A Crazy 10 Days

Hello and welcome to the blog today!  Mother Nature took out her wrath on us late Sunday night.  The first photo you see was taken around 9:00 AM on Sunday morning.  The snowy picture below was part of drone footage made at 5 PM Monday evening.  What a difference a day makes!  The McDonald’s you see on the left is where I worked while living in the van in 2014.  The large white building toward the middle-right is the farm store where I’m currently employed.  It’s a quiet, peaceful area.

Anamosa 1a

Snowy Weather

Just over a week ago I’d been fishing up north.  The weather that day was balmy – eerily so.  I hurried home.  A few hours later we had a line of tornadic thunderstorms pass through including right over the town I live in.  As the strong storm hit, I was in the car wash drinking soda and hoping to keep the little car from being pummeled by hail.  Now, a week later, we got 5 inches of snow.  Two weeks ago the temperature was close to 80.  The low on Tuesday night was 7.  Mother Nature needs a mood stabilizer pill!

Okay, back to Tuesday.  Already some of the snowfall had melted, particularly south and east of town.  The evenings were still very cold but it was important – practically necessary – to go for a trip and unwind from work.  I decided to visit Muscatine and see my good friend Johnnie.  Exhausted from a busy morning and afternoon full of manual labor and short fuses, I couldn’t have cared less about cooking!

9_Mexican Snack 2.

The little meal/snack on Tuesday night was just chips and dips.  On Monday I’d made a bag of 15 bean mix in the crock pot.  Added were garlic, onion, ham, chili powder, black pepper, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke, and brown sugar.  The thick bean mixture went great together with some salsa and a jar of white “queso” (cheese) dip.  Of course, the margarita was the favorite part.  Camping along the Mississippi and snacking while watching a rerun of “MacGyver” while slouching in the van’s easy chair…  That’s the life!


Fairport Campground to the right…

There were only two of us parked at Fairport.  This location is always scenic and peaceful.  Though the temperature outside was 7, the electric heater kept the van at no less than 70 all night.

Later on Tuesday, buddy Johnnie and I met up for some Chinese food.  It was fun seeing my “little brother” though we’re not actually related.  We’ve both been through some rough times the last few years.  Johnnie is 10 years younger but like myself, also experienced the loss of both earthly parents.

Part of our visit was spent hitting the thrift stores.  I picked up eight or nine tiny stuffed animals.  Jenny has over four dozen in her bedroom now and sleeps among them each night.

1_Johnnie with Chinese food                   3_Brad

It was a brief but relaxing visit.  I came away with one terrific gift.  A business had discarded some diabetic shoes one day and a mutual friend found them while… we’ll just say “perusing” and “recycling” the contents of the dumpster.  One pair of the new shoes was a size 14, extra wide.  They fit perfectly and instantly provided much needed relief for the tired, sore feet.  What an incredible blessing!

The little van trip was over quickly.  I contemplated camping another night but figured… why?  Camping is not quite as much fun when it’s cold… but IS still fun to some degree…  It just helps when there are more degrees on the thermometer.  🙂  In a month or so the weather will be warmer and increase the wanderlust a little more.  For now, just an occasional trip to the the country for some inconspicuous camping feels like a much needed luxury.


The shadow of the van and its solar panel as it travels through Cedar County, Iowa.

For now, it’s back to the home base.  Tomorrow is a day of vacation and will be spent cleaning, both inside and getting the van ready for the next outing.

Hopefully Jenny will get a chance to go along on another excursion as the weather moderates.  Having a pet makes camping more fun.  It was just Monday that I finally found the will to put Jesse’s ashes into an urn.  Serena’s is the black one next to it.  They were awesome camping pals just as I know this ornery little Jennifer will be!


Two camping buddies, Jesse James and Serena, now resting at the “Rainbow Bridge”

Take care and thanks for stopping by.  Safe and happy travels!

Brad 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"

7 Responses to A Crazy 10 Days

  1. Jo says:

    Just a few more weeks and I hope I will get to camp for at least a few days if not a week.

    Brad have you heard of Polar Tubes? They are made with PVC pipe filled with water and capped off at each end. When frozen the are long lasting for the cooler and keep your food dry. I have to give my friend the measurements of my cooler as she has all the stuff. I’ll take a picture when I get them which may not be for some time. I guess you can google it

  2. my_vantasy says:

    What a wonderful little trip. I think your Tuesday snack /dinner was a great idea. You are fearless to camp in weather like this! I’m glad you do, though, and share your adventures.

  3. scott says:

    hi brad i cant find your number been thinking about when you will be heading up this way fishing spring is almost here feel free to stop by anytime here are my numbers 5636087450 and 5636081495

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Scott! I am looking forward to coming up that way, for sure! I’ve recorded your numbers in my new phone. Mine is 319-481-1473. Thanks for the note. I’m looking forward to meeting you!