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Our next destination was Dinosaur National Monument. It was a long drive so we ended up stopping at Rio Blanco Lake State Wildlife Area to spend the night rather than driving all the way to the monument. It was free and had a pretty water view and an outhouse so that was good enough for us.
Early the next morning we headed for the monument. We first entered at Canyon Visitor Center which is in Colorado. This is not the section where the fossils are located but it had some nice viewpoints and hikes. At one of the viewpoints, we met a couple who were from North Carolina as well who were relocating to Oregon after doing a similar trip to ours, They were traveling with a dog and a pet goat! It was cute to see the goat being walked on a leash along with the dog.
The easy 2-mile hike at Harpers Corner gave us a great view overlooking Echo Park. You can see the spot where the Green River and Yampa River meet and the water is an unusual deep green color.
After our hike, we headed toward the section of the monument that has the dinosaur fossils.We started at the Quarry Visitor Center which is located in the Utah section of the park. A short ride on the shuttle bus brought us to the Quarry Exhibit Hall. The huge wall of fossils was a very interesting sight. I have seen individual fossils before but never like that. After seeing all the exhibits, we did the auto tour suggested to us at the entry station. Unfortunately, we did not get the map that goes with the tour so we did not really know what we were looking at much of the time. We did see some cool petroglyphs done by the Fremont people. Some of the drawings really looked like modern day pictures of aliens.
After finishing the tour, we made the long drive to remote Rainbow campground to spend the night. Several people had warned us that the road can be very bad especially if it is wet but we had no problems. We were the only campers so we got the best site with a beautiful view of the water. We grilled some steak for dinner and enjoyed our quiet, private campground.