The Great American Roadtrip 2019, Day Five

Vernal, Utah

Look out, guys, because I’m pretty sure this was one of my most favorite days of our trip.

First things first: we walked to the breakfast room at the hotel. The dino planters are a stellar touch, I have to say.


We had some breakfast and I did not take any pictures but it was fantastic, tons of options and chefs on hand to make you whatever you want on top of all the choices. They were also sharing their favorite hikes, trails, swimming holes, and local-insider spots to explore. This hotel was staffed by the friendliest, nicest people.

While I don’t have pictures from breakfast, I do have a picture of the hotel sign which is just as satisfying if I do say so.


One of the open-secret insider spots recommended for a day trip was McConkie Ranch, and that was where we headed for the morning.





This is a privately owned ranch, and the family has an area open to the public to visit the many petroglyphs on their land. There is a small self-serve info shack just off the parking area, selling sodas and water and wallpapered with post-its and other paper messages of thanks from visitors.





So off we went to follow the marked petroglyph trail. The kids found a lot of harvester ant nests (there was one just out of frame of this picture here), they were OBSESSED with them. Still talk about them a month later.


Off we go!


The trail was a little over a mile each way and steep, there was a lot of climbing. I loved every second of it. The rock layers were so beautiful, the early morning weather was comfy, and there was no one else around. We took our time and enjoyed the view and the petroglyphs we came across.


One of the things I loved is that they weren’t marked, you just had to be eagle-eyed and spot them. Some areas were full of ’em and some where a little more sparse.



Also a bit of a warning (apology?) here: while the petroglyphs were so clear to the naked eye, my pictures were less than ideal. So I did a lot of contrast and color work to make them show up clearly. Forgive my weird photos as you scroll!











Decapitated dude below (it was certainly a theme on this rock face).


Some B/W action for you, makes them a little clearer.


He was preparing to Dab here, but I got a photo off before he got there (thankfully).


So many depictions of head hunters and decapitations (lots of tears on those disembodied faces).







The rare pictograph.


After awhile you find the petroglyphs peeking at you from everywhere.



The twins.


That was the end of the trail, and then we doubled back.





Finally ran into some people!







Oh man that was a great hike. Highly recommended, folks.


Let the kids each pick out a celebratory soda from the shack.



And then back to Vernal.




And back to the Dino Inn.



And given how hot it was at that point: back to the pool.


We had it all to ourselves, I am guessing the motel was between guests.










Yeah, that was lovely. Except I kinda got a sunburn even though I was paranoid about applying sunscreen (curse you, white people genes). All the lovely picnic areas were open at this point but they were full sun and it was soooooo hotttttt. So instead we cranked up the AC in our room and hid in there for lunch.


The kids had fluffernutters/ramen/whatever and I stole one of Pete’s favorite mashed-potato cups because YESSSSS GIMME.


After lunch and some lounging in the cool comfort of our room, we pulled ourselves together and decided to walk down to the museum a few blocks away: the Utah Fieldhouse of Natural History.


As you can only imagine, I appreciated the plants there.



This museum was super modern and very hands on, so we had a great time.



Another diorama, another Moose falling on the floor with legs in the air, requesting a photo.


Moose is obsessed with woolly mammoths. He adored this guy.


We took a spell to visit the statues outside.




Then back inside! While Scott and I walked around an exhibit dedicated to the Fremont people, Moose took to the play area and set up this diorama.


Then we hit up the gift shop, and then walked across the street to the much recommended Vernal Brewing Company.


Lemme just say: the beers were fantastic. And the staff was great.


And the nachos were ::chef’s kiss:: (nachos are very important to us).


The boys split a giant pizza, and Linus proceeded to spill an entire glass of Mountain Dew ALL OVER IT like five minutes after it was delivered. But the kids ate it anyway so hey. Apparently no biggie.

We walked back and just appreciated this sweet little town obsessed with dinosaurs.


After we got back to the hotel Moose charmed the front desk staff to hand off more free dinosaurs to him, and that was kinda it. We retired to bed early, tired from a long day of exploring and preparing for a long day of travel ahead. We love you, Vernal Utah. Never change.


Day Five Stats:
Lunch: More fluffernutters, more chips, ramen, whatever. We’ve been here folks. 
Museum Count: 1 (Utah Fieldhouse of Natural History)
Roadside Attractions Count: 1 (McConkie Ranch)
Peter’s Penny Count: 1 (Utah Fieldhouse)
Moose’s Dab Count: …only one Dab picture shared, count your blessings.
Dwellings: | Dinosaur Inn and Suites again! See earlier review at the bottom of the post here. LOVE THIS PLACE.
Motel Dinner Madness: one of the few rare dinners out. Vernal Brewing Company – Vernal is a tiny town (in Utah no less) but somehow still is home to TWO breweries. We tried out the Vernal Brewing Co., and it was lovely. Surprisingly great beer (no offense, just that Utah ain’t known for beer), fantastic food, great staff and atmosphere.

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