Rain.. Rain.. So I’ll Go Away!

Mississippi River on a gloomy day…

Hello and welcome to the bog today!  We’ve had a whole weekend of rain.  That’s not unusual for Iowa at this time of the year.  Overall it’s been a bit of a gloomy week… but that’s no reason to get bummed out.

On Saturday I traveled to see buddy Johnnie in Muscatine.  It might be a while before I get back down here.  Money is getting tighter so camping and fishing trips aren’t going to be too frequent for a while… well, at least long distance ones.  It really doesn’t cost much to camp if it’s done right!   🙂

Fairport, Iowa campground

Thankfully overnight spots at State Parks are still just $11 right now.  I camped at the usual park, Fairport.  The above picture was taken in the morning after the rain had stopped.  Upon arriving it was raining so hard that I got soaked while erecting the TV antenna and plugging in the electricity for the heater.  By the way, Jenny stayed home for this trip.  I didn’t want her getting sick from the damp weather.

It was not possible to cook supper outside… so it was cooked on the little Coleman folding grill inside the van.  The soup on the left was prepared in the van’s crock pot.  It is broccoli cheddar with bacon, some half-n-half and chicken broth.  Instead of using flour (which can sometimes break down and make a cream soup watery), I keep some instant Idahoan brand potato flakes (the kind that are very fine) around for thickening soups.  It works great!

The pork steak was an experiment that turned out to be a big success.  I’d been working on a marinade for pork that uses:  water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, and black pepper.  The pork steak was marinated at home for a day in a plastic bag and then frozen.  Once at the campground it was ready to grill.  As the meat cooked over medium-low heat, the fat and marinade cooked and caramelized the veggies.  The meat was very tender from the cider vinegar and the veggies took on a bit of an apple flavor.  This idea was a keeper!


In the morning I picked up buddy Johnnie.  He knew of a free dinner at the Presbyterian church.  We both had some wonderful tater tot casserole, pizza, green beans, and pie.  The best part was that the casserole was made with elk meat.  I’d never had elk before but it was amazing.  I thought it tasted somewhat like venison!  What a fun time was had the last two days… and very little money was spent along the way.  That’s a good thing!  It also is encouraging.  I guess it doesn’t matter about money or weather.  Happiness is all around us if we choose to look for it.

Well, it was a fun weekend.  Tomorrow is the beginning of a new month… one I’ll be starting with no medical insurance.  But when the going gets tough, the tough do a 90 day refill on their prescriptions.  🙂  🙂   There are certain to be some challenges going forward but the things that are important in this life (Jenny, fishing, camping, cooking, and good friends) still matter and always will.

Take care and thanks for visiting today.  Safe and happy travels always!

Bradford 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"

3 Responses to Rain.. Rain.. So I’ll Go Away!

  1. Jo says:

    You have me hungry seeing that wonderful soup and pork steak with those nice peppers and onions on top.

    I’m glad you had a good time with Johnnie and that guy sure knows where to find those free dinners. That also sounds really good.

    Take care and hope something comes along for you soon.

    BTW they are building one of those stores you worked at about 2 mile down the road from where I live.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Nice to hear from you. That trip was a lot of fun. It’s good to be around people during difficult times. I’m going to be starting back at McDonalds later this week. It’s not a ton of money but will keep the lights on and Jenny’s bowl full of cat food. That’s cool news about the new store. Is it a farm type store? There are a number of chains including a “farm and fleet” type.

      • Jo says:

        I’m glad your going back to work and like you said it isn’t a really good paying job but it sure is better than no job. It pays to leave a job on good terms. Good luck with the job. I’m not sure it is a farm store or a different one the person who told me wasn’t sure.