Day 2 – Christmas Lights and Fishing

Welcome to Frankville, Iowa near Decorah.

Hello and welcome to the blog!  After seeing the farm toy museum, Tuesday was an equally relaxing day.  Just like Monday, it was unscheduled.  I just wandered around and did stuff.  Whereas previous trips often had an itinerary, it’s often more pleasing to just be spontaneous.

A new little electric grill from Walmart for $10. I keep it concealed under the easy chair.

Tuesday’s breakfast was cooked at the campground.  The weather was cool, about 30 degrees with a 20+ MPH wind.  The new little griddle had difficulty getting up to temperature.  It required standing as a wind block long enough to get things warmed up.  At 6AM it was so dark I had to open the van’s side doors and turn on all the LED lights, illuminating the picnic table.  Breakfast sure tasted good though!

Some of the food was saved for a pal a few miles away…

Trout fishing sounded like fun.  Unfortunately, all the creeks are very low due to a dry fall.  Where there is water, things are frozen.  The best bet was the trout hatchery, a familiar place to visit.

The experience is not always free.  One should always bring Woody, the mascot, a treat.  Just don’t lose a hand in the process!  He was pretty enthused!

Woody enjoyed the “Bow-rito” … actually a taco made from a pumpkin pancake, sausage, and a fried egg. It was a hit.

While there, I watched some guys from Decorah bringing small fish back to this hatchery some 30 miles away.  When the raceways were overhauled this summer / winter, most of the fish were transported to Decorah hatchery to be raised.  Shown here is a truck with a tank that was draining the fishies back into the raceways.


Lots of water and, if you look carefully, you can see some small trout.

The raceways got all new plumbing underground, as well as new gates to control the flow of spring water.  Water runs 24 x 7 from the largest spring in Iowa, through the concrete tunnels and out to the river.

The river was a little low this time but very clear.  The fish bit like crazy and in less than 25 minutes I walked away with five nice ones.  Some people complain with things go too quickly.  I don’t.  There are enough days when fishing is too slow!

Note the lack of any snow, other than a tad bit of ice and show along the very edge of the far bank.  This is unusual for Iowa.  Just a few days from Christmas, it is now a certainty that it won’t be a white one.

As the day progressed, I spent the afternoon in downtown Decorah in the van, sitting in the easy chair and using free wi-fi to produce the last blog post.  As the sun started to go down, it was time to visit the campground in town and see the cool light displays.


The display for Croell Concrete.

Not sure who sponsored this one but isn’t that little house cute?

A fisherman fly fishing.


A giant present and a train

After the Decorah light show it was time to head back home.  I visited two more towns along the way – Sumner and Fairbank but did not get any good pictures.  There were three close calls on the way back.  I nearly went off the road watching one of those twinkle shower projector things on the side of a house… nearly missing a curve!  Shortly after that, a deer and I nearly became acquainted.  Just ten miles from home I nearly hit another group of “Bambis”.  There’s a reason you don’t want to drive in the dark in autumn!

Jenny is content to rest at home. This is her room and her collection of stuffed animals and “Beanie Babies”. At night she will come into my room and sometimes leave one (usually a fake mouse) by my pillow!

It was a fun trip and a very inexpensive one at that.  I only spent about $25 including food, camping fees, and the museum.  (not including fuel which Sis paid for with gas credits).  The weather was fantastic and I’m feeling a lot better these days… even though now it’s officially winter!

It’s difficult to say what the next trip will entail.  A customer at work gave me a Christmas card as well as a Walmart gift card.  Of course, there will be some new camping or fishing toys!  This area is also getting our first zero degree weather and that means ice fishing season is officially here.  In the meantime, the McDonald’s employee Christmas party is on Monday.  There will be photos from that.  All in all, it’s been a great end to the fall season.

God Bless and I hope everyone is safe over the coming days.  Take care and have a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah.

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"

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