Central Park – Jones County

Hello and welcome to the blog today.  Wednesday night was spent at Central Park near Amber, Iowa.  This park is located just 15 minutes from home.  A break was needed after performing lots of work at home and at the job.   Sleeping outdoors is the best way to relax!

Tool Shed 2Here is one of the latest home projects – the workshop… Jesse James was hanging out with Daddy in the tool shed on Wednesday afternoon.  The previous owner, Kermit, had a nice little workshop at one time but it was empty when I moved in.  This is actually the smaller of the two work benches!  It’s finally been possible to start organizing things and there are still a lot more tools to find homes for… about 30 years worth of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.  So far I’ve found eight hammers.  Some of the extras are going to the Goodwill!

In the future, the shed will be wired to have a TV signal and possibly a beverage refrigerator.  It’s going to be a fun hangout for tinkering with projects such as drone repairs, car stuff, things for van camping, etc.


Enchilada Casserole 3In addition to prowling around in the shed, Jesse has really taken an interest in all things lately.  He went through some days of mourning following Serena’s death but seems to have his second wind.  Jesse is also back to eating all things that look like “people food” including the food I cooked for the trip last night.

Before leaving to go camping, I threw together this little casserole (“hot dish” for those in Minnesota).  Using leftover roasted pork (seasoned with a bit of taco spices), some corn tortillas, lots of veggies, and a large can of enchilada sauce, I put down several layers, adding cheese with each layer and on the top.  The veggies were chopped green and red peppers and onions… all leftover from last week’s trip; I also added black beans and frozen corn.  This dish turned out to be fast and easy as well as full of flavor.  There are just some days a person doesn’t feel like packing stuff, starting a fire, cooking for one, cleaning, repacking, and unpacking – especially when the campground is 15 minutes away!

CP2In front of my camping spot was this cool bridge, built in 1873.  It is a “bowstring” bridge which was originally located in Monticello, Iowa (the town where I work).  The structure was built for $5428.05 back then.  There is an article talking about this kind of bridge – widely sold in the 1860s through 1880s.  Unfortunately, structural issues with the arch led to its eventual extinction.

Below the bridge is some structure that looks like a great place to catch pan fish.  When time allows in the next couple weeks,  I plan to return and see about catching some bluegills and crappies.  Now that the park has been scouted, I know Jesse would really enjoy a trip here… and it’s close to home.

Rest was needed after a busy few days of work.  Sadly, it was not possible to attend the mushroom class mentioned in last week’s post.  A work situation arose and some extra effort was needed.  Oh well… I really enjoy the new job and the opportunity to contribute.  It’s worth giving up a few hours here and there!

CP1So for now it’s back to work again and thinking about taking time off… Somehow I lucked out and do not have to work over the Memorial weekend.  Mr. Jesse and I are likely going camping and visiting buddy Johnnie.  There are some cool new places to visit along the way.  It should be an enjoyable and inexpensive trip.

Take care and thanks a bunch for visiting!

Brad and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa


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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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