Fun, Fishing, and Food Up North – Day 2


Not sure of the history but this little building was located north of Luana, Iowa.


Hello and welcome today!  Monday was the second and most eventful day of the trip.  I had just finished that omelet and was searching for a place to get some trout.  All of the streams that far north were bloated from recent storms.  But I know from the trip through Jones, Delaware, and Clayton Counties that the creeks were better to the south.  I decided to make a couple stops and head south.


“Anna”, the mascot from Hometown Dairy in Waukon, Iowa


Best darned creamery around.  Oh, those white cheddar cheese curds are SO yummy!

Anna lives on the door of my van right below the Star Trek magnet. Live long and prosper and give a lot of milk, Anna!

After visiting the creamery, it was off to the Fareway store to pick up a few supplies.  I couldn’t believe it but they sell ice for $2.99 for 20 pounds!  The convenience store I work at charges $5.69 for the same brand!  Thankfully, Fareway had the Mann’s Power Blend mix.  It’s really helped me “veggie up” the meals.


Hickory Creek in Central Allamakee County


The next stop was between the towns of Waukon and Monona.  A little voice told me “Hickory Creek”.  I’d never caught much there but decided to rely on instinct.  The creek had widened due to flooding.  One can see the rocks on the right that are meant to help shore up the bank.  I didn’t catch anything for quite some time.  Finally, I looked under the bridge and by golly, there was a log and some dark water.  Two fat rainbow trout lost their lives.  They were dark, an indication the pair of fish had been in there for a minute!


The Irish Shanti

A little farther south I visited the town of Gunder, Iowa.  It used to be a favorite stop.  The Irish Shanti had the one-pound “Gunderburger” for years.  Kevin, the owner, sold the business a year ago.  It died shortly thereafter.  The building is up for sale again.  I’ve dined there with several friends in the past.  It was an Iowa treasure.  Sitting outside, former waitress Norma greeted me, asked about the cats, and said when the building sells she hopes the new owner will restore the restaurant.

Fish… Well, they are healthy and a good source of Omaga 3!


After that I headed over to the trout hatchery but didn’t see Woody or Hatchery Biologist Gary.  The weather was hot.  I sat on the dock and grabbed the last three trout needed for the limit of 5 fish.  Even the pond was murky… but they bit!  Part way through, the appetite kicked in.


White cheddar cheese curds and a berry blend.  Who needs a 1# hamburger, anyway?


Later Monday I headed into nearby Elkader and picked up some ice.  As luck would have it, I ran into Gary at the gas station and the decision was made to head back to camp for $5 at the hatchery… though I never did see Woody the chocolate lab.

Dinner by the Turkey River

Here’s the recipe that I’d referred to for the stir fry.  It’s heavenly if you like the flavor of peanut and some spice. It can be made with or without meat and one doesn’t need the spice… It’s also dirt cheap to make and one can throw it togther in 10 minutes in a pan or on a griddle.

VT’s Spicy Peanut Chicken Stir Fry

1 heaping cup cooked white chicken meat
1/2 package of Mann’s Power Blend (or other brand) shredded veggie blend
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
2-3 Tablespoons chunky peanut butter
soy sauce to taste (about 6 shakes)
1/2 teaspoon powder or use fresh garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Using a skillet or griddle, place the veggies in the pan.  Season with a few shakes of soy sauce (helps bring out the moisture for cooking).  Add the garlic or garlic powder.  Stir fry until veggies are partly cooked (3 minutes or so).  Add the peanut butter and more soy sauce if needed.  Stir until well mixed.  Add in the meat and pepper flakes if so desired.


After the meal, I watched a movie on the laptop that Sis had gifted some months ago.  The movie “King Ralph” (starring John Goodman and Peter O”Toole) was funny, kept me captivated, and was a nice way to end the evening.   Watching movies in the van is so danged fun and it just occurred to me why… It’s sort of like going to a drive-in.   🙂  🙂

Like the preceding evening, the  sleep was so tranquil.  The only disturbance was from animals trying to break into the cooler which was sitting outside.  The cooler went inside!

After getting up at 4:30, I did get two more fish at the hatchery but had to get back home for a doctor’s appointment.  While the docs can do their magic, some of the best medicine is the outdoors.  In 8 years of van camping I honestly cannot think of a trip that better helped a person unwind.  I went from distressed to de-stressed.  🙂

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Please comment if you’ve seen the movie “King Ralph”.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  Safe and happy camping.
Brad and 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"

4 Responses to Fun, Fishing, and Food Up North – Day 2

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Another great looking recipe that I can make vegetarian–thank you! The peanut butter will add even more protein, as well as flavor. I will have to try this at home. I just had stir fry tonight using a simple recipe I found to make my own stir fry sauce. I think I told you before, I don’t like to cook, but I love to eat!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! I just made some more food that might be of interest. On the next post I’ll show what it was. It turned out satisfying. Take care! More heat is headed your way. It’s pretty hot here! — VT

  2. Jo Harmon says:

    Hi Brad,
    Now I know I sent a comment to this post. I seem to be having this problem lately were my comments just don’t show up.
    I’m happy to see you eating healthier meals. The stir fry looks good and I may have to try that.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I am so sorry that it didn’t show up. I hope I didn’t accidentally delete it. I had to turn on moderation. The blog’s been getting 20-30 bogus comments per day and it’s tricky deleting them without taking out the real ones! Thanks for the note! The sugars are now down to the normal range and I’m feeling a lot better. These new synthetic insulins are amazing. Take care! 🙂