I had anticipated having an early night in order to rise earlier, however our bodies do not want to fall asleep any time before midnight/1am! We ended up watching a dreadful film called ‘search party’ last night. Don’t watch it. It’s an hour and a half of your life you won’t get back. 

The alarm went off this morning and I hit the stop button. Mistake. An hour later I sprang out of bed to get ready! There wasn’t a particular rush but by getting to places around 11am, has typically meant we can only visit one place per day, as some parks we have massively underestimated the time it would take to see it all! 

Fifteen minutes after jumping out of bed and we were in the car. We said goodbye to our surf-dude neighbour and set on our way to Dinosaur National Monument. It was about 15 miles from our motel so we arrived in no time! We flashed our pass to waive the $20 entrance fee and pulled into the quarry visitors centre.

You could only drive to the quarry exhibit hall in your own vehicle from 8-920am so we had to take the free shuttle. Sadly we missed one and we’re too impatient to wait so we decided to take the auto tour instead. 

This was a 24 mile round trip with 15 stops along the way. The main reason why I wanted to do this part was for the petroglyphs and pictographs! About a mile along the route the first stop came up which is called ‘swelter shelter.’ It’s named because the stone tools found here, some of which are 7000 years old, were found in the boiling heat of the summer. On the walls there were the ancient paintings and carvings dating back about 1000 years. They were created by the Fremont people. They were so cool! The next few stoped were through the Tilted Rocks, so called because as you’ve probably guessed, the rocks are all tilted. Split Mountain loomed in the background, so called because the Green River split it in half! 

As we hit stop ten we came across turtle rock.The large holes are weaker parts of rock and it’s made from the same Entrada Sandstone as the arches in Arches National Park which we visited yesterday.You then go off of the paved road to a well maintained stone track which takes you to the Elephant Toes Butte, which literally looks like an elephant toe and then stop thirteen, showcased more petroglyphs. Some you could clearly see what they were, others not so much and no one knows whether they’re a language, or religious are or simply created out of boredom. They’re clearly something that needs preserving though, hence why you can’t touch them. There were more in the other rock but we couldn’t get close enough to photograph.

We drove about 0.5 miles and found theee necklace-style petroglyphs on a hanging rock face. There were some others such as a large lizard that you’re meant to be able to see from the parking lot, but clearly we’re blind as we couldn’t see anything, not even through the camera zooming in!The end of the trail is where you find Josephine Bassett Morris’ cabin. She was a rancher till her death and an associate of Butch Cassidy. She provided everything for herself, using water from a spring and an oil lamp instead of electricity and became a local legend. She continued to live a 19th century life, right into the 20th century until she died in 1964. 

We drove all the way back to the visitors centre and managed to catch the shuttle up to the dinosaur bone quarry. IT WAS SO FRIGGIN COOL!!! I felt like a little kid!! 

It is a whole wall full of fossilised dinosaur bones! They were buried in a river about 149 million years ago and were discovered by Earl Douglass in 1909. There are ten different dinosaurs at the quarry: Barosaurus, Dryosaurus, Camarasaurus, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus (my favourite as looks dopey), Camptosaurus, Torvosaurus, Stegosaurus, Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus.The wall is divided into grids and the bones have a catalog number. In this picture you can see diplodocus coracoid and scapula, camarasaurus scapula, stegosaurus vertebrae, camarasaurus vertebrae, sauropod dorsal ribs and many more bones!In this picture you can see a skull, a rare find as it often detaches after death, but it hasn’t been identified yet.This section featured diplodocus scapula, apatosaurus fibula, tibia, femur and phalange as well as sauropod gastralia and more!All the bones in this section belonged to a stegosaurus! The below picture shows an almost complete Camarasaurus. It really is remarkable how old these bones are and how well preserved! Actual dinosaur bones! Despite the fact skulls are very rare to find and rarely survive the fossilisation process, there was a full intact allosaurus skull on display.They had rangers there to answer any questions and you were even allowed to touch a couple of the bones. It was fascinating!After admiring the view…We jumped back in the shuttle and headed back to the visitors centre. Our next destination was Salt Lake City. 189 miles away. Nathan had watched a tv programme when we were in New Mexico about Diesel Sellerz or something, basically people who carry out modifications on trucks etc. It was pretty cool and we stopped at their shop on our way to Salt Lake City.They were actually filming their show when we got there and we couldn’t see the workshop sadly. Instead we were greeted by a baby screaming the place down because of the noise out back. 14 miles later we were in the city.

Parking was easy and cheap! It certainly wasn’t the most skyscraper-filled city we had been to, it did seem a lot smaller than the likes of Chicago for example. Nonetheless beautiful though! We decided to try somewhere different for dinner and ended up at The Cheesecake Factory. Such a good choice! The menu is huge!! They cater for everyone!! It is a lot posher than the one that features on The Big Bang Theory though and there isn’t a Penny! πŸ˜‚ The bacon cheese sticks were delicious to start (yes we indulged today!!) The service was just right today, well if you count the time between starters and main. The downside was that I had eaten all my salad and half my lunch size pizza before Nathan got his burger. Clearly they thought I looked more famished πŸ˜‚!The food was absolutely delicious! We decided to go all out today. You can’t go to the Cheesecake Factory and not get a slice of cheesecake right? Now we over indulged…toasted marshmallow cheesecake for Nathan and snickers for me…to go though! We then stole the glass and left, cheesecake in bag, and headed to Temple Square. A fellow blogger (thank you moosylicious for you blog of Salt Lake City), pointed out this beautiful place and we had to go visit.

I don’t proclaim to be religious by any stretch of the imagination, but I do appreciate the architecture and intricacy of the buildings that often surround religion. This square was no different! It was absolutely beautiful and the sister missionaries, who are from all over the world, were so incredibly friendly. They weren’t pushy, they didn’t preach, they were simply interested in our story. When asked what brought us there, I was honest and said the architecture, they didn’t snub us or anything. It truly was a pleasant experience.Assembly Hall-used for concerts at weekends and is a Victorian Gothic style structure. Inside there are twelve stars of David which signify the twelve tribes of Israel. It was completed in 1882. The missionaries are full of information and happy to answer any questions about anything!

The Tabernacle. Inside held a beautiful organ. This is where the Mormon choir performs.Salt Lake Temple. It was an archictectural beauty. Sadly we couldn’t get inside because it’s sacred to the Mormons but it was enough to look at. There are also two visitor centres in the square with just as helpful and pleasant sister missionaries. We began to exit the square but there was still more to see.It truly was a place of remarkable beauty. I could happily wander around churches all day admiring their architecture! We walked back to the car via an underground walkway and drove north but not before stopping for a glance at the State Capitol.As we drove out we realised we hadn’t seen the great salt lake. That meant a trip to Antelope State Park, the largest island in the lake. You have to pay $19 to get into the island. The lake is 75 miles long and covers 1700 square miles. The only way water can leave the lake is by evaporating, and as we drove along the road in, we pondered whether a lake has high and low tide as we couldn’t see the lake for quite a while.As we got further into the island it became more beautiful. We saw a beach…either that or the tide was out…if a lake even has a tide that goes out?The gray news was that biting gnats had come into season and were out to get people. That meant either taking photos out a tiny crack in the window, or braving it and being hardcore getting out the car. We chose option two…and got eaten alive!Nevertheless it was another random place we had encountered. America truly is far more than anything we had both imagined! The scenery is breathtaking, whether driving along or visiting a park. A place to fall in love with. 

Our motel this evening is in Temperton, about 4 hours away from our destination in Idaho tomorrow. We arrived, checked in and unloaded the car. Normally I jump straight in the shower, but, today, I decided to do a minuscule workout. I mean 100 crunches with a hold after every twenty and a couple of minutes (not all in one go don’t be silly) of holding the plank. To top it off a quick run on the spot. We don’t have the luxury of a pool everywhere we go so I have decided to make the most of what we got. 😊 It’s easy to get a bit more pudge in America…I mean their salads are like three times the price of a full large McDonalds meal. Plus we don’t have time to cook πŸ˜‚! 

So as we sit here listening to the sirens outside our motel blaring, watching 22 Jump Street, I bid you adieu for today…

Until tomorrow…πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβ€οΈ

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