Looking at the Beauty in Things

A rose from the bush at Dad’s

Wow… It’s been a crazy week.  First, I’m sorry about the language in the last post.  I try to keep it cleaner than that but it sort of reflected the mood at the time.

Monday was a perfect storm.  I was severely sleep deprived and was watching the job I loved fall apart.  Being bipolar, I was already depressed and stressed out from working on Dad’s affairs.  It seems like when it rains it pours!  Oh well, it’s not the end of the world.  Things always get better.

A person doesn’t have to be miserable.  You can also “get away from it all” and that does help!  I’ve seen so many beautiful things in the last couple of days that it brought a flood of emotions, all positive and giving hope.  There are countless things for us to enjoy.  I took a lot of pictures and wanted to share some of coolest ones. 

On Tuesday morning, I headed up to a favorite haunt – Joy Springs park near Strawberry Point.  The deer flies were biting the hell out of me and the fishing sucked.  I only caught two trout and about sixty bug bites.  Uggggg…  It was fun though!

From there it was on to the town of Elkader, Iowa, in Clayton County (another favorite place).  This time I decided to stay at a new-to-me campground.  The Turkey River campground, northwest of Elkader, is located at the Big Springs Trout Hatchery.  This year they instituted a $5 fee for primitive camping.  That’s not a bad deal when you have a REAL porta potty to use!  Here are some pictures of last night’s camping.

Dinner with a view!  T-Bone and grilled asparagus.  Dessert was sugar free
banana pudding made with creamers snitched from a local fast food restaurant.



Home alone!



The Turkey River (upstream from the DNR Trout Hatchery)



Had to leave a porch light on…

Moon shining on the Turkey River

What a perfect night of camping (except for the gnats).  The meal was awesome, there was nobody around, and I could finally rest.

In the morning, I stopped back in the town of Elkader to take some pictures for Dad.  Here are a couple of them.

Star Trek… hmm….Sounds like fun!
The historic bridge over the Turkey River

After leaving Elkader, I took a road toward the town of West Union and visited Otter Creek park.  This trip has been about checking out new places and this far end of Otter Creek was incredible.   Below is a picture that I really enjoyed taking.  It sort of summarizes my love for the “Hill Country” part of Iowa as well as being able to tour it by van. 

Today’s fishing was intense and I got the limit of trout at Otter Creek in short order… They are on ice, some awaiting the hot skillet tonight.  The soup to go with the meal is creamy tomato bisque (it’s simmering in the van right now)



Otter Creek Fishing Access, Fayette County, Iowa

A wildflower at Otter  Creek

There were lots of neat things to see yesterday and today.  The beauty of the surroundings helped to neutralize all the sad and toxic emotions.  I thank God for all the little things in life that make it so enjoyable and having the time to experience many of them.  The best things in life are still there… and they are free.  We need freedom, too!

The rest of the trip’s plans are unplanned.  We’ll see how it goes from here.  There are bound to be more new places to find, people to meet, and things to share… and there will be other jobs.

Thanks for riding along, as always.  Take care!

Bradford the Van Trekker

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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6 Responses to Looking at the Beauty in Things

  1. tinycamper says:

    Sorry about the job loss, Brad, but it looks like you are making lemonade out of lemons. Wishing you God’s blessings as you enjoy His beautiful creation. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like you nailed his demeanor perfectly. But of course he might have been a noob just trying to rev up some cred with the veteran RR guys. — Bob in LA

    • Brad says:

      It’s been interesting. They tried for four days to call me back into work. One of the two remaining drivers is refusing the little one hour jobs and the manager is having to run the piddly little stuff in the middle of the night… I miss the job and the railroad guys. All politics aside, the work is just gone… It’s too bad.

  3. Hi Brad!

    I don’t know if I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I’ve been reading for a while (through the RSS feed on my phone). After reading this and the previous posts, I wanted to make sure I came over here to comment.

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but please don’t feel you need to apologize for the colorful (but appropriate!) language in the previous post. In my opinion, there are times where it’s completely warranted, and I believe this was one of those times.

    I’m glad you stood by your principles. You never know when doing so is going to be an inspiration to someone else.

    And you’re right. You’ll find another job. My best to you, and thanks so much for your posts…I love reading them.

    ~Mara

    • Brad says:

      Thanks for the very kind words, Mara. After I bailed, the company fired the two remaining employees – no reason, no notice. They were shocked and both wished they’d been given the chance to quit…

      Comments like yours help brighten the day and are so much appreciated!