Sunday, November 6, 2016

Wonderful museum.......

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology 
November 6, 2016

The past week has been a very busy one but pretty much all activities I have reported previously. I still have a few more new cars to work into the fleet. Mostly we are gradually taking the Chevy Colorados and Silverados (pickup trucks) out of the fleet. The goal is to eventually have small SUVs with all-wheel drive in every area where cars are needed. Currently there are 4 vehicles for sale and another 3 being prepped for sale.

We sent our “mail-in” ballots to Utah by FAX, so we hope our votes will be included. Can’t say we are all that excited about the outcome of the election considering how gravely we are concerned about the future of our country regardless of who is elected as President.

The weather has been incredibly warm for Canada. The same high-pressure dome that is sitting over western and central North America is sitting over us as well and all the storms and cold temperatures are being pushed further north by the jet stream. We have seen temperatures in the 50s and 60s all week, and this will continue into this next week. It is a blessing to the farmers currently as much of the bumper crop of wheat from last summer’s rain is still being harvested. As one travels east of Calgary, there are miles and miles of grain fields as far as the eye can see, and the combines harvesting the wheat are busy day and night. These combines are huge; they cut a swath 40 feet wide in one pass. They are GPS guided and the cut areas are as straight as an arrow. They go day and night and keep moving even while augering the grain into large grain haulers moving along side. One often sees three or four of these huge combines running in the same direction but staggered back from each other a few hundred feet. Truly amazing to see. 

My cold symptoms persisted through most of the week but began to improve later in the week. Given the great weather and my improving coughing, Kathy and I decided to check off another item from our must-see list. One of the largest and most spectacular dinosaur museums in the world is in Drumheller, Alberta, a two-hour drive to the north east of Calgary. 


The name of the museum is the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology ("royal" because it has been visited by the Royal Family). It is a major center for palaeontological research. The museum is situated in the middle of a fossil-bearing strata along the course of the Red Deer River valley. 

Sediment layers, coal seams, and fossilized remains along the Red Deer River valley
The area was once a swampy rain forest on the shore of an ancient waterway that ran from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. Some cataclysmic event quickly buried the flora and fauna of the time and the area was subsequently covered over by layers of sediment. The ice age followed. When the glaciers began to melt and drift southward, the resulting river valley cut through the sediment and exposed some of the fossilized remains. It has proved to be an amazing source of a wide variety of dinosaur and fossil remains. The area is rich in coal seams and oil-bearing strata as a consequence of the burial and compression of the ancient rain forest foliage.


The museum is named in honor of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, a geologist who accidentally discovered the first reported dinosaur fossil in the Red Deer River valley in 1884 while searching for coal seam

These are BIG feet
I have seen a number of dinosaur displays over my years in the military, and Kathy and I have visited three dinosaur museums during the three years we have been married. I have to say, this museum is head and shoulders above the others.         

The museum covers 121,000 square feet of display areas and research activities. There are over 40 mounted dinosaur skeletons in the various gallery displays.

We spent four hours viewing the displays. Since there were some other areas of interest in the Drumheller area we wanted to see, we felt we couldn’t stay longer. While the other areas of interest were okay, they were certainly less spectacular. Such was the case with the many “cementosaurs” scattered all around the downtown and outlying areas. 


Then there was the “world’s largest dinosaur” to see. For a fee you can climb up inside the structure to the mouth and look around. We passed.  

After grabbing a very late lunch, we headed for a suspension bridge which coal miners used years ago to cross over the river from the town to the largest coal mine in the area.


After the bridge, we drove a few miles further south to see some hoodoos. These were nice but nothing like the hoodoos in Goblin Valley near Moab, Utah.


We got home at dusk and were treated to a spectacular sunset.


Today, Sunday, we had a special Stake Conference as did many of the stakes throughout the mid-North America Region. This included a broadcast from SLC with a variety of speakers including Elder Rasband, one of the Twelve. We appreciated hearing the speakers, and we liked having an extra hour to sleep as well, but now it is nearing 5:00 p.m. and getting dark much too early.

We hope you all have a wonderful week. 

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