Sunday, September 16, 2007

DInosaur Dig (part 3)

Posted by Kirk
Tuesday night we heard a rumble in the air. No, it wasn't one of the two nightly coal trains that sped through town about 50 feet from my window, it was a storm. This is perhaps a good point to put in a picture of the "roads" we traveled on to get to the sites. These are not roads, they are two-track ranch trails through the Little Missouri National Grasslands. Rain is not a good thing for two tracks as it makes them impassable mud pits.

Even at their best, these two tracks are a crazy ride. The kids said it was more fun than Valleyfair. It was a lot of fun to drive and it felt a lot wilder than it really was. We paused to take this photo on what was a pretty typical slope. From inside the van it felt like this was an extreme 45 degree angle when in reality it was only about 18 degrees. Still, that's not normal.

It doesn't look that bad you say? Okay, okay, you'll have to check out the video. The first rule of two tracks is that each track does not need to be at the same height. This was not for people who get carsick!

Wednesday morning we headed into Montana to the little town of Ekalaka where locals drove by again and again to look at the strangers. I'm glad we could entertain them. Ekalaka is home to the Carter County Museum which has a nice small fossil collection including a large hadrosaur, a copy of the skull of Peck's Rex, and a triceratops skull. There were other nice small paleo items as well.

Being the county museum it also featured historical items. My brother would have appreciated the two headed calf. Now that's history we can all ogle at and appreciate. Here's a picture for you Erik.

We ate lunch at the historic and sacred native site the Medicine Rocks which locals have taken care of for the tribes by carving their names, two feet high, into the soft sacred stone. Way to go Montana. It was pretty disgusting not to mention horribly insulting. It would be a little like carving "Class of 95 RULZ!!!" into the crucified Jesus's chest over the altar in a catholic church. God bless America!

We finished up Wednesday by making some plastic replicas of dinosaur teeth and claws. We were supposed to get in some time in the lab but someone (who will remain nameless) decided even though we paid for the experience they should close up the lab early for the season. In the photo, I am showing kids how to add a little natural grit to their replica t-rex tooth to give it that fresh-out-of-the-ground look. Hopefully they aren't selling theirs on ebay as the real deal. Thanks to Doug for letting us work out of his garage as a temporary lab!

That's all for Wednesday!