The Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Itinerary for a Long Flight of the Phoenix
By Jim Fulton
Last revised: 2020-06-17
Time for the Phoenix to fly! I launched my Grand Fossil Tour in the summer of 2017, planning to visit most of the major fossil sites and natural history museums in the US and Canada. Why? Well, foremost for the fun of it. But also to witness for myself the fossil record of the evolution of the soul, to see the remnants of those animals, going back half a billion years, that first became aware of the things in their environment, and learned to act and survive in that environment.
This page introduces my journal, my "blog", of my tour. In these pages I tell where I've been (or where I'm going), show the best of what photos I take, for you to follow as you will. In particular I plan to tell stories with three different themes as I go:
- Where I've been. I will tell about the towns and campgrounds where I stay. I'm traveling in a big 5th-wheel trailer — my physical Phoenix Nest, rather than the noetic Nest you are reading — that I'm pulling with a Ram 2500 diesel pickup — Moby Richard, a big, white whale that the Phoenix tamed just enough to pull his nest around. These tales might be of interest to fellow travelers.
- What I've seen. I will tell about the fossils I've seen, both in the ground and in museums, about what I've learned from them about the times when those animals lived, and what kind of souls they might have had.
- What I've thought. Along the way I plan to tell stories about what I am thinking about the soul, the mind, the spirit. These you might find them exotic, for they differ from what is commonly taught either in science classes or Sunday schools. If you are not philosophically minded, you can just pass over them. These stories will be building blocks for the more comprehensive saga of the soul that I tell in other parts of the Phoenix Nest.
In any case, follow along as you will. There's an email button in the footer at the bottom of the page that you can use to tell me your reactions to my stories.
Revision History of The Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Revisions Specific to this Itinerary
In addition to the changes described above, the follow changes have been made specifically to this Itinerary.
Planning the Grand Fossil Tour
Some people like to get in their car and just go, ending up wherever they do, take whatever adventures may come. I do too. But not for long, complicated trips! For the Grand Fossil Tour, I am going to begin with some planning, a lot of planning, for several reasons:
- I have a large list of specific places to see. I've been searching the web for fossil sites and natural history museums, and I want I route that will let me see as many of them as possible, while camping at least once in each of the "lower 48" states, as well as ten Canadian provinces.
- The trip will take a long time, several years. There are a lot of places to go and I don't want to drive more than 300 miles in any given week. Any faster is commuting, not traveling. This means I have to plan for the seasons, like a snowbird: south in the winter, north in the summer. There's no good, safe place to be during the spring storm season (other than Washington state), so I'll just have to tough that season out wherever I am.
- Going to seasonably comfortable climes means I'll be competing for RV spaces with other snowbirds, and that means early reservations.
- Along the way I'll stop by to visit family, and I want to give them reasonably advanced notice.
Besides all that, I for some reason just enjoy the planning process.
So I have laid out a tentative itinerary for where and when I will go and where I'll stay and what I'll see. For you who are interested, it will help in keeping track of my travels. It will also serve as an index of where I have been, with links to the stories from each place.
Maps of the Grand Fossil Tour
I find it exciting to see all my planned destinations laid out on a map, and here they are:
Overview Maps of the Grand Fossil Tour
But maps become confusing when a route is complex, especially when that route is not the mathematically optimal shortest route possible, but instead wanders hither, thither, and yon, looping and crossing itself, according to anticipated weather, family visits, and mere mood. Then the map becomes a hodgepodge of lines that the eye cannot fathom. To dispel some of that confusion, I include with the itinerary for each part of the Tour a gallery of maps that lets you walk through the Tour stop-by-stop, in calendar sequence. It is my hope that the galleries will give you a better visual overview of my route.
(By the way, the maps are screen-shots from RV Trip Wizard, the application I use, and could not do without, in planning my travels. The images were captured as of my visit to the location, and reflect my projections of my then-future itinerary, and not the inevitable changes that any long, real tour undergoes. So by viewing these maps, you can also witness the evolution of my travel planning.)
Points of Interest
It's one thing to decide to take a tour to see fossils. It's quite something more to figure out exactly what that means. I spent hours searching the internet for fossil sites and museums that would be worth visiting. Without boring you with the details of how I found and selected among candidate destinations, here is the list of places I wanted to go. It's not strictly speaking a bucket list; I don't think of this Tour as my grand finale, after which I will "kick the bucket". But the list does give me a firm (if modifiable) target around which to plan. The destinations are listed alphabetically within the state (or province) and city where they are located.
|ID||Point of Interest||Wiki||Significance||Age
(For Fossil Sites)
|MYA||City||State||Date to Visit||Rating
|USA: AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IO KS KY LA ME MA MD MI MS MT
NE NV NH NJ NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VA VT WA WV WI WY
Canada: AB BC MB NB NL NS ON PI QC SK
|Birm||McWane Science Center||Museum||Birmingham||AL||2020/2/25||Excellent science museum for kids, with modest fossil collection|
|Ing||Ingersoll Shale Lagerstätte||Lagerstätte||Late Cretaceous Period||100-66||Phenix City||AL||2018/2/20||n/a||Explored, then covered with housing. Not available to public.|
|AZMNH||Arizona Museum of Natural History||Museum||Phoenix||AZ|
|GCNP||Grand Canyon||National Park||Paleozoic Era||525-270||AZ|
|MNAZ||Museum of Northern Arizona||Museum||Flagstaff||AZ|
|Bar||Barstow Formation||Lagerstätte||Miocene Epoch||23-5.3||Barstow||CA|
|CAS||California Academy of Sciences||Museum||San Francisco||CA|
|Brea||La Brea Tar Pits||Lagerstätte||Pleistocene Epoch||2.58-0.01||Los Angeles||CA|
|LA||Natural History Museum of Los Angeles||Museum||Los Angeles||CA|
|SDNHM||San Diego Natural History Museum||Museum||San Diego||CA|
|SDZ||San Diego Zoo||Zoo||San Diego||CA|
|UCMP||University of California Museum of Paleontology||Research Museum||Berkeley||CA|
|Yose||Yosemite National Park||National Park||Groveland||CA|
|Dunes||Great Sand Dunes||National Park||Alamosa||CO||2019/7/9|
|UCo||University of Colorado Museum of Natural History||Museum||Boulder||CO||2019/7/9||Small fossil collection|
|MVerd||Mesa Verde||National Park||Neolithic||7500 BCE - 1300 CE||Cortez||CO||2019/8/6||Extensive 13th Century cliff dwellings|
|Denv||Denver Museum of Nature and Science||Museum||Denver||CO||2019/7/9||Good collection of fossils|
|RMNP||Rocky Mountain National Park||National Park||Denver||CO||2019/7/9||Spectacular mountain range|
|PRSRA||Pueblo Reservoir SRA||GSSP||Turonian Stage||93.9||Pueblo||CO||2019/7/9||No access to Lagerstätte|
|CAnc||Canyon of the Ancients||National Monument||Neolithic||7500 BCE - 1300 CE||Dolores||CO||2019/8/6||Wonderful archeological sites|
|BGun||Black Canyon of the Gunnison||National Park||Paleoproterozoic Era||2000||Grand Junction||CO||2019/6/18||Spectacular canyons with base in Ediacaran strata|
|CNM||Colorado National Monument||National Monument||Late Cretaceous Period||66||Grand Junction||CO||2019/6/18||Beautiful drive around the mesa|
|DJM||Dinosaur Journey Museum||Museum||Grand Junction||CO||2019/6/18||Small but well-curated collection of fossils|
|GMesa||Grand Mesa||National Forest||Eocene Epoch||10||Grand Junction||CO||2019/6/18||Beautiful drive around the mesa|
|MWest||Museum of the West||Museum||Grand Junction||CO||2019/6/18||Modest historical museum|
|DSP||Dinosaur State Park||State Park||Hartford||CT||2018/4/24||Intriguing site of dinosaur footprints from Late Triassic to Early Jurassic periods|
|Pea||Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History||Museum||New Haven||CT||2018/4/24||Informative if somewhat incomplete and ill-organized fossil collection|
|District of Columbia|
|SMNH||Smithsonian Museum of Natural History||Museum||Washington||DC||2018/3/27||The main collection was closed for renovation. What was available was excellent.|
|Flor||Florida Museum of Natural History||Museum||Gainesville||FL||2018/1/9||Good science but few fossils|
|JAX||Museum of Science and History||Museum||Jacksonville||FL||2018/2/13||Good science but few fossils|
|KennSP||Kennedy Space Center||Museum||Orlando||FL||2018/2/6|
|SMar||Castillo de San Marcos||Museum||St. Augustine||FL||2018/2/13|
|SAug||St. Augustine||St. Augustine||FL||2018/2/13|
|Keys||Florida Keys||Sugarloaf Key||FL||2018/1/26|
|Fern||Fernbank Museum of Natural History||Museum||Atlanta||GA||2018/2/23||Small Collection|
|Craters of the Moon||National Monument|
|CFB||Clarkia Fossil Beds||Lagerstätte||Langhian Stage of the Miocene Epoch||15||Clarkia||ID|
|Hgrmn||Hagerman Fossil Beds||National Monument||Pliocene Epoch||3.5||Hagerman||ID||2019/5/7|
|CSI||Herrett Center, College of Southern Idaho||Museum||Twin Falls||ID||2019/5/7|
|CFM||Field Museum of Natural History||Museum||Chicago||IL||2017/10/27||Excellent|
|MCFB||Mazon Creek Fossil Beds||Lagerstätte||Moscovian Stage of the Pennsylvanian Subperiod||309||Morris||IL|
|ANI||Audubon Nature Institute||Research Museum||New Orleans||LA||Not open to public|
|Ben||Beneski Museum of Natural History||Museum||Amherst||MA||2018/5/8||Small but representative collection.|
|BMS||Museum of Science||Museum||Boston||MA||2018/5/15||Well-designed to attract young people to science, its fossil collection was merely ordinary.|
|HMCZ||Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology||Museum||Cambridge||MA||2018/5/15||Informative collection of taxidermied animals|
|Harv||Harvard Museum of Natural History||Museum||Cambridge||MA||2018/5/15||Informative if somewhat incomplete and ill-organized fossil collection|
|Nash||Nash Dinosaur Tracks||Fossil Shop||Granby||MA||2018/5/8||Prototypical roadside attraction, but dig site has real dinosaur tracks.|
|UMMNH||University of Michigan Museum of Natural History||Museum||Ann Arbor||MI||2020/5/19||Closed due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|Cran||Cranbrook Institute of Science||Museum||Detroit||MI||2020/5/19|
|SMM||Science Museum of Minnesota||Museum||Minneapolis / St. Paul||MN||2017/10/3||Good Collection|
|MOI||Missouri Institute of Natural Science||Museum||Springfield||MO||2017/12/11||Small but well-done, some local fossils|
|Nash||Mississippi Museum of Natural Science||Museum||Jackson||MS||2020/2/11||Good introductory national history museum, with terrarium of Mississippi fish and reptiles|
|Vick||Vicksburg National Military Park||National Park||Vicksburg||MS||2017/12/19||I could actually visualize the fighting on one of the battlefields.|
|BGL||Bear Gulch Limestone||Lagerstätte||Bashkirian Stage, Pennsylvanian Subperiod, Carboniferous Period||323-315||MT|
|Car||Carter County Museum||Museum||Ekalaka||MT|
|MRock||Museum of the Rockies||Museum||Bozeman||MT|
|TSA||Two Medicine Dinosaur Center||Museum||Bynum||MT|
|Yell||Yellowstone National Park||National Park||West Yellowstone||MT|
|Ash||Ashfall Fossil Beds||Lagerstätte||Serravallian Stage, Miocene Epoch||13.8-11.6||Royal||NE||2017/9/19||Good collection of local Miocene fossils, plus active dig.|
|Arrow||Arrow Canyon||GSSP||Bashkirian Stage of Pennsylvanian Subperiod||323-315||Las Vegas||NV|
|Rutg||Rutgers Geology Museum||Museum||New Brunswick||NJ|
|NMMNH||New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science||Museum||Albuquerque||NM||2019/9/3||Good collection of fossils|
|Carl||Carlsbad Caverns||National Park||Carlsbad||NM||2014||Fantastic caverns|
|Ghost||Ghost Ranch||Lagerstätte||Late Triassic Period||237-201||Ghost Ranch||NM||2019/8/27||Modest collection of local fossils|
|Chaco||Chaco Culture National Historical Park||National Park||Neolithic Period||850-1250 CE||Nageezi||NM||2019/8/6||Spectacular archeological site|
|Buff||Museum of Science||Museum||Buffalo||NY||2018/9/25||Small fossil collection in an old, underfunded museum.|
|NYMNH||American Museum of Natural History||Museum||New York||NY||2018/4/17||Good collection of post-Cambrian fossils, with some apparent gaps. Excellent documentation of specimens.|
|Beech||Beecher's Trilobite Bed||Lagerstätte||Ordovician Period||458-453||Rome||NY||2020/5/5||No longer available for public access.|
|WRQ||Walcott-Rust Quarry||Lagerstätte||Ordovician Period||458-453||Rome||NY||2020/5/5|
|DMLS||Museum of Life & Science||Museum||Durham||NC||2018/3/13||Models, but no fossils, of Cretaceous dinosaurs.|
|NCMNH||North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences||Museum||Raleigh||NC||2018/3/13||Good but spotty collection|
|Cleve||Cleveland Museum of Natural History||Museum||Cleveland||OH||Closed due to COVID-19 pandemic|
|BKR||Black Knob Ridge||GSSP||Katian Stage of Late Ordovician Period||453-455||Atoka||OK|
|JDFB||John Day Fossil Beds||Lagerstätte||Eocene Epoch||56-33||Redmond||OR|
|ANSD||Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University||Museum||Philadelphia||PA||2018/4/10||Small collection of mainly Cretaceous dinosaurs|
|FI||Franklin Institute||Museum||Philadelphia||PA||Chose not to visit|
|Wag||Wagner Free Institute of Science||Museum||Philadelphia||PA||201804/10||Large but poorly curated collection, primarily of invertebrates|
|Carn||Carnegie Museum of Natural History||Museum||Pittsburgh||PA||2018/10/2||Good collection of mainly Cretaceous dinosaurs|
|Badl||Badlands||National Park||Rapid City||SD|
|BHI||Black Hills Institute||Museum||Hill City||SD|
|Mamm||Mammoth Site||Lagerstätte||Pleistocene Epoch||2.58-0.01||Hot Springs||SD|
|SDSMT||Museum of Geology, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology||Museum||Rapid City||SD|
|Pink||Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium||Museum||Memphis||TN||2020/2/25||Excellent, comprehensive fossil collection|
|TMM||Texas Memorial Museum||Museum||Austin||TX||2019/11/19||Collection limited to Texas fossils|
|BBNP||Big Bend National Park||National Park,
|Cretaceous Period||145-66||Big Bend National Park||TX||2019/10/8||Spectacular desert scenery|
|BVMNH||Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History||Museum||Bryan||TX||2020/12/24||Old, limited collection|
|Perot||Perot Museum of Nature and Science||Museum||Dallas||TX||2020/1/14||Large, but poorly organized fossil collection|
|DVSP||Dinosaur Valley State Park||State Park||Fort Worth||TX||2020/1/14||Chose not to visit|
|FWMSH||Fort Worth Museum of Science and History||Museum||Fort Worth||TX||2020/1/14||Chose not to visit|
|Monnig||Monnig Meteorite Gallery||Museum||Fort Worth||TX||2020/1/14||Large collection of meteorites|
|Brazo||Brazosport Museum of Natural Science||Museum||Houston||TX||2019/12/17||Chose not to visit|
|Houst||Houston Museum of Natural Science||Museum||Houston||TX||2019/12/17||Excellent, comprehensive fossil collection|
|JSFC||Johnson Space Flight Center||Point of Interest||Houston||TX||2019/12/17||Chose not to visit|
|Vine||Robert A Vines Environmental Science Center||Museum||Houston||TX||2019/12/17||Chose not to visit|
|TTU||Texas Tech University, Museum||Museum||Lubbock||TX||2019/10/29||Collection limited to Texas fossils|
|GMNP||Guadalupe Mountains||National Park||Permian Period||299-252||Pine Springs||TX||2019/9/17||Spectacular scenery.
Small collection of fossils.
No public access to Lagerstätte
|Capi||Nipple Hill||GSSP||Capitanian Stage||265-260|
|Word||Guadalupe Pass||GSSP||Wordian Stage||269-265|
|Road||Stratotype Canyon||GSSP||Roadian Stage||272-269|
|Witte||The Witte Museum||Museum||San Antonio||TX||2019/11/12||Collection limited to Texas fossils|
|Waco||Waco Mammoth Site||Fossil Site||Waco||TX||2020/12/24||Bone bed (Lagerstätte) of Mammoth fossils|
|WS||Wheeler Shale||Lagerstätte||Cambrian Period||541-485||Delta||UT|
|DNM||Dinosaur National Monument||National Monument||Late (Upper) Jurassic Period||149||Vernal||UT||2014||A fascinating wall of dinosaur fossils.|
|GSL||Great Salt Lake||Lake||Salt Lake City||UT||2019/5/21|
|LDS||Salt Lake Temple||Church||Salt Lake City||UT||2019/5/21|
|NHMU||Natural History Museum of Utah||Museum||Salt Lake City||UT||2019/5/21||Informative geological collection|
|Vern||Utah Field House of Natural History||Museum||Vernal||UT||2014||Good collection of local fossils|
|VMNH||Virginia Museum of Natural History||Museum||Martinsville||VA||2018/3/13||Good collection of local fossils|
|Fair||Fairbanks Museum||Museum||St. Johnsbury||VT||2018/5/25||Old and musty, with lots of taxidermied animals, it had only a few casts of fossils.|
|BBH||Blackberry Hill||Lagerstätte||Cambrian Period||541-485||Marathon County||WI||2017/10/10||n/a||Explored, then quarried. Not available to public.|
|MPM||Milwaukee Public Museum||Museum||Milwaukee||WI||2017/10/20||Good but Cluttered Collection|
|UWis||University of Wisconsin Geology Museum||Museum||Madison||WI||2017/10/20||Comprehensive and well documented|
|Devil||Devil's Tower||National Monument||WY||2020/9/8|
|GrTe||Grand Tetons||National Park||Jackson||WY|
|FBut||Fossil Butte||National Monument,
|Eocene Epoch||56-33||Kemmerer||WY||2019/5/28||Small but focused and representative collection of local Eocene fossils|
|UWy||University of Wyoming Geological Museum||Museum||Laramie||WY||2018/10/17||Modest collection of Wyoming fossils|
|WDC||Wyoming Dinosaur Center||Museum||Thermopolis||WY||2020/9/15|
|Tyr||Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology||Museum||Drumheller||AB||2017/8/22||Excellent!|
|British Columbia. Canada|
|Burch||Burchart Gardens||Flower Garden||Victoria||BC||2017/7/25||Beautiful flower garden|
|McA||McAbee Fossil Beds||Lagerstätte||Eocene Epoch||56-33||Kamloops||BC||2017/8/8||n/a||No public access|
|BCM||Royal British Columbia Museum||Museum||Victoria||BC||2017/7/25|
|Yoho||Yoho||National Park||Yoho National Park||BC||2017/8/15|
|Burgess Shale||Lagerstätte||Cambrian Period||541-485||Too high to climb; small but good collection at visitors center|
|CFDC||Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre||Museum||Morden||MB||2017/9/5||Good collection of local fossils, including large mosasaur|
|FH||Fortune Head Ecological Reserve||GSSP||Fortunian Stage of Cambrian Period||541-429||Fortune||NL||2018/7/17||Awesome|
|GMrn||Gros Morne||National Park||Rocky Harbor||NL||2018/7/6|
|GP||Green Point||GSSP||Early Ordovician period||485-443||Awesome|
|GEO||Johnson GEO Centre||St. John's||NL||2018/7/17||Informative geological collection|
|MP||Mistaken Point||Lagerstätte||Ediacaran Period||635-541||St. Johns||NL||2018/7/17||Awesome|
|Nova Scotia. Canada|
|CBFC||Cape Breton Fossil Centre||Museum||Carboniferous Period||358-299||Sydney Mines||NS||2018/8/3||Good collection of local Carboniferous plant fossils|
|CBret||Cape Breton Highlands||National Park||North Sydney||NS||2018/6/26|
|Jog||Joggins Cliff||Lagerstätte||Moscovian Stage, Pennsylvanian Subperiod, Carboniferous Period||315-307||Amherst||NS||2018/8/14||Awesome|
|Hfx||Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History||Museum||Halifax||NS||2018/8/7||Good collection of local Carboniferous plant fossils|
|Ott||Canadian Museum of Nature||Museum||Ottawa||ON||2018/9/11||Modest fossil collection|
|Tor||Royal Ontario Museum||Museum||Toronto||ON||2018/9/18||Modest fossil collection|
|MNP||Miguasha National Park||National Park,
|Devonian Period||419-358||St. Johns||QC||2018/8/23||Fabulous collection of local Devonian plant fossils|
|RSM||Royal Saskatchewan Museum||Museum||Regina||SK||2017/9/1||Good Collection|
|SAus||Adelaide Natural History Museum||Museum||Adelaide||SAus||2020/4/7|
|Edia||Enorama Creek||GSSP||Ediacaran Period||635-541||Flinders Range||SAus||2020/4/7|
Flying through Time
During the tour I jump back and forth through time. At Ashfall in Nebraska, I see fossils from only 12 thousand years ago; at Mistaken Point in Newfoundland, the fossils are over half a billion years old. No reasonable route through all the sites will follow their temporal order.
For you who like to see things in order, I list below (oldest to youngest) the geological ages of the fossil sites I plan to visit. (This is not a complete listing of the ages of the Earth.)
The dates for the various ages are taken from the Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which serves as as close to an international standard for geological matters as one can get. The colors that are associated with the various ages, in the list to follow, in the fossil sites in the itinerary, and for that matter in Wikipedia (for example, the Cambrian period), also come from that source.
- Click on
- The name of the age for more information about it, whether it be a page here in the Phoenix Nest, or at the very least its Wikipedia entry.
- The name of the fossil site to view to view its entry in the above list of destinations, along with other information about it, and links to useful web pages.
- The dates to see my the entry in my itinerary for my visit to that site.
Visiting the Ages of Gaia
- Proterozoic Eon
- Phanerozoic Eon
- Paleozoic Era
- Cambrian Period (541-485 mya)
- Ordovician Period (485-443 mya)
- Silurian Period (443-419 mya)
- Devonian Period (419-358 mya)
- Carboniferous Period (358-289 mya)
- Mississippian Subperiod (358-323 mya)
- Pennsylvanian Subperiod (323-298 mya)
- Permian Period (289-252 mya)
- Cisuralian Epoch (298-272 mya)
- Guadalupian Epoch (272-259 mya)
- Roadian Stage (272-268 mya)
- Lopingian Epoch (259-252 mya)
- Mesozoic Era
- Cenozoic Era
- Paleogene Period (66-23 mya)
- Neogene Period (23-2.58 mya)
- Quaternary Period (2.58 mya - present)
- Paleozoic Era
Flying the Grand Fossil Tour
What follows is my current itinerary, or as close to current as I can make it. This is very much a living document. In long-term traveling, change happens, as I discover more about possible points of interest, or revise my choice of campgrounds. I discovered to my embarrassment in making this revision that much of what I had described in the future tense of prospects, had to be redescribed in the past tense of memories.
I have divided the Tour into three parts. This is a change from my original plan, which would have had me traveling continuously for at least three year. But life happened.
- During Part 1, I traveled through Canada and most of the eastern United States. It took a year and a half, and is now complete, as I have settled down for the winter in Bothell, Washington.
- During Part 2, I will travel through the eastern Rockies, winter in Texas, return to the Smithsonian Museum to see their newly renovated Fossil Hall, and return through the northern Great Plains.
- During Part 3, I will travel through the western Rockies, visit the Grand Canyon, and return along the Pacific Coast.
By the time I'm finished I will have camped in all 48 lower states and all the Canadian provinces, and visited all the Points of Interest listed above.
Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1
The first part of my Tour began near Seattle, Washington in July of 2017.
- I started by swinging through western Canada,
- wandered through the northern Midwest as far east as Indiana for some much-needed repairs to my trailer,
- swung back to Kansas in time for Thanksgiving with family,
- spent Christmas in Vicksburg and New Years near New Orleans,
- looped along the Gulf Coast for winter,
- climbed back along the eastern seaboard during the stormy spring,
- stopped in New Hampshire for some more family visits,
- continued on through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, where I saw some of the oldest fossil sites on the continent,
- headed north to Quebec and west along the St. Lawrence River to Toronto, and
- returned to the US at Niagara Falls.
It was at that point in late October that I decided to spend the winter back around Seattle. So, not wanting to get caught in an early mountain snowstorm, I made a rapid sprint back to Washington. A good thing too, because the snows did come early.
Maps of the Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1
Here is the map of Part 1 of the Grand Fossil Tour. Maps of the whole Tour can be found above.
Grand Fossil Tour, Part 1.
(Click here to see the highest resolution version that map in a separate window.)
The map for such a complex route is unfortunately confusing, so I've added the gallery below, which shows all the sequence of places I visited in calendar sequence. Each location is marked by circles, and captioned with the location visited. By clicking your way through the maps, you can get a visual overview of my route.
Route of the Phoenix, on the Grand Fossil Tour, Part 1.
Schedule of the Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1
The following table shows more details of Part 1 of the Grand Fossil Tour: where I went and when, where I stayed, and the important things I saw there.
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1|
|Day||Arrival||Nights||City||St||Miles||Campground||Points of Interest|
|Links:||Blog||Campground||POI Section Above|
|-24||6/30||14||La Conner||WA||123||La Conner RV Park|
|-8||2017/7/14||7||Monroe||WA||62||Thunderbird RV Park|
|1||7/21||4||La Conner||WA||62||La Conner RV Park||
|3||7/25||7||Victoria||BC||50||Oceanside RV Resort|
|10||2017/8/1||7||Vancouver||BC||62||Burnaby Cariboo RV Park|
|17||8/8||3||Kamloops||BC||212||Kamloops RV Park||
|20||8/11||4||Revelstoke||BC||141||Canyon Hot Springs Resort|
|24||8/15||5||Golden||BC||71||Whispering Spruce Campground||
|29||8/20||2||Canmore||AB||98||Spring Creek RV|
|38||8/29||3||Saskatoon||SK||307||Campland RV Resort|
|41||2017/9/1||4||Indian Head||SK||212||Indian Head Campground|
|45||9/5||7||Winnipeg||MB||335||Birds Hill Campground|
|52||9/12||3||Devils Lake||ND||234||Grahams Island State Park|
|55||9/15||4||Aberdeen||SD||211||Wylie Park & Storybook Land|
|59||9/19||7||Yankton||SD||231||Missouri River KOA||
|66||9/25||7||Des Moines||IA||280||Webb’s Camping|
|73||2017/10/3||7||Minneapolis / St. Paul||MN||283||Minneapolis Northwest KOA|
|87||10/17||3||Green Bay||WI||212||Rustic Timbers Camping|
|97||10/27||6||Chicago||IL||211||Woodland Village RV|
|138||2017/12/7||1||Bevier||MO||452||Shoemaker’s RV Park|
|139||12/8||3||Farlington||KS||288||Crawford State Park||
|142||12/11||3||Springfield||MO||117||Springfield / Route 66 KOA||
|145||12/14||3||Neosho||MO||71||Stage Stop Campground|
|148||12/17||2||Little Rock||AR||264||Cherokee Lakes RV Park|
|150||12/19||7||Vicksburg||MS||217||Magnolia RV Park Resort|
|157||12/26||7||New Orleans||LA||161||Natalbany Creek Campground||
|164||2018/1/2||7||Mobile||AL||185||Meaher State Park|
|178||1/16||6||Tampa||FL||233||Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort|
|184||1/22||1||LaBelle||FL||168||Port LaBelle Inn|
|185||1/23||3||Miami||FL||128||Miami Everglades RV Resort|
|188||1/26||7||Sugarloaf Key||FL||98||Lazy Lakes RV Resort|
|195||2018/2/2||4||Miami||FL||98||Miami Everglades RV Resort|
|199||2/6||7||Orlando||FL||249||Christmas RV Park|
|206||2/13||7||Jacksonville||FL||158||Pecan Park RV Resort|
|213||2/20||3||Columbus||GA||308||Lake Pines RV Park and Campground|
|216||2/23||4||Atlanta||GA||131||Stone Mountain Park Family Campground|
|230||2018/3/6||7||Charlotte||NC||204||Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA|
|234||3/13||7||Durham||NC||245||Jordan Lake State Recreation Area|
|248||3/27||7||Harpers Ferry||WV||205||Harpers Ferry/Civil War Battlefields KOA||
|255||2018/4/3||7||Lincoln||DE||217||Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resort Delaware Beaches|
|189||Philadelphia South KOA|
|269||4/17||7||New York||NY||106||Mahlon Dickerson Reservation|
|276||4/24||7||Hartford||CT||176||Nelsons Family Campground|
|290||5/8||7||Amherst||MA||54||Sunsetview Farm Camping Area|
|297||5/15||10||New Hampshire||NH||106||Calef Lake Camping Area||
|311||5/25||11||St. Johnsbury||VT||122||Moose River Campground|
|318||2018/6/5||7||Bangor||ME||207||Pumpkin Patch RV Resort|
|325||6/12||7||Penobsquis||NB||229||Pine Cone Campground|
|332||6/19||7||Cornwall||PE||141||Cornwall / Charlottetown KOA|
|339||6/26||7||Cape Breton||NS||226||Arm of Gold Campground||
|Grand Codroy RV-tent Camping Park|
|349||7/6||6||Rocky Harbor||NL||184||Gros Morne RV / Campground|
|353||7/12||7||Gander||NL||231||Country Inn RV Park||
|360||7/17||14||St. John's||NL||208||Pippy Park Campgrounds||
|374||7/31||3||Argentia||NL||80||Argentia Sunset Park||
|Arm of Gold Campground|
|381||8/7||7||Halifax||NS||264||Woodhaven RV Park|
|388||8/14||9||Amherst||NS||140||Loch Lomond RV Park|
|395||8/23||4||Carleton-sur-Mer||QC||283||Camping de Carleton-sur-Mer||
|402||8/27||8||Quebec City||QC||345||Quebec City KOA|
|409||2018/9/4||7||Montreal||QC||160||Montreal South KOA|
|423||9/18||7||Toronto||ON||274||Milton Heights Campground|
|430||9/25||7||Buffalo||NY||72||Cinderella Motel & Campsite|
|437||2018/10/2||3||Pittsburgh||PA||257||Madison / Pittsburgh S.E. KOA|
|447||10/7||4||St. Louis||MO||233||St. Louis N.E. / I-270 / Granite City KOA|
|450||10/11||4||Leavenworth||KS||291||Covenant Cove RV Resort|
|457||10/15||2||Oakley||KS||352||High Plains Camping and RV|
|462||10/20||2||Brigham City||UT||399||Brigham City / Perry South KOA|
|465||10/22||2||Boise||ID||298||Boise / Meridian KOA|
|468||10/24||1||Boardman||OR||268||Boardman Marina Park|
|497||2018/12/1||??||Bothell||WA||68||Lake Pleasant Campground|
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1 - Complete|
Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2
The second part of my Tour will begin in Bothell, near Seattle, Washington in May of 2019. Here's what I expect to do during this part:
- Cross the Rockies through Utah and Colorado to Denver, stopping at Vernal and the Dinosaur National Monument.
- Swing back southwest to Mesa Verde and Ghost Ranch.
- Spend some time in Albuquerque and Carlsbad, visiting the Guadalupe Mountains.
- Winter in Texas, from Big Bend National Park to Houston to Dallas.
- Brave the spring in Kansas and take a side-trip to Australia and New Zealand.
- Head east through Tennessee to revisit the Smithsonian (whose Fossil Hall was closed on my first trip).
- Travel leisurely through the Midwest that I so abruptly passed through last year.
- Visit several fossil sites and geological wonders in the northern Rockies.
- Return to Bothell for the winter on 2020-21.
That's the plan, anyway. If you followed Part 1 of the Tour, you know that plans are where I begin, not where I end.
Maps of the Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2
Here is the map of Part 2 of the Grand Fossil Tour. Maps of the whole Tour can be found above.
Grand Fossil Tour, Part 2.
(Click here to see the highest resolution version that map in a separate window.)
This map is not quite so confusing as that for Part 1, but nonetheless I've added the gallery below, which shows all the sequence of places I visited in calendar sequence. Each location is marked by circles, and captioned with the location visited. By clicking your way through the maps, you can get a visual overview of my route.
Route of the Phoenix, on the Grand Fossil Tour, Part 2.
Schedule of the Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2
The following table shows more details of Part 2 of the Grand Fossil Tour: where I went and when, where I stayed, and the important things I saw there, as well as where I plan to go, at least as far as I have reservations. The above list of Points of Interest offers some insight into the places I intend to go, sometime.
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2|
|Day||Arrival||Nights||City||St||Miles||Campground||Points of Interest|
|Links:||Blog||Campground||POI Section Above|
|2018/12/1||Bothell||WA||Lake Pleasant Campground|
|7||5/7||14||Twin Falls||ID||340||Twin Falls / Jerome KOA|
|21||5/21||7||Salt Lake City||UT||217||Salt Lake City KOA|
|28||5/28||7||Kemmerer||WY||137||Riverside RV Park||
|35||2019/6/4||21||Vernal||UT||156||Fossil Valley RV Park|
|Jurassic Fossils (150 mya)|
|Petroglyphs (1000 ya)|
|49||6/25||14||Grand Junction||CO||148||RV Ranch|
|70||2019/7/9||21||Denver||CO||232||Dakota Ridge RV Park|
|91||7/30||7||South Fork||CO||221||Peacock Meadows||
|98||2019/8/6||21||Dolores||CO||151||Dolores River Campground|
|119||8/27||7||Abiquiu||NM||206||Riana Abiquiu Lake COE||
|126||2019/9/3||14||Albuquerque||NM||118||Stagecoach Stop RV Park|
|Capitanian Stage GSSP, 265-260 mya|
|Wordian Stage GSSP, 269-265 mya|
|Roadian Stage GSSP, 272-269 mya|
|154||2019/10/1||7||El Paso||TX||182||Road Host RV|
|161||10/8||14||Big Bend National Park||TX||364||Big Bend National Park||
|175||10/22||7||Fort Stockton||TX||150||Fort Stockton RV Park|
|182||10/29||7||Lubbock||TX||244||Lubbock RV Park|
|189||2019/11/5||7||Abilene||TX||179||Buck Creek RV Park|
|196||11/12||14||San Antonio||TX||296||Alamo River RV Resort|
|210||11/26||14||Austin||TX||113||Hwy 71 RV Park|
|224||2019/12/10||35||Bryan||TX||85||Paradise RV Park|
|259||2020/1/14||21||Dallas/Fort Worth||TX||169||Texas Ranch RV Resort|
|280||2020/2/04||7||Shreveport||LA||207||Shreveport / Bossier City KOA|
|287||2/11||7||Jackson||MS||232||Wendy Oaks RV Park|
|308||2020/3/3||7||Chattanooga||TN||146||Lookout Mountain / Chattanooga West KOA|
|315||3/10||7||Nashville||TN||125||Nashville East / Lebanon KOA|
|322||3/17||7||Knoxville||TN||179||Riverside Campground & Resort||Great Smoky Mountain National Park|
|335||3/30||8||Millersville||MD||305||Washington DC / Capitol KOA|
|350||4/14||28||Ovid||NY||229||Sned-Acres Family Campground||
|MI||448||Monroe Co. / Toledo North KOA||
All closed due to COVID-19 pandemic
|399||2020/6/2||7||Lima||OH||233||Back 40 Campground|
|406||6/9||7||Louisville||KY||226||Guist Creek Marina & Campground|
|427||6/30||7||Omaha-Lincoln||NE||341||West Omaha / NE Lincoln KOA|
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2 (planned)|
|Hot Springs, SD|
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2 (pretty sure)|
|504||9/15||7||Grand Junction (return)||CO||148|
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2 (kinda thinka mighta)|
|721||4/20||7||Yosemite National Park||CA||213|
|742||5/11||7||Redmond||OR||137||John Day Fossil Beds|
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2 - leftovers|
|???||6/23||7||Fort Scott||KS||127||Crawford State Park||
|???||6/30||7||Springfield||MO||110||Springfield / Route 66 KOA||
|Grand Fossil Tour - Part 2 - Still being planned|
How This Journal of the Grand Fossil Tour Works
By the way, I intend to follow a common format in my journal of the tour (though that common format has changed slightly since the beginning). That means that not only will you find things in pretty much the same place in each blog (if the blog contains that item at all). I can include some additional standard navigation aids to help you go to specific items:
|Pages||Button||Where||What It Does|
|All Phoenix Nest Pages||Footer||Home Page for the Phoenix Nest|
|Footer||Top of the Current Page|
|Footer||Introduction to the Current Page|
|Footer||Conclusion of the Current Page|
|Footer||Lets you send an email to the Phoenix|
|Footer||Copyright rules for the Phoenix Nest|
|Grand Fossil Tour Itinerary
|Arrival Date||Itinerary Stop||When linked (underlined), goes to the journal entry for the corresponding stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the map of the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the list of geological ages and their corresponding stops on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the list of Points of Interest on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the detailed list of stops on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Journal Entries for Stops on the Grand Fossil Tour||Footer||Goes to the Itinerary for the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the journal entry for the previous stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the Journey section of the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the Locale section for the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the Campground section for the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the Points of Interest section for the current page.|
|Image||Opens an image in a separate window to display it at the highest available resolution.|
|Footer||Goes to the Museums section for the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the Fossils section for the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the Phoenix's Story for the current page.|
|Footer||Goes to the journal entry for the next stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
|Footer||Goes to the journal entry for the latest stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.|
If you'd like to bookmark the Tour:
- The bookmark https://fenixnest.net/Flights/ will take you to the latest blog of my tour.
- The bookmark https://fenixnest.net/Flights/Itinerary.html will take you to this itinerary.
You can of course always get to itinerary from any blog by using Calendar button as described above. And you can get to the blog for any particular stop by clicking the Arrival date for that stop in the itinerary.
Well, that's the plan, and like all travel plans, it's subject to change on whim or hard experience. We'll see what happens. See you around the campground.
A Favorite Photo from the Grand Fossil Tour
Green Point. Gros Morne National Park. Newfoundland
Gaia's Autobiography Resting Pages Up in the Sea
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