Over The River (four times) and Through the Woods

Lower Buck Creek east of Garnavillo, Iowa


Hello and welcome to the blog!  Today is Tuesday and it’s two days before the birthday… Both mine (52) and my sister’s (who is 3 years older but I did not disclose her age) are on the 9th.  It was necessary to celebrate today in order not to take any extra time off from work.

Looking north toward Guttenberg, Iowa near the Mississippi River

Initially there were no plans to do anything today.  It’s been a rough and expensive few days and I’ve been pretty discouraged.  On Saturday the cell phone went for a swim in the washing machine.  I had helped out for an hour at breakfast time at work… and after returning tired, forgot to check the pants pockets.  There went $70 I couldn’t afford!  Oh well.  Poop happens…

Last night I worked on the house, mainly cleaning the kitchen (once I found it).  So much progress was made that it seemed a fitting reward to go fishing and have a good meal.   Since eating out was not justifiable, I cashed in the coins in the piggy bank (most of them from the parking lot at work) and came up with $16.61 for the trip.  Lunch would be special!

There is still some color along the Mississippi River areas in Clayton County

I’ve fished for trout a lot the last few years.  Even something this fun can get a little mundane after visiting the same places over and over.  But today had to be something different and new.  Lately I’ve been angling at Buck Creek just north of Guttenberg near Garnavillo.  But there has always been one segment of the stream I’ve never checked out.  Why?  Because it was too easy to get the limit of trout closer to the car.  This time I wanted to go all the way down as far as was allowed on private property and work my way back… and see some new sights.

This tiny pocket held a couple of nice fish!

After crossing the creek about 3/4 mile from the car (and over rugged cow paths), I fished a nice large hole and grabbed a few plump fish.  To go farther it was necessary to wade across a second time.  At this point the creek was about 12-15 feet across and very cold!  One fish was pulled from that small pocket above.  It was a blast finding new places to try.  Eventually a fence separated the property lines and fishing downstream was forbidden.  That was okay, I’d limited out and gotten to see areas few people visit.  The new fishing holes were worth crossing the creek a total of four times.  (update – at 8PM I am still chilled to the bone so that last sentence may not be valid.)

The Country Junction restaurant in Dyersville, Iowa

As enjoyable as the trout fishing was today, I had as much or more fun at lunch.  The Country Junction, located in Dyersville (home of the “Field of Dreams” baseball movie venue) is an independent restaurant (not a chain) that specializes in tasty American (specifically Midwest) style food.  I had an open faced hot beef sandwich.  It was comfort food at its absolute finest.  For dessert they offered a slice of pie that was like pecan pie but also had some pumpkin puree in it.  It was amazing!

If ever sent to the electric chair, I want this to be my last dinner!

While dining, memories came flooding back.  Dad and I used to dine here and he loved the hot beef.  Their hot pork sandwich is very good and not long before my four-footed pal died, I’d brought a portion of the roast pork home to kitty Jesse.  The tasty food and splendid service make this a favorite stop.

There was an unusual reaction after dining and returning to the car.  I’ve been under a lot of stress lately (financial, work stress, physical pain, etc.)  Today it all just gently bubbled over… and it felt good to let the tears flow.  We are all human and need to do that occasionally.  I learned that stress should not deprive a person of taking care of him or herself.  It’s necessary.

Same place… same pose. New coat though.

Last week Sis sent this new coat.  It is a Columbia with a lightweight but high performance insulation.  I’m impressed.  It is warm and comfortable with pockets galore.  Carried along were the *new* cell phone, a camera,  pistol, a plethora of trout bait… The best part is the coat matches the hat.  🙂

Sis had ordered a larger size so there is room in there to move.  I can see a day coming this winter when the coat will be slept in while doing some cold weather camping in the van.  Once things calm down at work and money-wise, the plan is to do some Thanksgiving camping in the van.

Though the next holiday is a few weeks away, for now there is plenty to be thankful for.  Despite the hard times, God has blessed this life and I’ve never had to go without anything to eat or a place to sleep.  We all have it so much better off than most of the rest of the world.

A little sign at Millville, Iowa on the river road, Highway 52.

For now I’d better get this posted while the Mc Wifi is still working.  There will likely be another post this week after we have a birthday cake at work on Thursday.  At that time I will be able to divulge the details of my sister’s special birthday present.  She has no idea what it is but the theme is coffee.  (If I post it here now, she’ll surely find it and thwart the surprise!)

Thanks for visiting.  Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny
Jones County, Iowa

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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"

6 Responses to Over The River (four times) and Through the Woods

  1. Jo says:

    See these little adventures can help with what ever bothers you. Hang in there and I think that you were drawn to that sign. Nice jacket and yes it goes well wit your new hat. And your fish look great too.

    I never did make it to the camp ground but next weeks weather still looks good. What makes it so hard is the pup. It stays dark later and gets dark earlier and taking him out can be a problem. But that’s OK something will work out.

    If I don’t get back on you make sure you have a GReat Birthday Brad

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Too bad that you did not get to camp. I have a similar issue with Jenny. She likes to go out often and with the diminished daylight it’s not possible. Also, I have to have supper cooked and eaten by 6:00 or end up doing it in the dark. I hope you will get to go camping soon. I’m trying to find a time and will take a short trip somewhere soon. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for the note!

  2. Laurie says:

    So sorry you had some troubles! I hope you both have a fun birthday. You camp more than I do and I’m always jealous of that…I’ve vowed to do more overnite short trips in the future, like you do, instead of waiting for the week long getaway…but until I do I can read about yours! Keep on trekkin’ and happy B-Day! – Laurie

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Laurie and thanks for the kind note! Overnight trips are fun! I wish it were possible to go for longer periods of time but it’s kind of nice to come back to the homebase as well. If alone, I really miss Jenny! Soon it will be too cold to take her traveling but maybe just one more time… She loves the outdoors. Take care!

  3. my_vantasy says:

    Happy birthday! Like all of the other readers, I love these short little trips, too. There’s something to be said about warm Midwestern comfort food on cold days. I wonder if that’s universal or just something we midwesterners enjoy…

    • VanTrekker says:

      Good morning! Those short little trips keep a person happy. I’ll likely take one again very soon but man, it’s difficult to think about it when the temp outside is 17 degrees. Brrrrr…. It’s time for more comfort food. 🙂 🙂 Take care!