Weekend Grist Mill Visit

Grist Mill

Drone shot over Pine Creek Grist Mill

Hello and welcome to the blog today.  On Saturday I went for a little drive / camping trip to the Davenport area.  It was more of a Sunday drive type of thing just to get some fresh air.  This spring I plan to do some two day trips.

On the way to lunch, I stopped and took a picture of a Tarter brand bale feeder.  These feeders come in three sections (each weighs 75 lbs) that form a circle – idea for the round hay bales.  One farmer explained to me that they bale feed during the winter when grazing is not possible.  I’ve loaded up quite a few of them at the farm store!

Bale Feeder

Hay, hay, hay! Nothing like lunch and a nap!

While meandering through the back roads, I enjoy looking at cattle gates, snow fencing, drain tile, other things we sell at work.  It makes the time go by!


Once arriving in Davenport (about a 90 minute drive), I checked out Minh’s Gourmet Chinese Restaurant.  I was attracted to good reviews and numerous people talking about how cheap it was.  It was okay.  The whole buffet was one small steam table with a pretty limited selection.  But including hot tea, it was only $6.85.  I figured “What the heck?” and enjoyed a light lunch.

Jennifer Bird Feeder

From there I visited Theisen’s Farm-Home-Auto in Davenport.  It is a big sister to our store where I live.  Jennifer got a new present.  They had this barn bird feeder on sale for $10.  It is going to be hung from a “shepherd’s hook” in front of the window where Jennifer spends much of the day gazing.

From there it was on to the thrift stores but I didn’t find any bargains for the home or van.  By this time it was getting late.  The plan was to visit the grist mill near Muscatine (about 15 miles downstream) and then do some camping.

Grist Mill2

Once at the grist mill, I heard a familiar whirring sound.  A young man named Dean was flying a quadcopter drone.  His was a little larger than the one I use – still hobby grade – but pretty cool and very stable.  I was using a small drone with no prop guards and was able to do higher performance things.  It was fun to chat about drones, techniques, local shops, etc.

From there it was off the the nearby Wildcat Den campground.  It looked like a great place to stay but unfortunately I was mistaken about one thing – there was no electricity at any of the campsites.  From there it was just a few miles to a familiar favorite – the Fairport campground just outside Muscatine.

Mississippi Fairport

Looking upstream from the Fairport Campground

The evening meal was pretty simple but tasty.  The other day one of the customers at the farm store had asked me where to find the “Bear Creek” brand soup mix.  She likes the gumbo.  Something had clicked.  I bought a bag of the gumbo mix, added tomatoes, jalapenos, and onions and cooked it in the crockpot.  Toward the end, I added a lot of large shrimp.  It was a fun, tasty, belly warming camping dinner.

Gumbo 1

Shrimp gumbo with a cornbread muffin

The sleep was blissful.  In the morning I stopped at the nearby Menard’s lumberyard and picked up some supplies for the van.  After returning home, the rest of the day was spent working on the new bulkhead door and door frame.  It’s slow going.  The “tilt down” table is tricky.  I’ve got various ideas about how to make the dining table more stable.  More details will follow soon.  🙂


That’s about it for now.  Due to scheduling problems, I never made it to the museum that was planned.  Well, heck… there’s always next time.

Thanks for stopping by!  I’m not sure when the next camping trip will be – it just depends on this changeable Iowa weather.

Take care and thanks for reading.

Brad 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"
Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Weekend Grist Mill Visit

  1. Laurie Stewart says:

    I’m laughing at those bent gates behind the bale feeder…I’ve done the roundup thing that turned into a fat cow steeplechase! haha!