Thursday, February 4, 2016

Trails and Towns : U.S.S. Hazard : Omaha

Y'all, my Omaha posts are just sitting in my drafts, totally waiting for me to tell you about all the awesome shit we did! So let's talk about U.S.S. Hazard.


The U.S.S Hazard sits, empty, in a "museum" on the outskirts of Omaha. What's strange is, though it's on the Omaha side of the Missouri river, you have to drive through a tiny piece of Iowa to get to it! The park sits on the shore of the Missouri river, up river from Omaha, and in the area that was hit hard by a flood several years ago. Because of that, the park is currently and technically closed...but that doesn't mean you can't see it.


Freedom Park sits down a long stretch of road that takes you out of Omaha, into Iowa, and back into Omaha. The road is currently closed and the Iowa police, apparently, patrol the area. We didn't have any trouble. I've heard they ticket and it is technically trespassing, but we had no issues. We drove down the road to where the cable is across the road, parked, and walked down.


We arrived at the park, which is fenced off. Although, some of the fence is ruined and some people have clearly been climbing it, we didn't do that. We simply walked around the fence where it isn't connecting. This makes it trespassing but not breaking and entering. The key to any "illegal" exploration is NEVER break anything and ONLY ever have a camera and NEVER climb on anything. Adam was not into trespassing, but I told him I wanted to see things up close, get a couple pictures, and then leave...and it worked!


After we took a couple of pictures on the big anchor and talked about the cool ships and vehicles we were seeing, Adam saw someone on the Hazard. So we decided it was time to leave. As we were walking past the Hazard, we saw a guy on the ship, coming down the gang plank. I waved and smiled at him, which is always the best policy when trespassing. He asked how we got in. I told him where we'd parked and how we walked around the fence, not breaking anything. Told him that we just wanted to take pictures, didn't touch anything, weren't defacing anything, and were just going to leave. (Also told him about Adam's love of ships and how we're from Ohio.) I managed to break the ice and assure him that we were just really interested in the ships and other vehicles and not at all about fucking shit up...and it worked! He ended up inviting us up on the deck of the ship!


It turned out to be such a great risk for us. We could've stood outside the fence and gotten pics of everything, tiny and far away. But going in and talking to the guy was so great. He gave us tons of info about the ship, what it did, how it got there. He made sure to let us know about their Facebook page where there's tons of information on helping to restore the ship and the park. He took some photos of us on the ship. And he let us know that from where the ship was, it could definitely shoot downtown Omaha from where it's parked...and you can see how far the town is in the photo below. That ship could knock out windows from the sky scrapers downtown!


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