Holiday Dinner and Camping

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An edible cheese snowman… It was delish!

Hello and welcome to the blog.  Saturday night and Sunday turned out to be lots of fun.  The employer had a company holiday party for all employees from all of the stores.  The location was at the Kirkwood Hotel in Cedar Rapids.  This beautiful facility, located on the campus of Kirkwood College (where I graduated from in ’86 and ’98) is also a training ground for culinary and hotel management majors.  The location was a terrific choice!

Prior to the meal, we enjoyed appetizers until the large room was opened.  I’m a cheese lover and tried at least a half dozen kinds, as well as some of this tasty, soft white cheese snowman.  “Frosty” had an herb flavor… and possibly even some chives.  The bar was also open but I spotted free cans of soda on a table.  Free Diet Coke is a good thing!

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The banquet room

As one would expect, there were several presentations, awards for great customer service, and recognition for long term employees.  The mood was upbeat and fun. We had a tantalizing buffet including a beautiful salad, thick mashed potatoes with gravy, two kinds of corn swimming in real butter, fried chicken, and carved prime rib.  When someone asked why there were so many forks at our setting, I explained that was so my very red piece of prime rib (just the way I love it!) couldn’t walk away.  We ate like kings… and then I had seconds.  🙂

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The cheesecake was to die for.  Of course, the Diet Coke didn’t help cancel the calories in the cheesecake.

After the delicious food and presentations, there was one more event that made the evening even more fun.  Every employee had to stand up and then chose a random envelope.  Each contained money varying between $10 and $100.

Mine had $10 in it.  Those of us with that amount sat down first.  Then they said for everyone with $20 to be seated… a minute later the same for those who won $50.  There were a handful of people who won $100.

I was happy to get the $10.  It meant the night’s camping would cost $5 instead of the usual $15 at the Hills Campground.  I ducked out before the actual entertainment, a hypnotist, began to perform.

Jennifer was sitting in the van on the green chair… her throne.  She did pretty well this time except for an incident on Sunday morning when she slipped and cut my cheek like a slab of last night’s prime rib!

After the meal, I played with her and calmed her down a little.  Then we headed south to Iowa City and then a wee bit farther to the Hills Campground.  There were quite a few folks camping there and some fires burning at last as 10:30 PM.  Using a headlamp to see, I quickly registered and plugged in.  The space heater kept the van at a toasty 80 degrees all night.  She zonked out before me!

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She’s pretty comfy… and the chair is her “cat bed” when we camp out.

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Hills Campground on a hazy morning as seen from about 80 feet up using a drone.

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The trees in front of my van. Some are still displaying vivid colors.

While the haze lifted in the morning, I hooked the leash to Jenny and let her play to her heart’s content.  Since we weren’t far away, we visited buddy Johnnie in Muscatine and had a pleasant day.  With the high temps forecast to be comfortable all this coming week, I might take another excursion somewhere.  Wednesday is the 51st birthday so who knows what will happen… something fun!    🙂

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope the fellow camping enthusiasts are enjoying this wonderful fall season.  Safe and happy travels always.

Bradford, Jesse James, and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa

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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2 Responses to Holiday Dinner and Camping

  1. Jo says:

    I thought I posted a comment or maybe you are just to busy and haven’t been online. Hope that’s what it is.
    Love all that cheese yummy

    • VanTrekker says:

      Cheese is the best! If I had to give up meat and could just eat cheese (with no lactose or other digestive issues), it would be doable. 🙂 I just ate some cheese curds on the way home. They are amazing when they are fresh from the dairy.