Visiting Some “Boundary Waters”


Located near the Clayton and Fayette County, Iowa boundaries, this is a great place to escape for an afternoon!

Tuesday was enjoyable.   I spent the afternoon at a creek in Iowa’s “hill country” where Fayette and Clayton Counties meet.  The day was set aside as a “boundary” from work.  Sometimes you just have to take care of yourself.  Often, a person has to leave a situation and cool off.  This trip was for both reasons.  The week had gotten off to a rough start.

2_Near Otter Creek

Near the border of Fayette and Clayton Counties in NE Iowa

On Monday, a county health inspector showed up at work.  The visit was not going well in terms of compliance issues.  I had to text the manager and assistant manager to come in and help with the inspector’s questions.  My truthful answers were sinking the ship like loading cannon balls into a rowboat.

The assistant manager arrived almost immediately and handled most everything.  She’s incredible!  The manager showed up later and snarled at me (in front of a customer) for daring to call him in during his “time off.”  He said angrily that he might just be calling me in on Tuesday (my day off) to help him with some of the things that were found to not be compliant.

I almost quit on the spot but chose to ignore the impulse to use profane language.  It took a great deal of restraint (and later, a blood pressure pill)  not to say two words, one of which was the pronoun “you”.  As you get older, you learn to choose your battles!

So why share this information?  Because it is indicative of a significant personality change.  I’ve quit quite a few jobs (some with better pay and working conditions) over little stuff.  The last few years of camping and a lower stress existence have been life changing.  Others’ unhappiness doesn’t have to become my own!

Rather than waiting to be called in, the phone ringer was shut off on Tuesday.  Sometimes you have to say “no”.  (But the boss was still welcome to call all he wanted!)

1_Pink Gorilla

Along Highway 150 in the town of Hazleton (50 miles north of Cedar Rapids) No, I hadn’t been drinking. (That was later)

On Tuesday I was helping Dad with some health related and financial issues – things that are tiring and taxing.  His health is continuing to decline and keeping up his house and finances does wear a person down somewhat, mentally as well as physically.

I’d also been ruminating all day about being available to work, etc.  My wise sister said “Don’t you dare work on your day off!  Set some boundaries!

“Boundary” turned out to be the operative word.  While daydreaming, I got to thinking about Otter Creek – a favorite place very near the boundary of Iowa’s peaceful Fayette and Clayton counties.  Something clicked.  A short little road trip to these “boundary waters” using Dad’s gas sipping car sounded like fun!

Otter Creek_Summer and Fall

Summer vs. Fall 2013

These two photos are from the Otter Creek area – the bottom picture was  taken on Tuesday; the top is from early summer.  The location is Dummermuth fishing access along Echo Hill Road – near Elgin, Iowa.

I fished this and another location along Otter Creek and was able to limit out on trout (5) in a couple of hours.  One of the fish was a very nice sized “brookie”.  Three of the fish were cleaned to be used as “stuffers” (yep, another new recipe in the works as you see in the photo below).

During the couple of hours of fishing, there was no worry about work.  I didn’t think about the significant recent decline in Dad’s health.  The only downer was when I stepped on a patch of weeds, found out nothing was under them, and fell knee deep into the creek.  The fish stopped biting and it was  necessary to move to another location!

Jesse Stealing Trout

You cannot turn your back on this cat. He’s earned the name Jesse James. This is one of the trout from Tuesday.

This little trip really did make a difference.  There is no sin in taking a day off.  You can still be a team player while taking care of one’s self.  If you don’t, who will?  Definitely not work…. unless you work for someone who actually cares!

Remember that awesome Assistant Manager I mentioned?  She’s trying hard to try and schedule a couple of days off in a row for camping purposes.  A***** is one in a million!  It is good to have a boss  like her.  It restores one’s faith in people.  I can see a day where she will have a convenience store of her own.  At this end of the wage spectrum, it is difficult to find bosses who have compassion.  For the others – whose skills are lacking – there are boundaries!  I recommend choosing boundaries near creeks.

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a spectacular fall season!  Stay positive – stay camping!

Bradford the “Van Trekker”

 345 total views,  1 views today

Bookmark the permalink.

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"

Comments are closed.