Jenny and I on Wednesday with Scenery Pics

NE of Decorah, “Old Rossville Road”

Hello and welcome back!  Wednesday was one of the most enjoyable days I can remember camping, traveling, and exploring.  Kitty Jennifer helped make it that way.  Despite her vomiting on the way up on Monday, she did very well the rest of the trip and seemed fascinated with all the sights and smells.

We took off on Wednesday morning, driving east on old Highway 9 to Patterson Creek trout stream.  I had a couple hours to explore the stream from one end to the other.  It is beautiful – one of the prettiest in Iowa – the creek gently meandering through many acres of quiet, lightly grazed pasture land.

Lower end of Patterson Creek and the iron bridge on Patterson Creek Road

The weather was cool Wednesday morning and I felt slightly chilled until the sun peeked over the horizon and warmed things up a bit.  The cows lazily grazed and the well maintained pasture looked like a soft and inviting, grassy carpet.  The only problem was that I didn’t watch the ground and slipped and fell in some cow pies…  If you hear someone say something is “Slicker than cow shit” then trust me – it’s like wheel bearing grease.  I wore it on trousers the rest of the day.

Patterson Creek with a loaded walnut tree.

Another shot of the loaded walnut tree. There are a bazillion of these things in NE Iowa. Dad used to gather the nuts and use them in baked goods.

Nope, this wasn’t a protest movement or anything… Just some wandering black angus bovine.

Sadly, on Wednesday the fishing at this stream was terrible.  Patterson is a popular venue and is stocked weekly.  There were no indications that the stream had been visited by the DNR so Jenny and I left.  I’d thrown back the only small fish caught.

From there the next stop was Waukon to visit the creamery and take a selfie with “Anna” the mascot for the WW Homestead Creamery.

The “purple cow” ice cream featured on the right is a mellow raspberry flavored recipe combined with chunks of dark chocolate.

I also bought a bag of cheese curds.    For those who are unfamiliar, cheese curds are fresh cheddar cheese that is not yet shaped into blocks or wheels.  The random shaped nuggets are a bit rubbery and squeak when you bite into them.  They are delicious!

After the creamery Jenny and I stopped at an Amish store just to the east of Waukon and bought some bulk items really cheap:  stick cinnamon and dried vegetable flakes.  The Amish proprietor advised that Paint Creek (a half mile to the east) had been stocked with trout two days ago.

Amish store (left) and residence along Paint Creek in central Allamakee County

By this time I was pretty excited.  Knowing that the stream had been stocked and how wicked the slope is, it was likely there would be some lovely fish in search of a frying pan.  I carefully descended and got the limit of plump rainbow trout in short order.

“Allamakee Farm 55” park, a favorite of myself and friend Steve as well as Jenny.

A few miles down the road, we stopped to make a home cooked lunch.  In addition to fresh fried trout, I’d also prepped some green and yellow squash, carrots, and onions.  The veggies were grilled with olive oil and spices.  The potatoes were cooked at home – tender baby potatoes with onions and garlic.  The “Whiskey Beans” were from Dollar Tree and they were darned tasty!  The fish fillets were cooked with “Louisiana Fish Fry All Natural” coating.  It contained only 5 MG of sodium.  What a wonderful product!   (So was the Smirnoff Green Apple beverage!)

Jenny exploring the playground equipment at the park.

Climbing the apple tree

The little kitty got to play to her heart’s content in the park, climbing the tree and the jungle gym.  She prowled and sniffed until some other people arrived and she decided it was time to go back to the van.

After lunch it was off to Lansing to a new park.  By the way, it looks like someone used the sign for target practice!

 

View to the north of the Mississippi River

Once arriving in Lansing, we climbed a very steep hill with the van and looked out over the Mississippi River from Mount Hosmer park.  The view is breathtaking and peaceful.  One can only imagine the happiness experienced by the native Americans many years prior as they lived in this region, referred to as the “driftless area”.

Driftless Area Education and Visitor’s Center

The driftless area is a part of Northeast Iowa that was not affected by the glaciers.  The land has high bluffs, deep valleys, and sparkling clear streams.  This new visitor’s center has many exhibits that detail aspects of the fishing and button making industries over the years.  Many years ago they did a lot of logging of white pine trees.  At one point there were over a hundred sawmills up and down the Mississippi.

A very old ice fishing shanty that was pulled like a sled to where a fisherman could sit in shelter while angling. It was fully collapsible!

The new visitor center had many neat exhibits, mainly geared toward the younger crowd but it was still fascinating to kids of all ages.

Giant turtle statue outside the visitor’s center.

Jenny and I made one more stop… at the Mohn Fish Market on the Great River Road south of Lansing.  This place has been around for 35 years.  There were at least four cats on the premises and all were eager to assist in consuming anything given to them.  We split a piece of smoked sturgeon.  I can only imagine how much they love their home near all that tasty seafood!  RIP, tomcat Jesse James.  He would have loved being there!

After that it was back to the home base.  Jenny was tuckered out and so was Daddy.  We covered a lot of territory and both had a great time.  I’m not sure when or where the next trip will be but have a few ideas already.

Thanks for riding along with us!

Safe and happy journeys!

Brad and Jennifer
Jones County, Iowa

Fresh homemade cow pies from your
friendly neighborhood black angus
cattle…

 

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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"
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4 Responses to Jenny and I on Wednesday with Scenery Pics

  1. Jo says:

    What wonderful views so much greener and water ways. Of course the cows looked like they could care less about you being there. Just to bad you slipped in their waste. I would not have been happy to have to wear those pants all day. lol

    That ice cream cone looks divine and of course your meal looks really awesome to.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo. Thanks for the comments. That purple ice cream sounds good for breakfast about now. We’ve been in a severe drought. It might not look like it but the waterways are low. It should get better soon. Yeah, it wasn’t fun walking around in cow pooh all day but s*** happens 🙂 The worst part was waking up sore the next morning. Most of the terrain there is very rocky just under the soil…

      I’ve got a new project this next week. The easy chair is coming out of the sleeping area and I’m hauling a new gas range home. The old one is dying an agonizing death. It will be fun to install it. Take care and have a good week. Jen-Jen won’t let me type. she wants to go outside.

  2. my_vantasy says:

    We have cheese curds in Ohio and I like them, too. As always, your plates of food look so good. My camping season is over, so I will have to camp vicariously through you. I love how you go out pretty much all year. Some day I will full-time. Goal is June, 2019.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi and thanks for the note. It’s cooling off a lot here but that just means dusting off the heater. It’s likely moderating now in Ohio, too. Cold also means having to pay camping fees to get electricity. Oh well… It’s been a cheap year of outings! I hope you will get to follow your dreams in June of 2019. I really enjoyed living in the van but prefer the home base. We all have to find our place in the universe. 🙂

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