10/03/2011: Day 4: Alliance, NE to Casper, WY
I thought to Google the town we happened to stop in last night, Alliance, NE, and found that there in a roadside attraction. Carhenge. So our first stop out was Carhenge. More details via the pictures.
Then we took smaller and smaller roads over to the Agate Fossil Beds.
The smallest road was on the map, but an unmarked turn-off from NE-71 with no hint about its name or endpoint. But I found it after doubling back to where I thought the map said there was a road. We cruised over six miles of the rolling western sandhills (paved at best with sand and gravel) at up to 55 mph to avoid a 60 mile detour on paved roads. Sure, I slowed approaching the crests of dunes, and a few times felt the car sliding sideways. It was fun.
We spent 2 hours at and around the Agate Fossil Beds interpretive center, picnicking in the parking lot, and hiking among the Daemonhelices and other exposed old mammal evidences. Hiking up steep paths at 4,500 feet is not what my lungs are used to.
Then we just drove over toward Casper. Several towns along the way listed single and double digit populations. The Wyoming border was barely marked on US-20. But it was interesting to drive toward rainy mountains with periodic sun.
Much cathedral lighting.
We'd planned to stay in Douglas, WY, but there was no room at any of the six inns we checked; hunting season has opened! So we took I-80 over to Casper and found a nice room in the National 9 Steamboat Inn for under $60. Room prices rise with elevation.
Here is the map of the day:
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