The Phoenix Nest

Jordan Lake Campground, near Raleigh, North Carolina

Jordan Lake Campground, near Raleigh, North Carolina

A Stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

By Jim Fulton

 

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Abstract

I spent a week in the Research Triangle, … a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina in the United States, anchored by North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill. This region includes the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh, and the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, as well as the Virginia Museum of Natural History, just across the border in Martinsville, VA. Thus the region seems, oddly enough, to be a focal point of learning and knowledge. I was drawn hither like a moth to a flame.

Page Prerequisites
Table of Contents
Page Specifications
Id Flights_GFT_2018_0313
Title Jordan Lake Campground, near Raleigh, North Carolina
Subtitle A Stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Keywords Raleigh, North Carolina, Jordan Lake Campground, North Carolina Museum of Natural History
Author Jim Fulton
Author's URL http://fenixnest/Phoenix/
Copyright 2017
Status Published: 2018/3/27
Last Revised 2018-03-28

Raleigh, North Carolina

Arrived 2018/3/13
Day of Tour 227
Nights Stayed 7
Departed 2018/3/20
Map miles from last stop 245
Mileage on arrival 33,800
Actual miles from last stop 340
Accumulated miles for trip 33,700

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I spent a week in the “Research Triangle, … a region in the Piedmont of North Carolina in the United States, anchored by North Carolina State University, Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the cities of Raleigh and Durham and the town of Chapel Hill.” This region includes the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh, and the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, as well as the Virginia Museum of Natural History, just across the border in Martinsville, VA. Thus the region seems, oddly enough, to be a focal point of learning and knowledge. I was drawn hither like a moth to a flame.

I say “oddly enough” because there is a tension between the presence of this focal point and the old saw that knowledge tends towards more liberal politics, and North Carolina is hardly that. The tension is partly resolved by looking at a map of the 2016 Presidential election: the counties directly around the Triangle, as well as around Charlotte, where another branch of UNC is located, are blue, not dark blue, mind, but voting for Hillary nonetheless. There are just not enough of those voters to overcome the deep red of most of the rest of the state, especially given NC’s gerrymandering, which has been declared unconstitutional by federal courts. So north-central NC does seem to be a force for progressive politics.

Page Contents

Jordan Lake Campground

The Jordan Lake State Recreational Area is beautiful, even in mid-March before spring renews the woodland. The sites are large and well-spaced. I had to back in, but I had plenty of room.

I ended up in a first-come, first-served area of the park. I had made a reservation, but there was no one at the gate to direct me to the assigned site, so I took what I could find. There was no sewer service at this site, but I could live without it. My tank is big enough for just me.

One thing I did miss was internet. I found myself in another black hole. If there is a cell tower in the area, it was not close enough for my hot spot to connect. If your goal is to get away from it all, this is the perfect place to do it, but I felt like an astronaut who has passed on the far side of the moon. My orbit around the country separates me from the people I know, but at least the internet lets me look in on them and see what's happening, even if it's only the news. In a black hole like Jordan Lake, I was totally isolated. I couldn't even finish work on these reports, since I need the internet both to get links and to upload the reports. The most I could do was stub out a bit of the writing.

Photo Gallery for Jordan Lake Campground

Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Jordan Lake Campground
Address 280 State Park Rd
Apex North Carolina 27523
Home Page https://www.ncparks.gov/jordan-lake-state-recreation-area
Phone (919) 362-0586
Associations
  • none
Rate (net US$) $21
Pros
  • Large, beautiful, hilly, wooded park on a huge lake.
  • Spacious sites
Cons
  • No cellular service, hence no internet
  • No sewer service
Reviews (as of 2018/3/22)
Reviewer Rating Out of
RV Park Reviews 7.6 Good 10
Good Sam n/r 10
KOA n/r  
Tripadvisor 4 5
Phoenix 5 10
  Site Type back in  
  Site Size 7 10
  Ease of Access 6 10
  WiFiNotes 1 10

Points of Interest

I spent two days visiting three of the museums in the area. the North Carolina Museum of Natural History in Raleigh, the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, and the Virginia Museum of Natural History, just across the border in Martinsville, VA. All are designed as “field trip magnets”, attracting classes from local schools. Exhibits are readily comprehended by audiences of pupils.

North Carolina Museum of Natural History

This is a research museum in Raleigh, strongly associated with the University of North Carolina. Its exhibits are tuned to older students, nudging them toward STEM education. Its focus is on technology and research, and for museums that means lots of devices doing fascinating things, as well as a wall of windows (which I'm embarrassed to report, I did not photograph) where they can view real scientists from the UNC doing real science. (I wonder how it feels to those scientists to be the inmates of a zoo, and have to do their work there.)

Photo Gallery for North Carolina Museum of Natural History

North Carolina Museum of Natural History
North Carolina Museum of Natural History
North Carolina Museum of Natural History

Durham Museum of Life & Science

This museum is pitched toward younger students; it has the feel of a modern zoo, though with a sparse range of exhibits, with perhaps more information for each. In any case, the children loved it. The grounds were filled pupils on field trips. Its only nod toward paleontology was a number of life-sized models of dinosaurs that young visitors could clamber on. I took some photos, thinking they might fit well into the introductions to various species.

Durham Museum of Life & Science

Durham Museum of Life & Science
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Mercury-Redstone Rocket
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Dinosaur Walk
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Alamosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Alamosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Alamosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Alamosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Albertosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Albertosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Edmontonia (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Edmontonia (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Leptoceratops (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Leptoceratops (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Maiasaura (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Maiasaura (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Parasaurolophus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Parasaurolophus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Stygimoloch (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Stygimoloch (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Styracosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Styracosaurus (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Troodon (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Troodon (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Troodon (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina
Durham Museum of Life & Science
Troodon (model)
Cretaceous Period
Museum of Life & Science Durham, North Carolina

Virginia Museum of Natural History

I took a second day and drove a couple hours north to Martinsville, VA, to see the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Their collection is not large, but I enjoyed it much more than the two in the Raleigh-Durham area. In addition to the big fossils that all museums of natural history have because they’re the only thing that gets kids excited about coming to the museum (aside from the natural high of being away from their schoolrooms), VMNH has exhibits of the practical work of locating, reconstructing, and preserving fossils; of the work that’s being done in the state of Virginia, with many of the resulting fossils; and of what science has learned about the evolution of animals and their anatomical divergence. My impression is that their exhibits have enormous quality, in helping teachers explain evolution, more than many of the museums I’ve seen with more comprehensive collections.

Photo Gallery for Virginia Museum of Natural History

Virginia Museum of Natural History
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Divergent Evolution
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Divergent Evolution
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Divergent Evolution
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Stages of Virginia Geology
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Stages of Virginia Geology
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Stages of Virginia Geology
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)
Virginia Museum of Natural History
Geological Strata of Virginia
Virginia Museum of Natural History
(Click for Highest Resolution.)

Fossils in the North Carolina Research

The fossil collections at the museums described above were worth my time, especially when coupled with the beautiful drive around the region. I took many photos, but as of right now, however, I am unable to show them to you, since I have begun planning a major consolidation of my fossil photo collection, and the time it would take to organize a temporary local collection, for each of the museums I have not yet shown to you, would impede that redevelopment. Furthermore, I'm not allowing myself to work on it until my weekly blogs are up to date. The photos will come, I promise you. It's only a matter of correcting a few bugs in the programming, thereby generating a few new bugs and correcting those, thereby ....

Next Stop

From North Carolina I pushed up into the Richmond/Williamsburg area of Virginia.

Comments and Conversation

What follows are comments and conversations I have had with people about this page of The Phoenix Nest.

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