Kevin Hines in Cedar Rapids

Hello and welcome to the blog tonight.  It’s Saturday night and it’s not been a fun day.  I spent from 10AM to 8PM trying to find Jenny.  She darted out while I was bringing groceries in this morning.  The feisty little tortie cat wouldn’t even acknowledge my voice despite heavy rain storms.  Eventually I found her nearby in some evergreens, soaked and scared.  She’s a handful and worried her Dad.  Thank goodness Jenny’s safe and sound.

Veteran’s Memorial and City Hall, built on May’s Island in the Cedar River.

Friday night was spent in Cedar Rapids at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.  The focus was on suicide prevention.  A number of booths were set up from various mental health related organizations; I enjoyed speaking with the counselors, hospital representatives, etc.  Having dealt with depression over the years the environment was friendly and supportive.

Kevin Hines

The main speaker was Kevin Hines, a man who once jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and lived to tell about it.  The fall was 220 feet (25 stories) and Kevin reached a speed of about 75 miles per hour.  When he hit the water, damage was done to his spine and legs… but he survived.

Kevin’s humorous stories and powerful message about being bipolar, attempting suicide, etc. helped remind everyone of our own worth and how suicide is never a solution.  Kevin said his wish for each one of us is that we live out every day we are intended to live.  Check out his YouTube channel at:

Miss Iowa, one of the speakers, was as fun to listen to as she was pretty!

I was moved during this time, recalling recent events.  A few months I was desperate for money and a better work environment (not so hard on the body or mind).  I was not keeping up the bills, had to take a lot of abuse from a toxic supervisor (who recently got fired!), and was dealing with a body that was failing.  The emotions shut down one day and I was not sure if I really want to live any longer.  Removed to a safe place for a few days, the recovery was rapid.  Plans were made to find a better job with good money and benefits, more regard for the workers, and the work less physically demanding.  All of those dreams have come true and life has been getting better and better every day.  Hope goes a long ways and sometimes it’s all a person has to cling to!

So far the work trekking is going great.  I’ve been able to reduce trips into town and not prevail on friends at all yet.  Once it gets cold that will likely change a bit.  But for now a couple nights per week of urban camping are a fun diversion.  Jenny might go along this week as the crazy Iowa weather stabilizes a bit.  When that happens, there will be pictures, of course!

The new bridge lights in Cedar Rapids. At the time this was taken, the Cedar River was at major flood level.

Sadly, I didn’t get to go to several different events that were planned today.  Jenny eloping this morning did not help… but there will be other fun things to do before the snow eventually flies.  I’ve some ideas for an upcoming trip in the next week or two if Mother Nature is cooperative.  We’ll have to see what life brings.

Take care and thanks for visiting.  Happy Autumn!

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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6 Responses to Kevin Hines in Cedar Rapids

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I’m glad you found Jenny and she is OK, lets hope she remembers what a bad idea that was and won’t do it again.
    Sounds like this was a great session you attended. And I am so happy you have found you middle ground for a better life for you.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Jenny tried to get out again tonight but I wouldn’t let her, knowing how easily she can get away. It’s been a fun week at work. I’ve got a new camping food idea that came from the Internet. That’s the plan for the upcoming weekend. Take care! — VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Oh my! I bet you were frantic looking for Jenny, but thank God for happy endings. Your work camping brings back good memories of when I did something similar. Do not even mention snow! I have heard from several people that we are going to have a terrible winter. Going tent camping this weekend, so send warm, dry thoughts my way!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! It’s hard to say what winter will bring. I’m going to use a friend’s couch now and then when it’s bitter cold. That’s only 3 months out of the year, a couple nights a week. Heck, I can even maybe justify a cheap motel now and then if I have to… It’s fun work camping. Things are kind of fluid right now at work – one party says we’re being hired permanently; another says we’re only temps. By next week I’ll have saved up nearly $1000 so I can ride out whatever happens. Temping is actually a lot of fun (no deep roots!) — Take care!

  3. Laurie says:

    So glad you found Jenny! Be careful that she doesn’t abscond if you take her along to work! Glad all is well with you…I just got back from a van camping trip to Lake Superior and it was great! Got down to 28 once, tho! Happy travels!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Laurie! Sorry that it took me a while to get back to you. Life is kind of chaotic these days. Jenny was pretty good at work. She slipped past me in the parking lot but stayed close. We had a fun camping outing other than she puked all over everything. Lake Superior sounds like fun! We’re going to be around 28-30 on Monday night… Looks like extra blankets needed! Take care! VT