White Saturday

2_Hill Country House

A farm near Eldorado, Iowa along Highway 150

Hello and welcome to the blog!  Today is the beginning of a new tradition that I nicknamed “White Saturday”… Black Friday disgusts me because so much of it embraces greed, materialism, selfishness, etc.  In protest, I stayed at home most of Friday other zipping into Walmart at 4:30 AM for groceries.

This “White Saturday” is different and is going to be something done each year to remember and honor Mom and Dad;   their deaths straddled the Thanksgiving holiday on different years.  I decided there is no use being sad… well, unless it’s because other people at Walmart got a 32 inch TV for $94…  (and perhaps a $1600 hospital bill for a broken leg.)   😉

6_White VanI took off on Friday afternoon with the intention to ignore the mileage involved and visit a couple of favorite, familiar places even if it meant zigzagging through more than a half dozen counties.

With the sun quickly going down, I camped in the favorite campground, Goeken Park, about 25 minutes south of Decorah.  Though the electricity is off for the season, there is an easy-to-find switch.  I turned on the power and paid the modest $8 camping fee.  This spot is not visible from the highway below and with no lights on in the park, it’s beyond stealthy camping!  As the sun went down, the van blended into the blanket of white.

3_Hot PotNow that I don’t live in the van any more, a microwave and hot pot cover most of the needs.  This little water heater came from Dad’s garage – one of many finds that he had saved after visiting rummage sales.  Still new in the box, I found that the hot pot works great for tea, instant potatoes, and other treats.  The little pumpkin pie was just 53 cents on the day-old rack at Walmart.  The beverage is Alpine sugar-free hot apple cider.  Supper was some leftover dijon chicken from home.  It was 20 degrees outside and there was no desire to cook something elaborate!

After dinner, I looked through several small photo albums including pictures of Dad in the Army, Mom as a new bride, etc.  There were family photos spanning multiple decades and a lot of warm memories were relived.  I even found a picture of a gangly young lad holding a fly rod.  The snot nosed little punk didn’t know half what this 49 year old does about fishing… but it was just as much fun back then!


Bridge over Trout Run creek in Decorah

The rest of the night was spent watching the movie “Grumpy Old Men” with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.  Many years ago, my stepfather and mother took me to see that movie at the Red Bridge theater in Kansas City.  After watching the two actors call each other “moron” and “putz” (as well as some worse names) and watching them doing lots of ice fishing, the desire to fish was all the stronger!

I’d planned on doing something different, exciting, and new this time around.  It didn’t happen.  Heck, there’s next time… Instead, I drove into Decorah and visited the Trout Run (if the fish are smart, they WILL run!) Creek.  It took almost four hours and plenty of walking to catch the limit of trout.

5_TroutAt this time of the year, trout fishing is a lot of work… After stocking season, the fish are few and far between.   But if a person goes into the farthest areas, there are some beauties left behind.  Kitty Jesse James is going to be one happy little guy tomorrow.

On the way home, I stopped at a favorite eatery, the “Country Junction Restaurant” in Dyersville, Iowa.  It is just a few minutes away from the “Field of Dreams” featured in the Kevin Costner movie.  Dad used to love this restaurant, often choosing to order the “Hot Beef Sandwich”.  Most everything is homemade, right down to the fresh biscuits.  It’s Iowa comfort food at its finest.

As I dined, memories came flooding back and it was a most pleasant experience.  The last time Dad and I were there, we’d been to a funeral that day.  Later, he sat in the car reading and I came back with a stringer of fish.  We both enjoyed the catch!  It’s a fond memory!


A present from friend Shannon… The doc did say a piece of candy in moderation is okay!

White Saturday” turned out to be fun after all.  Sure, it was another camping / fishing trip, but there was also plenty of time to relax and think about the good times, occasionally necessitating a Kleenex.  I hope to enjoy a little getaway trip after Thanksgiving every year and revisit some of the favorite haunts.  Besides, is there ever a reason NOT to go camping or enjoy the fresh air?


As always, thanks for stopping by and thanks for checking out the pictures.  Have a great rest of the weekend.

Warm wishes from your camping friends in Jones County, Iowa

Bradford, Serena, and Jesse James

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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"

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