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STOP #280

After a short 36 mile drive this morning we left Oklahoma and arrived at the very picturesque Clayton Lake State Park in New Mexico. Don't confuse this with the Oklahoma State Park with the exact same name or you'll be 586 miles from your desired destination. Not surprisingly, they are both located just outside of a town named Clayton.

Not only does this New Mexico State Park have a beautiful lake view, there is something else here that's very special and "it's" the reason for our visit.

But we're going to wait until tomorrow to go explore that!

Our waterfront site overlooking beautiful Clayton Lake "in New Mexico".

It has all the amenities we look for in a campsite, a table, shade, grill and fire pit.
The water and electric hookups are a bonus, but sadly there is no dump station here.

Oh Yeah! It also has a wonderful view for our dining pleasure.

It was 4 years ago today on "Friday the 13th" of April, 2018
that we took delivery of THE "Brand New" POD.

After spending a month getting to know one another we "Hit the Road" fulltime.

THURSDAY - This morning was spent gathering up all our tax documents from various websites so Tricia could prepare our federal tax return, it's due on Monday in case any of you had forgotten.

After several hours of struggling to get everything just right we decided to take a break and return to the task a little later in the day. This gave us the time to go explore what it is we came here for!

I may have misled you when I said this park and the one over in Oklahoma have exactly the same name. The full official name of this park in New Mexico is Clayton Lake & Dinosaur Trackways State Park.

So by now you've probably guessed why we're here. That's right, to see dinosaur footprints! With over 500 footprints here it's one of the best places in the United States to observe them.

In 1955 a dam was built across Seneca Creek to create Clayton Lake. A spillway was added to prevent flooding in case the dam was breached. Then during a terrible flood in 1982 the top layers of sediment in the spillway were washed downstream and revealed one of the best collection of 100,000,000 year old dinosaur tracks yet to be discovered.

Since the discovery the State Park has constructed a boardwalk directly over the footprints so you can get a close up look for yourself. We were informed that if there is a depression in the rock, it's most likely a dinosaur footprint. We were also informed that after it rains and the footprints puddle water they are much easier to identify.


When is the last time YOU saw this sign on the edge of the road?
The Dinosaur Trackways field of footprints.
Some tracks were easier to identity than others...
...like these which were very near the boardwalk.
It's one from the three-toed plant eating ornithopods.
The rest of these were a little less obvious. This one had a dewclaw.
This one clearly shows 20 paces along a relatively straight path.
Who knew all this was just a few hundred yards from our campsite?

In retrospect I'm glad we only had to make a 36 mile detour from our route to visit here. We were both underwhelmed by the experience, but if you're an aspiring paleontologist I'm sure your experience would differ greatly!

I would hope they offer some kind of Ranger led activity "out in the field" during the busier summer months to showcase this unique location. It would surely have enhanced our visit.

Tomorrow we get back to our planned route and start to focus our attention more on the weather ahead. It's time to "keep our eye on the prize", Alaska 2022 or bust!

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