The Urban Life
|The view from our balcony|
I have been thinking about this post for awhile. When we are not traveling I find it hard to sit down and write but I have wanted to tell you about our new digs and what living downtown has been like for us.
|Another balcony view|
We moved into a one bedroom apartment on the west side of the river in the downtown Cedar Rapids area. This is a brand new building that actually they are still working on. The first floor is businesses, floors 2 and 3 are apartments and floors 4, 5, & 6 are condos. We love the building. Every apartment and condo has a balcony that looks out over the river and the McGrath Amphitheatre.
Our little apartment in this building is 767 sq. which, after living in our 5th Wheel for 7 years, seems huge. We feel these apartments were well thought out. The kitchen is wonderful. It has a large island (all solid countertops - quartz I think) with a large sink and plenty of seating room . We started by buying 3 barstools but found that it would fit 5 and since when Mitch, Jen and Evie visit we need five. My biggest complaint in our 5th Wheel was always how cramped the kitchen was so I am in heaven in this kitchen. The counter space is enormous.
|My wondefrul kitchen|
On to the bathroom which is my next favorite space. It also seems huge to us but the gem here is the shower; it has a rainfall shower head. I have seen these and always wanted to try one. I love it!!!! One of the extra benefits is that we don't pay for water and actually don't pay for heating water as they have a couple 500 gal hot water tanks that provide hot water to the apartments instead of having a separate hot water heater in each unit. It's been a long time since I felt I could take a long shower as we often weren't on full hook-ups and, even if we were, our hot water heater wasn't that big.
I think John's favorite feature of the apartments is that there is no carpet. He really dislikes carpet. I've been trying to convince him to get an area rug in the living area but no go there. I'll see how cold the floor feels this winter before deciding if I need to lobby harder. The living space also seems very large but comfortable. We never had an issue with that part of the 5th Wheel. Because we had two large opposing slides our living space was plenty comfortable for the two of us.
Of course going from RV to an apartment has some start up issues, like furniture. We bought the bar stools so we don't need a dining table. We had 2 recliners that we bought when we remodeled the trailer so they came with us but no sofa, tables, entertainment center, bed (though we did bring our new mattress with us), dressers, bedside tables etc. We also needed storage solutions. We used a lot of storage cubes in the trailer and they worked well so it got us thinking. We ended us deciding to use cube storage units and cubes for the entertainment center, giving us tons of storage in the living room. We also used two small cube storage units in the bedroom as bedside tables. We also used cubes in the closet along with the cube storage unit that we had it the closet in the trailer. This is certainly not fine furniture but it looks great and works well for our needs and is less expensive. We bought a bed frame designed for the type of mattress we have (no box springs) To round out our furniture my friend Trudy loaned us a love seat and some sofa tables for awhile. Giving us time to decide if this life change is permanent of temporary. Ouch! That's a lot of stuff. It took us about a month before we felt like we had things the way we wanted.
Living in the downtown area has been a plus for the move. We are within walking distance of 4 microbreweries, 2 theaters (the live performance type), the main Public Library, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, a large convention venue that occasionally has big concerts booked, and many restaurants. Our plan is to take advantage of as many of those as we can. We already have quite a few favorite happy hour spots.
Cedar Rapids has become much more bike friendly since we left. There are bike lanes on many streets and one is being added to the street we live on. These bike lanes help us connect to the Cedar River Trail which winds through the city. Once on the trail we can ride south of the city for 10 miles to Ely. Riding north on the trail connects us to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail which goes all the way to Waterloo (52 miles northwest). We are trying to ride more often and this week we have ridden three 20 mile rides which is about all our butts can take right now. If we time it just right there is the reward of a happy hour brew!
The Amphitheater across the street from us has given us plenty of music for free. We got to listen to Dianna Ross one night which was amazing. There was really only one concert I didn't enjoy, just a little too hard rock for me but the rest have been great. This would not be a good location for people who don't enjoy that kind of thing. There are other events that occur there too, like the BBQ Roundup, the Asian fest, and coming up yet is the Latin Fest. Within walking distance are the areas known as Newbo and Czech Village. More music and festivals. On about every other Saturday from May thru September, Cedar Rapids has a large Farmer's Market just across the river from us and we have definitely enjoyed it. So entertainment abounds.
I think this is a good place for us right now and I also know that this is where we should be. Already we have been able to help with Evie a couple times when she has been sick and other times when help was needed. The last time she was here at the apartment she asked me "Nana, will you live here forever and ever?" Will we? I just don't know. As much as I am enjoying where we are there is much that I miss from the RV life. We may just have to figure out a new way to balance the two. We do have some trips planned with and without the rig. Tomorrow we will be going to Omaha to visit friends and then on to my brother's in Grand Island NE for the solar eclipse. It is in the path of the total eclipse... so glad he lives there since by the time we even thought of it there would not have been a hotel room anywhere. Then in September we are going overnight to Galena for our anniversary (rented a convertible so hope it's good weather). Finally, at the end of September we are taking the 5th wheel and going out for about two weeks, starting with some biking in Lanesboro MN with Trudy and Mike. Originally I thought about Door County but with all the expense of moving I am not in the mood to spend that much so I think we will go a few places right here in Iowa and do some more biking. Then it will be time to put the 5th wheel to bed for the winter. I may have to sit down and have a good cry.
So to all our RV friends who are out there on the road and to all ........Happy Trails!