Note: This blog contains more food references than normal. One of the friends asked about recent health problems. My diabetic condition worsened (A1C = 9.5) over the winter and spring. The breathing also got very bad. But between hard work, cooking healthier, and such I’m doing better and losing weight… although the sugars are slow to reflect this. This trip featured a LOT of fruits and vegetables and I’ll share some of the ideas for fun, healthy eating. It could make a person hungry!
Hello and welcome to the blog! I took an amazingly relaxing trip up north on Sunday and Monday. It was so therapeutic! I’ve come to the conclusion that a two day trip is much better than a one-day journey. Between planning, packing, driving, cooking, etc. it can actually be a lot of work – almost stressful – to go for just an overnighter. It’s made me rethink about how to do these van treks. More time out is better!
On Sunday I procrastinated and packed things as time allowed, not even getting underway until around 2PM. By the time I got to Allamakee County 90 or so miles away, it was pushing 5:00 PM. Allamakee is the farthest NE county in Iowa, touching Minnesota to the north and Wisconsin to the east. There was only an hour to trout fish at Little Paint Creek that night but it was no biggie; a good healthy supper and peaceful night of sleep sounded better.
The water was high and murky due to recent rains. If the fishing wasn’t bad enough Sunday night, the gnats and mosquitos were terrible. No biggie – this trip was about relaxing. Fishing could wait. I decided to hike back to the van which was about 3/4 mile away. The next step was to cook supper. It seemed logical that the smoke of a fire would drive the bugs away… and it did for as long as it took to eat and enjoy the sunset.
The fruit / veggie plate was actually enough for supper by itself. The stir fried veggies with peanut sauce is a favorite. That recipe will be on the next post for Day 2. It’s very satisfying, cheap, and easy to prepare. But at the same time, the little bird over the coals was also a tasty camping food.
The intention was to do a rotisserie-cooked, Cajun spiced Cornish hen. These little birds are just the right size for a meal. Unfortunately, I forgot the charcoal lighter fluid and had to try to ignite all this with piles of collected junk mail. I think AARP supplied most of it! The coals were slow to take off so I covered the disposable pan with aluminum foil and placed coals on top. The bird was to die for. The peppers on the left were stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. The bacon gave the small hen even more flavor.
The overnight comfort was like none other. On Sunday night the low temperature was around 64 with low humidity. It was chilly but very comfortable in the van and 9 hours of sleep seemed to take minutes. It was one of the best nights of camping sleep as far back as I can remember.
About 6:00 AM I got up and left the campground in search of fish. The appetite kicked in and I stopped at nearby Paint Creek (aka “Big Paint”). The stream was in even worse shape – high and muddy. Instead of fishing, I cooked a tasty breakfast. I love omelets and the Egg Beaters product makes delicate, healthier dishes. This one had some smoky bacon cheese and veggies inside. The square griddle pan is indispensable for these trips!
The rest of the second day was scenic and brought fishing fun and really pretty pictures. Those will be on the next update. Throughout the first and second days, life was so happy. The pain from working 10+ hours a day (with no breaks) on my feet was gone. The drama from work was in the rear view mirror despite the phone ringing (and not being answered!). Big Sis taught me about boundaries and the importance of setting and enforcing them. If a person doesn’t his/ her boundaries, nobody will… and most jobs any more don’t care one iota about your happiness and mental well being!
For now that’s about it. There will be another post on Thursday recapping Monday. This was turning out to be a very enjoyable trip. Whereas I used to cook crazy new dishes, the healthier stuff was actually easier to concoct and has been helping the body feel better as well!
Take care and thanks for visiting. Please check back in a couple days for more fun pics! Safe and happy camping!
Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa