Iowa City Doesn't Disappoint
Left Keokuk Friday morning and headed north to Iowa City. Went straight to Todd’s house on N. Dubuque St. and we stood and talked for a long while. Gathered our Covid gear and headed towards Stringtown Grocery in Kalona. Before leaving Iowa City, however, Eric and Todd showed me some of the new buildings on campus – most of which had to be built due to the terrible flooding on the Iowa River in 2008. It was amazing to see how many buildings were destroyed in the flooding and had to be removed. Among the places they showed me were the new Hancher Auditorium, Art Building with the library part of the cantilever jutting out over a pond, and the Children’s Hospital and Kinnick Stadium.
Got to Stringtown Grocery – it was a new building since last time I was there, and they also had a huge plant/garden section. Since the store is run by the Amish, there is no electricity to the building. Skylights throughout the store provide lots of natural light. It was fun to walk around and look at all the canned jams and jellies, bulk grains, candy, and more. The cash registered are powered by car batteries, and the small refrigerated section is run by a generator. Took a scenic route back to Iowa City – didn’t see anyone driving buggies, but did see a few parked at farms along the way.
Back in Iowa City they showed me some more of the new buildings on campus, including the Art Museum (still working on it), and Music Building. There are also several taller high rises that have gone up since I was last in town; most have a hotel, but also condos and apartments that rent at top dollar. There is so much new construction!
Parked on Iowa Avenue and had lunch at St. Burch. After lunch we walked around downtown, and I saw Old Capitol and the Pentacrest as well as the pedestrian mall. There are many new stores, but also some of the long-standing stores, restaurants, and bars like Prairie Lights bookstore, the Deadwood, Sports Column, Hamburg Inn, and Ragstock. We also stopped at Todd’s store, Artifacts, which expanded in size back in November. It’s a pretty amazing place with antiques of all kinds to furniture to paintings and more.
Returned back home and visited more and then had dinner at an apple orchard north of the city. The weather Friday was stunning.
Saturday we had breakfast at home and then made our way downtown to meet Mike Knock, another friend from college who now lives in Dubuque (about 90 minutes away). We stopped at Todd’s store, Artifacts, and then met Mike at Goosetown, a restaurant a block from Todd’s store. We had an extended lunch and had a great time reminiscing and laughing. After lunch we headed back to Todd’s house, and Mike joined us for a few minutes before he had to head back to Dubuque.
Later in the afternoon we drove past the apartment building where Todd and I lived back in 1989-1991 and also the duplex on Court Street where Scott lived during that same time frame. They also showed me around a new live/work/play development in Coralville. Had a Pagliai’s Pizza for dinner and visited more until it was time for bed.
Sunday morning it’s off to Des Moines/Ankeny to see Beth and Chris as the “college reunion” part of the trip continues. I have to admit it felt good not to drive for most of two days!
Mileage between Keokuk and Iowa City: 99.6 miles
Total so far: 921.9 miles
Here’s a few views from Iowa City:
Top row (L to R): Mike Knock, Todd Thelen, and me; Old Capitol; banners along Iowa Ave.
2nd row (L to R): Todd's store, Artifacts; inside Stringtown Grocery
3rd row (L to R): outside of Stringtown Grocery; new Art Building
Bottom row (L to R): new Hancher Auditorium, Kinnick Stadium, new Children's Hospital