Spring Decorah Trip – 2nd Day and Food Ideas

Hello and welcome to the blog.  On the second day of the trip I focused on fishing.  Monday night had been spent at the Decorah Wal-mart.  This has consistently been the best Wal-Mart I’ve camped at in terms of friendliness and feeling safe!

During the night we had rain which eventually changed over to snow.  The clammy weather gave a person a chance to do some thinking.  With a new job starting next week and a bit of cold weather on the way again, the heater is definitely going back in the van for another few weeks!  Despite the cold it was nice to have FREE camping.



The following morning I stopped at the convenience store near Wally World.  At first I didn’t look that closely at this sign in the men’s room.  It’s a given that most public restrooms don’t want you flushing diapers and miscellaneous stuff…  Then I re-read it and saw the addition of the word (“poop”) and had a good laugh.  The pic went on my Facebook page.


A favorite hole in the middle of the stream just above the pedestrian bridge

The pedestrian bridge and some yummy fish


When I arrived at the favorite fishing hole (a mile away) on Tuesday morning, the sky was a little foggy following the rain and snow.  The water was still murky and the fish were slow to bite; eventually 5 ended up on the stringer.  The total for the both days was nine.  Not bad for the first big trip of the season.  🙂


Stuffed papaya and pork sliders


Lunch was cooked at the hatchery pavilion, a half mile up the road.  I was starving by this time and wanted to try a couple of ideas.  The papaya, after removing the seeds, had lime juice squeezed over it.  The cream cheese (low salt version) was added and had a bit cinnamon sprinkled on top.  This was a Martha Stewart idea and was tasty.  Just a side note – the seeds of the papaya can be eaten.  They are quite spicy and will burn the tongue a wee bit.  I ate a few tablespoons of the seeds because they are good for a person’s digestion and are helpful in combating intestinal parasites.

The little sliders turned out pretty good too.  They were on tiny dinner rolls.  The pork was tenderized loin slices, seasoned and grilled.  Having had a quantity of sweet peppers on hand, I cut a couple open and grilled them with olive oil until softened.  Some muenster cheese slices were added.  The little sandwiches were a cheap and tasty meal.  The best part is no mayo or other spreads were needed.


That kind of sums it up…


The next stop was at the Decorah Goodwill.  I found this cute cat sign and bought one for myself and buddy Johnnie (aka “Little Brother”).  Johnnie’s black cat “Boo Boo” and Duke look like twins.  From the Goodwill it was on to Goeken Park, about 20 minutes south of Decorah.  Because of the cold predicted, I’d decided to camp with electric heat.


Overlooking Eldorado from Goeken Park. This is a familiar place to blog readers.


Once I arrived at the campground, to my chagrin there were no envelopes for registration.  I called the county conservation commission but never reached anyone.  In the meantime, after getting set up, a peaceful nap felt good.  Despite being unable to register, I camped anyway.


Roasted trout, skewers with mushrooms and sweet peppers.


It was very windy on Tuesday night – about 25 miles per hour.  It took a lot of charcoal to cook dinner.

The picture above is self-explanatory.  I’m a big fan of the little sweet peppers and decided to use them on skewers.  The flavor, especially when grilled, is pleasant.  I can see a future trip involving using the peppers in kabobs with mushrooms, pieces of meat, onion slices, etc. and soaked in Italian dressing.   They would be fantastic roasted.



The fish were grilled until charred.  The skin was crispy and flavorful.  I’d brought along some compound butter to baste them with before, during, and after the cooking process.  Friend Tony (a chef) taught me about mixing a stick of butter, fresh cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt.  Not only is it fantastic for basting, one could use the flavored butter to make delightful garlic bread.  (Sounds like something to make for the next outing or perhaps when one of the blog friends visits Iowa!)

Wednesday morning meant heading for home.  Once I got back home, the conservation commission called; the person was very gracious on the phone, offering to waive the camping fees.  That was incredibly kind, especially since I’m not working right now… It was such a relaxing, fun, and memorable trip… and no money was spent to sleep.

Friday I baked up the last of the trout over a bed of buttered cous-cous.  Duke was definitely a fan and opted for a second portion.

We’ll have to see what the next trip brings for healthy food.  I’m going to try and start incorporating more fruits and vegetables.  It might be a “spring thing” but lighter fare is desirable.

Thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy camping!  Have a wonderful spring season!

Brad and 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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7 Responses to Spring Decorah Trip – 2nd Day and Food Ideas

  1. 增大网 says:


  2. Debby Hoots says:

    I really enjoy reading your posts. Been following your blog about four years now. That fish and veggies looks fantastic. It’s almost time to do all my outdoor spring time things I love here in central Illinois, which are gardening and camping 🙂 and of course eating hubby’s bass and crappie when the lakes warm up a bit more. It’s been a llllong winter

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Debbie! The bass and crappie sound yummy! I love about anything that swims. 🙂 I know what you mean about the long winter. It started out nice but was nasty. I was work camping last night and it rained hard many times… and the wind was strong. Oh well. At least it wasn’t 90 degrees! Take care. Thanks for following!

  3. Jo Harmon says:

    Love the sign but that could open up a mess if someone wants to be a fool. Nice camping trip and the pictures are great and all those fish. Love those little peppers to. I should roast the peppers on my grill before it gets to hot. It was 94 today and 95 tomorrow, but then dropping back down into the 70’s crazy weather around here.
    I still have not gone camping and I’m not even going to say when I will. My grandson painted my bathroom for me over the weekend and now I need to box up things I won’t be putting back and call big brothers big sisters to come pick all of it up. I need to get the bedroom ready for the next time he is free.

    I’m happy you will be going back to work and I know you are to.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! It’s good to be working again. I’m keeping an open mind. This new job looks pretty complex. I hope it all works out. One can only do his / her best. Work camping is back on. I came back tonight and found a powerful storm had torn down a bunch of skirting on the home base… Lovely! There’s nothing like fixing that stuff in the mud in 40+ MPH winds as it’s getting dark. 🙂

      Wow – 94 or 95! It’s only gotten to 74 or so here (a heat wave). I’ll bet you’re looking forward to camping! Take care!

  4. my_vantasy says:

    Mmmm…garlic bread. Put that next to a big salad and dinner is served! I love how you have the best trips on a shoestring budget. It just goes to show that having money isn’t everything. I would rather do the budget friendly stuff anyway. Keep warm if you are work camping. Or keep cool–we have had some record setting warm, sunny days. That’s the Midwest for you!

    • VanTrekker says:

      That sounds good! I’m a big fan of grilled shrimp on a salad with Caesar dressing and some nice garlic bread (or cheesy garlic bread!) It’s really fun to save money on a trip. I work camped on Tuesday and will be doing it again soon! The heater is the van. I had to use it this morning for a few minutes. Take care!

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