Day 1 – No Fish!

1_flying J

You can’t beat free camping


Greetings from Fort Dodge, Iowa.  Today was the first day of ice fishing and I didn’t catch a darn thing.  That’s okay – most of the other people were having equally terrible luck.  It was fun anyway.

2_Home Sweet HomeAfter arriving at the Flying J truck stop last night, I ended up with a new gadget – a Road Pro fan for the van.  The old, plastic, roof-mounted fan was squealing something fierce.  When heating the van with propane, it helps to have a fan blowing over the ceiling to keep the plywood from getting too hot.  The added benefit is better circulation of the heat, too.

Based on the advice of a good friend back home breakfast was consumed at a truck stop called “Boondocks” – located just on the east side of Interstate 35.  From there it was on to the fishing pond.

IMG_5251In the meantime, I stopped along Interstate 35 to take a picture of the beautiful sunrise this morning.

The pond was in good shape for ice fishing today.  Though the DNR schedule said the pond was stocked on Saturday, the guys who live in the area said it was actually replenished with trout on Friday.  The fish had been biting like crazy on Friday and  Saturday but that was not the case today.  Still, I learned what was working and where – tomorrow it will be time for a rematch.

6_Ice FishI fished for about 3 and 1/2 hours today in four locations.  Right in the middle of drilling a hole, the rotator cuff went out…  No wonder so many people are using powered ice augers!

There were a number of people fishing today – nearly all of them male and ranging from eight or nine years old to eighty.  It was a blast and despite slow fishing, we all had fun.


Born January 5, 1914

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the small town of Woolstock – about 25 miles away honoring its most famous citizen.  A group was having a 100th birthday anniversary for George Keefer Brewer – a person many knew by the name “George Reeves”.  George played the role of “Superman” in the TV series that ran for over 100 episodes in the 1950s.  In addition to honoring his life, we watched TV episodes, consumed cake and ice cream, and sang “Happy Birthday”.

9_ReevesGeorge Reeves died at age 45 in 1959.  Since the Superman series ran in the 1950s, it has been shown somewhere, some time, every day since.  Many, myself included, feel George Reeves was the best actor to ever wear the red cape.

The picture from the right came from the netbook.  With wi-fi access while camping at the Flying J, it was possible to watch some old Superman episodes.  I don’t think a person ever outgrows them!

The plan for Monday is to return to the pond and try again to catch some trout.  We’ll see how it goes!   If the luck is equally poor – no biggie.  It’s been an interesting trip.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bradford, the “Van Trekker”


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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"

2 Responses to Day 1 – No Fish!

  1. Hi Brad,

    As much as I enjoyed the old Superman series, I never knew that his real name wasn’t Reeves, or that he was from Iowa. I just learned something new and interesting!

    By coincidence, we just watched “Man of Steel” yesterday, and although the special effects were outstanding, it sure drifted from the original storyline.

    Better luck fishing next time out, so you can “live long and prosper”.

  2. tinycamper says:

    Brad, thank you so much for posting the photo of the inside of your van. There is something so special about getting to peek inside others’ rigs!

    Also thanks for the closeup of the ice fishing hole. I had no idea how it was done or that you used an auger. I guess I figured you just took an axe and whacked a hole. Ice like that is not in my experience!

    The sunrise was just glorious.

    Glad you took us along for the trip. Looking forward to the next one. Only I hope you catch fish next time!