|Greetings from that part of Iowa called “Little Norway”|
You know you are a winter vandweller if you have to scrape a thick layer of frost off your windshield… from the inside!
Good morning from Decorah, Iowa. The thermometer registered a low of -1 degrees last night. That’s cold but not at all cold for this region. Still, it was cold enough to necessitate sleeping with my head toward the side doors of the van (where the heater is) and sticking the feet in the Carhartt jacket near the bed’s headboard. All I can say is thank goodness I was camping at Walmart and could change out the 20# propane tank! The Mr. Heater Buddy could keep up pretty well even at this temperature.
|The Gunderburger – One Pound of Quality Beef|
I wanted to share some more fun pictures before heading back to Cedar Rapids. The first is the Gunderburger – a one pound hamburger cooked with locally ground beef on a delicious bun made by Pedretti’s bakery in Elkader.
The Gunder burger is sold by the Irish Shanti in Gunder, Iowa. Gunder is a tiny little community on a county road northwest of Elkader.
On Friday night I only ate half of this wonderful burger – then enjoyed the other half for breakfast the next morning. The toppings? This one had lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles (which I hate!), bacon, cheese, grilled onions, and jalapenos. Yum!
The van was parked where you see it near the end of the pedestrian crossing. It was the only place where I knew the van could make it back out! This bridge is part of the bike trail that circles Decorah. The right side is where I usually catch the first fish, in this quiet reflective pool.
The DNR has not stocked the stream for some time now that the fall fishing season is over. I did not expect much action, if any. One can imagine the delight when the first fish aggressively hammered the bait. I knew it would be a good day. The temperature was in the upper twenties and the weather was pretty comfortable.
As one might expect, the fish were few and far between, particularly at this “drive-up” hole where anyone has access, even if mobility is difficult. I started walking downstream, casting, and stumbling along the riverbank.
Several times I walked out close to the holes only to hear the dreaded “crunch” of ice below the feet. There was no way to know for sure if one was on a little patch of ice or over a hole. Though the water was shallow, it was still a long walk back if a foot plunged in.
The terrain only gets more difficult as you enter the timber. But difficult to access means less fished and hopefully something to add to the stringer.
At one spot, it was necessary to climb up a steep creek bank. I grabbed a tree branch which abruptly snapped. In slow motion, kind of like you see in a cartoon, I said calmly “Oh $hit” before starting to lose balance. Then I clawed at some weeds that ripped, and fell backwards down the steep embankment landing on my shoulder in some weeds and rocks… It hurt. Of course, it had to be the shoulder with rotator cuff problems. Rotator cuff problems are like tax debts. They don’t go away – just get worse! It was guaranteed to hurt later.
I decided to re-visit a favorite place – the Oneata Co-op in Decorah. Sorry about posting another food picture but their fare is so amazing (and unusual in this area). There was some sort of a greens salad, a Greek seasoned meat pie thing wrapped in dough, stuffed red peppers, and vegetarian, Indian style samosa appetizers.
To the left is a picture of this cool beverage purchased at the Oneata Co-op. It is made with blackberry and hibiscus as well as containing chia seeds… It makes me wonder if one might start growing green sprouts (like the Chia Pets on TV). To the right is a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. It was fantastic. When I live here some day, this healthy foods co-op is going to be a favorite haunt.
|The Decorah 5… “Taste the Rainbow”|