A Very Special Camping Buddy

South of Decorah, Iowa along Highway 150

Taken at Dutton Cave Park at sunrise

Someone honored me with her presence on this trip!  Meet Serena, the little 14 year old tortoise shell kitty who was a birthday present in 1998.  She’s got my heart.  The tiny girl has an adventuresome spirit and though losing most of her sight in one eye, she has a lot of life left in her. 

Usually the readers hear about Jesse James (a.k.a. “Mr. Jesse”), my tomcat.  He’s a wimp.  When Dad’s large, gentle neighbor dog came over to visit, Jesse ran in the house.  Serena stood up to the big dog, Zoey, and slapped her!

That takes moxie.  The kind a camping cat woul need to possess.

Yesterday I suddenly decided to go trout fishing once again.  Since Serena keeps running off from Dad’s house and coming back later, she needed to go on this trip with me.  It’s a great chance to see how a cat would do for several days in a van and get her some fresh air. 
It had been a busy, stressful week.  There are many unanswered questions about the future but for now it’s just one day at a time.  I did get the job I applied for and will start working at the seasonal position starting October 18th.

This picture was taken at Grannis Creek, a small trout stream in NE Iowa about 75 miles north of Cedar Rapids.  The creek was dry.  I almost gave up and turned around but then went a little farther and found some running water!  Apparently a spring or ice cave recharged the creek further downstream.  The pool near the van was crystal clear and friggin’ loaded with trout.  In about an hour I pulled five rainbows from the same hole.  The orange on their bellies told me that they had likely been in there a while.  Talk about luck!

The kitty stayed in the van during this endeavor.  She was a little shaken from the trip north but did pretty well in the van.  Her favorite position was on my left knee while driving.  I noticed Serena sat on the dashboard watching everything that transpired while I was fishing.

After cleaning the trout, the sun started to sink and the temperature dropped quickly. A cold front had charged through the state, the fierce winds shaking the leaves off the trees and threatening to bring an abrupt end to our “Indian Summer”.

I decided to camp at Dutton Cave park – a small campground just a few miles away.  It was nice to be the only camper and only pay the $8 fee – electricity included!  This time however, I didn’t go camping in my boxers like the last visit.  The temperature had fallen so quickly and the winds were so fierce, dinner was cooked in the van.  It was just some veggies and turkey Italian sausages… actually, quite tasty after fishing in the cold.

Serena ate and drank from little Styrofoam bowls on the kitchen counter in the van.  She did not seem upset at all by the van environment.  In fact, she purred most of the day and really seemed to enjoy the alone time with me.  I put a little towel on the floor for her to pee on.  It was a towel Dad’s cat had tinkled on so she got the message.  (There were newspapers underneath).  Serena seemed to acclimate very well.

This last picture was taken as I went to bed.  Serena is positioned at the front of the bed near the headboard.  In fact, she had taken over and zonked out for a while.  All night long “Lil Girl” slept against me, often draping a paw over my arm and purring.  

Today is Friday and I am writing this post from McDonalds in Decorah, Iowa.  The hillside is dotted with red, yellow, orange, brown, and green splotches that almost look like some kids with spray cans decorated the landscape.  It’s beautiful and relaxing.

After getting some kringla (those soft, bread like Norwegian cookies) for Dad (and me!), it’s off for more trout fishing and then a trip to Anytime Fitness.  There will be some (hopefully) spectacular leaf pictures tomorrow afternoon if I can find internet access.  Who knows where Serena and I will camp tonight?  We’ll just see where life takes us today.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen this little girl so happy but I do wish she would learn how to share the bed.  Even with insulation, that outer wall gets cold!
Thanks for visiting!  Enjoy the autumn weather!
Brad and Serena, the “Van Trekkers”

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"
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2 Responses to A Very Special Camping Buddy

  1. Very nice Brad. And the van rocks!!!

  2. Brad says:

    Thanks for the note. I’ll have to get caught up on your blog. How is life treating you?