The first stop was just north of the town of Shellsburg to I could visit K&K popcorn, the makers of Tiny But Mighty popcorn. Farmer Gene Mealhow raises this rare, heirloom popcorn and ships it all over God’s green earth. The kernels are very small but incredibly flavorful. Note that when popped they are smaller than a penny. Large companies don’t want to deal with this type of popcorn. It’s difficult to grow, doesn’t yield as many kernels, and isn’t a big money maker. In other words, Orville Redenbacher can’t be bothered.
Nobody knows the exact origin of this corn but it is believed to be a relative of “flint corn” and may have originally come from local Indians who brought it from the southwest U.S. This variety dates back beyond 1850 and is very rare.
Just a sidenote – there is a state wildlife management area a mile east of Farmer Gene’s property. A couple of roads lead nowhere. Talk about a perfect spring camping spot!
After taking care of some family matters and visiting some personally significant landmarks, I did a little frisbee golfing (it’s a lot of fun!) at Wildcat Bluff park near the Cedar River. Frisbee golf is a heck of a workout. Not only do you have to climb the hills, flinging the frisbee from target to target, but you also have to retrieve bad throws which often end up in a ravine. With a strong wind, there was a LOT of extra climbing around. I played the entire 18… “hole?” course and got pretty scratched up and banged up in the process.
In addition to great frisbee golf, Wildcat Bluff has a great campground with some potential for spring fun but once I saw the other little spot across the river (Benton City Fry Recreation Area) it was a no brainer… It’s all about the scenery! Check out the map above by clicking on it – you can see the size difference in the two parks. You’ll have to look for the arrow to even see the smaller campground.
To the left is the gadget I bought in lieu of new tires – a Mr. Heater Base Camp hot water heater. This nifty little device allows you to carry everything needed for a hot shower (burner, pump, hoses) in one convenient package. Thanks to rechargable batteries powering the pump, you can shower anywhere, any time!
A 1# spin-on propane tank fuels the burner. You provide the water. The pump for the Mr. Heater threads on to a portable water tank but to my dismay, NOT the Coleman tank I carry.
No problem… Instead, I just filled a clean 5 gallon bucket and per the directions, submerged the pump into the bucket. The swing out water faucet was directed back into the bucket (though not pictured here) to aid in heating the water to a lovely, nearly scalding temperature. You can see the shower head on the ground. Disassembly and storage took about 2-3 minutes.
Something felt familiar about the colors in that restaurant – red and yellow. It was kind of haunting me. No, it wasn’t like the Fisher Price toys… Hmmm….Who has yellow and red? Then I looked up… Right now I’m sitting at the McDonald’s in Vinton and a cutout of good old Ronald McDonald is staring in this direction… That’s why those colors looked so familiar. It works. Yellow and red… ketchup and mustard… It’s comfortable.
As always, thanks for visiting. It’s dark out and time to head back to the campground for the evening, hopefully avoiding the deer along the way.
Who knows what tomorrow holds in store? With shower facilities, it’s even easier just to disappear and have some good and… CLEAN… fun.
Brad, the Van Trekker
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