Posts Tagged ‘Destination Truth’

We had quite the lovely adventure searching for fossils this weekend.  Boys are watching Destination Truth as I document our findings.  They are in a very questful mood!




Above:  Not sure what this is a fossil of but it reminds me (and hubby) of those candy buttons that came on a strip of paper and were all different colors.

A rather nice example of a trilobite.  Oldest son found this on our second day.

In the photo above I think it may be a coral fossil.  It’s cute as a button in the center of the photo.  The photo below has a nice example of a brachiopod toward the right.  I believe below that in the stone, toward the center, may be part of a crinoid fossil.



Younger son found this partial trilobite (above, upper right of stone).  The depth of it is neat, compared to the depth of older son’s find.

I believe the fossil above (toward the upper center of the stone) and below (upper right of stone) are bryozoans.  They are fan-like and, in my opinion, very delicate looking.  Very gentle.  In the bottom photo, there also seems to be a fossil of a brchiopod.  Look to the left of the bryozoan.  It looks like a little seashell.


It was exciting for me as I always wished I could be a paleontologist when I was younger.  I did not force this interest in either of my sons, but when they discovered dinosaurs and fossils, I certainly supported it.  They both had fun in the dust this weekend, looking at stones from pre-history.  Both handled the spiders really well too.  Hubby did too.  One photo that will have to wait to be posted till next year since I didn’t take one with my camera is the one in my mind’s eye.  As I walked through some of the trails today, I noticed the amazing amount of quiet.  I also noticed the beautiful layer of ferns growing in this wooded area.  It transported me back.  You could feel the sense of history, the millions of years of existence, ever-changing with the times.  Another moment of my own destination truth.

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than yesterday.  My personal pep talk kicked my derriere.   I am down to two piles in our bedroom.  I filled a bag for the donation bin, two bags of trash, a bag of recycling, and the boys and I filled five bags with weeds.  Hubby mowed the lawn.  We’re kicking ass and taking names.  Well, we mow the lawn every week, but I’m counting everything.

Stuff for VBS is practically together, which is good since it starts tomorrow.  The boys and I had a lot of fun together today.  They helped me at church getting things set up (after a bunch of folks moved the tables into place for us-thank you!).  We bagged the weeds we pulled yesterday.  Younger son had set up his own chore chart last night and completed five of them.  We had a fun dinner, watched Crashbox, Ninjago, and Destination Truth.  Bedtime went well.  Older son couldn’t keep his eyes open while tucking him in to bed.  Younger son needed one more glass of chocolate mile meaning I had to turn off Night of the Comet.  So I watched the tuned into the Olympics.

Yes, my jaw dropped when McKayla Maroney landed on her butt.  And then I wept when Kirani James asked for Oscar Pistorius’s name tag.  That was a beautiful moment to watch.  Tomorrow night I’ll watch the uneven bars if they air after I am home from VBS.

And so my perspective realigned again.  No need to let the piles bother me too much.  They’ll go away if I make them.

By the way, did you see that Ragu commercial where the kid walks into his parents’ bedroom at the wrong time?  Yes, it is making me think about Ragu but certainly not about eating it.  Good grief.

And how uncomfortable are the outfits the women gymnasts have to wear?  To flip and twist and run in those outfits?  Then when they finish, they have to find a spot without a camera so they can “adjust” the backside.  Again, good grief.

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So we went on the fossil hunt.  The weather was questionable at best, but this had been planned for a while.  I wasn’t going to let a little rain stop this adventure.  I was declared the “Josh Gates” of our very own Destination Truth.  Sometimes on the show, Josh and the gang have to try multiple times to find the correct place or the right area to investigate.  That was us on Friday.  You see, multiple people told me how EASY it was to go to Big Brook and find shark tooth fossils.  I was the good mommy I’m supposed to be and I googled Big Brook and got directions.  The maps certainly seemed easy.

But you see, there is Big Brook Park and Big Brook Preserve.

BIG difference between the two.

The directions from Mapquest were almost accurate.  I already wished we had the Destination Truth GPS equipment.  And the film crew.  We ended up at Holmdel Park initially.  The very nice ranger let us use the bathroom and we found another map.  We got back in the rocketsled and headed to Big Brook Park, still unaware of our initial mistake, Park versus Preserve.  We easily found Big Brook Park and there was much rejoicing.  The kids were hungry already so we ate in the rocketsled (since it was still raining) and studied the maps.  We felt we had found the easiest way to the brook and as we finished lunch, the rain was even letting up a bit.  We all hit the Johnny on the Spot and headed down the trail.

We quickly stopped as we realized how much it was not going to get us to the brook.  With some grumbling from the kids, we got back in the vehicle and studied the maps again.  At this point, Josh Gates took over my mind and I didn’t become freakishly tense Mom.  I stayed loose and relished the quest for the shark tooth fossils.  The kids were having a field day anyway.  And shortly after we got back on the road, the rain started coming down again.

We went around to another side of the park and entered through a trail.  We followed the paved trail and made our way across a bridge.   We guessed it was the brook, but there was no access.  We turned around and tried an unpaved trail.  There we were, the five of us, trekking through a field, keeping the woods to our right while looking for another trail.  We found evidence of an old trail and decided to try that since it headed toward the woods.  We also could see signs on some of the trees so some other human had approached this area and we felt we were finally on the right track.


We weren’t.  Back to the rocketsled.  Back to the maps.  We had noticed some playground equipment and the sign on the tree said no shooting because there was a school within 50 feet.  We decided to look for the school since that would be public property and, in theory, we could access the brook from there.  We headed out again and slowly came to realize as we tried every little street that the playground equipment belonged to really rich kids with gigantic playsets in their backyards not a school.

By now, we were laughing about the lack of luck, enjoying the journey, and relishing the fact that we were in the rocketsled during the current downpour.

We stopped by a gas station, asked for directions (no luck) and used the facilities.  We ventured another direction and found a park on a road that was on the map, had the required woods, and a trail leading to them.  We kept driving to scope the area, found another key road from the map, and a small sign that said Big Brook Preserve with rules listed on it.  It was simply a sign on the side of the road next to a small bridge.  We figured these were our last two options (considering we were down to about an hour of “fossil time”).  We decided to check the park first.  Our own personal “Ryder” volunteered to scope it out in the rain.  The rain was light but then it became a downpour.  The kids didn’t care.  They were out playing in the playground and running around in the rain.  Ryder reported back via phone that the park was not the right place.  The five of us piled back into the rocketsled completely soaked, but thankful we had a more reliable vehicle than the Destination Truth gang usually has to drive.

We went to our last place to try.  We had about 45 minutes before we had to head home.  Ryder scoped it out again and finally, finally, we had found the right place.  Big Brook Preserve.

And so in the rain we trekked carefully down the side of the bridge, with Ryder leading the way and me, Josh, bringing up the rear.  Happily, one thing I was told was truthful.  We found shark teeth fossils in the little bit of time we had in the brook.  The rain was pouring down and the laughter was floating in the air.


I went so far out of my comfort zone on this trip.  It was invigorating.  While it was not as adventurous as what Josh, Ryder, and the DT gang usually do, it was quite an amazing adventure for us.  Pick a destination and see what truth you can find.  In my Josh Gates mode, I found that I can still climb, play in a brook, and dance in the rain.  That was my Destination Truth.

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My sons have discovered the Jersey Devil.  I introduced them to this fine piece of folklore over a year ago, but one has to meet children where they are.  They weren’t ready to connect to the Jersey Devil last year, but now they are ready to embrace this awesome connection to living in south Jersey.  My oldest has been researching JD on the web and discovered the episode of Destination Truth in which Josh and company trekked to exotic south Jersey and our beloved Pine Barrens to search for Mrs. Leeds’ thirteenth child.

If you aren’t familiar with the lore, grab a copy of Weird NJ by Sceurman & Moran and you will bring yourself up to speed with fun recollections from some locals, Pineys and non.  The short version is that Mrs. Leeds found herself preggers once again way back in 1735.  She cursed the child, calling for this one to be a devil.  While the baby was born human, it quickly transformed into a creature with hooves, wings, a horse-like face, and the ever popular red devil eyes.  It killed everyone in the room and burst out of the house.  He’s been haunting south Jersey ever since.

I’ve been hooked on JD since 1978.  In third grade, my art teacher had us do a unit on the Jersey Devil.  We learned the folklore and, then based on the descriptions we read, we created our versions of JD in various mediums.  This is my favorite kind of learning–face it, it’s every kid’s favorite type of learning–interactive and purposeful, with built-in assessments that are fun.  I didn’t think about the fact that my pieces were going to be graded, I simply focused on making the best JD art I could.

I shared this story with my boys and they were very intrigued.  We’ve been reading Weird NJ and one of the young adult novels…The Weird Club: The Search for the Jersey Devil by Fairbanks.  They are hooked.  After my sons watched the Destination Truth clip they told me, “Mom,you know  that show you watch with the guy who goes places and you’ve tried to make us watch it?  He looked for the Jersey Devil!”  This was shocking for my sons to think that we have a shared interest that they don’t feel is dorky. 

I think my sons would love to hang with Josh Gates.  I’d love to hang with Josh.  Please remember, when I say hang, I mean hang out, not hang for dear life on a perilous bridge or on a zip cord.  I don’t know that I’m adventurous enough to be on the DT team, but I wouldn’t mind being a researcher for the show.  I love the concept of the show.  I agree with some of the online postings about the contrived nature about the team (for the record, I don’t care who is schtupping whom).  Overall, the idea of going on adventures that are centralized around the amazing myths, legends, and folklore of our world is awesome.  But I couldn’t be on the team-I couldn’t eat the foods they eat.

Thus our lunch would have to be at a restaurant that Josh would probably consider bland.  His website says that he hopes the show and his adventures inspire children to go out and have adventures of their own.  So many children just don’t do that anymore.  I am fortunate that my boys do this all the time and have connected to Josh on their own, validating that what they like to do is cool.  It would be neat to chat with Josh about the Jersey Devil and some of the other trips they’ve done on the show.  The trip to the Antarctica and the search for the Yeti would have to be discussed.  Particularly the hair sample found while searching for the Yeti that was determined to be an unknown DNA sequence by the DNA people would be explored at length.  How cool is that? 

I would also seek Josh’s advice.  The boys get a wee bit creeped out after spending some substantial time on different legends.  This leads to the classic child to parent question, “Do you believe in…?”  How does Josh handle such a question?  I know how I handle it…I tell my sons that there is so much I don’t know about the world that I can’t say it’s not true.  How can I prove that these creatures aren’t out there, managing to hide from our intrusive existence?  I can’t.  I also don’t want my sons to lose their sense of wonder quite yet.  Then again I haven’t lost mine yet.  Neither has Josh, or at least it seems that way.  And why should we lose that sense of wonder?  That belief in what we can’t see?       

It’s awesome that the show offers some television time that isn’t us versus them with our boys.  Yes, we have Looney Tunes, Three Stooges, and a ton of movies that we all find entertaining.  We also enjoy our Animal Planet and Discovery shows.  But DT has some science AND entertainment.  By combining his love of archeology and theater, the show covers a lot of ground and Josh has some great expressions and reactions, particularly when eating various animal parts that no human should ever ingest.

Did I mention we would be at a bland restaurant?  Quite possibly some “safe” chain place with overpriced appetizers?

Well, it’s past the witching hour for me.  Mrs. Leeds’ thirteenth child is roaming the Pine Barrens somewhere, possibly searching for a place to bunk when Hurricane Irene shows up.  An earthquake and a hurricane all in one week for Jersey.  Quite a lot of fun.  A big adventurous week for two small boys.  Possibly even enough adventure here for Josh.  I’d let him know he has a standing invitation to dig in our backyard with the boys.  They’re searching for a Hadrosaurus.

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