Visiting a Memorial for a Friend

Johnnies StreetHello and welcome to the blog today.  I hope everyone’s had a terrific Memorial Day weekend.  It’s been a quiet few weeks – there’s not too much to pass along.

I was out of town Sunday and Monday to visit my buddy (a.k.a. “Little Brother”) Johnnie in Muscatine, Iowa.  His cousin recently died and Johnnie had no transportation to go see the grave.  Sometimes a dozen miles can seem like a million.

The picture on the left was taken after doing some “street camping” on Sunday in front of Johnnie’s place.  Things worked out well.  We had hours of moderate to heavy rain – an ideal way to remain unnoticed.  Jesse and I slept like babies after watching some downloaded TV shows on the laptop.

Johnnie Grave

Rest in peace, Maria Herrera.

On Sunday, we had a little pizza party at Johnnie’s.  I’d purchased a variety of small flatbread pizzas at the local Hy-Vee grocery store and earned $18 worth of free gasoline – enough that it offset the fuel costs for the trip.  When starting to fill the van and use the “Fuel Saver” discount card, there was an awesome surprise… Sis had bought a large quantity of catfood (she takes care of the neighborhood homeless kitties) and that purchase saved another $12 on a tankful of petrol.  (She puts the credits on my account!)    With all the discounts, it only cost about $12 for 17.5 gallons of fuel.  The van is gassed up and ready for the next outing.

Jesse and Johnnie

Here’s a picture of Uncle Johnnie and his “nephew”.   Jesse was intrigued by the rural cemetery we visited today and enjoyed playing outside in the grass and mud at this giant “park”.  One can see it all over the shoulders of my shirt; Jesse is one of those cats that won’t sit still and walks on the dashboard and driver… especially when his feet are wet and muddy.

It was good to get some much needed rest.  Work is still going well for the most part.  I end up putting in a variety of hours and though it’s physically demanding at times, gas station work is nothing like fast food work – it pays better and is a lot easier.  The overnight shifts are great because they give a person a large block of usable daylight… and I went fishing several times last week, bringing home a stringer with five very nice trout on Wednesday.  What’s not to love about a schedule like that?

Cilantro Lime Aioli

Cilantro Lime Aioli – sort of a jacked up mayo. It’s FANTASTIC on fried fish, fish tacos, and about any kind of black bean dish, etc. Check out

So what is next on the horizon?  The plan is to go camping near Decorah for two days in a couple of weeks.  It’s always a struggle to line up the trout stocking and work schedules but it’s looking like there will be some serious fishing and biking time starting to come together.  I’m not sure if Jesse will go along – it depends on how hot the weather will be.

In the meantime, it’s back to more working, fishing, working around home, etc.  After the last couple years of ups and downs, wandering and exploring, it’s nice to have a more quiet life these days!

Thanks for visiting today.  I hope everyone enjoys the late spring weather!

Your camping friends in Jones County, Iowa
Brad 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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