The Phoenix Nest

The Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

The Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour

Itinerary for a Long Flight of the Phoenix

By Jim Fulton

About This Page

A Message from the Phoenix

This is a Keepable Popup

Time to fly! The Phoenix launched his Grand Fossil Tour in July of 2017. Over the next few years is visiting major fossil sites and hatural history museums in the US and Canada. Why? Well, foremost for the fun of it. But also to witness for himself 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 their environment, and learned to act and survive in that environment.

Page Prerequisites
Page Specifications
Id Flights_GFT_Itinerary
Title The Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour
Subtitle Itinerary for a Long Flight of the Phoenix
Keywords Itinerary
Author Jim Fulton
Author's URL https://fenixnest/Phoenix/
Copyright 2017
Status Published: 2017/9/9
Last Revised 2019-01-09

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 hatural 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.Phoenix Note

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.

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.

Target Destinations

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 with the state or province where they are located.

ID Museum/Site Significance MYA City State Wiki Date to Visit Fossil
Tyr Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology     Drumheller AB Wikipedia 2017/8/22 5 Stars Excellent!
Ing Ingersoll Shale Lagerstätte Lagerstätte for Late Cretaceous Period 100-66 Phenix City AL Wikipedia 2018/2/20 n/a Explored, then covered with housing. Not available to public.
AZMNH Arizona Museum of Natural History     Phoenix AZ Wikipedia      
GCNP Grand Canyon National Park Paleozoic Era 525-270   AZ Wikipedia 2022/6/28    
MNAZ Museum of Northern Arizona     Flagstaff AZ Wikipedia      
Yoho Burgess Shale Lagerstätte for Cambrian Period 541-485 Yoho National Park BC Wikipedia 2017/8/15 2 Stars Too high to climb; small but good collection at visitors center
McA McAbee Fossil Beds Lagerstätte for Eocene Epoch 56-33 Kamloops BC Wikipedia 2017/8/8 n/a No public access
BC Royal British Columbia Museum     Victoria BC Wikipedia 2017/7/25 1 Star My rating reflects only the fossil collection.
Bar Barstow Formation Lagerstätte for Miocene Epoch 23-5.3 Barstow CA Wikipedia      
CAS California Academy of Sciences     San Francisco CA Wikipedia      
Brea La Brea Tar Pits Lagerstätte for Pleistocene Epoch 2.58-0.01 Los Angeles CA Wikipedia      
LA Natural History Museum of Los Angeles     Los Angeles CA Wikipedia      
SDNHM San Diego Natural History Museum     San Diego CA Wikipedia      
UCMP University of California Museum of Paleontology     Berkeley CA Wikipedia      
Denv Denver Museum of Nature and Science     Denver CO Wikipedia      
DNM Dinosaur National Monument     Dinosaur CO Wikipedia      
MEVE Mesa Verde National Park     Durango CO Wikipedia      
UCoM University of Colorado Museum of Natural History     Boulder CO Wikipedia      
Yose Yosemite National Park     Groveland CO Wikipedia      
DSP Dinosaur State Park     Hartford CT Wikipedia 2018/4/24 3 Stars Intriguing site of dinosaur footprints from Late Triassic to Early Jurassic periods
Pea Peabody Museum of Natural History     New Haven CT Wikipedia 2018/4/24 5 Stars Informative if somewhat incomplete and ill-organized fossil collection
SMNH Smithsonian Museum of Natural History     Washington DC Wikipedia 2018/3/27
4 Stars The main collection was closed for renovation. What was available was excellent.
Flor Florida Museum of Natural History     Gainesville FL Wikipedia 2018/1/9 4 Stars Good science but few fossils
JAX Museum of Science and History     Jacksonville FL Wikipedia 2018/2/13 3 Stars Good science but few fossils
Fern Fernbank Museum of Natural History     Atlanta GA Wikipedia 2018/2/23 2 Stars Small Collection
CFB Clarkia Fossil Beds Lagerstätte for Langhian Stage of the Miocene Epoch 23-5.3 Clarkia ID Wikipedia      
CFM Field Museum of Natural History     Chicago IL Wikipedia 2017/10/27 5 Stars Excellent
MCFB Mazon Creek Fossil Beds Lagerstätte for Langhian Stage of the Miocene Epoch 23-5.3 Morris IL Wikipedia      
Ben Beneski Museum of Natural History     Amherst MA Wikipedia 2018/5/8 3 Stars Small but representative collection.
HMCZ Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology     Cambridge MA Wikipedia 2018/5/15 5 Stars Informative collection of taxidermied animals
Harv Harvard Museum of Natural History     Cambridge MA Wikipedia 2018/5/15 5 Stars Informative if somewhat incomplete and ill-organized fossil collection
BMS Museum of Science     Boston MA Wikipedia 2018/5/15 3 Stars Well-designed to attract young people to science, its fossil collection was merely ordinary.
Nash Nash Dinosaur Tracks     Granby MA   2018/5/8 3 Stars Prototypical roadside attraction, but dig site has real dinosaur tracks.
CFDC Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre     Morden MB Wikipedia 2017/9/5 4 Stars Good collection of local fossils, including large mosasaur
Cran Cranbrook Institute of Science     Detroit MI Wikipedia      
SMM Science Museum of Minnesota     Minneapolis / St. Paul MN Wikipedia 2017/10/3 4 Stars Good Collection
MOI Missouri Institute of Natural Science     Springfield MO Wikipedia 2017/12/11 3 Stars Small but well-done, some local fossils
BGL Bear Gulch Limestone Lagerstätte for Bashkirian Stage, Pennsylvanian Subperiod, Carboniferous Period 323-315 White Sulphur Springs MT Wikipedia      
Car Carter County Museum     Ekalaka MT Wikipedia      
MRock Museum of the Rockies     Bozeman MT Wikipedia      
TSA Timescale Adventures     Bynum MT        
Yell Yellowstone National Park     West Yellowstone MT Wikipedia      
DMLS Museum of Life & Science     Durham NC Wikipedia 2018/3/13 2 Stars Models, but no fossils, of Cretaceous dinosaurs.
NCMNH North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences     Raleigh NC Wikipedia 2018/3/13 4 Stars Good but spotty collection
Ash Ashfall Fossil Beds Lagerstätte for Serravallian Stage, Miocene Epoch 13.8-11.6 Royal NE Wikipedia 2017/9/19 4 Stars Good collection of local Miocene fossils, plus active dig.
Rutg Rutgers Geology Museum     New Brunswick NJ Wikipedia 2019/7/23    
FH Fortune Head Ecological Reserve GSSP for Fortunian Stage of Cambrian Period 541-429 Fortune NL Wikipedia 2018/7/17 5 Stars Awesome
GP Green Point GSSP for Early Ordovician period 485-443 Rocky Harbor NL Wikipedia 2018/7/6 5 Stars Awesome
GEO Johnson GEO Centre     St. John's NL Wikipedia 2019/7/17 5 Stars Informative geological collection
MNP Miguasha National Park 419-358 St. Johns NL Wikipedia 2018/8/21 5 Stars Fabulous collection of local Devonian plant fossils
MP Mistaken Point Lagerstätte Lagerstätte for Ediacaran Period 635-541 St. Johns NL Wikipedia 2018/7/20 5 Stars Awesome
Chaco Chaco Culture National Historic Park     Nageezi NM Wikipedia      
GR Ghost Ranch Lagerstätte for Triassic Period 252-201 Ghost Ranch NM Wikipedia      
NMMNH New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science     Albuquerque NM Wikipedia      
CBFC Cape Breton Fossil Centre     Sydney Mines NS Wikipedia 2018/8/3 4 Stars Good collection of local Carboniferous plant fossils
Jog Joggins Cliff Lagerstätte for Moscovian Stage, Pennsylvanian Subperiod, Carboniferous Period 315-307 Amherst NS Wikipedia 2018/8/14 5 Stars Awesome
Hfx Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History     Halifax NS Wikipedia 2018/8/7 4 Stars Good collection of local Carboniferous plant fossils
Arrow Arrow Canyon GSSP for Bashkirian Stage of Pennsylvanian Subperiod 323-315 Las Vegas NV        
NYMNH American Museum of Natural History     New York NY Wikipedia 2018/4/17 4 Stars Good collection of post-Cambrian fossils, with some apparent gaps. Excellent documentation of specimens.
Beech Beechers Trilobite Bed "Ordovician Period 458-453 Rome NY Wikipedia      
Buff Museum of Science     Buffalo NY Wikipedia 2018/9/25 4 Stars Small fossil collection in an old, underfunded museum.
WRQ Walcott-Rust Quarry Ordovician Period 458-453  Rome NY Wikipedia      
Cleve Cleveland Museum of Natural History     Cleveland OH Wikipedia      
BKR Black Knob Ridge GSSP for Katian Stage of Late Ordovician Period 453-455 Atoka OK        
Ott Canadian Museum of Nature     Ottawa ON Wikipedia 2018/9/11 3 Stars Modest fossil collection
Tor Royal Ontario Museum     Toronto ON Wikipedia 2018/9/18 3 Stars Modest fossil collection
JDFB John Day Fossil Beds Lagerstätte for Eocene Epoch 56-33 Redmond OR Wikipedia      
ANSD Academy of Natural Sciences     Philadelphia PA Wikipedia 2018/4/10 3 Stars Small collection of mainly Cretaceous dinosaurs
Carn Carnegie Museum of Natural History     Pittsburgh PA Wikipedia 2018/10/2 4 Stars Good collection of mainly Cretaceous dinosaurs
FI Franklin Institute     Philadelphia PA Wikipedia      
Wag Wagner Free Institute of Science     Philadelphia PA Wikipedia 2018/4/10 3 Stars Large but poorly curated collection, primarily of invertebrates
Red Redpath Museum     Montreal QC Wikipedia      
Edi Ediacara Creek GSSP for Ediacaran Period 635-541  Flinders Range SAus Wikipedia      
SAus South Australian Museum     Adelaide SAus Wikipedia      
BHI Black Hills Institute     Hill City SD Wikipedia      
Mamm Mammoth Site Lagerstätte for Pleistocene Epoch 2.58-0.01 Hill City SD Wikipedia      
RSM Royal Saskatchewan Museum     Regina SK Wikipedia 2017/9/1 4 Stars Good Collection
Pink Pink Palace Museum and Planetarium     Memphis TN Wikipedia      
BBNP Big Bend National Park Fossils Lagerstätte for Creataceous Period 145-66   TX Wikipedia      
Brazos Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History     Bryan TX Wikipedia      
Brazo Brazosport Museum of Natural Science     Houston TX Wikipedia      
TXDV Dinosaur Valley State Park     Dallas TX Wikipedia      
FWMSH Fort Worth Museum of Science and History     Fort Worth TX Wikipedia      
GMNP Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Nipple Hill
  • Guadalupe Pass
  • Stratotype Canyon
272-259 Pine Springs TX Wikipedia      
Houst Houston Museum of Natural Science     Houston TX Wikipedia      
TTU Museum of Texas Tech University     Lubbock TX Wikipedia      
Perot Perot Museum of Nature and Science     Dallas TX Wikipedia      
Vines Robert A Vines Environmental Science Center     Houston TX        
TMM Texas Memorial Museum     Austin TX Wikipedia      
Witte The Witte Museum     San Antonio TX Wikipedia      
NHMU Natural History Museum of Utah     Salt Lake City UT Wikipedia      
Vern Utah Field House of Natural History     Vernal UT Wikipedia      
WS Wheeler Shale Lagerstätte for Cambrian Period 541-485 Delta UT Wikipedia      
VMNH Virginia Museum of Natural History     Martinsville VA Wikipedia 2018/3/13 4 Stars Good collection of local fossils
Fair Fairbanks Museum     St. Johnsbury VT Wikipedia 2018/5/25 5 Stars Old and musty, with lots of taxidermied animals, it had only a few casts of fossils.
BBH Blackberry Hill Lagerstätte Lagerstätte for Cambrian Period 541-485 Marathon County WI Wikipedia 2017/10/10 n/a Explored, then quarried. Not available to public.
MPM Milwaukee Public Museum     Milwaukee WI Wikipedia 2017/10/20 3 Stars Good but Cluttered Collection
UWis University of Wisconsin Geology Museum     Madison WI Wikipedia 2017/10/20 5 Stars Comprehensive and well documented
FB Fossil Butte National Monument Lagerstätte for Eocene Epoch 56-33 Kemmerer WY Wikipedia      
GrTe Grand Teton National Park     Jackson WY Wikipedia      
UWy University of Wyoming Geological Museum     Laramie WY Wikipedia 2018/10/17 3 Stars Modest collection of Wyoming fossils
WDC Wyoming Dinosaur Center     Thermopolis WY Wikipedia      

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. (The list of ages below is incomplete.)

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

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 (at least) two parts. This is a change from my original plan, which would have had me traveling continuously for at least three year. But life happened.

Part 1 took a year and a half, and is now complete, as I have settled down for the winter in Bothell, Washington. I expect to launch Part 2 next May when my reservation at this campground ends, and they kick me out. While I have some ideas of what I'll do, and some shards of past plans, they are too uncertain to show here. If you're interested in what I might do, check out my list of Target Destinations 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.

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.

Maps of the Grand Fossil Tour

I find it exciting to see all my planned destinations laid out on a map. (Click here to see the highest resolution version that map in a separate window.) But it becomes confusing when by a route, 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.

This gallery shows all the maps of the places I have visited so far 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
So Far on the Grand Fossil Tour

2017, June 1, Nisqually, Washington
2017, June 30, La Conner, Washington
2017, July 14, Monroe, Washington
2017, July 25, Victoria, British Columbia
2017, August 1, Vancouver, British Columbia
2017, August 8, Kamloops, British Columbia
2017, August 11, Canyon Hot Springs, British Columbia
2017, August 15, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
2017, August 20, Canmore, Alberta
2017, August 22, Drumheller, Alberta
2017, August 29, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
2017, September 1, Indian Head, Saskatchewan
2017, September 5, Winnepeg, Manitoba
2017, September 12, Grahams Island, North Dakota
2017, September 15, Aberdeen South Dakota
2017, September 19, Yankton, South Dakota, and Ashfall, Nebraska
2017, September 26, Des Moines, Iowa
2017, October 3, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2017, October 10, Tomah, Wisconsin
2017, October 17, Door County, Wisconsin
2017, October 20, Madison, Wisconsin
2017, October 27, Chicago, Illinois
2017, November 2, Elkhart, Indianba
2017, December 7, Bevier, Missouri
2017, December 8, Crawford County, Kansas
2017, December 11, Springfield, Missouri
2017, December 14, Neosho, Missouri
2017, December 17, Little Rock, Arkansas
2017, December 19, Vicksburg, Mississippi
2017, December 26, New Orleans, Louisiana
2018, January 2, Mobile, Alabama
2018, January 9, Perry, Florida
2018, January 16, Tampa, Florida
2018, January 23, Miami, Florida
2018, January 26, Florida Keys, Florida
2018, February 2, Miami, Florida
2018, February 6, Orlando, Florida
2018, February 13, Jacksonville, Florida
2018, February 20, Columbus, Georgia
2018, February 23, Atlanta, Georgia
2018, February 27, Charleston, South Carolina
2018, March 6, Charlotte, North Carolina
2018, March 13, Raleigh, North Carolina
2018, March 20, Williamsburg, Virginia
2018, March 37, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and District of Columbia
2018, April 3, Delaware
2018, April 10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2018, April 17, Florida, New York, and New York City
2018, April 24, Connecticut
2018, May 1, Rhode Island
2018, May 8, Springfield, Massachusetts
2018, May 15, New Hampshire
2018, May 25, St. Johnsbury, Vermont
2018, June 5, Bangor, Maine
2018, June 12, Penobsquis, New Brunswick
2018, June 19, Cornwall, Prince Edward Island
2018, June 26, North Sydney, Nova Scotia
2018, July 3, Grand Codroy, Newfoundland
2018, July 6, Gros Morne, Newfoundland
2018, July 12, Gander, Newfoundland
2018, July 17, St. John's, Newfoundland
2018, July 31, Argentia, Newfoundland
2018, August 3, North Sydney, Nova Scotia
2018, August 7, Halifax, Nova Scotia
2018, August 14, Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia
2018, August 23, Carleton-sur-Mer and Miguasha National Park, Quebec
2018, August 27, Quebec City, Quebec
2018, September 4, Montreal, Quebec
2018, September 11, Ottawa, Ontario
2018, September 18, Toronto, Ontario
2018, September 25, Grand Island, New York
2018, October 2, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2018, October 5, Indianapolis, Indiana
2018, October 7, St. Louis, Illinois
2018, October 11, Leavenworth, Kansas
2018, October 15, Oakley, Kansas
2018, October 17, Laramie, Wyoming
2018, October 20, Brigham City, Utah
2018, October 22, Boise, Idaho
2018, October 24, Stanfield, Oregon
2018, October 25, Olympia, Washington
2018, December 1, Bothell, Washington

Schedule of the Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1

Grand Fossil Tour - Part 1
Day Arrival Nights City St Miles Campground Points of Interest MYA Geological Age
-∞ 1998/10/1 18+ years Olympia WA    
  • The home I lived in the longest of my life.
-54 2017/6/1 30 Nisqually WA 8 Riverbend Campground      
-24 6/30 14 La Conner WA 123 La Conner RV Park      
-8 7/14 7 Monroe WA 62 Thunderbird RV Park      
1 7/21 4 La Conner WA 62 La Conner RV Park
  • This marks the "official" start of the Grand Fossil Tour.
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 33‑56
20 8/11 4 Revelstoke BC 141 Canyon Hot Springs Resort      
24 8/15 5 Golden BC 71 Whispering Spruce Campground 508
29 8/20 2 Canmore AB 98 Spring Creek RV      
31 8/22 7 Drumheller AB 148 Dinosaur Trail    
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 Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre    
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 Ashfall Lagerstätte  13.6
66 9/25 7 Des Moines IA 280 Webb’s Camping      
73 2017/10/3 7 Minneapolis / St. Paul MN 283 Minneapolis Northwest KOA    
80 10/10 7 Tomah WI 208 Oakdale KOA 510
  • Cambrian
87 10/17 3 Green Bay WI 212 Rustic Timbers Camping      
90 10/20 7 Madison WI 191 Madison KOA
  • Visit Anne & Frank Allen
97 10/27 6 Chicago IL 211 Woodland Village RV    
103 2017/11/2 35 Elkhart IN 67 Candlewood Suites    
138 2017/12/7 1 Bevier MO 452 Shoemaker’s RV Park      
139 12/8 3 Farlington KS 288 Crawford State Park
  • Fort Scott, KS
    • Nu Grille
  • Pittsburg, KS
    • Pittsburg State University
    • Chicken Annie's
    • Chicken Mary's
142 12/11 3 Springfield MO 117 Springfield / Route 66 KOA
  • Joyce & Kerry
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      
171 1/9 7 Perry FL 294 Perry KOA    
178 1/16 6 Tampa FL 233 Winter Quarters Pasco RV Resort
  • St. Petersburg
  • Tampa
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 Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina
  • Florida Keys
195 2018/2/2 4 Miami FL 98 Miami Everglades RV Resort
  • Miami
  • Ft. Lauderdale
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 89
216 2/23 4 Atlanta GA 131 Stone Mountain Park Family Campground    
  2/27 7 Charleston SC 282 Charleston KOA
  • Fort Sumter
  • Charleston
  • Savannah, GA
230 2018/3/6 7 Charlotte NC 204 Charlotte / Fort Mill KOA      
234 3/13 7 Durham NC 245 Jordan Lake State Recreation Area    
241 3/20 7 Richmond VA 225 Williamsburg KOA      
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      
262 4/10 7 Clarksbooro
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    
283 2018/5/1 7 Providence RI 54 Wawaloam Campground      
290 5/8 7 Amherst MA 54 Sunsetview Farm Camping Area    
297 5/15 10 New Hampshire NH 106 Calef Lake Camping Area
  • Visit
    • Jay & Cherrie
    • Mark, Hannah & Emma
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
  • Ferry to Newfoundland
346 2018/7/4 3 Codroy Valley NL 113
+ 25
Grand Codroy RV-tent Camping Park      
349 7/6 6 Rocky Harbor NL 184 Grosmorne RV / Campground 485
353 7/12 7 Gander NL 231 Country Inn RV Park    
360 7/17 14 St. John's NL 208 Pippy Park Campgrounds 565
374 7/31 3 Argentia NL 80 Argentia Sunset Park
  • Ferry to Nova Scotia
377 2018/8/3 4 Cape Breton NS 343
Arm of Gold Campground Cape Breton Fossil Centre  
381 8/7 7 Halifax NS 264 Woodhaven RV Park Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History    
388 8/14 9 Amherst NS 140 Loch Lomond RV Park 315
395 8/23 4 Miguasha National Park QC 283 Camping de Carleton-sur-Mer 419-358
402 8/27 8 Quebec City QC 345 Quebec City KOA      
409 2018/9/4 7 Montreal QC 160 Montreal South KOA      
416 9/11 7 Ottawa ON 141 Recreationland Campground    
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    
444 10/5 2 Indianapolis IN 354 Indianapolis 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      
459 10/17 3 Laramie WY 376 KOA Laramie    
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      
479 10/25 37 Olympia WA 279 Riverbend Campground      
497 12/1 ?? Bothell WA 68 Lake Pleasant Campground      

Journal of the Grand Fossil Tour

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
Grand Fossil Tour Itinerary
(Table Above)
Arrival Date Itinerary Stop When linked, goes to the blog of the corresponding stop on the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.
Footer Goes to the map of the Phoenix's Grand Fossil Tour.
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If you'd like to bookmark the Tour:

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.

Comments and Conversation

Readers of the Phoenix Nest have sent me comments about this page, which I include below, arranged by topic, along with any replies I have made.

Conversation 1: TOPIC1



Route of Journey from Previous Location
Route of Journey from , , to NEXTCITYSTATE
Next Destination: Lake+Pleasant+RV+Park+Bothell,+WA, NEXTCITYSTATE

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I have always embedded Google Maps™ of my routes from place to place. These maps not only gave you a general overview of where I was, they allowed you to open that route in Google Maps itself, to zoom in and out as you willed, in order to look more closely at the geography of my travels.

I am sad to report that I can no longer show you Google Maps™ of my routes. Google, in its infinite corporate wisdom, now charges a fee to embed such "advanced" features, a cost which a pro bono site like this cannot endure.

From now on, I will only show you Google Maps™ of the previous, current, and next locations where I stay (at least until Google gets even greedier, and puts a price on those too). In addition, I will show you non-interactive images (screen shots) of maps of my routes. All maps will be included in the Journey section of the blog (rather than having the next destination map at the end).

Nonetheless, you can still view my route, in Google Maps™, at no cost to either of us (yet). On either the Current Location or the Next Destination map:

  1. Click on "View larger map" to open the map in Google Maps™.
  2. Click on the "Directions" button.
  3. If you opened the Current Location map, replace "Your location" with "Olympia, Washington".
  4. If you opened the Next Destination map, replace "Your location" with ", ".
  5. Hit Return.

Of course this procedure doesn't show you which among alternative routes I took, or what side trips I ventured on, or what strange adventures my phone's GPS might have sent me down, but I will give you an approximation of my route.

Revisions to This Page

This panel describes the significant revisions made to the appearance and function of this page. It ignores corrections of spelling, grammar, and other clerical problems, as well as debugging of the underlying code, and style changes that apply to all of the Phoenix Nest.

Preface to Revision of 2018, December

The Phoenix has revised the appearance of this itinerary and of new entries in his journal of his Grand Fossil Tour: The various sections are sometimes collapsed under their respective titles. Click on the + to expand any section you choose; click on the × to collapse it.

Often the structure of the page will be so obvious, that the Page Contents section won't be shown at all.

What do you think of the new look? Send him an email:

Earlier Revisions

Preface to Revision of 2018, September 1

I've decided to take a hiatus in my tour, and spend the holiday season and the rest of the winter in the Seattle area near family. I hope to get a lot of work done while I'm there on developing an interesting and informative way for you to view my photos of fossils. When I'm ready to launch my tour again, I'll post the updated itinerary below.

May you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a wonderful winter, however and whenever you celebrate. Namaste.

Preface to Revision of August, 2018

Just when I think I have things all planned out, something happens that requires revision. The trouble is that right now I just don't know what those revisions are going to be. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go back to the Olympia-Seattle area for the holiday season and the rest of the winter, but exactly what that's going to look like remains to be seen. So for now I've removed from view a good part of the future itinerary. I'll expand it when I know more.

Preface to Revision of June, 2018

Well, it's been a year since I started this tour, and it's time for a major replanning. Things have been going reasonably well, given the quirky, adventurous nature of RV travel, but some changes need to be made.

  1. I need to slow down! Weekly moves are doable, certainly better than the daily moves that Marilynn and I made on our motor home trip from Washington to Pennsylvania. But I'm changing the itinerary so that much of the time, I'll be moving monthly (actually every 5 weeks, so I'll still be changing parks on Tuesday, when the traffic is low). I anticipate several benefits:
    • I'll be able to see more, without having to play tourist every day.
    • I'll burn less fuel.
    • I can take advantage of the major discounts many parks offer for monthly stays.
    • I'll be able to get more of my writing done.
  2. I need to return to the Smithsonian after they reopen their Hall of Fossils. Not having access to that collection was a major bummer.

So the upshot is that I'll be spending another year east of the Mississippi, with a large number of monthly stops, before heading back west. The itinerary below reflects the changes my tentative plan.

Why, you ask, do I plan so far ahead? The answer is that I want to reconcile some major objectives:

  • See as many fossil sites and museums as possible.
  • Keep temperatures as comfortable as possible, by traveling south in the winter, and north in the summer.
  • Visit family and friends at times that make sense.

Of course, as this major replanning shows, no plan is final.

Preface to Revision of 2017, December 1

I had originally planned to present an episode of these stories with every issue of the blog. That plan proved too demanding of my time, and had to be rethunk. So from now, stories will be released when they are ready, as occasional prizes to spur readership.


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