There are four sites/museums in three towns that are included in our $60 ticket.
They can be visited in any order and we chose the “Age of Dinosaurs” first. It is
a laboratory on a nearby jumpup. That guy with Kathy is “Banjo”. He is named after
the writer of the song “Waltzing Matilda”. The author wrote it in a billabong (waterhole)
nearby. His museum burned down last year so we did not get to visit it.
But we did have a nice tour of the lab where the fossils are cleaned and sorted.
When a fossil is found it is cleared sufficiently to wrap it in foil and plaster
and then removed to the lab of final cleaning.
Then they try to figure out where on the skeleton it fits.
There have been several complete remains found in nearby areas and Banjo is one of
The next day we drove 110 km (70 mi) of gravel/dirt road to visit the Dinosaur Stampede.
At the end of the road was this building on the side of a jumpup. A rancher in the
1960’s had found what he thought was chicken track in rock. After showing it off
to a number of people he was told it was a dinosaur track. The university got interested
and a dig was started. (The building was added in a couple of years because the
weather was destroying the footprints.)
They found this. The center has not been cleared in order to save some of the site
in case of disaster.
The managers say that there are over 3300 tracks here. Including the big ones under
the light to the right.
The best guess is that these chicken and emu sized vegetarians were drinking at a
stream bank when a large carnivorous guy showed up. Terror reigned and a stampede
proceeded to make a whole bunch of tracks in the mud.
The big guy left a dozen or so prints and the rest are a confusing scatter of little
ones. The lines are thought to be where tree branches were drug along by the stream
before it was covered by a layer of silt and preserved.
After another great tour and talk by a guide we headed back along the dirt road.
Where we met another road train, this one only had three trailers.
The teddy bear is our mascot “Captain America” (named after the motorcycle in the
“Easy Rider” movie, not the superhero) that has ridden on the back of our bike for
over 250,000 miles (400.000 km) in North America. He now rides facing forward and
it scared him for awhile but he is getting used to it now after 6 weeks in Australia.
Another feature of the roads here is a “Floodway”. This is a low spot where the
water can run over the road. All roads have them, just the the more major the highway
the more likely that there will also be a culvert or bridge to go with the floodway.