Twas a Week Before Christmas


2016 Christmas Cards featuring the two bosses…


Hello and welcome to the blog.  Winter is a few days away but has already established itself in Iowa.  I’ve decided not to do any camping for a week or two.  Tonight is Saturday.  Up north they are getting a lot of snow – upwards of eight inches.  Even in east-central Iowa, we’re seeing around 4-5.  By the time most read this post, we will have had a low temp of -14 by Sunday morning.


A very peaceful Bambi

Last Monday was spent fishing at the trout hatchery.  Outdoor exposure is necessary at this time of the year.  Like many others, this person used to suffer from seasonal affective disorder and any chance to get some sunlight helps a bunch.  More about that later…


Woody is helping me fish…

Shortly after arriving at the hatchery, Woody, the mascot dog, started roaming around.  I brought a few packages of meat snacking sticks from the Edgewood Locker.  The favorite flavor contains pork and pineapple.  The DNR employees, Gary (the overseer) and Wayne, enjoyed some snacks as well.  Five nice trout came home in the afternoon.  Tired from the cold, it felt good to warm up and be relaxed… if not somewhat chilled!

Unfortunately, all was not well at home this week.  I should have been addressing a problem with the homebase (discovered a month or so ago but forgotten) and it was soon to manifest itself.  Fast forward to Wednesday.  The thermometer plunged that day.  The water on the homebase froze up.  I was not happy, particularly after putting in a 10 hour day!  Upon examining the heat tape, the cause was the outlet (on the bottom of the trailer) you see on the left in the picture below.  For a few days it was necessary to pull power from an outdoor extension cord.  I replaced the outlet on Saturday morning and the heat tape is working just fine.  Thank goodness the mobile home didn’t go up in flames!


Tonight (Saturday) night, the weather is again turning nasty.  Camping sounded like fun but by morning we will be down to around -14.  There comes a point when recreational camping just isn’t fun if it’s not comfortable!  Tonight has been a great time to kick back and relax.  I get enough fresh air working outside at the farm store.  It’s great exercise and the exposure to the elements has been as enjoyable and relaxing as camping often is!  It’s also pretty exciting/ scary / terrifying to gingerly drive a forklift with a 2000 lb pallet high off the ground while the wheels are spinning on snow and ice!   🙂

I love the job though…  It’s like a hobby with a paycheck!

So there’s no outdoor stuff going on the rest of the weekend.  The cats and I are chillin’ and watching TV.  Jenny is gnawing on the Christmas presents (still in protective manila envelopes).  Jesse is resting.  He’s weakening and fading… but still loyal and loving.


She’s trying to open them early!



The van is decorated for Christmas

The van is getting a rest, too.  It’s decorated with a snowman that runs off 110VAC, right from the shore power that keeps the batteries topped off.

There will always be other opportunities to go camping… and hopefully in greater comfort… maybe on Christmas eve?

I hope everyone reading this post has an enjoyable last week before Christmas.  Take care, be safe, and enjoy the season.

Brad, Jesse, and Jenny
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"

4 Responses to Twas a Week Before Christmas

  1. Jo says:

    That electrical outlet looks really scary. Electric can be some bad stuff.
    But a day fishing is better than no day at all. You sure do get cold there. we have had some crazy cold and windy weather here the past few days.

    I did manage to get my shopping done this week wheww thought I was never going to get it done. Been fighting a cold for a month and just didn’t have a spirit. But shopping made it better.

    Really happy your enjoying your job that is very important.
    Have a very Merry Christmas Brad and kitties

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the note. It’s good to have the water working. It is still below zero at the moment. 🙂

      I’m glad you got your shopping done! It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

      Jesse is slipping fast. Sadly, I ordered an urn for him and I have already written an obit post for the little guy. He’s likely going to have to put down this week. The cancer has eaten him up. He’s just skin and bones and a hugely bloated stomach. But the little guy still licks me and we give each other a lot of love… but he’s starting to suffer. I’d hoped to make it through Christmas with Jesse but it looks like it wouldn’t be easy on him.

      • Jo says:

        Brad so sorry but if he has gotten to the point of suffering you will know what and when is best. I will be keeping you all in my deepest thoughts through this tough time.