Back in the McSaddle

One of the first drone pictures I took a few years ago…

Hello and welcome to the blog.  It’s been an interesting week… one I could not have predicted.  But some things are looking up!

First of all, it’s been a week of improving health.  A few weeks ago I was in terrible pain from thousands of pounds of lifting per day.  The right arm was failing and the back was getting worse and worse.  The left ankle was popping from long hours of working at a frantic pace.  As the pain increased the blood sugars were dangerously high again.  But that’s all reversed with a change in diet and a much less physically demanding job.

Cathie, my former McBoss, holding a pretty little tortie kitten later adopted and named “Jennifer”

I recently started back at the same McDonald’s as back in the 2014 days… back when Serena and I were living in the van.  It was challenging then – long hours without a break.  But this new role of “lobby person” has some great advantages for a diabetic person… and it would also be a good fit for a person living an RV lifestyle.  The new schedule is a split shift from 11AM to 2PM, a few hours off, and then back on from 5PM to 8PM.  Living just blocks away, I can get in a 2 hour nap every day.  It feels good to work at something with such a nice balance between work and rest.  It rocks!


Before the new job started, I spent Tuesday traipsing around Mink Creek in Fayette County.  Mink is about 12 miles north of Arlington, Iowa and around 75 miles north of Cedar Rapids.  A sleepy little town, Arlington was made famous a few years ago by Chris Soules, from the TV show “The Bachelor”.  Sadly, on April 24th, Arlington was back in the news for a very different reason.  That evening Mr. Soules’ pickup truck rear ended a tractor, killing the farmer.   Criminal charges were filed and the story has been all over the media.  It was a very sad situation for all involved.  One will surely see more national coverage of this tragedy.

Trout fillets cooking on the pizza pizzaz… Some carrots are riding along.

Sorry for wandering off topic (as always!)  Mink Creek is a tiny little “crick” (as we say in Iowa) that winds through hills separating pastures and farms.  It is spring fed and very cold… I spoke with the landowner, a friendly gentleman that manicures the vegetation and permits angling on his property.  It is a remote, quiet, peaceful place.  With the water murky, the fish were stubborn and it was all I could do to get four but they were very nice sized.  The fillets were breaded with “Shake ‘n’ Bake Hot & Spicy”coating and cooked on the Presto Pizza Pizzaz.  The resulting product was one of the tastiest ways I’ve enjoyed fish…and amazingly convenient.


That’s about all that’s new.  Depending on the weather, I’m likely to go fishing on either Monday or Wednesday.  Right now it’s a toss-up between a new spot on the Mississippi River or back to the trout streams… or both!   There will likely be some new pictures, too.

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

Bradford 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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4 Responses to Back in the McSaddle

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Glad you like your new work hours. I worked before and after school programs for a few years, so I can understand the convenience of a nap between shifts. Hope you have the time, energy, and finances to go camping soon. Take care!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks for the note! After tonight I have some days off. The time and energy are wide open so there will be some fun somewhere. The weather is projected to be perfect for low temperatures. It’s likely this outing will be free camping (no heat needed!) in the boonies. 🙂

  2. Jo says:

    Sure happy to hear you are back to work and with a schedule that fits your needs.
    You fish and carrots look really good. And I am really happy to hear you have your sugar under control again.
    Hope you get to do some free camping and fishing.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the note. I just took the sugar and it’s been around 145 all day long.. That’s a bit higher than normal so much better. The last gig was very physically demanding (as was Wally Word)… The pain level would increase and the sugar levels would triple. The lesson learned (over and over) is to do something less physically painful. This new job is still work but so much more doable and fun at the same time.

      There will definitely be some camping this week. Not sure what to cook yet but there are a few ideas that sound really tasty… and low carb. Jenny will most likely go along because of the moderate weather.

      Take care! — VT

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