Part I – Visiting Decorah and Vesterheim

3_Nordic Statue

“Uff-da!”

Greetings and thanks for riding along with Serena and I on this gorgeous fall day.

There is a cause for celebration.  The promotion at work is official, along with a nice pay increase –  enough to fund a couple of van trips per month!  “A raise is the difference between believing you can make a difference … and knowing that your efforts are appreciated!”

This weekend seemed like a great time to do something special – visit the Vesterheim museum in Decorah.  I’ve been wanting to see this cornerstone of Norwegian pride for many months… but fishing always got in the way, taking up all the time!

The artifacts were amazing and I took many photos.  They still need cropped, enhanced, etc. before posting.  I’ll work on that on Sunday.  For now, it’s back to the familiar fishing, food, and feline pics.

1_Fillet of fish

Now THIS is a “fillet of fish” …

On Friday morning, Serena (who is doing terrific these days) and I arrived early.  Of course, we did a little trout fishing and caught some beauties.  She explored a little bit while I was cleaning the catch of five nice trout.

Why the gruesome picture on the right?  Some people have never cleaned fish before so I thought it would be fun to illustrate how to make a real boneless fillet.  (rather than a “fillet of fishsticks” sandwich at one of the fast food places…)

Uncle BuckHelping with the cleaning was a new friend, Uncle Buck.  Purchased from Amazon, a  Buck Silver Creek fillet knife joined the expedition.  This thing works great!  It has a 6.5″ rigid blade that stays pretty sharp.  I nearly filleted a knuckle.

After fishing, we headed over to the Family Table Restaurant Though I had been  contemplating a healthy salad, the viking statue out front convinced me to give the place a try.  A battered cod dinner fed the fisherman well!  The terrific food, friendly service, laid back atmosphere guaranteed a future visit!

Soon it was time to pick up a few supplies; Serena and I did some day camping in Dollar General’s parking lot.

8_Ale BowlAfter a lengthy snooze, it was time to visit the museum.  Vesterheim is a crown jewel of Decorah.  It spans many buildings and houses 24,000 artifacts spanning many decades from the early 1800s forward.  Despite the immense size, you can tour just the main building and it’s quite the experience.

While the museum depicts the Norwegian culture over many decades, there is an emphasis on the emigration from Norway to the United States.  The artifacts, such as this ale bowl, are beautiful.  The inscriptions read “I stand before you like a flower.  I have beer in me, come.”  Works for me!

4_Wood Fire FajitasFollowing the museum trip, it was time to rest and prepare dinner.  Using a big garbage back of cardboard scraps, discarded furnace filters, etc., the fire was started.  Supper was shrimp and steak fajitas using low carb wraps.

Having made thousands of burger patties over the last few months, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the fast pace and forget how good home cooked food tastes.  So what did Serena eat?  She loves hot dogs and I roasted one for her.  She was one happy camper!

7_SerenaWith the day winding down, it was off to bed for a 10 hour sleep.   The warm fire had cooked the body a little bit, causing the arthritis pains to vanish.  It was exquisite.

Serena also seemed to benefit from the outdoors.  She played at three different parks yesterday and spent all evening exhausted.  She’s gained most of the weight back that had been lost.

For now, it’s back to trout fishing as the sun comes up… and then back to work and the fast food fast pace.  It’s good to be able to take a little diversion occasionally.  We all need to do that now and then!  Uff-da!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the fall season.  Take care.

Brad and Serena in Decorah, Iowa

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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2 Responses to Part I – Visiting Decorah and Vesterheim

  1. Jo says:

    Cingrats on your promotion it is nice to know that your efforts were seen and appreciated. And what better way to celebrate than a nice camping trip and fishing. The visit to the museum a real treat long awaited.
    You skillet looked really healthy too.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks. It was a fun trip. I saved some of the fajitas and Jesse got the shrimp out of them. He enjoyed fried fish for breakfast this morning. I’m hoping to get some museum pics on the blog soon. The Vesterheim Norwegian museum was a fun experience. Take care! 🙂