Theft of the Don-Mobile at Dinosaur Journey

On Saturday, February 3, a 1993 Dodge Dakota truck was stolen from the Museums of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey, a truck that was a key tool in the museum’s mission and efforts to discover and excavate fossils from paleontological sites such as the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in Rabbit Valley near the Utah border. This truck played a significant role in transporting water, equipment and tools to the dig sites, which are often in remote areas, and bringing fossils back to the museum for study.

In addition to its purpose as an essential tool for the museum, the Dodge truck was also the legacy of a former volunteer who lovingly donated much time and energy to Dinosaur Journey. According to the Museums of Western Colorado’s Curator of Paleontology, Julia McHugh, the small truck was given to the museum in June 2006 by Joan Chaffin, the widow of then recently deceased Donald “Don” Chaffin, a long-time volunteer and former employee of the museum. The only condition of the contribution at that time was that the museum paint the truck, which was white and peeling. Former Curator of Paleontology John Foster picked out a new brown color of paint for the truck, which fondly become known as the “Don-mobile” in honor of Don Chaffin. The small, but mighty truck was a favorite and beloved field work vehicle among the staff and volunteers at Dinosaur Journey.

The Museums of Western Colorado need your help to continue our mission to teach children hands-on science through dinosaur excavations. Please consider a donation to help replace our lost truck. Donations can be made at for “One Tough Quarry Truck,” or call 970-242-0971, ext. 2212. For more information, contact Julia McHugh, Curator of Paleontology, 970-242-0971, ext. 2217.

Photo note: The Dinosaur Journey logo magnets on the doors were not in place at the time of theft so the doors are bare.