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Stories from Bernie's current trip - a mule voyage from Canada to Mexico

The 2008 Lost Sea Wagon Route
April 16, 2008

In 2007, mule Polly and I set off in our wagon looking for the remains of the Lost Sea. The plan was to travel from Neptune, Saskatchewan to Mexico learning about the great body of water that flooded North America’s heartland millions of years ago.


Lost Sea Belemnites

The Lost Sea, or Western Interior Seaway, was a warm, shallow sea that covered the Great Plains in the Late Cretaceous 70 million years ago. Teeming with 20-foot sharks, 40-foot mosasaurs, and squid-like belemnites, it vanished millions of years ago. One theory is that the western edge of the Plains was thrust up by geographic activity. This forced the water out, leaving the Plains covered with marine fossils.


Mule Polly and the Lost Sea wagon

So how far did mule Polly and I travel last year? Okay, we didn’t quite make it to Mexico. From April to October 2007, we traveled 600 miles from Neptune, Saskatchewan to Hill City, South Dakota. Then we returned (by trailer) to North Carolina for the launch of the “Too Proud to Ride a Cow” book, the account of an earlier 13-month Atlantic to Pacific mule journey.

Here’s the map of how far mule Polly and I got in 2007.


Progress 2007

Now flash forward to 2008. It’s April 16. The tax return’s been signed. The “Too Proud” book’s up and running. The Great Plains have thawed out. Next week Polly and I return to Hill City, South Dakota for Part II of the Lost Sea Expedition. Here’s a map of the route we’d like to follow to Mexico.

Our next Lost Sea destination? From South Dakota, I’ll steer the wagon south to Kansas. There we’ll learn more about Kansas sharks. Kansas sharks? Yep, remember, Kansas, too, was flooded by the shark-filled Lost Sea. Chief among them was the Squalicorax shark, also known as the Crow Shark.


Fossilized Squalicorax shark pectoral fin and vertebrae from Kansas
Smithsonian Institute
70 – 80 mya (million years ago)

See you soon on that dusty Lost Sea!

Posted Wednesday April 16, 2008 by Bernie


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