Happy New Year 2014


Not exactly stealth camping… Taken on New Year’s Eve @ the casino in Riverside, Iowa.


Hello and Happy New Year for 2014!toyfactory

We made it through another year!  2013 was a rough one especially with the loss of Dad and the crazy employment situations.  But a lot of good things are in the works and I’m optimistic that 2014 will be the best year yet.

First, here are a couple of pictures of the New Year’s Eve party featuring the band, “ToyFactory,” at the Riverside Casino.  The concert was was high energy, with an R&B spin on some favorites including “We Are Family”, “1999”, “That’s the Way I Like it”, and even Glen Miller’s “In the Mood”, as well as many other songs spanning seven decades… The party went from 9:00 PM through midnight.

There were a lot of people having a great time and the booze was flowing!  I think the lady behind me became irritated because I startled her.  She was drunk and kept dancing around and throwing balloons on my table.  I popped a couple of the balloons with a diabetic lancet and the lady moved away, still swaying and slurring to her significant other.  😀

Brad_fiber lamp

That’s a battery powered fiber optic lamp and not a new Star Trek transporter beam.

After the music there was a champagne toast and the traditional “ball drop” to ring in the new year.  Though not planning to gamble, I ended up winning $30 profit on the penny slots.  Camping occurred in the casino’s parking lot using the Mr. Heater Buddy propane heater.     Though electric heat is nice, you can’t beat bone warming radiant heat of an orange flame.


Well, it wouldn’t be New Year’s without some goals.  “Goals” sounds better than resolutions.  Most of us equate resolutions with failure.

Soup and Salad

What’s not to like about this healthy fare? Click the pic and check out the Heirloom Salad Company in Iowa City, Iowa. It is so good, you’ll forget you’re eating healthy!

GOAL 1:  50 pounds of weight loss in 2014 (or more)….  This is the most important goal of them all… and medically necessary.  I got some lab results back on the 24th and the situation (blood sugar, cholesterol, and extremely high triglycerides) was starting to spiral.  It’s a scenario that kills many diabetics.  It is scary but reversible.

There was another wake-up call.  Sadly, on Christmas, a friend of mine had a stroke.   Thankfully, he is recovering.  This guy is a few years younger.  It makes you wake up and pay attention!

Soups and salads are a way of life once again!  Things are turning around quickly and with no suffering for lack of good food.  The picture on the right is from the “Heirloom Salad Company,” a restaurant in Iowa City.  They have you select a small or large bowl of the desired greens and then order your salad cafeteria style with the favorite toppings.  They’ll toss or chop it for you.  The low fat mango/cilantro dressing is a winner.

GOAL 2:  Relocation of the home base…  In a few months Dad’s house will be sold.  The kitties and I will have to relocate somewhere.  The dream is to move to northeast Iowa.  It would save on gas.  Oh, to live by a trout stream… actually a number of them.  🙂

GOAL 3:  Exercise and Van Trekking…  One easy goal is make every “van trek” – every camping trip in the van – include at least one belly busting workout at Anytime Fitness.  It’s doable and fun.  I plan to incorporate some kind of activity at least five days a week – even if it’s just going for a half hour walk.

GOAL 4:  Cookbook / Recipe Collections… The cookbook project is on hold for health reasons but there are other ideas.  I’m contemplating scaling back and making a PDF of “Healthy Soups and Salads You’ll Love” to sell on the website starting this winter.

GOAL 5:  Fish more…   Keep eating fish but grill, smoke, or bake them.  That includes Jesse, too.  The tomcat is getting pudgy again, too.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope everyone had a great end to 2013 and a good start for the next year.  2014 is going to be spectacular.   May your journeys be safe and fulfilling.  Live long and prosper!

Bradford, the “Van Trekker”

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