Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome to Dinosaur

That's right - earlier this week I discovered there was a place literally called Dinosaur, in Colorado. That's pretty awesome. I was immediately overjoyed, and then dismayed, as I noticed on the town map that their two main streets are Tyranosaurus [sic] Trail and Brontosaurus [sick] Blvd.

Before you head out there, just understand that Dinosaur, Co. has all the paleontological accuracy of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. 

That's right - the first is spelled incorrectly, and the other is named after a dinosaur that the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature renamed in 1903 - so, when Dinosaur renamed its streets it was basically just naming dinosaurs off the tops of their heads, and didn't bother consulting a book for the spelling. Other issues with their naming strategy - Antrodemus Alley refers to an archaic version of Allosaurus;

Brontosaurus isn't the only thing with a name that's no longer in use: Dinosaur was originally called Artesia, but they adopted their new moniker in 1966.

Otherwise, they have a series of dinosaur-themed streets, including Triceratops Terrace, Platesaurus Place, Stegosaurus Freeway, Brachiosaurus Bypass, Ceratosaurus Cir. (which isn't a circle/circus), Allosaurus Lane, Diplodocus Drive, and then a series of gravel alleys.

Morrison Ave. sounds pretty normal - I would hope it's named after the Morrison Formation, but we can only hope.

There are also some regular-sounding streets like Frontier Ave., Dakota Ave., Blue Mountain Ave. (named after the Blue Mountain RV Park), and Deserado Dr. Then imagination and creativity was mined dry, and they revered to simply School St., and then a series of arteries called 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. Then, because they couldn't think of any other dinosaurs, and there weren't any further businesses on these routes, they resorted to 5 1/2 St., 6 1/2 St. Half-streets - nice.

Why have you never heard of this place before?  Well, it's less than a square mile in size, with around only 300 people counted on the US Census in 2000. Plus it's tucked way up in the top cupboard of Colorado, in the north-western lands of Moffat County.

So there were about 300 people in about 0.8 square miles - which means the Population / Square Mile had to round UP to get their figure of 400, which is a geeky way to use stats to prove your town is wicked small.

BUT - there must be some cool stuff there, right? YES - the National Dinosaur Monument is there - and it's so awesome the entire town renamed itself after it! You can walk around and just see fossils out in the badlands - like hiking the Grand Canyon WITH dinosaurs, too.

So, as you head into Dinosaur, drive right on past the auto-wreckers on I40 and spot some of the kitschy local spots like the Bedrock Depot (gas station)

Almost the only thing in Dinosaur CO, according to my source's family road trip diary.
and get straight to the Dinosaur National Monument - it looks SWEET!

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