Valentine’s Week – Be Good to All

Hello and welcome to the blog!  Mother Nature has continued to be cantankerous here in Iowa.  We’ve got a few more inches of snow on the way on Sunday and a big storm coming on about Tuesday.  Oh joy!  Spring will be greatly appreciated when it arrives in a month or so.

The next big holiday is approaching fast.  Though not a part of all that romantic stuff, this is still a good time to be nice to loved ones… Sis ended up getting an early Valentine’s Day present.  After she’d bought me an alternator for the van, I started on this pillow as a thank-you.  It was… well… a labor of love.  With what feels like a little carpal tunnel starting the heart pillow was painful to crochet!

Work has been taking a toll on the wrists but it’s still doable… I enjoy doing financial data entry and there is still a need for my services.  We’ll see what the future holds for this assignment… In the meantime, money is being saved and that’s a great thing!


The company is grateful when people come to work during this harsh winter.  A shuttle bus has been hired to give employees rides to and from their vehicles, rather than having to walk across the massive parking lot.  I get to work 30-60 minutes early every day and park close… but like to take the shuttle bus just to ride around in an oversized van.  (one that would make a fantastic camper)

On Friday night I was very tired and lamenting about eating out or saving money.  But from time to time we have to take care of ourselves and have a treat.  On the way home the van made a stop at “Sally’s on Broadway”, a small town restaurant with fantastic food.  “Sally’s” is in Springville, Iowa, a town between Cedar Rapids and Anamosa on Highway 151 (the road to Dubuque).  After a stressful week some good homemade food was a much needed prescription.

The buffet included a salad bar, hot bar (fried cod, shrimp, chicken, potatoes and gravy, etc.) for just $11.99.  This place is a real treasure.  If you’re in the area, Sally’s is a must visit!  For an extra $3, Duke ended up with a broasted (pressure fried) chicken breast.  He wolfed down the meat and I got to eat the crackly skin.

The original plan was to go camping this weekend.  But once again the weather would not cooperate.  I didn’t want to get stuck anywhere.  Also, in the meantime, the budget took a bit of a hit… but for a good cause.

Brooke.. A great friend, a cat lover, and a fantastic pizza maker!

Friend Brooke posted on Facebook about a crisis at the cat shelter in Cedar Rapids.  The facility is called “S.A.I.N.T.” which stands for “Saving Animals In Need Today”.  S.A.I.N.T has Jones County ties.

Click to see their website

In October of 2013, the Anamosa cat shelter was damaged by a fire and was relocated to Cedar Rapids.  Recently the S.A.I.N.T. facility was critically low on cat food.  I made the decision to stay home this weekend and donate the camping money to a good cause – buying food to help cats in need.  Enough of us responded and I’m happy to report the cat food is restocked and the fur pals will not go hungry.  The money I donated will be used for other items needed.

That’s about all that’s new.  Hopefully there will be a little break in the winter weather one of these days.  A person misses camping!

I hope everyone down south is enjoying the weather.  In any case, in Iowa our hearts are warm and generous.  Take care and thanks for visiting!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Brad, Jenny, and Duke
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"

2 Responses to Valentine’s Week – Be Good to All

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Hi Brad,

    Well that’s nice the company gives it’s people a ride to their cars. And yes that would be a great camping van.

    The pillow is adorable and I know about painful wrists and hands, I have pretty much given up crocheing. I made 2 more beenies for my friend but it took me forever and usually I can knock out a few a day.

    That was really nice of you to use your camping funds to help out the shelter. It’s to nasty for camping anyway.

    Our weather this winter is awful. I emptied out the camper and had planned on vacuuming it out and shampooing the carpet. But we have has so much rain. Even with the truck being in the carport the rain was just to hard with crazy winds blowing the rain into the carport. Oh well it will get nicer someday LOL

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Oh, I wish we had rain instead of snow. I had to camp in the Trekker Van at work on Monday. The weather was treacherous and the uncaring company would not close despite up to 8 inches of snow in the area. It was a rough drive home on Tuesday. I might go camping this weekend (3 days off). It would be nice to get away from it all. I hope you get to go camping soon. Take care!