DAY 88: Omaha, Nebraska
Miles traveled: 12,680
States visited: 30 (just added: Missouri, Iowa)
Weather: 85, sunny
When I started planning this trip last year I wouldn’t have envisioned a two-day stop in Omaha. But then I remembered it’s the home of Conor Oberst and of Saddle Creek, one of the most influential indie record labels of the past decade. I started hearing people talk about how it’s a really fun town. And then in October, after the Omaha district stunningly gave its electoral vote to Barack Obama, I realized this place was calling me.
What I found was a fun town with a massive number of dive bars, which I’m fine with. Parking was cheap and plentiful, and traffic was pretty much non-existent. My couchsurfing hosts were Sophie & Vince and we went to a few pubs my first night in town.
There’s a surprising amount of interesting trivia regarding Omaha. Warren Buffett, the world’s richest man, is from here. All sorts of famous actors have been born here. So was Malcolm X – who knew? His birthplace is now a park.
We went thrift store hopping, but sadly, Omaha doesn’t have enough good thrift stores. Sophie found the Clueless soundtrack cassette tape, which I consider to be a real score. I’m still in the market for cassettes myself, but nothing caught my eye here.
They have cops on Segways downtown.
And big Omaha balls all around the city.
The University of Nebraska has a campus here so Omaha has all the stuff that goes along with being a university town. I like finding cities that are an oasis of youth and excitement in the middle of a huge rural, conservative area. Omaha reminds me of Missoula and Austin and Salt Lake City in that regard.
On my way here I passed through the corner of Missouri, marking the 30th state that I’ve visited. Still sixteen more to go! Next up, I’m making my way towards Minneapolis, but I might take a day to camp and relax in Iowa first.