Trekfest 2017 Trip

Two “Starfleet” officers looking their best!

Note:  This post is in reverse order.  Toward the end are the camping details of the night before the parade.

Hello and welcome!  Today was the Trek Fest celebration in Riverside, Iowa.  For those new to following the blog, this is almost a religious thing for me… The “Trekker” part of “VanTrekker” has to do with the love for Star Trek (we’re called Trekkers, not Trekkies)… “Trekker” also refers to the van trips (or treks) that have been going on for over 6 years now.

Riverside is a small town about 40 miles south of Cedar Rapids… a dozen or so miles south of Iowa City.  This yearly celebration is one about a future life, that of character “Captain James T. Kirk” (previously played by William Shatner and now played by Chris Pine.)  Captain Kirk will supposedly be born on March 22, 2228.  In the movie Star Trek IV, William Shatner said, “I am from Iowa, I only work in outer space.”  The town of Riverside asked and was granted the honor of being Kirk’s birthplace.  The town motto is now “Where the trek begins.”  In the 2009 movie, the new starship “Enterprise” was constructed at the fictional Riverside shipyard.  What an honor!

Note the photon torpedo weapon on the back of the car.

The Galaxy class vessel and pride of the town, USS Riverside

A “mugatu” (Moo-gah-too), a fierce creature from the Star Trek episode “A Private Little War”

This is a “horta”, a silicon-based lifeform that burrows through rock by secreting acid. It was from the Trek episode “The Devil in the Dark”

The “horta” in the TV episode… Reminds me of some old meatloaf on the bottom shelf in the back of the fridge…

The parade was a blast, as always.  Like last year, I was positioned at the front and gathered as much candy as possible, darting into the street.  Nearly all of the candy was given to the children around me.  Their parents were grateful that the kids didn’t have to risk injury.  I did manage to eat a few pieces, of course!  Two “Smarties” candy rolls were saved for Jennifer.  She loves chewing on the rolls and making faces from the sour candy – a strange cat!)

Lots of cool Star Trek memorabilia.

Following the parade, there was a swap meet with about every kind of memorabilia imaginable.  I was able to resist temptation and didn’t bring home any new toys.  (but still had tons of fun).  Cash is tight right now.  According to the Star Trek legend there is no money in the 23rd century.  Well, in the 21st century things we still use money and with some frugal practices (such as free camping below), a person can still enjoy events like this.

Free camping at the casino… I didn’t lose a cent and didn’t gamble any, either!

I had to work the Friday night before the parade.  Around 10:30 PM, I arrived at Riverside.  Just a few miles away is a nice campground but who wants to pay $10 for a spot with no electricity?  For free I slept at the casino until the alarm went off at 4:30, signalling it was time to do a little fishing.

The Iowa River as seen from the easy chair in the van. What a view!

A few miles to the east is River Junction park.  The last time I fished here was a few years ago when Serena was alive.  She loved this park and it bothered me a little – I still miss her.  But it was a great place to cook breakfast and the view was amazing.  Jennifer will get to see River Junction one day… perhaps this fall as the weather cools.

While I fished, the breakfast was cooked.  It consisted of a skillet full of shrimp, kielbasa sausage, onions, green and red peppers, and summer squash.  I also cooked some hash browns with cheese.  The meal turned out very satisfying!  The best part is that most of it was odds and ends of stuff.

My little buddy Serena a few years ago on the same table where breakfast was cooked this morning.  This picture is on the wall of my van.  RIP Princess!

Sadly, the fish were not biting too well and the muddy water looked like the chocolate river in Willy Wonka’s factory.  (We’ve had recent heavy storms)  I did have a very strong hit on the light duty pole and fought the fish for a while until he busted the line.  Whatever was on there was a nice one!  But nothing else would take the bait… and it was time to head to the parade.  There will be other chances to fish this week… It’s perfect weather right now!


Well, that’s all.  I’ve got Monday and Wednesday off this next week.  There will surely be at least one camping outing.  Hopefully it can be done on-the-cheap like this last trip!  Who wants to pay camping fees at a noisy campground when a person doesn’t have to?

Take care.  Safe and happy travels!

Brad 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 Trekfest 2017 Trip

  1. Jo says:

    So happy you had such a good time and the parade. And yes that one float did look like some nasty uncovered meat loaf in the bowls of the fridge haha.

    Nice over night spot but the morning fishing place was great. I just found a recipe similar to your plate of food. I need to pick up the ingredients next shopping trip.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Doesn’t that sound good with all the colorful veggies? The plan is to do more stir frying. I just won a new wok on Deal Dash and when it arrives it’s going to be used to cook some healthy food in the boonies. I hope the food turns out good. Do you have a web link to tht recipe? Take care!

      • Jo says:

        Brad, I, sent it in an email. for some reason the picture didn’t copy they never do. I just tried to add it here but no go

        • VanTrekker says:

          Just got it. Thanks Jo! It sure sounds tasty… a great meal for this time of the year (or any). Right now I’m getting ready to make some vennison-loaf patties and then use them in the crockpot to make something like Swiss steak. Home cooking rocks. 🙂 Didn’t get to camp today (got called in a couple times on the day off)

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