Post-Halloween Post

Hello and welcome to the blog today.  It’s been cold this week with two measurable snowfall events.  That last fishing trip was perfectly timed!

It was a peaceful Halloween night.  I was off and stayed around home for the trick-or-treat visitors.  About 35 or so kids stopped by and they scored a LOT of candy.  I was very bad and had to get rid of the last of the candy because the blood sugar number was higher than my weight…   🙂


This cool cat was seen around town saying “Live long and paws-purr” ….

Earlier that day, I donned a shirt that was doctored up to have a Star Fleet Command patch and a Star Trek pin.  The cat mask came from Dollar General and was too cute to pass up.  It was fun greeting friends and children around town.  The Star Trek kitty was popular.

Friday was another day off and I decided to spend it in another city saying goodbye (symbolically) to a man who touched a lot of lives in Iowa —  “Happy Joe Whitty”.


Happy Joe Whitty, 1937-2019


“Happy Joe” Whitty passed away on October 29 at the age of 82.  Joe was the founder of “Happy Joe’s Pizza”, a chain of restaurants in the Midwest.  As a former manager of a Shakey’s Pizza, in 1972 Joe decided to open a small restaurant of his own in the Davenport, Iowa area.  From the beginning, Happy Joe’s locations have catered to both adults and children alike.  The pizzas, salads, pastas, sandwiches and ice cream treats have been loved by many , including several generations of our family.

“Happy Joe” was a food innovator, creating fusion pizzas before many others.  He is widely accredited as the creator of the taco pizza, a product for which Happy Joe’s still is famous.  The “Happy Joe Special” – tiny cubes of Canadian bacon with sauerkraut – is also delicious!

Joe Whitty gave a lot back to the community.  Only a month after opening the original store in East Davenport, he closed for a day and threw a Christmas party for a group of 180 handicapped kids… and for all these years he supported various groups including Junior Achievement, The Handicapped Development Center, and Partners in Education.  Happy Joe was indeed happy and felt everyone could achieve if given the love and guidance he/she needed.  What a great person!

Screen shot of my FB post. The pizza featured is the Taco Joe and the Happy Joe’s Special (Canadian bacon and sauerkraut)


On Friday I dined at the Happy Joe’s in Maquoketa – 33 miles east of Anamosa.  The Canadian bacon and sauerkraut pizza brought back memories of the grandparents.  I also recalled one time when our family dined at one in Cedar Rapids.  Mom and Dad split a pitcher of beer… Dad, generally a non-drinker, said he was “woozy” and Mom got a little irritated.  By the time I’d recalled some of the pleasant memories from 40+ years ago, it was necessary to dab the eyes and blow the nose a few times… Those were very happy times!

After dining, I hit the Goodwill, visited Grandma’s old house, and checked out the large Fareway grocery store.  It was a fun day.  We all need a little diversion.

Well, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Life is getting less stressful and things are slowing down.  We’ll be turning back the clocks soon.  Fishing and camping will taper off a bit for the season.  But there will still be a few trips and some adventures to share.  Despite the health issues earlier this year, it’s sure been an enjoyable autumn.

Take care and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Mister 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 Post-Halloween Post

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Wonderful memories you visited and a very special man on his way to the pearly gates. May he RIP.

    Sounds like Halloween was fun but not for all the candy. I’m so bad about candy but we don’t have kids come here so I only bought a small bag of little reeses that was bad enough. LOL

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I hear you about the candy. I did really bad and the sugars went berserk and it’s been a struggle to get them back. Looks like more aouo for supper. 🙂 Jenny Brat and I might go out for a short trip overnight tomorrow… We’ll see how it goes. Take care. I hope it’s cooled off for you!

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Ah, country living means no trick or treaters, which means I don’t have to eat leftover candy. Of course, I would love to dive into a bucket of candy, but weight wise, I shouldn’t. We don’t have a Happy Joe’s Pizza around here, but we did have a Shakey’s Pizza back in the 70s. I always wanted to go there as a child when we went to Columbus. Good for you having a day of remembrance. Sometimes we get so busy, we don’t have time to miss those who have passed. Shedding a few tears can be therapeutic, I think. Keep warm! I got a new winter coat and am wearing it already. I need to wash The Little Dog’s winter coat. She is still wearing her jacket when we go outside.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! It’s definitely winter coat weather! I’m looking at a short camping trip but it means using the crock pot! It got cold fast! It’s good that you have a coat for The Little Dog. Jenny was out for a walk last night and yanked the leash out of my hand and it was a “cat-and-mouse” game to get her back because each time I would get close she’d run a little farther. We love our animals though! 🙂