My Sister Came to Visit – A Fun Time

The last few days have been a blur.  My sister (whose name I am not using ’cause I haven’t asked permission) came to visit and was here from Monday evening until Saturday morning.  Dad, Sis, and I ate at several magnificent places including Biaggi’s Italian Ristorante and a Cedar Rapids favorite, Winifred’s.  We all got to spend LOTS of time together during both the day and night.  It was a sort of mini-vacation that happened before the new job starts tomorrow.  The timing was perfect.

The familiar view from camping spot #12, Hills Access Campground

While out, I took my sister to see the campground in Hills, Iowa.  She asked about bathrooms, shower, etc.  I told her that there plenty of amenities at campgrounds such as showers, flush toilets, Internet, and strong TV reception but none of them are here!  Fortunately, there is a convenience store just down the street where you can cover most of the bases.  Baby wipes can help with short time cleaning needs.  Phooey on the Internet and TV – it’s possible to go a day without either.  My sister liked the campground and commented about how peaceful, safe, and pretty it is.

On one of the day trips, Dad, Sis, and I went to visit family graves near Maquoketa, Iowa.   On the way back, I stopped at my friend Tony’s place with several tins of cat food.  The little buddy Figaro came out to eat, along with two friends.  Sis and I took turns holding the cats and I think Figaro remembered me.  I wish I could visit the kitties more but it would be too tempting to adopt another.

So after several day outings, it was time to part ways for now.  Sis came to visit Dad and I at 6:30 this morning and brought him a coffee and me a large Diet Coke as she headed back to her home in another state.  To a weary soul that early in the morning, Diet Coke is like black liquid gold, perhaps even better than “Romulan Ale” for all you Star Trekkers.  For a few milliseconds, I felt guilty for all the evil stuff we did to each other as kids.  One exception was when I drank all of her Mountain Dew (in the green glass bottles) and refilled the bottles with water.  All the other stuff I am sorry for.  🙂

Now days my sister drinks black coffee at Starbucks though she used to swill the $5 foo-foo, latte-mocha-frappie-cino things with whipped cream, syrups, nutmeg, and sprinkles.  Who else but Starbucks could take zero calorie coffee and turn it into a blissful diabetic coma (with sprinkles on top)?  Note to self – I need to do something nice for her and get her a gift card.  Maybe she will forget about the Mountain Dew bottles.

During much of the visit, Dad, my beautiful sister (who kept me well fed the last few days), and I discussed winter coats.  Dad needed one but didn’t want to buy one.  I was in the same boat too.  When the wind turned very cold yesterday it changed our minds.  Anyone who wants to camp – or just exist – through the harsh Iowa winter should have warm clothing.

The Ideal Winter Pajamas for a Van Camper in Iowa

It was 4 degrees outside last night but about 73 or so in the van. (76 at the roof level and 70 near the mattress).  I was impressed that a person could camp like this though it took a while to warm up the interior of the van.  Thank goodness for Curtis Carper’s ( suggestion to insulate a van.

After discussing it with the family, I decided to go get some new Carhartt clothing today.  A pair of bib overalls and a jacket were purchased.  Though coveralls were considered, I wanted overalls so that in moderate weather, it would be possible to just make do with a sweatshirt underneath and allow for movement.  The new apparel fits great and should help protect throughout the coldest winter months.  Carhartt is a household name and most people around here seem to consider them as being of very good quality.

The plan is to camp again soon, preferably during a light snow storm so as to take some pictures of the favorite spot – #12 – and the Iowa River.  A recent visit to a small town meat locker  yielded some awesome stew meat.  Dollar General also had a great close-out on charcoal.  You can see where this is going.  Stew, snowy weather, a little wine, and a good book on the Kindle.

Keep camping out whenever you can.  Some of us – myself included – can’t go full-time.  But if you are newer to sleeping in your vehicle, you can still get the same benefits even if it’s just a day or two a week.  Just roll up your windows and lock out your cares.

Have fun!



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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

4 Responses to My Sister Came to Visit – A Fun Time

  1. Love the Carhartts Brad – if they can’t do the job, nothing can. That’s tough stuff and will last forever – all the crew guys I’ve worked with swear by them.

    Lookin’ good, buddy!

  2. Wolf says:

    Enjoyed this Brad !! Stay warm !!

  3. EarlyGrayce says:

    Oooo, we love Biaggi’s! Awesome cannolis.
    Sounds like you had a nice visit; hope the first day on the new job went well!

  4. Bradford says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    EarlyGrayce – You are SOOOO right! The cannolis are awesome. I could only eat one. Biaggi’s rocks.

    Thanks for the comments Jeff and Wolf. Between the Aldi food and the Carharyts, keeping warm won’t be too difficult. LOL Take care!