Hitting the Deck

Visiting Buddy Jim for a terrific meal


Hi and welcome to the blog.  Though it’s been kind of a busy time lately, there hasn’t been much opportunity to camp.  Much of the time it’s been hotter than the devil’s dining room.  We’ve also had round after round of severe thunderstorms.  On Saturday night a tornado tore through where I used to live in my van on the farm.  The tornado sirens blew, signaling to hit the deck.  The winds knocked down trees, flattened corn, and a few miles to the east, took limbs off fishing buddy Steve’s tree.  That was only about 6 miles from here.



Things weren’t so exciting at the beginning of last week though.  On Monday I did make it over to visit Jim at the pond and as luck would have it, went home with a very nice sized snapping turtle.  I know some people (including my sister) get upset about harvesting such an animal (I try to be very swift and humane) but in Iowa they are plentiful and can be a nuisance to a farmer.  Obviously, I don’t mind helping the cause.  My young fisherman friend Elijah is going to make a clock out of the shell.  I made jambalaya.

Monday night Jim and I dined on ribeye steak, sweet corn, a packet of veggies, garlic bread, and beans.  It was quite the feast and he was happy to save some for the next day.  Unfortunately, it was so stinking outside hot, I opted to take the unhappy terrapin home and not camp.


Starting to paint the old, dated redwood color…


Toward the middle of the week it was necessary to “hit the deck” but this time for a different reason.  I live in a good sized mobile home court and every year they write up one or more improvements that need to be made to each person’s home.  My back stairs and deck were eyesores.  Painting the back stairs required just a half hour.  The deck took a dozen hours and there’s still more to do… Most of the time consumed painting was because of that stinking lattice.  It was worth the work.  The little 8 foot square deck is just large enough.


Friend Marlene, a neighbor and former co-worker, had some older patio furniture she no longer needed including these two chairs and a table.  Wow, what a difference it made!  I was trying to think of something of a reward for the hard work and decided to spend some money and get an $8 pot and some fairly expensive plastic flowers.  Not every reward has to be food, right?  The indoor-outdoor carpeting came from Menards.  Jenny loves to sit with me outside (on a leash) and relax.  It was worth the work!

The next tasks will involve high painting, fascia board repair, etc.  It’s going to suck… and is supposed to be done by August 1.  Somehow a bit of camping will be slipped in there, likely at Jim’s pond.

That’s all that’s new… or perhaps all that’s been refurbished…  This much work and no play means the bills are paid and I don’t get evicted any time soon.  We’ll see what adventures will happen in between times.  Thanks for visiting!  Happy and safe camping!


One of the old outdoor chairs… Jenny claimed it so it’s staying in the living room.


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"

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