“ In Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway, Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll recount their rollicking road-trips through the Rocky Mountain region, and their writing and artwork tell the tale of the fossils, food, and friends they meet along the way. Paging through the book is like being chauffeured by a pair of paleontological prestidigitators across America's prime fossil real estate.

Kirk's writing conjures up multiple layers of history from the landscapes they pass through: the ancient environments where sediments accumulated and hardened into rock, the processes that brought these rocks to the surface and shaped the current scenery, and, most of all, the ongoing stories of discoveries made by scientists, collectors, and fossil fanatics throughout this geologic wonderland. Ray's artwork brings each of these histories to life and mixes them together in a sort of deep-time gumbo: dinosaurs rise from the dead and amble alongside pickup trucks and gas stations, prehistoric mammals pose for portraits, and wide-eyed ichthyosaurs and half-coiled ammonites dreamily float alongside monster movies and cheeseburgers.

Ultimately, Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway is like getting several books in one: geology primer, road-trip travelogue, collection of scientific-surrealist art, and exposé of the "paleonerd" subculture in the American West. If you've ever driven down an open highway, looked out at the rocks around you and briefly wondered if there might be dinosaur bones buried there, then you'll definitely want a copy for your bookshelf.”

Matt Celeskey

Paleo Artist and Chief Curator of the Hairy Museum of Natural History
“ No one- not even the Steven Spielberg- can explain the magic of the Jurassic as cleverly and comprehensively as America’s current Master of the Mesozoic, Kirk Johnson. Now, together with the magnificently eccentric fossil-artist Ray Troll, Kirk reports on a paleontological odyssey that manages to be informative, witty, educational-and enormous fun.”

- Simon Winchester,

- Author of The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, and A Crack in the Edge of the World
“ Johnson relates the stories of the great discoveries in paleontology and peoples them with a rogue’s gallery of parched academics and mercenary treasure hunters. In the end, the reader is holding the strongest, most delightful of texts- an adventure story, a memoir, a handbook, a history, a guide. And a refreshing sense that Earth is resilient and enduring.”

Peter Heller,

Contributing editor for Outside and National Geographic Adventure Magazines.

Author of Hell or High Water and The Whale Warriors
“ I hereby nominate Ray Troll and Kirk Johnson for the 2007 Monty Python Razzle-Dazzle Paleontology Prize for excellence in communicating the joy of fossil hunting. By the time you finish this book you will know more about dinosaurs, trilobites, and ammonites than you ever wanted to, and you’ll never even realize that you were learning all this great stuff! ”

Richard Ellis

American Museum of Natural History research associate, author of The Empty Ocean

Signed copies of the book can be found in our webstore

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All artwork on this website © Ray Troll 2015. Contact the artist directly for permission/usage fees.