A Fun Camping trip to Jim’s Pond

Drone shot of friend Jim’s pond. If you look behind the bare area, the van is parked for camping in this peaceful, private place.

Hello and welcome to the blog!  It was a gorgeous day in Iowa on Monday.  With temperatures around 80 and low humidity, who could ask for anything more?  By the way, I’m walking better now but still have some trouble getting around.  I had to go see a podiatrist about it all and get to wear a medical boot for a couple of weeks.  Oh joy.

A person has to enjoy such wonderful weather because in Iowa it can change all too quickly.  I spoke with Jim on Sunday and asked about fishing his pond and snoozing there on Monday night.  He’s got a little camping area set up with a fire ring and everything.  Friend Steve came along to join the fun.  We both caught a ton of small bluegills.  I ended up with two big catfish.

For supper, I’d prepped a number of veggies and meats.  The new dutch oven (bought last fall and never opened) was used for a “kitchen sink” stew with steak, hamburger, mushrooms, and a bunch of different kinds of veggies.  It was all cooked over the fire ring.  Jim, Steve, and I enjoyed the meal.  Leftovers were saved in the Dutch oven and by morning, the raccoons had all but cleaned out the last of the food.

Partway through the cooking process…

Dessert was cooked on top of the griddle inside the little gas camping stove.  It was a simple blackberry cobbler.  This time I used half ‘n’ half instead of milk.

By now it was getting late and Steve was still without a catfish.  He vowed to come back in the morning and bring worms.  I left the two big catfish on the stringer and went to bed for a blissful night’s sleep.

In the morning I checked the fish and to my dismay, one of the catfish was missing. A turtle likely dined on the fish during the night.  I laughed and vowed to bring another nice “kitty” home.  In any case, it was time for breakfast.

The Tuesday breakfast was another baked item made inside of the cook stove.  Some time back we threw out a bunch of biscuits at work and the boss gave them to me.  I crumbled up the biscuits, then added eggs, half ‘n’ half, onion, peppers, Canadian bacon, and regular bacon.  Baked up in a foil pan, this little casserole made a delightful breakfast meal.

Steve came over and we fished again.  I caught another big catfish and put it on the stringer.  Steve was getting pretty annoyed when all of a sudden his bobber went under and never resurfaced.  I  yelled “Cat!” because that’s what I figured it was – a bit ole’ catfish. Steve talked to the fish, urging it stay on the line and it did.  The picture shows how happy he was and I felt the same way.

Jim (the land owner), Steve, and I sat in lawn chairs chatting until it got so hot we had to call it quits.  (Tuesday).  The little overnighter was a lot of fun… one of the best adult fishing trips I’ve been on – even though it was only 12 minutes away.  There will be more visits to this place.  Jim offered to let me pick blackberries this summer, even mentioning that catfish will bite on them.  It’s worth a try!

Thanks for riding along.  I hope everyone is enjoying warm weather!

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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