OMAHA IS SHOCKINGLY BIG! It's Nebraska's largest city and home to 1.3 million residents in the greater metropolitan area. That's quite a change compared to the extensive open farmlands I passed while crossing the state. Apparently, I've saved the best for last.
Omaha's origins go back to 1854 when speculators from neighboring Council Bluffs initiated a ferry service across the Missouri River. The west riverbank soon became known as the "Gateway to the West" and attracted new settlers like a magnet. Omaha gradually outgrew its sister city, and by its central location become an influential transportation hub and commerce center, and eventually a major distribution of goods to the nation. Omaha was perfectly situated in America's heartland and grew to attract investors and jobseekers, with many opportunities for economic growth.
And so it happened that fortunes were made: railroads, breweries, stockyards, meat packing plants, and investments contributed to Omaha's success -- both domestic and international. Omaha's economy was diverse and creative as proven by the variety of Fortune 500 companies headquartered here: Berkshire-Hathaway investments (under billionaire Warren Buffett), ConAgra Foods, Kiewit Construction, Mutual of Omaha insurance, and Union Pacific (USA's largest railroad). It's no surprise that Forbes Magazine rated Omaha as the nation's "Best Bang-For-The Buck City" ranking it #1 for business recovery in difficult economic times. Not bad for a town that began as a simple ferry terminal!
But impressive as Omaha is, the most rewarding event for me was crossing the state line into Iowa, some 1700 miles from home on my 21st week!
Week 21, 1700 Miles, Weather 70F🌩