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Oct 24: Centerville, Iowa to Beatrice, Nebraska

This day was mostly a trek west on Hwy 2 across the farm country of southern Iowa, with some jogs at the end of the day to Wilber, Nebraska and Beatrice, Nebraska.  It’s been surprising to me how interesting miles of rural road can be.  It truly is a dynamic landscape.

Once again the hotel at my intended destination (Wilber, NE) was closed and I had to ride on to Plan “B” which in this case was Beatrice, NE, about 20 miles southeast.

The day started with overcast skies, but the weather report said zero percent chance of rain.  I decided to ride on although I would happily  have stayed in Centerville another day.
Across Iowa…
This tin man was in a farmer’s front yard, not sure if he was asking for donations.  The box was empty.
The same farmer’s yard…

Leon, Iowa…

This is the hotel in Wilber where I had hoped to stay.  I had called their phone earlier in the day and left a message but no call back.  When I got there, although it looked unattended, I tried the front door…and it was not locked.  So I went in and looked around.
It was a fully furnished and beautiful Midwest hotel, just unoccupied.  I kept calling out “Hello” as I walked though the Lobby, by the Front Desk and Dining Room and into the Kitchen.  Nobody.  There were no lights on, although the power was connected because I could hear the refrigerator running. (It was empty.)  A couple more “Hello”s as I ascended the stairs to the guests rooms, I didn’t want to surprise anyone with a shotgun.  The guest room doors were open and I could see in the remaining light coming through the windows that the rooms were each beautifully and uniquely furnished.  As I stood at the top of the stairs wondering whether or not to check myself in and leave some cash at the front counter, I heard a woman’s voice say “Hello” from somewhere near me.  I tried to find the source of the voice, but the light was too dim.  Then, “Over here.”  There she was in the Hall.  First thing I did was determine that she didn’t have a gun pointed at me.  She didn’t.  I composed myself and asked if she was the manager because I needed a place to stay.  She wasn’t the manager, just a resident, and didn’t think there were any rooms to let.  I apologized for bothering her, and left, wondering whether she was just another trespasser who happened to get there before me.  The Beatrice Inn down the road wasn’t nearly as interesting.

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  1. Joan Joan

    The Hotel Wilber was probably haunted and you spoke with the resident ghost. It is that time of year…..

  2. Randy Pfyl Concord, CA Randy Pfyl Concord, CA

    I looked up Hotel Wilber on internet and saw no signs they weren’t in business anymore. Looked like a nice old historic and interesting building. Now drawing a line from where you came I see you have Colorado in your sights, unless you’re going to do a sharp left turn SW direction. I never visited Colorado enough to see the beauty everyone talks about. If that’s your next destination, enjoy the ride and hopefully you will have good weather going through it. Choose your routes carefully. Thank you.

  3. Joan Joan

    Here is a review from Yelp from June 2013. Maybe this helps solve the mystery of Hotel Wilber:

    If you are looking for small town atmosphere and a place to relax this is it. Very friendly small town located near Lincoln Nebraska. No services like room service or anything. If you want a good nights sleep at a great rate this is it. I have stayed here twice and it is one of my favorites. This used to be a bed and breakfast and currently it is just a bed with no breakfast. Call the day before for reservations or 9 am the day of. Staff only comes in the morning at 9:00 am and returns reservation phone calls at that time. This hotel is mostly used by family members visiting the area. It is a well kept secret and I great place to stay if you have business in Lincoln, Crete or Beatrice. You very likely will have the place to yourself! Also the first weekend in August is the towns Celebration and you can not get a room here during that weekend.

  4. Bob Clem Bob Clem

    Mike, about 70 mi. NW of Beatrice is Gresham, NE where some of my father’s-side relatives lived much of their lives. I visited there a few times in my young years. I came to love and respect the Midwestern way of life, their outlook, and practicality mixed with humanity. Slower-paced and simpler life style, but amply supported by a solid work ethic. Not to mention ingenuity and humor as revealed by the metal sculptures you encountered and photographed. In fact, in all your travels you found a lot of “civilian” art work, capably wrought by everyday people who cared enough to share their inspirations with all the rest of us. Thanks for passing them on.

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