Ready for Some Great Fall Camping!

Just above the “water control device” in Anamosa.  (There’s a story about that later)


Hello and welcome to the blog!  It’s been a bit since I’ve posted.  This post will detail some fun stuff going on over the last week.

Things are going well at this point, thankfully.  The breathing had become very difficult again last week, necessitating a trip to the doctor’s office.  It’s been a tough allergy season.  Despite the possible side-effects, I went on a 5 day course of Prednisone… with virtually no problems at all.  (usually Prednisone makes you irritable or have high blood sugar… or both)   I feel 1000 times better and the lungs are recovering!  It’s scary when you have to fight for every breath…

A meme I made for Facebook for we “Incredible Hulk” fans.


Despite a lot of down time lately, I’ve not missed one second of work at the Golden Arches.  They’ve been treating me very well.  Hard work will always be hard work.  Nice supervisors make all the difference.   Well, so does a huge employee food discount and McD****d’s has some pretty tasty salads.  The doctor is pretty happy with the healthier eating, too.


They are great eating – great at eating one of your fingers if you get too close.


Buddy Jim (where I occasionally camp by his pond) called a week ago.  His grandson ended up with a nice sized snapping turtle and asked if I wanted it.  It had to weigh a good 15 pounds.  The head was as big around as a soup can.  When the legs were extended they were quite muscular.


You don’t want to get too close to those nails!

I’ll spare the friends the details about processing the turtle but I did end up with a new knife and quite a bit of protein.  Some of the meat was frozen for later use.  On Wednesday I made up an idea for a tasty dish that was made of turtle nuggets / shrimp / tomatoes / onions / Mexican rice, and home grown jalapeno peppers.  It will definitely be made on a future trip!


The Cookies Rib Wagon – a great fund raiser event.


Today is Thursday and there was a special event just north of here in Monticello, Iowa, at the Fareway grocery store.  Cookie’s Barbecue Sauce company (in existence for 42 years in Wall Lake, Iowa) has a large trailer called the “Rib Wagon” that travels around to promote their sauces and cook up some great food.  The proceeds of this event went to help Camp Courageous, a year-round camp that helps people with a variety of physical or intellectual challenges.  I bought a pulled pork sandwich, beans, chips and a pop to help the cause.   (Being hungry after work, I forgot to take a picture of the food!)  Cookie’s has terrific products including a seasoning called “Cookie’s Flavor Enhancer”.


That’s quite the rib smoker!


After eating a tasty, late lunch, I was bushed.  The body was pretty tired and a nap sounded great… but then a call came in.


Two great work riends, Elijah and Amber.


Elijah called and said he and “Amber Jolene” were at the dam.  (water control device)  I went down with the van (top photo) and visited them.  I just didn’t feel well enough to fish (it was hot today).  But it was still fun hanging out with my two work pals.  Amber’s middle name is not “Jolene” but that’s what I call her and it’s kind of stuck.

Oh, yeah… about the “water control device” nomenclature.  When I first moved to town five years ago I was at an after church potluck and asked where was a good place to fish or if most people fished at the dam.  The preacher said below “the water control device”.  Like a dummy, it didn’t dawn on me he was trying to avoid that monosyllabic, homonym (homophone, to be more precise) that could be construed as profanity.  It’s kind of a cute story… but I say a heck of a lot worse words than that when out there fishing.   😉


Mister Duke watching Daddy taking a breathing treatment. Dukey got over 275 likes and comments from around the world for that photo in the FB black cat appreciation groups.


What’s on the horizon?  Jim invited me out to the pond on Monday and I’ve got some T-bones to cook up.  The weather looks cool enough for Jen-Jen to ride along this time while Daddy’s turtle fishing.   There are a couple of other fun events later in the week that may result in camping opportunities as well.  We’ll see what materializes.

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy camping this fall season!

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"

2 Responses to Ready for Some Great Fall Camping!

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Well you have been busy. Happy to hear your doing much better. Watch out for the salad dressing. And thank you for not showing the cutting up of the turtle LOL!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! It’s really cooling off here in Iowa and the humidity is so much better. Jenny is all wound up to go camping. The van got a good cleaning. Cooler weather is so much more fun. The turtle did better than me. I pushed down on the blade of the knife not realizing the blade was upside down… That finger still hurts.

      I do like the salad dressing but only use one packet (110 calories). I also add extra tomatoes and onions. Salads are so tasty! Take care!