Monday, December 5, 2011

Adventures in Omaha

Welcome to this week's edition of "Adventures in Omaha," where you will learn how to open a bottle of wine without a cork screw, navigate un-plowed, snow-covered backstreets of Omaha without a GPS, at night, and how to turn wine, orange juice and dinner leftovers into the breakfast of champions.

To start off an adventure in Omaha, you're going to want to wait for the first really nasty snowfall of the winter season. We're talking 45 miles an hour on the interstate nasty, 20 cars in the ditch along the route nasty, and fogged up windows turn to ice nasty.

Once you've planned ahead and picked the right travel day, the next step will be finding suitable company and entertaining past times for the ride. If your trip is say, oh, between two and three hours, two companions, an issue of Cosmo and two bags of chocolate chip cookies should do the trick. Just make sure you don't listen to country music, or you may lose your company. Adelle, however, is usually a safe bet.

Once you've survived the weather, and the drive, you're going to want to find lodgings. Preferably somewhere not near main roads, that would have been plowed after the torrential snowfall. In finding dangerous, snow-blanketed back roads, at night, you will ensure a healthy dose of adventure and daring. Assuming everyone comes out alive, it makes for great stories later. And if you really want to amp up the excitement, put your GPS into a non-driving mode for the rest of the night, rendering it completely useless.

While in Omaha, you have to sample some unique cuisine, no chain restaurants. Since you will not have a GPS at this point, it will be at night and the roads will be an abomination from hell, the food will really be worth it. Rock Bottom Brewery is a nice choice, as it's located in the historic Old Market District of Omaha, and near enough to your base of operations that you will probably still be able to find your way back afterward, still without a GPS.

Stop in at a local supermarket on your way back and grab a few breakfast items, and a cheap bottle of wine. But before you make plans to rent a movie, make sure your lodgings for the night has a DVD player. If not, rely on youtube and cable, either one works just fine.

Once you find your way back, settle in with your bottle of wine and enjoy whatever means of entertainment available. Don't have a cork screw? No problem! If hacking away piece by piece at the cork with a sharp knife doesn't work, and holding the bottle between your knees and whacking the bottom with a high-heeled shoe still doesn't work, fear not, you can still put that heel to good use. Smash it down into the bottle. Yes, the cork will fall into the wine, but that's ok. All you have to do is take a pen, or something long and thin, and stick it down into the bottle to hold the cork at bay while you pour the wine. Don't have wine glasses? Kids stuff! Use mugs! Throw in some Ritz crackers and a block of cheese, and you have yourself a classy, relaxing evening indoors.

Once you've have a good night sleep, what better way to start off your morning than a hearty breakfast? If your hosts' refrigerator is scant of breakfast food, and the off-brand oatmeal you purchased the night before looks like something out of Oliver Twist, you're in luck: take out that wine from the night before, mix it with some orange juice, and you've got breakfast Mimosa! Throw in the leftover donut holes from dessert last night, and you've got a breakfast of champions.

A Harry Potter marathon and a healthy dose of is a good way to ease you into the day, and then it's time to hit the streets of downtown Omaha. Nevermind if most of the places you wanted to eat are closed on Sunday; just keep walking, you'll find something eventually! And don't worry about the freezing temps and frigid windchill; the walking will warm you up.

Once you've found an open establishment, get your fill, and head out to a cultural experience, like a ballet at the Omaha Music Hall. The Nutcracker is an especially excellent choice. Complete with concessions, alcoholic beverages and a cheery Christmas prelude, the fact that it starts half an hour late won't even phase you.

Once you've taken in the Christmas classic, it's time to hit the open road and head home, but a pit stop for some puppy chow and gas on the way out will make the trip more seamless. By this time, the roads will have cleared up beautifully and the terrifying images from the day before will be but a distant memory. The past times for the road home can be a bit less rambunctious, as you'll be recovering from a wonderful but tiring weekend. Some naps, discussion about the effects of technology on the youth of today and periodic football updates should do nicely.

The hour and a half tacked on to the ETA on the way out will motivate you to take off at least 20 minutes on the drive back, landing you back home before 8 p.m.

Follow these simple steps and you'll be sure to have a memorable adventure in the land of Omaha, Neb., and planning your next trek before you know it. Safe travels, and happy adventuring!