One Last Fall Hurrah

Mural in Clarence, Iowa depicting the train business (Union Pacific in this area) and Gold Metal flour.


Note:  I’m sorry to have to have the comment moderation back on but the spam bots have been posting a lot of really annoying, very lengthy comments.  

Greetings and welcome to the blog.  It’s the 5th of December and 16 days away from the first day of winter.  We’ve had some amazingly warm fall weather.  With the arrival of a strong cold front it all ended last night… but not before one last hurrah – an outing with my special kitty pal – and a peaceful night’s sleep in a scenic place.

Arboretum in Clinton, Iowa

At first I was not sure where to spend the day and night.  Gas was not an issue.  Sis put so many credits on the Hy-Vee Fuel Saver account (by grocery store shopping) that 20 gallons of gas were purchased for just 20 cents.  It’s been a while since visiting the Clinton area (where highway 30 crosses the Mississippi River) so that became the destination.

A statue along Highway 30 near Malone, Iowa (just west of Clinton)  I was about that hungry at this point in time.


Once in Clinton, an early lunch was a priority.  For $10 including drink, I enjoyed an amazing Chinese meal at a little place called King Buffet restaurant.  The nondescript building didn’t do the food justice.  Every dish was wonderful   🙂  It’s definitely going to be a “must visit” when in this area!  I am leaving this place a very good review on

After that it was on to the Salvation Army and Goodwill.  Surprisingly, there were no treasures acquired … other than a set of green LED Christmas lights for the van.  I was looking for some shirts but didn’t find anything big enough; some of them were so ugly I wouldn’t wear them to a dog fight, as we say.   🙂

Playtime down by the river… That’s her in front of the picnic table.

Taking Jenny to the arboretum was enjoyable.  We went for a nice long walk and she sniffed everything…  much to the dismay of a talkative bird who apparently had a nest in one of those pine trees in that top picture.  The arboretum looked like it would be a great place to visit during warm weather with abundant plants.

The afternoon snack was a fruit salad, a cool idea from the Internet.  It was made with fresh kiwi, a banana and a can of mandarin oranges.  The snack was as tasty as it was pretty to look at.  Don’t use the canned oranges though… They are too fragile.


Supper was an old favorite Mom used to make.  Well, sort of.  I made creamed turkey over mashed potatoes.  Mom had used chicken. The meat was simmered all day in the crock pot, then removed for shredding.  The broth was thickened into a rich gravy and a bit of sour cream was added.  The macaroni and turkey meat was leftover from a dish I took to work on Sunday.  The kids wouldn’t eat it – more for the fat old guy!  The veggies were from a little microwavable steamer packet – perfect for camping.

The slough at Rock Creek Campground… What a nice view from the easy chair!

Jenny never was one for people food but she was intrigued with this plate.  I thought it was safe.  Well, after sniffing the veggies and taking a tongue swipe over the macaroni, she settled down and started eating the creamed turkey like it was her last meal.  Goofy cat.  🙂   What she wants she gets.  I rescued the potatoes underneath and had some extra meat on the side.

By this time it was dark.  I sat at the picnic table drinking a small bottle of Dr. McGillicuddy’s cherry liquor and watching the storm roll in.  The winds calmed, the lightning arrived, and then all hell broke loose.  It rained for about an hour and the thunder pounded.  Finally everything calmed down as we sat in the van watching TV.

Works good for winter colds!


Jenny and I had a great night’s sleep despite the high winds all night.  The temperature dropped 35 degrees overnight and the van rocked like a crooked cradle.  We had fun though.

We play this game with the thick flannel shirt. She hugs me and kicks with her back claws, purring the whole time. Jenny is a wild one.

Breakfast was planned to be something unusual of course.  But with 26 degrees, high winds, and such, who wants to cook?  I saved everything for later, packed up the van in a few minutes, and it was off to Burger King.  The last hurrah was Monday night.  Winter (officially or unofficially) is here.

Thanks for stopping by today!  Safe and happy travels in the coming days as we approach Christmas, Hanukkah, and all.

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"

4 Responses to One Last Fall Hurrah

  1. Jo says:

    So happy you had one last trip or was it? Your snack looked so cute nice job. Your dinner plate looked good too. And I love the picture of kitty with the plaid is that a shirt sleeve pulled over her like a blanket while she holds onto it.
    We have finally hit some cold weather here too. It stayed in the high 50’s most of the day then around 4:30 pm it went to 60 it is now into the 50’s again with a few 40’s and mid 30’s for over night lows.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! It sounds like you folks are getting some cold weather down that way. We experienced something like what you see. The humidity is extremely low in Iowa right now so during the day the temps soared to the upper 60s and plummeted to very low levels overnight. Without water things heat and cool a lot faster. Brrrr.

      Well, there will be more trips – likely when it snows the first time – but this will be the last trip for the fall. It’s definitely the last one for Jenny until spring. I don’t even care much about fishing till it warms up. The arthritis is pretty bad this year and getting into the hips.

      Yes, that was my shirt sleeve that Jenny was attacking. Much of the night she spent curled up in my arm pit. Then Jennifer slept on the couch cushion to the right of the foot of the bed… (It’s so I can turn and fit in at an angle). As a result, the back is kinked up a little because she took the sleeping spot! As I got dressed we tussled with the flannel. I’d tickle the belly and she would wrap her paws around my arm and kick with her back legs. It was playful; she was purring the whole time… a feisty little kitty!

      Take care! Things are getting busy with work due to the holidays but they are hinting my hours my get cut a little in January — maybe drop one day a week… You know what that means. Camping! Never say never. 🙂

  2. Kathy says:

    Glad to see you were able to make one more trip this year.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Kathy! Thanks for the note. It was fun. There will be some more trips coming up but it will likely be the 21st or later when it happens. I love the idea of camping in the 30 degree with a nice fresh snowfall. We haven’t seen any of the pretty white flakes yet.