Well after months of planning the adventure to the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry has officially begun. Josh Mathews (one of Burpee’s top notch fossil preparators and a recent NIU Masters Graduate) left around 9:00 for our digsite located near the town of Hanksville, Utah. The whole trip is about 20 hours of driving so we were going to do it in stages. The first step….and arguable the most boring is the 13 hour drive to Colorado (which takes us through the long dark of western Iowa and Nebraska- No offense to any Cornhuskers or Hawkeyes out there). Our plans were to drive to Woodland Park, CO so we could visit the Dinosaur Resource Center Museum on Saturday morning. We made the decision to take a break early in the trip and stop at the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, in Iowa City. The Natural History Museum is an awesome place with a lot of history. It was founded in 1858 and has one of the best Biology Collections I have seen. It has several different large and exotic mounted mammal exhibits including a Giant Panda, Moose, Musk Oxen, Pronghorns, Apes and even Walrus. The museum also boasts an amazingly diverse osteology (skeleton) collection, the most
impressive specimen being a 45 foot long Right Whale Skeleton. Finally its bird collection reminds me of the old Burpee Museum exhibits. Thousands of birds from all over the world are displayed. Aside from birds of prey, songbirds, shorebirds the museum has one of the best Dodo restorations I have seen. All in all, this museum was the best diversion to take our mind off of the remaining hours of driving we had. For the record we made it into Colorado at 1:30 AM…..yeeeesh.