Sunday, March 9, 2014


DAY SIXTEEN: We spent last night at a very reasonable motel near Fort Worth (it cost only $38, tax incl. - that's the cheapest room we've had for a long time, and that even included a modest breakfast).  Today we went through the Glen Rose area, SW of Fort Worth. Glen Rose is a tourist town, quite charming, and nearby is Dinosaur Valley State Park, and the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. After checking out "downtown" Glen Rose, we went to Dinosaur State Park, which is fascinating. It contains what are considered the best dinosaur tracks in the world, alongside and in the Paluxy River.  Many of them were dug up by R.T. Bird back in the 1930's and taken to NYC where you can see them in the Museum of Natural History - but that's another story. There are still lots of tracks left in the park. We went to Track Site #2, which is where Bird originally found the first "trackway" of dinosaur tracks ever seen - the tracks of a herd of huge Sauroposiedons, called sauropods (60 feet long, weighing 20 tons!) lumbering along on four feet, and being trailed - and possibly attacked - by a herd of smaller, swifter, Acrocanthosaurus, called theropods.  This was about 133 million years ago. The difference between the two can be seen in this drawing:

Sauropod and Therapod
Here is what we saw:

Dinosaur tracks - three-toed therapod at upper right; larger sauropod rear foot left of that
 And here's the Paluxy River:

R.T. Bird found a dinosaur trackway here in 1937
Near the state park is a private facility called the "Creation Evidence Museum." It was not open on Sunday, so we couldn't go in, but it is owned and operated Carl Baugh, a fundamentalist Christian who believes the Creation account in Genesis to be literally true, and one implication of that is that humans and dinosaurs roamed the earth together. He does not deny that the nearby tracks are fossilized tracks of dinosaurs, but he gives them a much younger age - a few thousand years old. I would have been interested to see his museum. The park ranger said that she is sometimes asked to show someone a dinosaur track and a human footprint side by side.

The Fossil Rim Wildlife Center is a large park where about 50 species of animals from all over the world are living and being protected. You can drive through the park and have giraffes come up to your car to eat special food provided by the Center. We didn't go in - it cost $26 a person, and we didn;t have the time to justify that. I'm sure it would have been interesting, though I have mixed feelings about such places. The youth group from the Guilford Church is going to Glen Rose in a couple of weeks. It will be interesting to hear their reactions.

We drove from there down to Georgetown, TX,  just north of Austin, a drive that took us through a landscape which made it clear we are in a very different part of the country. Georgetown is a pretty posh town, home to Southwestern University, which I was not familiar with, but which has a very handsome campus. We realized we were at the very northern edge of the Austin Metro Area: on our right was very new, posh,  tract housing development, and on our left was open, empty field as far as the eye could see.  If we came back in a few years, I doubt that field would still be empty.  We ate at a Chipotle Restaurant, which is one of the better fast food chains. The Veggie Salad was really delicious! From there we drove to a Motel 6 in North Austin (not reasonable) and tomorrow we'll go to the Harry Ransome Library at Univ. Texas, where I will do research in the Alfred A. Knopf Archive relating to Ellen's father, Frederick Barnes Tolles. More on that later.

Oops, some VERY noisy young men just moved into the next room, and the walls are very thin. It's after midnight and they are YELLING and TALKING LOUD and LAUGHING. Hope we get some sleep!!

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