An Orange Van and a Blue Bike

Trout BikeHello and thanks for stopping by!

This picture was taken today in Decorah, Iowa.  Oh, how just a few months ago I wanted to call this place home.  But it was not meant to be.  Instead, I chose a location close to the friends and the job in Jones County.  But this town is still magical to me and being away makes it all the more fun to return for some rest and relaxation.  While editing this paragraph, an elderly gentleman shuffled past (in the McDonald’s lobby) and said “Hiya!”  That’s how people are here in northeast Iowa.

Steak Bagel2

First breakfast cooked inside the van after the cleanup project…

Jesse and Serena are home during this little expedition.  It was necessary to treat them with some flea medication and Serena had a mild reaction.  With the late summer heat and humidity, she is safer at home resting in the central air conditioning.

Last night I headed north and camped at Goeken Park which is about 24 miles south of Decorah.  At just $8 (including electricity) it’s the best value I’ve found yet for a campground!  Though right along Highway 150, Goeken Park still a very quiet place to camp.  As the sun broke, you could see mist over the valley below – a common sight in Iowa during the summer as the corn plants release some of their moisture during the night.

Breakfast was cooked on a simple electric hot plate using a skillet… nothing fancy!  The sandwich was just a steak, egg, and cheese bagel but you’ll not find this one on the menu at McDonalds.  “Never frozen” black angus steak and farm fresh eggs makes a person glad to be an Iowan!

With that awesome steak sandwich in the belly, it was time to fish.  All morning was spent on my feet (in a lot of pain!) but the dag-gone fish were not biting.  The portion of the trout stream near the hatchery was packed with friendly seniors because of the ease of access.  I didn’t catch a stinkin’ thing.  After lunch, I pumped up the tires on the old blue Raleigh bicycle and headed toward some other holes.  In short order, there were five lovely trout on the stringer and not a soul in sight.  The old rule is true – the farther from the car, the fewer people are fishing!  From there it was off to the campground to rest up from the summer heat and high humidity.

New Color 1The color is definitely a change! Here is the revamped kitchen in the van.  Gone is the boring beige.  The upper storage compartments are contrasting with the walls… finally!

Even the counter top is new.  It took eight floor tiles at a cost of just $.34 / tile to change the looks.  The van’s doors are still beige and I kind of like the way it looks (along with the carpet) compared to the orange.

New Color 2The original bedding works just fine with the new color.  An added benefit of the darker color is that if I cover up the voltmeter, it’s pitch black inside now at night.

The upper bulkhead door is now hinged at the top for Serena to come and go as she pleases.  An added benefit is that when little door is propped open, the air conditioner regulates better (the temperature sensor is on the other side of the door).

The air conditioning helped end a most relaxing day.  After all the events of the last few months, it’s nice to have to van clean again.  Having the clothes muddied, the van smelling a little like trout, and such, it’s good to feel at home again.  Tomorrow there will be more fishing and new things to see and do.

Stocking VideoIn closing, I wanted to add a link to this uncensored, unedited video clip of trout stocking in action.  (you can just click the picture) Toward the end you’ll see me laugh and say “Thank you very much” to the DNR guy who stocked the fish.  After 40 years of catching trout, there’s still nothing like the thrill of fighting for your dinner!


Take care and enjoy the rest of the week.

Bradford, the “Van Trekker” in Decorah, Iowa.