Happy New Year 2018

Hello blog friends and a very Happy New Year to all!   It’s been a difficult day on this end but one where a person can still count the blessings.  That’s what is truly important, isn’t it?

Today was the coldest January 1st (in nearby Cedar Rapids) since records have been kept.  It was -24.  (The old record was -14).  Even knowing this the plan was to go camping tonight and enjoy the -26 degree temperature and -40+ windchill (what it really feels like)… but between the car and I both being sick the was spent taking care of both…

Brandon,a friend and “cart pusher” from Walmart with his new hat.   He wanted one like my fishing hat so a few evenings later one materialized.

Sunday was a tough day.  I was coming down with a nasty stomach bug and was still doing to work a split shift.  Thankfully we were needing to trim labor Sunday night and boss Tabi sent me home early.  The flu bug worsened overnight and it was miserable with repeated trips out of bed.

This morning I was still planning to go camping.  Needing some vittles for the trip, the plan was to buzz over to Walmart.   I hopped in my little car, turned the key, and the battery was dead.  I tried the van and it roared to life.   But car was the immediate concern.

It took a couple hours in the cold to clean out the trunk and install a new battery (located by the spare tire).  It was -10 degrees at this point and the wind was howling.  Delighted with the handiwork, I eagerly turned the key and the shittin’ car cranked but would not fire.  The fuel line is apparently frozen.  Instead of being mad, I just laughed.  Perhaps today was not meant for a camping trip.

New Year’s night was spent at McDonald’s with some non-alcoholic grape juice enjoyed by the co-worker friends…

Well, the camping did not happen but it’s been an interesting day and a lot was accomplished.  It just means being home and waiting for stuff to thaw out and this flu bug to pass… among other things.  With Tuesday off as well, there is abundant time to rest.  We’ll have to see where the next camping bug (but not flu bug) leads.


Well, it’s 2018 and there is always talk of resolutions.  I don’t have many…  maybe try to save money, eat a little healthier, listen to the body’s signals more.  Being good to people is always toward the top of the list.  We all need to keep doing plenty of that.

For now, it’s time to depart the work location.  We’ve already closed for the night and the kids are about done cleaning the place.

Take care and have a super 2018!

Brad and Jenny
Jones County, Iowa

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 Happy New Year 2018

  1. Jo says:

    Happy New Year Brad, but what a way to bring it in. sure hope your feeling better. Maybe not going camping was a good thing with being sick and those temps.
    I haven’t celebrated New Years in 8 yrs now as it was a tragic one. And I still have a hard time when the holiday rolls around. But I don’t mind staying home and safe.

    Love that you made your buddy a nice warm hat for the freezing weather.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo. I understand about the tragic situation. It’s kind of difficult for me around Thanksgiving. Dad died the day before and Mom died the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Some days I feel like a person is just marking time waiting to be next.

      This flu thing is not very nice but I’m functioning somewhat. Everyone around here is getting sick and it seems like each year the viruses get worse. We were running with a crew of 4 where 9 were scheduled… Everyone was sick. Oh well.

      You’re right. It probably would have been a bad idea to go camping. Take care Jo! 🙂

  2. Pam in Louisiana says:

    A late Happy New Year to you Brad. Hopefully by now your ailment is easing up, or over. My husband and I are just getting over what appeared to be an extra bad cold with horrible coughing spells that took our energy away. Whatever it is going through our state like a raging wildfire! You did a great job on your friend Brandons’ cap! I’ll bet he’ll get plenty of use out of it this year. Love his glowing smile, you made his day! And that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? If you ever get totally bored you could make an extra big one and then roll down the widest part and make a great doughnut shaped ‘snuggle in’ bed for Jenny! Well, it was a good thought I think. ha.. My best to you, and take good care of Jenny and yourself!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Pam. I am sorry to hear that you and your husband had that upper respiratory bug. It is terrible and the cough is so painful! I had that a month of so ago. I just got over the stomach flu with countless trips to the restroom. At one point I was so dehydrated that the muscles started locking up in my legs, arms, etc. I’m still very weak but managed to work. (The young kids call in at the first sneeze)

      I haven’t seen Brandon to see how he liked the cap. The grin on his face probably said it best!

      I love the idea about the “snuggle in” bed idea. Right now Jenny has taken over the heating pad on the recliner. She’s coddled. Unfortunately she’s discovered the crock pot pork roast with mushroom gravy… Jenny is learning to like people food. 🙂

      Gotta run for now. I’m very weak tonight. The 1st and 2nd were filled with logistical problems with the cars – some downright funny things. I’ll post about it later this week. Thank goodness all that is in the rear view mirror.

      Take care! — Brad and Jenny