Massillon to Lost Nation

Hello and welcome to the blog today.  On Wednesday I decided to do something a little different – visit a new place to camp, and even switch species of fish for angling.  Supper was made with a reader’s suggestion.  On the next trip north in two weeks I’ll be using some tempting ideas from TerreandFrank.

Instead of heading north to trout country, this time the fishing took place in the Wapsipinicon River in Cedar County – about 25 miles to the east and south of the home base in Jones County.

Wapsi River at the town of Massillion.

The fishing was fun.  The catfish nibbled at the bait on just about every cast.  But that was the problem, too.  They nibbled through 3 dozen worms and I was only able to get one unlucky fish.  He was about 14 inches and will be Thursday night’s supper.  But the experience of being outdoors was relaxing and the hearing became attuned to the natural sounds.

A close-up shot of a very curious dragonfly. Isn’t the coloring beautiful?

Through the use of the zoom lens I could see that it was the human the dragonfly was watching.  What a remarkable little creature.

This water snake was happily minding his own business and so was I.  Supposedly there are few poisonous snakes in Iowa but I’m not going to test that out.  His almost dinosaur-looking face/ mouth was kind of creepy.

Here’s how to cook a chicken breast when you leave the skillet at home!

Later in the afternoon I decided to make the evening meal – a salad suggested by reader Jo from the blog Moms Little Runaway.  The meat is chicken with a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, parsley, pepper, salt … lots of flavors!  Part of the marinade was kept separate to use as dressing.  The salad had cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, red onions, and avocado.  It was both healthy and heavenly!  Thanks for the suggestion, Jo!

Preparing the dinner salad. Avocadoes are yummy!

After a good meal it was time to think about retiring for the night.  I had already filleted out the catfish and put him on ice.  Now it was decision time.  Some young kids had entered Massillon park and started playing obnoxious rap music at a high level.  I had been listening to some oldies 80s music all day wasn’t in the mood for noisy urban tunes!  Besides, who wants to pay for camping if there is a free spot a few miles away with peace and quiet?

Sorry about the fuzzy picture… The sun was setting to the west. You can still see for many miles.

I headed east to a place mentioned before on the blog – the Lost Nation hunting area.   This large public hunting venue features a nice sized parking lot that is out of sight from the road.  I hooked up the TV antenna and picked up 55 stations.  Many were duplicates but it was nice to have plenty of viewing choices – more than at home!

Camping spot… On the back of the van is the bicycle rack with the “big man’s” style camping chair strapped on top.  Later I’d backed up a little further to be incognito… hitting the railing, of course!   🙂  🙂 

This what the van looked like to anyone passing by. If you look very closely you can see a wheel well and the nose of the van.

The night’s sleep was uninterrupted and blissful.  And there was no rap music out there either… just crickets and coyotes.  You can’t beat the view, either!

Even though this outing was just an overnight trip, it was a lot of a fun … and that’s why the van exists.  You just can’t beat free camping and cheap entertainment…  I left with $20 for the trip and (not counting gas) still had $11 left – the only expenses being worms and a diet coke!  Next week I’ll be visiting another spot along the Wapsi River closer to home… and hopefully catching a few catfish there, too.

So what’s happening next?  In late August I’ll likely be heading back to trout country again and doing some more free camping.  As the weather cools in September, Jenny will be back to camping.  She’s trained on the least / harness now and will really enjoy the scenery.

Safe and happy travels!

Brad and Jenny
“Saving our pennies for the next trip”
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 Massillon to Lost Nation

  1. Jo says:

    I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the salad. I finally remembered to by chicken so I can make this again.

    You hiding place sure was pretty. We are still into monsoons so I can go camping anywhere cool.

    • VanTrekker says:

      It was really yummy. I’ll definitely make it again. I loved the dressing and the chicken was amazing. It had all the right flavors. I did add feta cheese crumbles, too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t present it on a picnic table because I was eating in a lawnchair – the only furniture at the fishin’ hole. Awesome about being able to camp anywhere! Cool is a good thing!

  2. Pam in Louisiana says:

    That chicken and salad looks delicious! I’m definitely going to try that recipe. My husband and I took off early this morning before the horrid heat of the day and we went fishing with a container of worms and some tiny frozen shrimp we found in the bottom of the freezer. We were hoping to catch some perch or catfish. Like you said….they just nibbled away all our bait, but my husband caught a catfish about the same size as yours and one keeper size perch. He’ll have a good little meal tomorrow. I’m so happy to hear that Jenny will be able to travel with you soon because there is nothing better than a cat companion to share your adventures with. We had a cat that traveled with us everywhere we wandered until her passing at 24 years old. We both miss her so much. That is the sweetest little calico in the bottom photo, and I will assume that is sweet little Jenny!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Pam! Thanks for the note. Yes, it’s frustrating when a person fishes for hours and just catches a fish or two. The perch and catfish sound tasty! Up north it is rare when I can’t get a limit of trout in an hour or less. (Ya get spoiled!) River fishing is a lot slower paced. Tomorrow morning I’m having the catfish for breakfast. I’m sorry to hear about your cat passing at 24 years of age – she certainly had a wonderful, full life.

      The cat in the picture is Jenny. She’s a feisty little tortie girl. Jenny has been knocking the coins on the floor when I take them out of the pants pockets before bed. Somehow I came up with the rhyme “Jenny, Jenny, Moneypenny!” and she comes running when she hears it. A few minutes ago I came home from McDonalds. I’d left the TV on and Jenny was sprawled out on the arm of the recliner watching Perry Mason. She’s a handful!

      Thanks for the note and have a wonderful weekend! Take care!

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