Pikes Peak State Park

Marquette 1Hello and welcome to the blog.  The last few days were spent traveling around extreme northeast Iowa.  There was time to do plenty of fishing, camping, hiking, and cooking.  I’ve got some new dishes to share, too.

Thursday morning was spent fishing at Bloody Run Park, a favorite destination in Marquette, Iowa.  It was as fun as always and the fish were decent sized.  But the rest of the day was even more fun.


Red Quinoa Salad


While having lunch at Bloody Run Park, a Red Quinoa Salad with Blackberries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese was concocted.  From the time Sis gifted a bag of red quinoa, I’d put a recipe together in my head.  It was tasty.  There’s now a video online if you click on the link.  I’d never made quinoa before and was impressed with the ease of preparation for those of us who camp.  Most of what I made now days is cooked with a hot plate or a Coleman propane cooking stove.

Eager to try something new, I visited Pikes Peak State Park and discovered what had been missed out on during so many previous camping trips.  The park is amazing.  At this time of the year, an electric camping spot was just $11.  Contrast that with the county campground a few miles away which is $10 for primitive camping!

Pikes Peak 2

The Mississippi River at McGregor (near Marquette), Iowa

Even better, the view from Pikes Peak was spectacular.  A dirt trail ran from the campground to the overlook decks.  It was about 1/2 mile walk from the van to the view you see in the photo and the terrain was a bit challenging.  Still, it seemed like a small effort to see something so pretty.

Now here’s the funny part.

After taking the scenic picture at the overlook, curiousity had me completing a loop – strolling through a parking lot and cutting across a very short strip of grass (maybe 180 feet).  In no time I was back in the campground!  No hills, no huffing and puffing, nothing…  I intend to camp here again and visit the overlooks, but much prefer the flat walk to that flippin’ steep trail!  😀

Thursdays SupperThursday night the evening meal was prepared outdoors with a simple hot plate.  Using leftover cherry and roma tomatoes from home and a few from Walmart, I made a batch of creamy tomato-basil soup from scratch.  A few trout fillets were fried up and the fruity quinoa salad was tasty.

I slept like a rock after that good meal… despite the neighbors.  While cooking dinner, the neighbor lady berated her husband for forgetting to fill the water tank in their large RV.  She ranted about how she wasn’t going to shower in a bathhouse and was NOT using a public toilet.

I just laughed… and thought why is that lady even camping?  Here I have to pee in cat litter jugs and sleep in something just a bit larger than a hearse… and friggin’ love it!  In the opposite direction, a young couple made a nice meal and enjoyed spending the cold night in a tent.

Pikes Peak CampgroundHappiness is all relative.

Thursday night’s sleep was amazingly restorative.  I’ve had a nasty respiratory infection off and on for a couple weeks and had some aches and pains.  But the warmth of the electric heater (which had the van at 80 degrees) was a blessing.  Each turn in the bed caused stiff arthritic joints to play “snap, crackle, pop” and loosen up… It doesn’t get any better than that!

I slept in on Friday and had a very full day, covering a number of miles, catching some terrific fish, and cooking more new dishes.  There are some beautiful photos to share but that will have to wait till the next post.

For now, I’m back at the homebase and have to work tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned for another cooking video on the next update.  These YouTube videos are turning out to be a lot of fun to make.  Please share them on Facebook or other social media if folks might enjoy some new cooking ideas.

Take care and thanks a bunch for visiting!  Happy and safe travels!

Brad, Jesse James, and Kitty Jennifer


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