Day 28: Travel day to Valentine, NE.
We left Cherokee mid-morning in pouring rain. We're on the fringes of the big storms going on in the Midwest. Fortunately, we're only getting the rain, not the brutal winds hitting the eastern half of Iowa.
Crossed into Nebraska about an hour after leaving Cherokee, still in the rain. Went from smooth 4-lane road to not-so-smooth 2-lane road. Not bad travel though, as traffic was light and moving at a good speed.
One of our travel aids is Bryan Farr's book "Historic US Route 20". I have a copy on my iPad and it's providing some interesting ideas for side trips and little "gems" we might have missed otherwise.
One of those gems is the Ashfall Fossil Beds near Orchard, NE. This 15-mile side trip took us 12 million years back in time to the days of a huge volcanic eruption in what is known as Idaho today. As the ash rolled in, it killed the animal life around a large watering hole, covering the bodies in ash and creating a rock casket around thousands of animals.
While on the site, we were fortunate to meet up with a student paleontologist, Colton, who explained the some of the fossils and talked about the one he and a partner found and how they excavated it.
This was a great history and geology lesson in a place we least expected it.
We arrived in Valentine, "The Heart City" in the late afternoon. We have an event at 12:30pm today, then off to do some more exploring in the area.
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