Hello and welcome to the blog! On Monday afternoon I visited the Eden Valley Refuge Campground which is located about 26 miles east from home. It is located in extreme northern Clinton County just south of Highway 64… and along the shores of Bear Creek. This place is a real gem. The refuge hosts many species of animals, insects, and plants. There are hiking trails which offer a peaceful way to see and learn. It’s been referred to as an “outdoor classroom”. There is also a nature center (open Saturdays and by appointment.)
Monday was a fun day. I’d packed the van in preparation. The weather was cool and comfortable. I was sure that Jenny would come along but she wanted to stay home. She knows when I’m leaving and this time hid. Oh well – her loss! She would have loved this park!
Dinner was an idea I’d been mulling over for some time. My boss periodically discards broken items from work including french fry baskets. The welded-on hook on the end of the basket often snaps off on these things making them useless for a fry cook. (You cannot hang them up over the fryer) I was given an old basket and it worked great for packet cooking. The handle never got hot and when the food was cooked, I could place the pouches on top of the basket to keep them warm.
The dinner was very tasty. I roasted some red baby potatoes (use Yukon gold instead – they taste better!!) and cooked a crown of broccoli. The burger was made from some 85% lean meat that has been in the freezer since last November. To give it some life, I added minced garlic and onion as well seasoning it… a day before cooking. The burger is sitting on a brioche bun. It is topped with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, and a homemade mushroom sauce. It was pretty filling!
The campground was quiet and peaceful. With no TV stations or cell phone coverage, I sat and watched some old TV shows that had been saved to the laptop. Most of the time the side doors were open and I watched the scenery transition to darkness.
The sleep was incredibly restful. I used to toss and turn a lot but last night it was much better. Some time back a new mattress pad was purchased for the van’s bed. It was higher end and added a very soft, smooth texture to the sleep surface… a great investment!
This morning it was necessary to get up early, update the blog, and then it’s off to work. On the way out I did stop and visit a public hunting area not far away. It’s going to be cheaper. Yesterday I’d had to shell out $12 for a night of primitive camping but that will change. Above is a picture of the place where I’ll be camping for free in the parking lot for the hunting grounds. The plan is to cook a wonderful meal at the refuge and then snooze for free just 3 miles down the road … and with that amazing view. It should also provide dozens of TV stations, too! 🙂
Well, the next trip is coming up this weekend. It’s the annual Trekfest celebration in Riverside, Iowa. The town was designated as the official “future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk” from Star Trek. It is always a fun time. With the weather projected to be nice, it’s guaranteed that free camping will happen, too!
Take care for now. Safe and happy travels!
Brad and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa