Celebrating 20 Years!

Celebrating 20 Years!

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is a group of more than 1,000 individuals, age 50 and over, who learn together through three distinct programs: OLLI Classes, OLLI Learning Trips, and OLLI Study Groups.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Presidential Museums Trip Day 8 -- September 15, 2009

Here is the final chapter to the story!!

This morning we had a little chance to sleep in and to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at our hotel. We boarded the charter coach and drove a short distance to tour the Steamboat Arabia Museum. In 1856, the Missouri River (“The Mighty Mo”) was the major route to the West from Kansas City, Missouri. The men usually went ahead of their families and set up places to live, established their businesses, and then sent word for the families to follow.

The Steamboat Arabia, like many other paddle wheelers, often carried tons of cargo (mostly building supplies, food, and household goods) along with passengers. Because the boats needed wood to fuel the boilers, which ran the paddle wheel, crew members often cuts trees from the banks of the river. The trunks remained along the banks and eventually died. When the tree trunks floated out into the river, they lodged in the mud with their tops standing up just under the water’s surface because of the strong current. One such tree punctured the hull of the Arabia, and the entire ship sank in five minutes. Fortunately, the only casualty was a mule that was tied at the stern. All of the goods on the ship were submerged under forty-five feet of muddy water.

About 135 years later, five men decided to look for the Arabia; however, because the Missouri River had changed course, the ship lay buried in a farmer’s field. The men labored for several months to salvage the buried treasure, and what they found - from before the Civil War - is displayed for all to enjoy at the Steamboat Arabia Museum. You can read more about the salvage operation and what they found at www.1856.com. The story is amazing, and we wish that we had scheduled more time for our visit there.

All together, we’ve spent seven nights in six different hotels in five different states and traveled just under 2500 miles to twelve sites in eight days…with a wonderful group of twenty-eight people. Special thanks to Bernie Drake, who suggested the trip and guided our learning about the presidents and two Civil War battle areas. Thanks also to Peoria Charter Coach and to their very professional driver, Jay Horvitz, who helped us at every turn along the way.

Stay tuned for the next adventure!

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