Post Holiday Camping Celebration

Hello and welcome to the blog! The holidays were a blur. Now it’s time to relax a little and catch up with the camping and blog reading. But first, some good news!

I’ve been sitting on this news for a couple of weeks. Where I work we have an employee of the month award for people who go the extra mile, have excellent attendance, and are an example to others. To win the “Employee of the Month”, it has to be a unanimous vote by all managers. I was chosen for January 2020. That really meant a lot! Besides a gold star for the uniform, a cake, and a nice letter, there was also a cool Walmart gift card which was used to buy yarn and some fishing supplies! The timing for an outdoor getaway was perfect.



Despite having several days off, I decided to camp near home due to multiple doctors’ appointments this week; it’s been hectic. The state park in Anamosa is now a favorite place and at this time of the year it is deserted…and is cheap! We’d had a light dusting of snow on Friday but most of it had melted off. With highs in the 40s, the weather was perfect!



After arriving at the campground, I noticed a car belonging to Ken, one of the friends from here in town. He was bartending at the country club located just 500 or so feet away. A drink sounded like a great idea!




Ken works at several different local places and is one of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. I whooped it up and enjoyed two Diet Sierra Mist sodas. The country club is a great place to hang out for a pop (or an inexpensive meal) without the chaos one finds at some of the other drinking establishments.


The view at the campground was exquisite as the early January sun hastily set around 5:15 PM. The scenery was relaxing as the pin oak trees arched over the driveway as if trying to reach toward the pines. A cool breeze gently whispered through the area.



Supper was a bowl of Cullen Skink, a Scottish fish chowder made with “finnan haddie” (smoked haddock). It is delightful… but pungent, too! The can of soup was a gift from the owner of the restaurant franchise. What an ideal dish to enjoy during this happy time!

Pictured with that favorite [and now empty!] soup bowl are the needlework projects for the night. These two potholders were crocheted in the van using the same skein of yarn – each taking about two hours to complete. Crochet has been a great “busy work” this winter when it’s been preferable to be inside!


The sleep was blissful and comfortable. The breakfast meal was something I’ve been eating a lot of at home. Fareway Grocery store sells little asparagus bundles wrapped in bacon. I like to grill them up, add a few hash browns and some eggs. It’s easy to cook in the campground over a burner or even in a George Foreman grill!


That’s about all that’s new right now. I’m feeling much better these days and look forward to camping and fishing in 2020! A friend recently gave me a cool to take fishing. I’ll show a picture of that in the next post.

In closing, I wanted to mention a Bible verse that Sis’ friend had shown her. While a person has to read it in the right context, it’s true what this verse is saying! It’s best to focus on today and addressing its challenges instead of dwelling on what tomorrow could bring!

Take care and thanks for visiting! Safe and happy camping travels!

Bradford 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 Post Holiday Camping Celebration

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Congratulations Employee of the Month!! We are so happy for you! You must feel proud to be recognized for the hard work that you do. That’s awesome. Take it easy on those Diet Sierra Mists, though. LOL. There are so many great Bible passages! I
    sometimes refer to Matthew 6:19-21, too, but I think Philippians 4:13 may be my personal verse. At the Campers for Christ Rally that I attended last year, I won a framed copy of that verse. It will look great in our new apartment. We move on Friday. We’re excited, but it’s supposed to rain both Friday and Saturday here in Ohio, so we may not actually move furniture until Sunday. We’ll be two and a half hours closer to Iowa, so this could be the summer we camp together.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! It’s been tough having to watch the diet soda. I’m down at least 2/3 to 3/4 in terms of consumption. The trick is to drink 2 medium cups of water and a dribble of tea before the soda. Then, who wants the pop? It works.

      A couple days ago I tried a new recipe for red raspberry / lemon jam. It turned out wonderful. That will be in the blog before long. Cool about the move! I hope the rain holds off. It sounds like 2020 will be a great year! That would be fun to meet up sometime and camp. Take care! — VT

  2. Jo Harmon says:

    Congratulations Brad. I’m glad that they are making and effort to show the employees that the appreciate them for going the extra mile.
    Happy you made it out on a camping trip.
    Yes lots of medical apt. right now since I changed my ins and have a new Dr. Today 3 apt. Still have 2 more to go baring nothing ugly shows up.

    Like you pot holders. I sure do miss crocheting.

    Take care

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the note. The new owner is pretty cool and it’s fun trying to go the extra mile. That outing was a great way to relax. Somehow we dodged that recent winter storm, thankfully, though it was only by about 50 miles. It was forecast to dump up to 8 inches of snow but ended up with an ice storm and an inch of snow instead. 🙂

      It sounds like lots of medical appointments on your end. I’ve got all kinds of appointments – the new corticosteroids are working wonders for the lungs. I’ve also got multiple disability tests and stuff do. Goodness, it doesn’t get any easier! I’m currently researching cat toy patterns. While it’s cold I’ll be making some for the local animal shelter.

      Take care Jo! Tell your daughter to start drinking tea and water. I’m down 3/4 or more on Diet Coke. If I need one I drink a couple glasses of water and then only want a tiny sip of soda. It works!