Jennifer’s Fun First Camping Trip


Who is driving who?

Hello and welcome to the blog.  The picture you see is not staged. On Wednesday I was driving through Decorah with the kitty on my lap when suddenly she sat up and draped her paw over the steering wheel.  It was the cutest thing.  As we’d go around corners, I was holding the wheel from the bottom; she’d swipe her paw over the wheel similar to the “hand-over-hand” method I normally use.  Jen’s one smart little critter and seemed to enjoy riding in the van.

We went to Decorah to do a couple of things – catch fish and make a large Walmart purchase.  For two days this month, employees get a 25% discount on most everything.  So why shop in Decorah when I work at a Walmart across from home?  Decorah’s got one heck of a fishing department.  Besides that, it’s a lot of fun fishing there, too!

Jen Jen Van

Her beautiful eyes sparkled with curiousity and mischief.

We left home at about 6:30 Wednesday morning.  It was snowing and most of the drive was pretty slippery.  Jen was new to van traveling and thankfully was willing to settle for curling up on my new fleece jacket.  At times she got a little nervous (my driving?) and would crawl into her cage.

When we arrived, Jennifer seemed content to rest while I fished.  The angling was a blast but pretty tiring.  It was cold, snowy, and damp.  I spent over four hours on my feet, walked several miles over mostly rough terrian, but came back with five nice trout. Most were around 13-14 inches in length.  I texted a pal and said the fish are going into my alder wood fired “crematorium”.  They are brined and being smoked as this post is being written.  (oops, I digressed…)

The trout were cleaned at Twin Springs park where it’s safer to clean the fish without risking falling into the creek.  Jen-Jen came out and played a bit, not venturing too far.  She seemed to enjoy the time outside and when she’d finished, the kitty jumped right back in the van.

Trout Run

Trout Run Creek in Decorah

Because of the lengthy fishing event, lunch didn’t happen until way late on Wednesday.  I stopped at a Decorah favorite – Mabe’s Pizza  and ate part of the pie, saving some for a “midnight snack”.

The shopping discount at Walmart didn’t begin until 12:01 AM.  I was in the store at 11:00 PM and started loading a cart with catfood, fish bait, and lots of other stuff totalling about $330.00.  Ater ringing up the purchase, the discount didn’t work!  There were some technical issues preventing the larger purchases from going through.  At 2:30 AM it still was not figured out.  I went out to the van and slept for a bit.  Jen didn’t know what to think of the propane heater but soon loved the warm orange glow from the Mr. Heater Buddy.

Unfortunately, at 7:30 I could still not use the discount and had to abandon the cart of stuff.  It was discouraging because the trout bait I use is not stocked at any of the other stores and the plan was to buy enough for the next year.

Jen Jen Cupboard

Click to see a vert short video of Jennifer figuring out how to open the cupboard door.

A call to a neighboring location (3o miles away) in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin sounded encouraging.  I made the trip over there at full speed and again loaded a cart with around $300 worth of stuff.  Again the discount failed to apply.  In this case though, the manager simply adjusted off the discount as a coupon.  What a super guy!

The kitties ended up with 170 containers of cat food.  I got a Chicago Cutlery knife set.  Many other things were acquired for the home and the van (such as a nice supply of propane cannisters), water pitcher filters, and other needed goodies.

Before I forget, let me digress one more time.  The pic on the right is a link to a short video (5 seconds long) of the smart little girl in action.  She really made the trip a lot of fun with her antics.  This time Jen was opening the spring loaded cabinet door in the van.  Click on the pic above to see her misbehaving.

On the wMr. Jesse and Walleyeay back, I took a little detour and visited the town of Gunder, Iowa (population 28).  Sis and I ate there a couple of weeks ago at The Irish Shanti.  I had their ribeye steak sandwich and it was amazingly good.  The whole shopping saga had spanned 11 hours and some comfort food was most welcome.  Yum!  Gunder is very close to the Big Springs trout hatchery.  I’m sure there will be some winter trips north to visit the area… and The Irish Shanti.

It was an enjoyable trip with Jennifer – complete exceeding my hopes.  She’s proven to be just as good as (if not better than) Serena for riding in the van and she slept restfully.  We are going to have so much fun in the future… and are going to camp again soon!  The weather is expected to be in the upper 40s all next week (unusually warm)

As for Jesse, he’s content to sit at home and relax.  This evening I brought the cats some walleye from the Hale Tap and Supper Club.  None of us are moving very much.  The unpacking from the shopping trip can wait just a bit longer.

That’s about all for now.  Christmas will be here in just 3 weeks!  Have a great holiday season!

Take care and thanks for visiting.  Safe and happy travels always!

Bradford, Jesse James, and Jen-Jen
Jones County, Iowa

They do!


 377 total views,  3 views today

Bookmark the permalink.

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"

4 Responses to Jennifer’s Fun First Camping Trip