First Spring Camping Trip

Peaceful campground in a quiet part of rural Iowa

Hello and welcome to the blog!  On Friday Jenny and I went camping at Bennett Park in nearby Cedar County.  With the rivers over their banks everywhere, there weren’t a lot of venues to choose from.  This location is on high ground away from any water bodies.

It had been an interesting week.  I’d applied for a lot of jobs online and the brain was fried.  But there was one small victory and it meant going somewhere to camp and enjoy some… FAJITAS!  They were cooked up on the newer T-Fal griddle.

Note the blueberry-acai Diet Coke.  It’s a new obsession to this long-time Diet Coke guzzler.

Fajitas… They are so pretty to look at and such a treat at the campground.  They are easy to make and even easier to enjoy!

The fajitas were started at home.  I like to prep the veggies in advance and store the strips in a gallon freezer bag with a few paper towels to absorb the moisture.  The red and orange peppers were those small sweet peppers available in the grocery store.  They have no heat (that I can tell) and contribute a delightful flavor to the dish.  I used some leftover steak and grilled chicken – a perfect way to recycle things that might otherwise be discarded…

After a quick rest I had to let “Her Highness” back out for a bit.

Jenny was all smiles, relaxing in the van and watching the wildlife through the windows.

Jenny went for several walks on the leash and settled down to rest during the evening.  She’s a trooper!

I hadn’t used the van’s TV antenna for some time.  Last night we kicked back and watched some Star Trek on that new Heroes and Icons “HandI” network.  I love this network which is available over broadcast TV in many markets.  There are a lot of other awesome shows on this channel including Renegade, MacGyver, and many others.

Nobody else camped last night.  Earlier in the night (just after dark) a pickup truck came and went a couple of times, perhaps just cruising for something to do.  Apparently it was just some kids wanting to make ruts in the mud.  I went out to investigate and that seemed to scare them off… thankfully.

Some fun ideas for breakfast.

Breakfast was a home run.  Along with leftover fajitas, I cooked up some fresh home fries using the little wooden mandolin slicer.  (It’s so handy for camp cooking!).  A nice runny “over easy” egg topped things off.

The plate on the right was a couple ideas that tasted good outside.  The white glob is cottage cheese topped with blueberry spreadable fruit.  It was a treat!  On the right (though not discernible) is bacon that was cooked chewy – not yet crispy – and dipped in pancake batter and fried.  I saw that idea on Facebook and it turned out yummy!

It’s a useful camping gadget…

After the great breakfast, it was time to head back.  There was plenty to do around the home base and Jenny was getting antsy.

When I got home Duke was in my room.  He didn’t respond when called.  Then I brought Jenny in from the van and it was like something out of a movie.  When Duke saw her the two ran toward each other, rubbed noses, and walked together to her room.  It was cute but also a good lesson.  Jenny might not be going on any camping trips for a while.  Jenny and Duke are quite the item it seems… and I’m happy that they are so happy together.

Well take care and thanks for visiting!  I met up with buddy Steve and hope to try some new fishing areas one of these days.  There will be pictures!

Brad, Jenny, and Duke
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 First Spring Camping Trip

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Happy you were able to go do some camping. Your fajitas look good and made me remember to add chicken to the shopping list. I hope to go camping on the third or 4th of April. Sure hope there will be a spot.
    I cooked alot today for the same reason you mentioned things were needing to be done before it was to late. Chopped up and eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peeper, black olives, artichone hearts, garlic, crumble tofu, feta and roasted tomatoes, carrots ,herbs and cooked it all up. It sure was tasty. Of course I had so much I made up serving sized containers and froze some.

    Hope something comes up for you soon

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! That food sure sounds good! I love all of the ingredients you mentioned. It all sounds so tasty and so many of those ingredients have bold flavors. I hope you get to do some camping soon. And yes, I’m sure work will come along soon. In the meantime, unemployment is keeping the lights on and kitties fed. 🙂

  2. John says:

    Where are the Trout hiding???
    Hiope the flooding is not bothering ther fish.
    Spring time is here, Yes…..get those poles and reels oiled up.
    There is a lunker waiting for you this year, you just have to find it.
    Trout trout trout trout, lov those fish.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi John! The flooding really impacted the Turkey River. My lost glasses (a couple posts ago) are probably in the Mississippi River by now… along with the railroad bridge that the flooding took out! It’s hard to say how the trout streams are doing up north. It’s been fairly dry for some time. That’s a good thing in terms of stocking. In addition to the streams clearing, the gravel and mud roads will be passable for the stocking truck.

      Stocking starts on 1 April 2019. It’s likely I will be there soon! Thanks for the note! — VT

  3. my_vantasy says:

    Awesome that you went camping! I am guessing that Dukey Duke had to stay home because he gets carsick or really nervous when in the van? And don’t worry about food for our meet up. How about veggie pizza, fresh fruit and adult beverages Friday night? Fingers crossed that a great job offer comes your way!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Dukey is turning out to be an inside cat. I tried to take him outside in my arms and ended up carved up. Once a farm cat, he refuses to go outside! It’s ironic because Jenny has almost always been an inside cat and is something of a tomboy. The two are so bonded that separating them for a day seems to upset both. While I figured the two would keep each other company, I didn’t realize that it helps me out a bit – taking a cat along can be kind of problematic at times so maybe they can just stay home and be happy wrecking the place.

      Veggie pizza sounds really good. An alternative veggie pizza would be a veggie taco pizza — fake beef crumbles, taco spices, refried beans and sauce for the base. Then onions, and cheese can be baked on top. After cooking you add shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, shredded cheese, crumbled Doritos… It’s eaten with taco sauce and sour cream. Once an Iowa thing, I think people all around the US are enjoying it now. Supposedly it was invented in Davenport, Iowa. Otherwise, veggie pizza with all the goodies sounds wonderful too!

      Take care. I’m likely going camping a couple days next week since the April trout stocking will start. I’m not sure about the meals but it’s all but certain that trout will be eaten. No plans, destinations, anything. It might be fun to roam a bit! Take care! — VT

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