In 2002, on an 11-day sea kayak trip through Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons of the Green River in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, I read Centennial by James Michener. Like many Michener books, Centennial begins with a lengthy prehistory of, in this case, northeast Colorado, including a veritable Who’s Who of dinosaurs. Diplodocus featured prominently among this impressive prehistory and I found myself rather intrigued by the challenges poor old Diplo must have endured. She was a vegetarian, as I mostly am, preferred to graze than horde, moving slowly among trees and shrubs, perhaps dipping her toes into the edge of ponds or rivers to test the waters and poke around in the muck. I don’t know what kind of a sleeper Diplodocus was, but sleeping has never been my forte, and in the wee hours one night, in our tent on a smooth, expansive beach beside the Green River, John woke to find me reading by headlamp. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Would you like me to tell you about the Travails of Diplodocus?” I replied.
And thus my story begins.