Today I decided I would be up for some adventure. After a quick breakfast I hopped in the car, powered up the gps and randomly choose an destination. Not knowing much about Nebraska I decided a beautiful sunny day was the perfect time to do some exploring.
My destination of choice was Nebraska City, Nebraska. My estimation was that you can't be more in Nebraska than Nebraska City, Nebraska. (Incidently it was the first city settled in Nebraska). After an hour's drive south of Omaha I arrived at my mystery location. My first stop was the first thing that caught my eye, the Lewis and Clark Exploration Center.
The center was high on the banks of the Missouri River
Lewis and Clark had stopped somewhere near where the city currently stands. The museum itself was free (sweet) and well organized and presented. It was interesting to read about Lewis and Clark's long journey, see the sights they encountered, as well as to see replica's of their boat,camp and party. I was particularlyimpressed by the fact that Lewis and Clark, as well as most historians, believe that they would not have made it were it not for their 150pound New Foundland Retriever.
According the museum, the dog would jump in the water and catch squirrels and small animals as well as retrieve deer that were shot along the water. The dog was apparently so big that it was useful in scaring away grizzly bears (I think most other types of dogs would have been appetizers!). How incredible to think that man's best freind could play such and important part, always keeping watch and being forever loyal. It was pretty amazing stuff.
After my visit to the Lewis and Clark Center was over I made my way to a Mexican Restaurant for lunch and then to the Mayhew Cabin. (Nebraska has a very large Mexican population, who would have ever guessed). The Mayhew cabin is the oldest cabin in Nebraska (1850) and was an important stop on the underground railroad.
When I arrived at this small historical site, in the middle of a neighborhood, it was abandoned. The weird part is that the front door to the museum was wide open, but not a sole in sight, in fact I was the only car in the parking lot. I let myself in and looked around and found it to be interesting but sparse. The most interesting part was found in the basement of the cabin where there was a tunnel built from the house to a nearby ravine/creek bed. The tunnel was used to smuggle slaves in the underground railroad. The slaves were kept in the basement and in rooms dug out along the tunnel. The Mayhews, who were staunch allies of abolitionist John Brown, would supply food and shelter for the runaways on the long journey. Going through the tunnel was a little nerve racking as it was old, many of the lights were out, and I was convinced I was going to be attacked by rats, poisonous snakes, a crazy man with a shovel, or it die in a collapse. Lest I remind everyone that I am touring an abandoned museum, in a basement, going through a long underground tunnel, to God know's where.
After quickly exiting the tunnel I toured the remainder of the grounds which included a firehouse, old church, 1920's house, candy store and several other buildings. I am not quite sure what these buildings had to do with anything. The entire place was quite strange. Never-the-less by the time I made my way to the exit a mysterious woman appeared. I quickly gave her the $3.00 admission and exited the twilight zone as soon as I could.
After that adventure it was a scenic ride back and a lazy afternoon in Omaha.