Happy Winter Solstice… Christmas is Almost Here!


Hi and welcome to the blog.  It’s been an interesting week… There are so many things going on with the holidays.  Work has been hectic, I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices this week, and working feverishly on cleaning and crocheting a Christmas present.  But soon it will be time to rest a bit.



Some progress has been made and lessons learned with the breathing problems.  After speaking with a nurse I realized that the worst asthma issues were coming from home, often getting worse overnight.  I live across the street from a concrete company and farm fields – about the worst case scenario.  As a present to myself, the air filter above was ordered to keep the air in my room purified as it enters the CPAP intake.  Another is being added to the living room.


Nothing that crawls can escape that intense gaze. Jenny is the perfect exploring companion.


At a recent doctor visit, it was recommended I get some fresh air and regular exercise.  The tortie cat seems to have a say-so in that.  She got a new harness and leash for an early Christmas present.  Jenny had me out over a half hour yesterday, often walking as fast as I could as she was trying to “befriend” some terrified rabbits.


The new travel cup is getting some serious use!


  1. Another wonderful thing happened in recent days.  “D”, a friend from the southeast United States, made a blog donation after downloading the trout recipes.  I picked up several things that would help out both in the van and in the house.  This Contigo mug is perfect for traveling and camping when one wants to keep a beverage hot or cold for hours.  It will show up a lot on future trips!  The timing was perfect.  On Monday the doctor said that the sheer volume of Diet Coke I was drinking (over a gallon a day) was likely causing insulin resistance.  I promised to quit drinking it (but didn’t say when).  The fruit teas have helped greatly.  The diet soda consumption is down about 2/3 now and I’m feeling better.


3 hours of the movie IT — a fun way to pass the time!


Christmas is fast approaching.  Several nights this last week I’ve been inside the van working on the cat bed crochet project.  The chair is more comfortable than in the house and there’s lots of peace and quiet (no cats).    There were several more hours of needlework to do; thankfully, I’d recently unearthed a misplaced, brand new copy of the movie “IT”.  Last night I made about 2200 stiches in three hours of non-stop, marathon crocheting.  There will be a picture of the completed artifact soon!  I anticipate making some of these beds as gifts to the local cat rescue.

For now it’s back home, doing more house cleaning and finishing the cat bed.  After the work “git together”, the plan is to go camping later on Christmas eve and have a special meal, perhaps even letting Jenny come along.  Christmas day will be spent with friends here in town and Sis will be visiting toward the end of the year.

Take care and happy winter 2019!  For those traveling, stay safe!

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 Happy Winter Solstice… Christmas is Almost Here!

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Follow those doctor’s orders. Have they said anything about the cat fur irritating your breathing? A doctor told me to keep pets out of the bedroom and never let them in bed with me. Sorry, no can do on that one. Pop is bad for you all around. I used to drink a lot of Dr. Pepper. Doc told me the caffeine was bad for my heart, sugar was bad for my weight, and phosphorus was bad for my bones. I was able to quit by switching to sparkling flavored water which gives me the fizz that I like. I follow the sale ads and buy the bargain brand of the week. Haven’t had Dr. Pepper or any pop in about three years! It can be done, so keep trying. Enjoy your week. It sounds like you have lots of plans to keep you busy. The Little Dog will be kenneled for four days as I am traveling by bus to see my younger son. Ironic that a company called Greyhound doesn’t allow dogs! Have a blessed Christmas!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Yes, I have to watch the pet dander. I’ve ordered a powerful filter for the bedroom and another for the living room. I’m going to the HEPA type furnace filters. Things are already a lot better and continuing to improve. I’ve always been terribly allergic to dust. Living next to the concrete company has really added to the allergens, not to mention it’s been a bad asthma season. 🙁 The new meds are helping a lot.

      I’ve had about a quart of Diet Coke today. That’s about a 75 percent decrease… yet I drink a lot of herbal tea. When at Mcdonald’s I like to get tea and after a couple of cups, I have few ounces of Diet Coke. That’s helping wean the addiction.

      Sorry to hear about The Little Dog being kenneled. Greyhound doesn’t sound too sympathetic. I’m going to email you a quick pic of the cat bed I made for Sis. Its appearance can not be seen until she gets here next week. I’m doing some more crocheting tonight as well. 🙂 Take care! I’ll be posting again in a few days… from the campground! Take care!

  2. Jo Harmon says:

    You and my daughter with that darn diet soda. You were doing so well to. I hope the HEPA filter works for you and if you keep a keen eye on the vacuum to keep up with the cat dander you should do better. My dog sheds so bad and I have been having more breathing problems lately also.
    My Clam shelter finally arrived and it was heavier than I expected it to be so I am going to have to start working out to build more strength in my upper body. I need to also practice setting it up so I can get used to it. My grandson was here and we opened it up in the living room his son loved it LOL.
    I sure miss my chrocheting and my wrists hurt anyway so I may just start doing it again.
    You Have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy the visit with your sister.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo. I hear ya about the diet coke. I have eliminated most of it and feel better. I will have to Google the clam shell. That sounds intriguiging. Take care!