Nearly there . . .

Lab Note #10
Jul 01, 2015

Well, we're actually, finally, almost there. Tomorrow is the unofficial start of the field season - I'll go into work, load up the truck, say goodbye to friends and coworkers, and not be back in New Jersey for a month.

I'm going to say this again - probably several times throughout the season: field camp is different every year. And not just the field work itself. Every year is different, so the planning throughout the off season is also always a bit different. Very little is routine. Even seemingly insignificant activities, like loading the equipment into the truck, is different. I recently parted ways with my first love (my old truck), and now I have to get used to a new one. But of course it is much more than that. As the field seasons grow in complexity, so does the amount of stuff we bring. My list of items to load up now includes well over 200 items, and those items counted individually now number over 2,000 pieces! And that doesn't even include any of my personal items (including gear, tools, hauling equipment, etc., etc.). I'm lucky to have a number of people I can count on to help me stay organised, equipped, prepared, and sane.

Once I get the gear home, I'll have to unpack it all in my driveway where it will sit for a couple of days while I eat my weight in bbq over the fourth. Then it will all be reorganized, inventoried yet again, combined with the personal items I mentioned, and loaded back into the truck. If you see anyone in a gray truck driving west that looks like the truck piled high from the "Beverly Hillbillies," that's probably just me. There may or may not be a grandmother in a rocking chair on top, holding everything down. There's no way to know for sure at this time.

This will be me leaving my house on the outskirts of Pennsyltucky. I'm the one in the hat. In the front.

Sometime in the middle of Sunday night, I'll pull out of suburban Philadelphia, point my truck west, and drive. Just drive, for most of the next ~56 hours. For me, that's the moment when my field season truly begins. The start of my annual Great American Road Trip is also the beginning of my field season. Only ~2,100 miles and 2.5 days of driving are all that separate me from the culmination of 11 months of planning, preparing, and daydreaming. It's a pretty great feeling. (I don't feel (or smell) so great near the end of that drive, but that's another story).

From here on out we're going to try our darndest to more productive on the blog and on our other social media sites. Don't forget that we have Facebook and Google+ pages, as well as a YouTube channel (just search for Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project in each). Please always feel free to send us comments, ask us questions, etc. We'd love to hear from you!

To help with these duties, we've recruited some help from various members of the Bighorn Basin Dinosaur Project's team, and we're always looking for guest bloggers from among our crew! First, though, the next post will be guest-authored by a new member of our crew, Will Brandenberger. Will is an intern in the Bureau of Natural History this summer and will be joining us in the field. He has a lot of paleontological field experience, and I think you'll enjoy seeing/reading about his experiences and his perspective on everything. I know I'm looking forward to it.

So until then, stay tuned! The fun is just getting started!

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