Nebraska, Travel

CA to NJ: Day 4 — Nebraskan Fossil Beds

Finally, the road trip officially started! 

Pop Pop and I left the Fort Collins Best Western on Thursday, Sept. 24, but we made sure to stop at my favorite pancake destination, Urban Egg, which I discovered last year on the road trip out to California. It was my first time eating indoors during the pandemic, so I was nervous at first, but the fact that it’s a large restaurant and had three tables of people calmed my worries. 

How could someone say “No” to this meal?

After a sweet breakfast, Pop Pop and were on our way East. We had another hefty day of driving scheduled, but we broke it up with some destinations along the route. My rule is if you are doing a road trip, you have to see some of the beautiful nature that America has. So, I had two stops planned for us that would allow us to appreciate that. 

Our first visit of the day was to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument not too far from the Colorado – Nebraska border. The fossils beds were formed around a water hole between 19 and 20 million ago due to a drought that caused many of the animals in the area to perished. Over time, their skeletons were covered in volcanic ash and silt carried by wind, and the preserved bones were not to be seen again until the early 1900s. Most of the fossils found have been removed by archaeologists, and there were some bones on display in the visitor center. 

There are two walks visitors can take, and Pop Pop and I chose the Daemonelix trail, where you could see some fossils still in the rock protected by a glass case. The specific fossils here are the Devil’s Corkscrew, which is a preserved burrow dug by ancient rodents. It was a relaxing stroll and perfect chance to get out of the car. I was super excited to “see some old things” as I told Pop Pop. After about an hour and 15-minute pause, we were back on the road. 

Up next: The Badlands 


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