THE FINAL LEG…TEXAS
2010 Mileage so far: 5611
PALO DURO. Dick picked up his friend Chris at Dallas Love Airport on Tuesday, and they drove toward the Palo Duro
Canyon area that
afternoon. On the way to Caprock Canyon,
they discovered that the nearby town of Turkey
was the home of the 1940s country western musician, Bob Wills. A monument in the town lists his many
accomplishments in the field of entertainment.
Dick and Chris camped at Caprock
Park at the Little Red River campground. The tent was positioned on the canyon lip. What a place!
First night they froze. The next
day they explored the Permian redbeds exposed in the canyon bottom. Believe it or not there was water in the
stream bed. Above the redbeds were the
Dockum and Ogalala beds. These light-colored strata were in striking contrast
to the deep reddish-orange Permian beds. Dick was amazed by the prominent pure
white gypsum (selenite) streaks splashed like lightning bolts through the red
beds. What an amazing place!
The next day
Dick and Chris headed over to Palo
but along the way discovered a road to Ceta (also Cita) Canyon, and the gateway
to a famous fossil site that had been excavated by the CCC in the mid
1930s. The site was known for its
Blancan-aged mammal fauna and the presence of a giant gopher tortoise (Gopherus canyonensis) and a small Hesperotestudo. Dick had been looking for this site for
years. BINGO! We received permission to enter the canyon
through church camp property. We found
a stream flowing through the canyon and a rather significant waterfalls along
its path. The camp manager indicated
that building ruins occurred along the canyon wall. It may have been the site of the old CCC
camp. Dick and Chris were unable to
locate the fossil diggings.
explorations in Cita, Dick and Chris moved onto Palo Duro Canyon.
This was a much larger canyon than the others that they had
visited. Very picturesque! Some hiking and bike riding in the canyon
bottom provided a break from all of the driving. Each morning they had coffee
and breakfast at a quaint restaurant in Quitaque. The rule of thumb in this restaurant was
whoever got up for more coffee had to pour coffee for the rest of the
Dick and Chris
left for Dallas Friday morning, but got
distracted on the way by Mount
Blanco, another famous
fossil area, south of Caprock, that was originally collected by Edward Drinker
Cope and his field crews in the late 1800s.
This site is the type section for the Blancan North American Land Mammal
Age, a several million year period of time that ended in the early Pleistocene,
about 1.8 million years ago. This site
also was the type locality for another gopher tortoise, named by Cope. This leg of the journey filled in a blind
spot for Dick in his reconstruction of the history of fossil tortoises. Another interesting hotspot was a fossil
museum in the town of Crosbyton
which was operated by creationist Joe Taylor.
It gives a very different view from the traditional scientific view
point. VERY INTERESTING… Need to try that one on Dana Ehret at his
dissertation defense on fossil sharks on November 15th.
Entrance to Palo Duro Canyon
Mt. Blanco, north of Crosbyton, TX,
major fossil site.
Fossil museum in Crosbyton, TX
CLICK ON PICS
Photographer Chris snapping scenes at Cap Rocks
Little Red River below the camp site at Cap Rocks
getting Chris on a plane to Florida on
Saturday, Dick drove back to Austin to finish
his survey of fossil tortoises at the Texas
at the University
of Texas. This time he concentrated on the late
Pleistocene Hesperotestudo wilsoni
from Friesenhahn Cave
in Bexar County, Texas.
This was an amazing collection that included complete shells, many
plastrons, and other body parts. This
extinct species was thought to be related to other small extinct tortoises
found elsewhere in the Southwest and in Florida. Their relationships to one another, though,
are still open to speculation. Dick
still hasn’t made it to the basement of the lab yet.
Elizabeth and Carissa at
Elizabeth's farm in Paris, TX,
my last stop before
starting the drive east.
TEXAS IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR… November 9, 2010 ONE MORE
THING…. Dick did a dive off of Elizabeth's Figaro yesterday. He claimed
that a mountain lion attack his gelding, the saddle broke, and he was
on the ground defending his horse against this monstrous cat who had
intent to maim his trusty steed. Other witnesses claim it|
was a mini
horse in the adjoining pasture that came running to the fence. He
thinks it was the cat.... However, Dick was graceful in his departure
according to all witnesses.
Dick bought a
Vietnam era military knife at a Paris TX antique store yesterday. Steve
Hutchens put Dick onto this instrument for digging fossils. He has been
looking for one for several years. Now he can dig with the BIG BOYS!
Dick always finds it difficult to depart the farm. The
weather was great during the past few days. But now it is the time to
turn the wheels back toward Florida. In two days, this trip will be
|*Home At Last*|
total milage- 6970
stay tuned for the next adventure