the camera sideways for portrait view. Whoops.

Well, they may not win any Oscars, but in the interest of not messing with my trip record, I decided to leave them as is. The first is an exploration of my new home office – the cab of my truck. The second shows how I’ve been utilizing voice recognition software to “write” on the road. They may not be pretty, but I hope they’re at least informative.

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If you would like to see more videos from my cross-country travels, please check out my new YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb5RugrJMSHh6_4hkgHmkMA.

For updates on my forthcoming memoir The Long Road Home, which I am drafting during this road trip, please follow my blog or subscribe to my newsletter.

Join Me Under the Arches! Photos from Arches National Park in Utah.

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Sheep Rock – Notice the resemblance.

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Courthouse Towers.

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This one reminds me of the formations in the Valley of the Gods. He sure looks like he’s watching over us, doesn’t he?

 

Window Rock

Windows Arch – with people. Lots of people.

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I don’t think this one has a name, but I’d call it “Poisonous Mushroom Rock.”

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This looks like a playground – best one ever!

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Is is just me, or do I have kind of a Mona Lisa thing going on here?

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Sometimes it’s the striations that make the rock…

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Tunnel Arch(es)

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View from the Visitor Center. Makes you want to climb the mountain, doesn’t it?

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If you would like to see more photos from my cross-country travels, please follow my new Pinterest account at http://www.pinterest.com/lorilschafer/.

For updates on my forthcoming memoir The Long Road Home, which I am drafting during this road trip, please follow my blog or subscribe to my newsletter.