Jenny and I Up North – Day 1

Parked for dinner at the Manchester, Iowa hospital and Denton City Park.

Hello and welcome to the blog!  It’s Tuesday, thankfully.  Yesterday was “migraine Monday”.  It started out okay but…

On Monday morning, buddy Steve and I decided to pick some hazelnuts about twenty minutes north of town.  It was hotter than hell that day – in the mid 90s.  That’s record setting heat for September.  We picked for about an hour and each got a nice plastic shopping bag full of nuts.  Yum!  But the heat took a toll!

Eventually I got on the road about 6PM.  By this time the outside temp was dropping to normal levels.  My heada was about to explode.  Then Jenny promptly puked all over the seat (It’s good to have vinyl seats).  The sky was starting to darken and lightning flickered to the west.  It was a good opportunity to cook something up fast before the heavy weather moved in.  I pulled over in Manchester, Iowa and let the kitty play while dinner was being prepared.  She had a lot of fun!

Denton City Park. If you look near the garbage container, you’ll see Jennifer.

Supper consisted of a Reuben sandwich cooked on the fold ‘n’ go grill.  Warming the center of a thick sandwich can be difficult but with the lid closed, everything was cooked perfectly.  To make dinner even easier to warm up, the bread, Swiss cheese, and corned beef was assembled at home and wrapped in foil.  I’d also mixed sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing in a bag, adding it to the sandwich before grilling.  The chips in the background are dehydrated apple slices with cinnamon.

By this time it was getting late.  The storm hit – the first good downpour in many weeks – and it was like a monsoon.  We drove for about 40 miles in it.  Jenny and I made it to the little town of Monona and spent the night at the Kwik Star gas station, normally a very quiet place… until last night.

Camping among the semis at Monona, Iowa

It was not easy sleeping with the migraine but I drifted off.  About 200 feet from van a semi pulled in sometime later with a trailer full of hogs.  They stomped, squealed, and made all kinds of noises… all night!  It still wasn’t as bad as my neighbor at home who has a disability and screams, swears, slams things all hours of the night and day.  Somehow we still slept!

Jenny slept on the chair last night Her food and water were on the cooler on the right. She has it made!

Today is Tuesday and it rained much of the morning.  But as Jenny rested in the van, Daddy got some good fish.  More about that later.  It’s time to finish out the day, get a good nap, and hopefully not have to listen to any more serenading swine.

Thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy journeys!

Brad and Jenny
Relaxing in Decorah.


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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"

2 Responses to Jenny and I Up North – Day 1

  1. Jo says:

    Sorry you got hit with a migraine on your fist day and pack of pigs parked right next to you. But sounds like it all worked out for the best even with the rain. I have been trying to come up with a menu for the camping trip and I really like the sandwich idea just added it to my list. Hope to head out on the 9th.
    Have fun for the rest of your trip.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo and good morning. The grilled sandwich was so quick and easy to heat up and was satisfying. We slept well. Jenny had a wonderful time – more pictures to come. I hope your trip on the 9th of October will be enjoyable.