90th Birthday Wanderlust, Day 22: Last day

We awake and breakfast early. We have a long drive ahead back to Los Alamos, and a few things we’d like to do along the way first.

Of which the most important is a visit to a confirmed fossil site.

We have not had a lot of luck with fossil sites so far, but it improves here.

Nearby are red beds.

Alas, these were barren of body fossils, but there were some interesting sedimentary structures and possible trace fossils.

I’m thinking this is some kind of coral.

Burrow casts?

These, definitely.

Gary has found the sweet spot, and is pulling out chunks of fossiliferous limy shale for his grandkids to sort through and discover small fossils in. Grandkids must be great fun.

I discover that the ground below this outcrop is rich with small fossils, some perfectly preserved. Small brachiopods, crinoid stem segments, and so on.

Time is wasting. We hit the road for home, driving through Heber and north to Holbrook. It’s barren country. We eat lunch at the only shade we can find, then east on the interstate. I had toyed with stopping at Perified Forest National Park, for a type section photo of the Petrified Forest Formation, but when Gary misses the exit I’m not so disappointed. I think I’m anxious to be home. It does not help that we hit five (!) separate construction zones on the interstate between Holbrook and Albuquerque. The road is a madhouse; everyone wants to get out with the COVID epidemic receding.

I will probably take a trip out to Petrified Forest on some long weekend, just to see the geology I missed this time. I’ve concluded three weeks is pushing the ragged limit of how much vacation I can enjoy at once.

And finally home.

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