Dinosaur National Monument, Dinosaur, CO

Louise Speaks:  While trying to complete the state of Colorado, we discovered that we missed going to the Dinosaur National Monument.  The area actually crosses state lines and is also in Utah.  We are seeing them both but I’ll blog about the Utah part separately.  I love coming this way in October because both Colorado and Utah have incredible fall colors at this time of the year.  October is a great time to as the weather is at its best.

Driving to the National Monument on the Colorado side, you literally have to go back and forth between Colorado and Utah at least 3 times, so we kept crossing the state line every couple of hours.  The drive however was just beautiful.  By the time we got to the Monument I was a bit disappointed.  There was nothing there.  The visitor center had been closed for the winter but we did find a map for the dinosaur loop.  We took the map and back in the car we went.  However, after 10 miles and three pull out points we looked at each other and said…”what are we looking at?”  This by far is and was a waste of time.  I would not recommend this destination to anyone.  However, as we left the monument and went thru the town of Dinosaur,CO there are many metal dinosaurs throughout town.  If we had kids with us, these could have been fun stops, but for us it was just a photo op.  The National Monument in Colorado gets a D rating.  Even if the Visitor Center would have been open, this would not be worth a stop.

We were told the Dinosaur National Monument on the Utah side is much more detailed and more worthy of visiting.  So off we went as that was our next stop.

Lyman Lake State Park, St. Johns, AZ

Louise Speaks:  After spending 5 days at Fools Hollow State Park, a park that we have been to before, we decided to work on our journey.  As we have said before, we are trying to visit all the state parks in the state of Arizona.  Very close to Fools Hollow is Lyman Lake State Park.  In fact Lyman Lake is just 50 miles from Fool Hollows in the town of St. Johns.  We were only going to stay here one night, just so we could cross it off our list.

Created as an irrigation reservoir by damming the Little Colorado River, Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet.  It is fed by snow melt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, the second and third highest mountains in Arizona.  Water is channeled into this river valley from a 790-square-mile watershed extending into New Mexico.\


Because of its size, Lyman Lake is one of the few bodies of water in northeastern Arizona with no size restrictions on boats.  The west end of the lake is buoyed off and restricted as a no wake area only 5 mph.  This allows the angler a chance to fish a variety of fish without the proximity of speedboats and water-skiers.  The fishery consists of walleye, channel catfish and large mouth bass.  The large remainder of the lake is open for all other types of water sports.

Lyman Lake really comes into its own during the spring, summer, and fall. Summer days, with temperature highs in the 80’s to low 90’s, are perfect for fishing, swimming, leisure boating, water-skiing, hiking or just plain relaxing.  We are here in October and bow is it windy.  Not sure if this is normal, but it’s very windy and pretty chilly outside.

This state park, has a group camping house, some cabins, and of course tent and RV camp sites.  Each RV site comes with it’s own Ramada which was helpful today because of the windy conditions.  There is also a designated swimming beach and the lake contains two boat ramps.  Kayaks and canoes can launch from either ramp.  Although cold today, there seems to be many activities for summer use.  There are also many hiking trails and major attractions like the Petrified Forrest and Canyon de Chelle as well as many Indian Pueblo National Monuments.  St Johns is very close to the New Mexico border, so there are many Pueblo and Indian ruins across the border.



We left fairly early the next morning and came across some of the most beautiful sun rises we had ever seen.  Last nights sunsets were pretty cool, but no comparison to the sun rises.  Of course being October we are seeing the leaves beginning to turn into beautiful fall colors.  A very pretty state park, and I’m sure more popular in the summer.  I would consider coming here again, but not as a group.  It’s a good stopping place when going east cross country, and it does have a huge lake with many activity opportunities. Lyman Lake gets a C rating….okay, but not a must see.

Phoenix Zoo, Phoenix, AZ.

Louise Speaks:  Today being a holiday we had an impromto trip to the Phoenix Zoo.  I had made a list of what was left to do in Arizona, that might be good for our blog and also when we scrapbook, what would be a good thing to say about Arizona.  The zoo of course made the list.  Turns out on of our friends has a membership and we could get in early and get in free today, so off we went.

I got to thinking.  All my kids were born in Phoenix so I know as children I have taken them to the zoo.  But since my youngest is 40 years old it has to have been about 35 years since I was here.  Many of the things look the same, but they have added so much.  The zoo grounds seemed to go on forever, and they have different displays and exhibits spread out.  Each of these displays have a different admission, but very affordable.  Today there was construction going on so we know there is more coming.

After walking around, you come to the realization that a zoo is a zoo.  Everyone still seems to have all the same animals and you can’t control their behaviour.  Since it is still hot in Phoenix, and since we arrived at 8:00 A.M. many of the animals were either still sleeping or taking cover from the heat.  But the main ones were visible, and some even posed for photos…or at least it seemed like they were posing.

We managed to see the entire zoo, didn’t do any  of the private exhibits and we were in and out in 4 hours.  However, to me, with temperatures in the high 90s, 4 hours was plenty.  I’m still glad we came today.  Glad to have an Arizona attraction off the list, and the state of Arizona is almost complete.  I keep saying, how is it that we live in this great state and yet we have completed other states before this one?  I guess maybe because there is just more to see in Arizona.

I’m not sure if I would come back to the zoo unless I was bringing young children.  Like I said before, a zoo is a zoo.  I would prefer seeing animals that are not the normal ones, like Polar Bears, Koala Bears or Panda Bears.  Although rare, they are in many zoos, but to see the usual lions, tigers and elephants, I’ve had my share of zoos.  That being said, the Phoenix Zoo is one of the cities biggest attractions, so our blog or our photo albums would not be complete without a trip here.  If you haven’t been here, it is worth a trip, at least a C rating; but expect to see the normal zoo animals…nothing out of the norm.