Wednesday, July 22, 2009

July 22

We drove south to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. In this area rich fossil deposits were found of mammals from the Miocene Era -- about 20 million years ago. The monument's museum collection also contains more than 500 Plains Indian artifacts. However, most of these were not on display because the museum was about to be remodeled. We drove on to Scotts Bluff National Monument. This large bluff on the south bank of the North Platte River was a landmark on the Oregon Trail. It was the first large rock formation along the river where the Great Plains gave way to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. We took a shuttle bus to the top of the bluff and took some pictures. Then we drove to the nearby Chimney Rock, another distinctive rock formation on the Oregon Trail. The Pony Express route also came through here. We stayed at the Riverside Campground run by the city of Scottsbluff, next to the city zoo.

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