Omaha, Iowa City, and the Super 8 Peoria debacle

This morning, I spent an hour or two in the Jocelyn Art Museum in Omaha.  I encountered new faces….

I met a saint ….

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And this painter–Marsden Hartley–I have been seeing his work everywhere.  He wasn’t on my radar before this road trip.  Who is this guy?  I’m drawn to his work which ranges from landscapes —

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I have some research to do on him.

Back in the car, I knew I wanted to drive across the state of Iowa and get as close to Peoria, Illinois for the night.  I gave myself the Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City as a halfway stopping point–about 2.5 or 3 hours away.  Once again, the rural scenery did not disappoint.

I kept singing the phrase–“the corn is as high as the elephant’s eye…” from the musical Oklahoma.

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Iowa City is home to the University of Iowa.  Many good playwrights come out of their MFA program.  I have friends in the Philly theater community who learned and loved on this soil.  Go Huskers!

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At the Prairie Lights bookstore, I bought over a hundred dollars worth of plays, predominantly contemporary British plays that I have been eyeing lately.  I will use these for classes in the fall.  (Apparently, my head is beginning to turn back to work matters…hmmm.) At Molly’s Cupcakes, I purchased two award winning cupcakes (from the TV show Cupcake Wars.)  The Peach Cobbler cupcake with real whipped cream was gone before I turned on the ignition. Incredible.

I continued on my drive.  I had at least two more hours to go.  I crossed the Mississippi and was welcomed into Illinois by this illustrious landmark.

As I drove through endless cornfields, I came upon an intersection and low and behold, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

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I hope you can hear the angels singing as you gaze on this photo.  Art stores are my dealer; they feed my addiction of buying paint supplies.  I go to the Blick store in Philadelphia whenever I’m in town and come away with a tube of titanium buff or naples yellow and yet another brush.  I’m seriously addicted.  So imagine my confusion, here, in the middle of cornfields, to see this sign.  Is it a hallucination?  My oasis in the middle of a desert of corn?  No. Apparently, the main offices AND an outlet store were located at this rural intersection.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  Unfortunately, it was closed.  I seriously considered getting the closest motel nearby so I could shop at the outlet store in the morning but I pressed on.  I had miles to go before I slept.  Farewell Blick.

The last story of this day.  I got to the Super 8 Peoria East hotel and stood at the reception desk.  I was quoted a price.  I said that Hotels.com offered me a cheaper rate at that hotel.  The kind clerk, Meagan, said I would have to purchase it on Hotels.com.  I did right there and showed my receipt to Meagan and she told me that I had purchased a night at Super 8 Peoria, not Super 8 Peoria East.  I would have to go 7 miles back–back where I had come from for my booking to count.  No way.  7 miles felt like a hundred. After driving ALL DAY, I was not about to step into that car again.  What ensued was 45 minutes calling Expedia, Hotels.com, the other hotel, and chatting with very helpful and kind Meagan.  Around 9pm, I gave up for the night and Meagan gave me a discounted rate for the hotel I was standing in.  The next day, after a few more phone calls, my booking for the other hotel was cancelled.

I can dig my heels in when I want to.

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