The New Job’s a Gas… (Station)


Convenience store work is fun!

Note:  It’s been a while since I posted and there are a handful of unrelated items… Sorry for minimal segues as this post hops around!


Hello and welcome to the blog.  Last Wednesday I started a new part time job at a medium sized convenience store.  Though it’s a 3 day / week job, I put in 6 days immediately, including the whole Memorial Day weekend.  What a busy time to learn.  🙂

Just a joke …. I don’t intend to sell to minors. It’s not worth the fines and court costs!

On the first day of work a young man of high school age came in and requested a 2 pack of vape refills.  I asked him for an ID and he said he forgot it but could tell me the birthday.  I told him, “Sorry, I can’t help you.”  Over the years (nearly 7) of working in different convenience stores, this was – and continues to be – the most common excuse.

Most people think of convenience store work as standing at the counter, chatting with customers, and ringing them up.  But there are many other inside and outside duties to perform.  There is never a moment without something to do.  But it’s fun.

There is one downside common to working at small shops.  Iowa is one of 17 or so states that do not mandate breaks of any kind.  In a 9 to 9.5 hour shift we get no sanctioned breaks – not even a customary unpaid 30 minute meal break found at most businesses.  Thankfully though, most managers understand that people need to sit down once in a while and we get to do that between customers.  The first few days spent on the feet were rough but it’s gotten better.  At least it’s a job that’s doable… and not very mentally stressful.  Having a paycheck coming in never hurts!


Fun custom fishing bumper stickers for the van…


Recently one of the blog friends left a comment about trout fishing and asked what I use for catching trout.  I’ll do a trout fishing post very soon!  I’m no expert whatsoever but seem to do quite well as an “on-the-cheap” bait fisherman.  In Iowa there’s no need for $500 in clothes and a fly rod if you just want to catch some tasty fish and have fun.  That post will be coming soon.  In the meantime I added a couple of new custom fishing-related bumper stickers for the van.


From my uncensored YouTube video, the rusty coil (marked “CRAP”) and the new one sitting next to it.


One of the other recent activities has been repairing the lawnmower.  A month or so ago I bought a used self-propelled mower for $80 from a local guy who cleans and resells them.  The 6.75 Quantum Briggs and Stratton engine would not restart when shut off; it would take hours to cool enough to start it again.  I took the thing apart and examined the badly rusted coil, confirming what I suspected.   Rust had penetrated and separated the many plates in the coil, reducing the efficiency.  Once hot, efficiency would drop and the coil could not make enough energy to cause a spark.

For $10 I bought a new coil and replaced it.  The mower runs like a champ and restarts instantly… even firing stronger and faster when stone cold.  The picture above was taken from a YouTube video I made for others to see how to do this very simple repair.  Fun stuff!

Well that’s about all for now.  We’re getting storm after storm right now in Iowa.  There was twister damage in central Iowa over the weekend.  So far there’s nothing but rain and flooding here.  The fishing is not so good at the moment.  When the weather improves, I’ll be out there!

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Duke and Jenny
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"

6 Responses to The New Job’s a Gas… (Station)

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I’m happy to hear your enjoying your job. Once you are used to the work you’ll feel better. But I have to laugh about it being part time. Maybe you are just in training.

    Your so lucky to be so handy. Good job on the mower.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thank for the note. The new job is pretty fun. The stretch I’d put in was partially for training as well as to cover the holiday weekend – they really needed the help badly. On the 10th I’ll be meeting with vocational rehab to see if it is possible to get them to order a stool to sit on periodically, etc. as an ADA accommodation.. or perhaps send me to school or find other stuff to do that is less impactive. It’s nice to get a paycheck again though! Take good care! — VT

  2. Onevikinggirl says:

    Glad to hear good news about the new jobb (please keep fingers crossed that mine turns out well too). All the best with the vocational rehab plans. My camping trips will have to be reduced too now, it is a sad sacrifice for a steady paycheck.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! I hope that the new job works out and I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Mine is very, very difficult right now. Shortly after starting tonight the left leg started to burn very badly. The pain was excruciating. The hospital wanted me to come down ASAP. I will be there tomorrow. It’s likely from working 9.5 hour days with not breaks at all. I’m hoping for a doctor’s order for a chair or stool between customers. Sorry to hear about the reduced camping trips. Any more mine are quite short for the same reason. Take care and good luck! — VT

  3. my_vantasy says:

    I am happy that things seem to be working out for now. I love a good thunderstorm, but we also had several severe storms past through last week. We had 19 tornadoes confirmed to touch down in Ohio. The Little Dog and I were never in danger, but a small town seven miles from here was hit hard. I hope the weather and fishing spots improve for you and your next post can be about camping. We have not been out yet. So sad.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! That’s a lot of tornadoes! We’ve had our share but nothing like you folks! I’m glad The Little Dog and you are safe! Work is very, very tough on the body (9.5 hours or so without a break). I’m hanging on and next week Vocational Rehabilitation is going to see how they can help me… (perhaps something less painful). There will be a post this coming weekend. I have Thursday and Friday off and plan to visit buddy Jim and the pond. The bluegills are spawning and I hope to get some… We’ll have a great cookout and the camping will be fun! Stay tuned! Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂