Jenny and Buck Creek Camping

Jenny exploring the lush grass at Buck Creek’s camping area

Hello and welcome to the blog!  It’s been a pretty good week overall.  The new job kept me busy but it was completely doable… and actually a lot of fun.  On Tuesday afternoon Jenny and I took off to do a couple days of fishing and camping.  Mother Nature was not too cooperative for part of the time.

Parking lot camping at Buck Creek

Tuesday afternoon I fished the lower end of Buck Creek park, a favorite trout fishing venue near the town of Garnavillo (halfway between Dubuque and the Minnesotar border).  Unfortunately when we arrived at the stream it looked like everyone and his brother and next door neighbor were there!  A group from out of the area was enjoying the creek on a yearly fishing trip;  most of them were practicing catch and release.  The fish were pretty well terrorized and it was difficult to catch anything…  It was a matter of just waiting until people left and the fish were less agitated.  Five went with me.

Large murky pool brimming with tasty fish…

By this time it was about 6:00 and time to settle down for the night.  A few miles away was the upper end of the park.  For convenience sake the decision was made to camp there.  Primitive camping is just $5.  A few years ago people used to set up in the grassy area and camp all summer.  Not any more!  It’s really looking clean and attractive now.  Once registered for the night, I let Jenny play while getting dinner set up.

The main dish was Kung Pao Chicken and Beef.  Everything was prepped at home and bagged for convenience.

Prepping in advance makes elaborate meals easy!


This tasty Chinese food was just red and green peppers, green onions, chicken and beef sauteed with hot pepper oil.  Toward the end commercial Kung Pao sauce was added along with some cashews.  Other than the salt, it was a healthy meal.  Half of it was saved for lunch on Wednesday.

After dinner it was time to settle down.  Jenny was a little angel and went to sleep early… and zonked out all night.  Since there are no TV stations available at Buck Creek, I watched a couple old Star Trek episodes on the laptop, running without using the power adapter (to conserved the house batteries).


The night’s sleep was peaceful.  Though two guys came in late and set up a tent, there was no sign of them as the sun came up.  Breakfast was just a ham steak and a pancake… with a twist.  The sauce on top was an experiment made at home.  I gently cooked some strawberries, blueberries from the local food pantry, and rhubarb from my neighbor’s yard.  To sweeten / thicken the sauce some sugar-free strawberry jello was added.  The pancake was a high fiber mix.

Jenny is used to fish coming from a tin can!  She started to rear back each time a trout would flop

The Wednesday morning fishing was an absolute blast.  The limit of five was caught in about 20 minutes.  They were a nice size!  After cleaning them it was time to move on.

Mississippi River East Channel at Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin

Around mid-morning Jenny and I crossed into Wisconsin to run some errands.  I stopped and fished the East Channel of the Mississippi River.  Even with an Iowa license, a person is permitted to fish on the Wisconsin side.  Unfortunately, it started to rain… and it just got worse and worse.  Though there were a few small bites, nothing came home from the big river.

Standard Oil… You won’t see any of these stations any more… not since about 1911.  This was taken near Farmerburg, Iowa.

By now the time was mid-afternoon on Wednesday.  The weather was pretty crappy and gloomy.  As I was contemplating coming home it started to pour rain.  Nonetheless, we had a really fun camping and fishing outing.  Jennifer is an awesome travel companion and we’ll undoubtedly find some other places to check out in the coming days.  Not surprisingly, there will be a lot of fishing happening but there will also be a museum or two and some cool other things to check out.

For now it’s back to work.  Thanks for stopping by!  Safe and happy travels!

Bradford 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"

4 Responses to Jenny and Buck Creek Camping

  1. Jo says:

    Love the place you camped and fished at. Jenny sure seemed to be enjoying all that grass. Your dinner looked so good, I love Chinese food but never make it. Love the picture and your telling of it about Jenny jumping back from the flipping fish.

    Sorry you got rained out but you still seemed to enjoy a good fishing trip.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! It’s great to hear from you! The weather is perfect today. I’ve working on a little project for the van – something I’ve put off for six years until a creative idea came to mind. There will be a post about it soon! Jenny is still a pistol. She keeps darting past me to run outside and tries to kill the finches at the bird feeder. 🙂

      Take care! I’m going to visit your blog before working on the van this morning!

  2. Debby Hoots says:

    I love your stories. I have been reading them a while now. Started reading while in bed going through my cancer treatments in the winter of 2015 I believe. We are still waiting to get out n camp but haven’t made it this season yet…Ugh.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Debby! Thanks for following along. It seems like there is always fun to be had and it is fun to share it. I know at times it seems like things get a little boring (I’m bored!) but there are some places I hope to visit soon now that a couple new tires are on the van. I hope that the cancer is all gone and never returns. Thanks for visiting!