Sept. 14 –
WHEW! Sioux City, Iowa – talk about a transportation nightmare! The streets and highways are a jumble here. We’d intended to spend more time here, but wasted a lot of it just trying to get from point A to point B. Case in point, our first stop: the Sgt. Floyd Museum. The museum is located along the shore of the Missouri River between the river and a major freeway. The only problem – there were no signs indicating just how to get there from any of the directions we tried. We passed the museum four times before inadvertently finding an unmarked sidestreet which led us under the freeway and finally to the museum. WHEW!
But the maze game was worth it. This was among the best of the museums we’ve visited so far along this route. The museum, named for the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die on the trek, is almost entirely hands on and the displays encourage adults and children alike to get involved. The museum also houses galleries (two of which housed photo exhibits during our visit) and a theater for presentations. We made lunch in the park and enjoyed it in the shelter (from today’s brisk wind) in Junior. Nice to have the shelter and the space to stretch.
Our next stop was among the best forts we’ve visited. Fort Atkinson just outside the town of Fort Calhoun was supposed to be open, but the visitors center was locked. No worries though. We were a bit museumed out, and the fort grounds were open. So we enjoyed a walk along the concrete path that looped through the tall grasses to sculptures representing the first Native American Council west of the Missouri River. Then we wandered through this enormous fort which at one time housed 1,000 people and served as the westernmost fort on the American frontier. We took a nice walk down the historic banks of the river to the riverbed, now farmland. At this point, Lewis & Clark noted the river was between 3 and 7 miles wide. Today, that area is farmland and highways with the subdued river occupying only a fraction of the basin.
Tonight we pulled into camp at NP Dodge Park in northern Omaha. The park is extensive. The campground is relatively quiet, but the restrooms and maintenance could sure use some attention. (Toilet paper, anyone?)