Old Sodas and New Fishing Holes

1_a Candy

Hello friends and welcome to the blog.  Today the van and I took a little day trip around a familiar area to the south and explored some new places to fish and camp.   Unfortunately the temperature was in the 90s and it was not a good day to even try to fish.  Besides, still taking steroids for another few days (and feeling wobbly), I’m not up to trying to reel in anything from deeper,  swifter waters.  But there was still a lot of fun had today and some fun pictures were taken.

The first stop was at Birkhofer’s produce stand in Moscow, Iowa in Muscatine County.  Nobody was manning the stand but they were nice enough to leave an honesty box, notepad, and even a calculator.   The fresh, healthy produce cost $8.75.   Fresh is good!

1d _ Moscow Produce

Muscatine melons, as mentioned in a previous post, are some of the best in the world. They are sweet and flavorful.

Just a few miles down the road was the town of Wilton.  I’d been wanting to try this soda shop for some time.  It was opened in 1906 and has been a soda shop every since.  The previous owner, George Nopoulos, had passed away last year at the age of 95.  He and The Candy Kitchen were loved by generations.  A new owner re-opened this treasure and it is awesome!

1_c Candy Kitchen interior

The old style interior is as inviting as the delicious as the treats they serve.

I had a cherry soda – a concoction made of cherry syrup, carbonated water, and ice cream.  It was heavenly.  It was pleasant chatting with the proprietor, too.  I’ll be visiting The Candy Kitchen again when driving by… It’s right on the way to buddy Johnnie’s in Muscatine.

1_b Massillon

A friendly old guy fishing at Massillon Park. He recommended a terrific catfish bait.

From there the rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around Cedar County, Clinton County, and Jones County in an effort to find some new camping areas and good places to fish along the Wapsipinicon River (the same river that passes near my home).  One of the places I am longing to fish is at a park near the tiny town of Massillon.  It costs $7 to primitive camp.   It’s possible to park right next to the river and right next to what looks to be a terrific fishing hole.   Next week, maybe?  There will be pictures, good food, and lots of fun to share.


The anvil top of a line of severe storms approaching.

While returning, I took this picture of an approaching line of severe thunderstorms.  My lady friend was on her way home from work and said she got caught in the rain… so she started dancing in the parking lot at work.  Figuring “why not?”  a short time ago I stripped down to swim trunks and did some disco dancing in the street and sang Copa Cabana.

1_e hailstone

Now that’s a hailstone!

Just as the storm was hitting tonight, I’d stopped at McDonald’s for a Diet Coke.  When arriving home, I found this item on the smoker on my deck (next to the front door).  Eventually neighbor Steve called and confessed, asking if I had found that giant hailstone.  We had a good laugh… then I asked him if he wanted it back.  When he said no, I decided it’s going to become cauliflower mash tomorrow.

It’s been a fun, spontaneous day.  We all need one of those now and then and we’re never too old to have some fun.  But if you’re dancing in the rain be careful not to fall on slippery, painted deck stairs – or at least laugh when you do!

Thanks for visiting and have a great rest of the week!  Safe and happy travels always!

Bradford, Jesse James, and Jennifer
Rainy Jones County, Iowa

Brad rainstorm






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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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