Cedar Valley Camping and CORN!

Hi and welcome today!  It’s Tuesday.  Monday was spent camping at the Cedar Valley Campground straight south of Anamosa, just a short jump north from Interstate 80.  It’s right along the Cedar River.  But this trip was not about fishing.  I spent some time hiking around the quarries and cooking up dishes using sweet corn, one of the finest things your find in Iowa (second only to corn-fed Iowa beef in my opinion!).

Cedar Valley Campground… $7 primitive, $10 with electricity.

Jenny stayed at home on Monday.  The weather was warm and I was concerned that stress of the daytime heat might be too much for her.  She will get some opportunities to camp in September.  But in the meantime, I met some cats who didn’t seem to mind the weather at all.

Hungry kitty who I called “Mama Grey”. She was a lovely girl with a loud purr.

While preparing to cook supper, this kitty approached me and meowed.  I lifted the tail to check gender and patted her tummy.  Mama was majorly pregnant, looking like she could have a litter at any time.  Thankfully, there was a supply of cat food in the van.  I gave her a couple of cans and she also ate two cheese slices.  All the while, Mama strutted around and chatted with me.

The camping supper was a fun experiment.  The patty was fashioned from ground turkey, sweet corn, an egg white, a couple tablespoons of corn muffin mix, scallions, bacon, green peppers, and various spices.  I topped it with white cheddar, salsa, and sour cream.  It was a fun change from McBurgers!  The green onions were unusually plump and begged to be grilled.  As for the cheesecake, it was necessary because Monday was “National Cheesecake Day” and one should not pass by its observation!

After dinner and feeding Mama Grey, I hiked around the quarries at the park.  They are fenced off but fishing is permitted.  The area is very scenic.  I put a couple lines in the water but didn’t catch anything.   All I had to use were corn and crappie jigs.  Next time worms are going to ride along!

Standing next to the safer quarry…

As I strolled around the far quarry, I noticed a tall quarry wall formed by the limestone excavating.  Setting the camera at one end, I turned on the video, panned a bit, and then left the camera stationery.  I walked around to a tall ledge (one fall might mean drowning!) and stood on the rocks..   It was a bit tricky.  I’m editing the footage to see if it can be made into a Star Trek type beaming video.

With no TV, downloaded shows are a must!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the repaired lawn chair and had to use the driver’s seat of the van to watch some old shows including the Six Million Dollar Man, Star Trek, and Star Trek – The Next Generation.  By choice, for most of this camping season I’ve not brought the TV antenna along.  While it’s nice to view an old program from the computer, it’s relaxing to get away from TV news and the constant barrage of negativity we see on the “fake news” as it’s often called!

One of Mama’s two kids. That’s a small paper plate that looks very large by the little kitten.

As the sun went down, two kittens came out.  The way they interacted with Mama Grey it was obvious that she was the parent.  The cats (one of which is seen lapping up an egg), dinned on canned shrimp, more of Jenny’s Fancy Feast cat food, and cheese.  Though still wild, the kittens were fun to observe and watched me with curiosity and suspicion.

A cardinal was serenading during breakfast…

The night of sleep was blissful.  The bed is so comfortable in the new configuration!  I did get a little cold last night but there are no complaints!  In retrospect, I guess Jenny could have come along but I didn’t want to stress her.  In any case, rather than one cat for company, there were three!

Breakfast was pretty simple.  There was leftover turkey / veggie meat and it was fried up with eggs.  But the star of the morning meal was the sweet corn pancakes.  It was simple to make – and just used  an envelope of pancake mix made fairly thick, to which a lot of fresh sweet corn kernels were added.  The pancake should almost be like a fritter.  I added butter and an old pack of fast food pancake syrup.  I’ll definitely make these again.  With the small portion size the blood sugar did spike just a bit but came back down quickly.  It’s worth the bounce!  If you don’t have fresh off-the-cob corn, try frozen or canned sweet corn.

After the hearty breakfast it was back home to see Jenny and get her outside for a walk on the leash.  I’d neglected to do that for a couple days and one day she slipped out and darted off, returning with a very unhappy baby rabbit.  It’s better to keep her happy!


That’s about all that’s new.  The job opening didn’t materialize (they don’t want someone who cannot stand 12 hours a day, 6 days a week) but there are other jobs out there.  I’m exploring some leads right now.  Co-workers are vanishing like crazy in this strong Iowa job market and frankly, when a person quits a fast food job, it almost always means more pay.  Perhaps I’ll be the next one before too long!  More money never hurts the budget.

Have a great rest of the summer vacation season!  Take care and thanks for visiting!

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 Cedar Valley Camping and CORN!

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Nice prices on campsites. We pay much more at state parks in Ohio. I almost expected you to adopt the mama kitty, but probably not a good idea with one female cat claiming your home already as her territory. Your breakfasts always look so good! I’m just not a breakfast eater. Give me a granola or protein bar and a cold drink, and I’m good to go. I still look at your breakfasts and think I should try them–it is the most important meal of the day, they say!

  2. Jo says:

    Every time I read about someone going camping I am so wanting to set up the camper again but it is so hot here that just isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
    And the prices there are so wonderfully low. Your meals of course look so good too. The breakfast one made my mouth water.

    Hope you find a job to your liking. More money is very helpful to keep up the camping and fishing lifestyle.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! It will be cooling off before too long. We’re back in the furnace this week. Thanks for the kind words about the food. It’s fun to cook new things. I liked that mama kitty but Jenny is the boss and would not approve. 🙂 I hate to think about leaving the golden arches but I just cannot afford to work here any more.. ($200 / week AFTER taxes). More money is needed.

      Take care! — VT

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi and good morning! I hear you about camping prices and avoid the State Parks until they go to winter rates. I usually hit county parks (Clayton, Fayette, and Cedar Counties) because they are cheaper. It was nice to do the primitive thing and save a few bucks. Even though you see the fancy breakfasts online, half the time I grab a plate and drop a glob of peanut butter on it and squeeze on a packet or two of strawberry or grape jam. 🙂 I’d probably just sleep in every day and not eat breakfast but it’s about managing the blood sugars.

      Have a great rest of the week! — VT

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