Picnic with a Pal

Hi and welcome.  Monday was a pleasant day spent with a pal.  In the past I mentioned Teresa.  I’ve known her for years and we recently re-connected.  She is an awesome lady who is also a big Star Trek fan, too.  Of course, I did a “beaming video” for her.

Teresa Beaming

Teresa and I met up at Matsell Bridge in far eastern Linn County, just west of the Jones County towns of Stone City and Anamosa.  The park is named after George Matsell, a former New York City police chief (served 1845-1857).  He owned approximately 3000 acres of land in this area.  The park is beautiful and peaceful.  I’ve been tempted to camp here but won’t spend $10 for primitive camping… at least not that close to home!

We started out with a healthy meal.  I brought some tenderized pork loin slices and grilled them up along with tomatoes, onions, and green peppers.  I’d also made some pesto sauce using basil from the front yard.  Teresa provided fruit, chips, and the beverages.  It was a really tasty meal.  Food with lots of color is usually healthier besides being downright pretty.

2_Healthy Meal

After a delicious lunch, Teresa and I played a few games of Yahtzee.  She won 2 out of 3 matches.  We both enjoyed the time together and talked about her kids, working in retail, our pets, etc.  She’s a remarkable lady!  I’m sure she will be on the blog more in the future as we explore some cool places this fall.  Eventually the sun got a little warm and we went out separate ways.


After arriving home, the work began.  The neighbor has pneumonia and offered me $20 to mow his yard.  (I would have done it from free since he’s a friend but money is good, too!)  Even better, the neighbor next to him was leaving town for a bit and made the same offer.  My yard (a double lot) needed trimmed.  In one hour, I had mowed the neighbors’ yards and made $40 cash.   Today, Tuesday, a third neighbor needed her yard mowed, as well!  There might be some extra $$ tonight when she gets home.  I don’t set a price.  I’m happy with whatever a person wants to pay me… even if it is just a cold Diet Coke. Talk about good exercise, though!  Soon some of the cash will be used for a trip to a new-to-us campground.  The weather is cooling to where Jesse or Jennifer can ride along.

Brad Matsell

Things have been pretty quiet lately with just a little local river fishing taking place.  There haven’t been any thrilling fish but I’m going to a new hole tonight to look for some catfish.

These days the health is much better, even in just the last week.  Toward the end of working at Wally World I had a lot of joint inflammation, the blood sugars were off the map (too high to read on my meter) and I was starting to develop a foot ulcer.  Since then, I’ve gotten the sugars down to normal, the sore on the foot has healed and I feel terrific.  Part of the equation was to look back in the blog at what worked and start doing it again.

That’s about all for now.  Life is good.  There will likely be another post one of these days with some healthy, convenient camping food and pretty pictures.

Thanks for visiting!  Have a great rest of the week.

Bradford, Jesse James, and Jennifer
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"

2 Responses to Picnic with a Pal

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Sure happy to hear you got the sugar down and the foot ulcer cleard up.
    Your little lunch looks really good. Glad you had a nice day with a friend. That always makes for a fun day.

    Maybe you will have a little side business going for you in your neighbor hood. 🙂

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Things are sure going well these days. So much of it had to do with making a change. It’s midnight and I just got home from walking laps around McDonalds (I called so they knew it wasn’t an axe murderer or something). There’s so much more energy (the same but not used up at work!) and now a little extra cash to work with from mowing… It will be fun to camp at a new place this weekend and enjoy the 72 degree weather that is coming on Sunday. Take care!