Fixing Things Up a Little Bit

The Wapsipinicon River at Anamosa


Hi and welcome to the blog!  It’s been a couple of weeks since I was camping and hit the post at the campground.  Much has happened since then!  On Wednesday friend Elijah and I went fishing at the bridge in Anamosa.  The water was swift and nothing was biting but it was still fun!



In recent days the van has had some work.  It was time to replace the front and rear brakes.  The rotors were shot.  I was going to work on them at home this weekend but my jack wasn’t heavy enough and failed when I tested it.  The local shop put all the new parts on at a very reasonable price.  The old girl will stop on a dime!


5 minutes to change… and 2 years to getting around to doing it.


The next repair happened on Wednesday.  After hitting the carport at home a couple of years ago, I had to tape the mirror back together.  It wasn’t until some peers insulted the van that I decided to do something about it.  Since it is a manual mirror, it only set me back $30.62 (delivered) to replace the part… What a nice surprise!  Even better, it was a 5 minute installation.  According to the Internet, the going price for a replacement is around $288 installed!  (I thought…”Are you freaking kidding me?”)




When I fix something and save some money – even if it’s just an oil change – it’s fun to have a burger or some other treat for a reward.  This time it seemed like a quick little camping trip close to home would be fun.  Things are super busy at work and I can’t venture too far.  Speaking of work, on Sunday there are some big changes coming as we prepare for a restaurant remodel.  More about that on a post in a couple of days.  There might be some cool acquisitions.  🙂


Favorite iced tea in a 3 quart jar… 3 no-caffeine raspberry tea bags, 1 lemon-ginger bag, and some sliced lemon. Super healthy and delicious!


In the meantime, I’d contemplated visiting the Coonhunters Club not far from home but decided against it.  The ground is starting to thaw so I was worried about the camping spots and gravel roads being mushy.  The park in Anamosa was a safer bet.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is near, a corned beef Reuben sandwich on marbled rye sounded fantastic and it was easy to prepare… as well as a perfect way to test the new George Foreman grill that was acquired over the Christmas holidays.  On the way to the park I ran into fishing buddy Steve.  We met up at the campground and cooked up the sandwiches.  Steve had never had a Reuben and liked it.


Good conversation between friends and some great Reuben sandwiches!



As the sun went down Steve and I heard a nearby woodpecker enjoying his own dinner.  After the sun set and Steve went home, I settled back and worked on some new potholders, watched TV and relaxed.  I honestly cannot remember a better night’s sleep in the last couple of years of outings.  At home sleep is often abruptly ended by licks, claws, howls, and fangs when the cats are hungry… Not so this time!  If every night could be so peaceful!  🙂


Well, that’s about all for now.  I have to work at 5AM on the first day of Daylight Saving Time tomorrow… Uggg… That’s okay – the sooner ya work, the sooner ya get to go home!  In the meantime, there are more plans for camping and fishing in the coming days… and even a Rocky Mountain Oyster fry in April.  It’s going to be a fun year of camping and fishing adventures as I’ve got lots of new angling spots to check out nearby.

Take care and thanks for riding along!  Safe and happy camping this season!

Brad and Jenny and Mr. 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 Fixing Things Up a Little Bit

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    You sure have been busy. Getting your brakes fixed is a really good thing. But OH that Rubin made my mouth water. That has to be one of my favorite sandwiches. And to eat it while out camping has to be even better.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! I hear ya about the Reuben sandwich thing. I’m going a post tonight and might have to show you the latest Reuben idea. It really hit the spot. 🙂 The weather is slowly improving here but it’s still pretty gloomy out here in Iowa. If we only had some of that Arizona warmth! Take care — VT

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Wow, you have been busy. I thought of you today when I was at a competitor fast food place (I get their Impossible sandwich ). They looked like they had a skeleton crew–the Mgr was running the register–and two busses pulled in. Mgr told the crew to start making fries as young people poured into the building. I was happy to get my sandwich and leave! When you start planning summer camping trips, save a weekend or a few weekdays for me and The Little Dog. June or August. If I am going to camp in all of the contiguous 48 states, I need to get going. Crossing Iowa off the map and meeting up with you (and maybe Jenny or Duke) is a win-win!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! I understand the feeling about being swamped. We’re running a skeleton crew for the remodel since the lobby is closed. I’m doing 3-4 stations by myself. It’s exhausting but still fun! As we get closer to time, I can request time off. They have me working virtually all weekends but with advanced notice I can let them know… But in the meantime, there might be a change in the air, so to speak. It has to do with being able to work a more sedentary job and still get Medicaid to help with issues. BTW, I know which restaurants have the impossible stuff. We have a couple in Linn County (Cedar Rapids). I’ve heard the “impossible” meat substitutes are decent but I’m still a carnivore. It’s great that there is the option! Take care! — VT