Fossil hunting went pretty good yesterday. As a direct comparison to the last time we went fossil hunting, down in Fossil, Oregon, The Stonerose Interpretative Center had nicer facilities than what we encountered in Oregon, but it seemed tougher to find fossils.
When we were in Oregon, it seemed like every piece of rock you split open had something in it. Here in Republic, you had do a lot more evaluation between shale and limestone, and exercise extreme caution in how you were splitting the rock...I ended up with more than a few 'half-fossils'
Just like in Oregon, there was no chance of un-earthing a T-Rex here. These fossil beds are from the Eocene Epoch, roughly 48-50 million years ago. Most of what they reveal are vegetation fossils, although if you are lucky you can find fish and insects. We weren't that lucky, but we did find a few nice examples of Sequoia and Sumac.
One of the things that set Stonerose apart from Fossil, was that there IS the Interpretive Center. They have a few nice display cases full of fossils you can expect to find, and at the end they will help identify what you have found. By comparison, in Oregon, there was a little shack with a nice retired man in it taking your money, and that was it. It's a double edged sword though...if you find something too nice 'of scientific interest' the Stonerose Center reserves the right to keep it for 'educational purposes'. So...you want to find neat, but not too neat.
After digging, we checked out the down-town strip of Republic. There were a few cute shops for my wife and the girls, and The Republic Brewing Company for me.
Hey...sitting in the sun, splitting up pieces of rock is warm, dusty work...and a beer, or two, or three feels pretty good afterwards.
It's a cute place...fairly new(their one year anniversary in June) they had 7 beers on tap when I was there yesterday...I tried their Brown(pint), Flannagan's Irish Red(1/2 pint) and Republic Pale(1/2 pint). I didn't try their Blonde, Porter, or either of the two Weizen's that they had going. In addition to their own beers, they sell a cider made down the road in Winthrop, and a mead made in Dayton.
I HAD to get some to go(hey, this cabin is not my house, my New Years Resolution doesn't apply). Now here is where I saw a stroke of Bloody Brilliance.
Growlers are cool...being able to get beer to go is cool. Sometimes though, even in my beer drinking hay day, there were times I couldn't/wouldn't finish a 64 ounce growler before the beer inside went flat. To counter this, The Republic Brewing Company offered a 32 ounce 'Grunt'. These might be available other places now....but it's the first time I've seen it, so I'm giving them the credit for the idea.