Massillon Park


Note:  I have turned OFF the comment moderation again.  Thankfully, my spam blocker is working and has been able to repel all ads from overseas companies.  Your messages should appear immediately.    🙂


Hi and welcome to the blog.  On Wednesday afternoon I visited Massillon Park in Cedar County.  This small unincorporated town is along the Wapsipinicon River – the river that also runs through Anamosa.  How tiny is this village?  There are two streets as you head through on the main drag:  “First Massillon Street” and “Second Massillon Street”.  Massillon has a small campground that is truly primitive – there are no toilets near the parking area.  It’s only $7 though… and you can’t beat that price.


The trip was just an overnighter but it served its purpose.  I needed a breather.  Work has been overwhelming – both mentally and physically.  It shouldn’t be.  Gas station work is not normally that difficult – I did it for over six years at the same station in Iowa City.  But this corporate store is much different.  We work 10-12 hours a day with no breaks and minimal staffing – even when everyone is there (which is not usually the case)  It’s very stressful and the bosses take it out on the employees. I guess it makes them feel better.  No biggie.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going… camping and fishing!

In the meantime, our local “Golden Arches” was bought out recently and they are boosting the pay… and there might be a van camping, Star Trek nut returning there one of these days.   🙂  🙂


A row of “Queen Anne’s Lace” along the highway.


Monday and Tuesday nights were brutal.  After finally being somewhat ambulatory again on Wednesday afternoon, it was off to go fishing.  Though fairly late in the day, it was hot enough I didn’t expect the fish to bite much at all.  This trip was more for a scenery / cooking / camping excursion.  On the way I noticed a lot of wildflowers along the way and determined to make a little arrangement to enjoy with supper.  It just adds to the relaxation.


Upon stopping to pick some asters, there was a black swallowtail butterfly.  Back in the 70s I used to collect butterflies and this spirited insect brought back memories.  Unfortunately, I left the camera at home and had to use the phone to capture the butterfly.  The picture quality leaves a bit to be desired.

Friend Jason at the Anamosa Fareway Meat Department.  Meat Manager Jeremy’s daughter drew the charming cow.


Meat skewers and kabobs… Simple, low carb, and tasty as heck.


By now it was supper time.  I lit some charcoal in the fire pit at the campground and cooked supper.  Faced with the challenge as to which marinade to use, the strip steak (from butcher Jason at Fareway) was in a Caribbean Jerk solution and the veggies used the herb / garlic marinade.  Both Great Value (Wal-Mart) products were tasty and inexpensive.  The veggie kabobs used mushrooms, tomatoes, red and white onions, poblano peppers, and red bell peppers.   Fresh and healthy tastes so good!

There were no picnic tables so the food had to be eaten in the chair…


I vowed to make kabobs again.  The flavor is in the marinade.  In the past I’d tried making them plain and wasn’t impressed.  (One of those “well, duh!” type moments…)  To save time, before leaving home I threw all the prepped veggies in a freezer bag along with the solution.  The kabobs were assembled at the campground.  There were even enough veggies leftover to have the second day.  (Supper tonight!)


The lazy Wapsipinicon River

By now I’d decided to do some angling.  The river was in pretty good shape.  I sat and fished for a while but the action was slow.  Something (presumably carp) kept taking the worms and I ended up without anything to land.  No problem… I didn’t want to clean any fish to begin with!  🙂  🙂

The Wapsi river looking west

The night of sleep was blissful thanks to having no smart phone nearby.  The cellphone charger in the back of the van died and I had to plug in up front.  Without that confounded device, I slept straight through till the birds woke me up this morning.  Isn’t that how life is supposed to be?   🙂  🙂

A mural in Clarence, Iowa along Highway 30.  A friend worked on repainting one earlier this year.  They add so much to the small town experience.


It felt so good to relax, to not have the phone ring, or to deal with any stress.  I have been feeling much better lately in a physical sense.  The docs prescribed some new diabetes meds a few weeks ago.  We all see the ads on TV…  Since last fall I had developed a very bad case of insulin resistance and was heading toward major trouble with sugars running in the 400s a lot.  But things are turning around thanks to meds, diet, and activity… and that dang “moderation” word…  The next time the TV blares “Oh! Oh! Oh! Ozempic!” or we hear the commercial say “Tresiba ready!”  you’ll know of a person who is living a lot better quality of life!  (but there might be tumors, sterility, eyeballs falling out, and other side effects… )

Life really is worth living!  It’s too short and we have to enjoy every day!  It’s a blast camping and fishing and cooking … and sharing some fun ideas!  I’ve got three days off next week and will surely spend a couple of ’em camping somewhere.  I’m already thinking of something else to cook up using more vegetables.  Oh yeah, there’s also a Gospel bluegrass festival on the 3rd.  Fun stuff!

Take care and thanks for riding along.  Thank you also for the comments and encouragement.  Safe, happy, and memorable camping!   🙂  🙂  🙂

Live long and prosper!

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"

6 Responses to Massillon Park

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    I’m so happy your doing so much better and the new meds are doing a great job.

    Nice to be able to get out even for a 1 nighter. Your kabobs look yummy. Your sticking with it and I proud of you. Keep up the good work Brad!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the encouragement! It’s hot again here – I’m going to wait and go camping next week when it cools off a bit. The weather is sounding better. The sugars are looking terrific. They used to hang in the 400s (really bad) and now are seldom higher than normal. It feels good. There’s more healthy food coming on the next trip. This time I won’t cut hot peppers and rub the eye… 🙂 Take care! — VT

  2. Laurie says:

    I admire how you always find the time to relax…I am always wanting to go camping, but always find a job around the house that i “should” be doing. Keep up the good work on the good life and don’t let the job get you down…you have your priorities straight, i think! …and on a less serious note, i really like that leaf dish that the shishkabobs are on…cute!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Laurie! It’s pretty easy to find time away from work but unfortunately the home base looks like it right now… Diet coke cans, broken drone parts and fishing rods area all over. 🙂 It’s a balance. 🙂 But life seems as if without some kind of outdoors activity, a person gets cabin fever by being inside, too! The season doesn’t matter.

      Work has been horrifically stressful – super fast paced, ridiculously hard on the body, nasty bosses, etc. definitely a tough gig! If it weren’t for camping, I’d go nuts. 🙂 But life is good. The health problems are getting better, the heat is bearable, and healthier food is a new challenge and passion. Fun stuff!

      Take care and thanks for the kind words! Take care —- VT and the cat buddies

  3. my_vantasy says:

    Oh man. What happened to the good old days when you could go to work, do your best and collect a decent paycheck? Hang in there as long as you can, but please do not sacrifice your health–both mental and physical–for a job. Hopefully something great will open up at the Golden Arches. The Little Dog and I had a wonderful two nights at Lake Erie. Many people came over to say hi to her. It was hard to come back. Keep eating healthy! I’m not diabetic, but my heart healthy numbers are better since eating vegetarian. Now I have the “Tresiba ready!” song struck in my mind. LOL

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi. I would love to meet The Little Dog. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

      Work isn’t getting any easier these days. Most places don’t care too much about the worker. I’m returning to McDonald’s next week. It might mean a few more hours but when you are treated well that means a lot.

      By the way, I’m looking at a couple vegetarian options for the next trip…thinking about veggie black bean burgers or tofu veggie skewers. I like the freedom of not having to eat meat. Take care! VT