Some Time off to Enjoy Life and Smile

Hi and welcome to the blog.  I’ve had four days off this week and a chance to rest up a little.  It was not the fall vacation envisioned – a cooler brimming with fish and pictures of great food – but it’s still been enjoyable.

The plan was to head north and do some river and trout fishing for a couple of days, returning on the third.  The weather took a nosedive and things got cut short a little… but there was still plenty of fun.  On Monday we had a “snow squall” and our area got 3.5 inches of snow.  (As opposed to Thursday when we have a remote chance for tornadoes!)


A sign in Guttenberg, Iowa. That one made me smile!


On the journey north I was wearing my political hat (pictured down the post a ways) while at the grocery store in Dyersville (“Field of Dreams” is near there).  An old farmer from Earlville (about 15 minutes to the west) struck up a conversation.  We had differing political views on most everything but had the most pleasant conversation.  At the end we agreed that so many of us have more in common than what you see on TV.  Candidates want to make themselves stand out as unique… and we were having a blast talking for about 20-25 minutes about history and good and bad acts of all the presidents in the last 40+ years.  It made my day!  What a nice old guy!



Fading but beautiful fall colors at the Cabella’s parking lot…


Once north, I decided to cross over into Wisconsin – the first time since Covid.  I wanted to do something kind of decadent – no, not a strip club or anything – but a place where lust and desire would reign supreme… It was time to visit Cabella’s (now owned by Bass Pro).  In Prairie DuChein, Wisconsin, you have to wear a mask.  Mine was probably covered in drool after visiting the fishing and firearms departments.  Somehow I left with just a couple jars of trout bait, a new pocket knife, and a free Cabella’s hat.

From there it was to the campground across the river in Iowa.  By now it was quite late in the day and there was barely time to cook up supper.  Well, actually, it was dark when I pulled the homemade Swiss steak out of the electric skillet  It was yummy!


Pike’s Peak Campground near Marquette, Iowa. At this time of the year it’s only $11.


Dessert was made by Linda, a sweet lady co-worker in her 70s.  She baked homemade chocolate chip cookies for the troops at work and left a really cute note on my bag, even telling me to say hi to Jenny and Duke.  The cookies were enjoyed with a piping hot cup of Earl Grey tea (with half-n-half, of course)….


Linda with her amazing banana bread. She’s even said she’s making me a carrot cake (my favorite!) for the birthday coming up in a couple of weeks…



Nothing like Linda’s Cookies, some hot tea, and a good tv show (Six Million Dollar Man) on a crisp autumn night.


The camping was peaceful … for the most part.  Some young people came in and parked next to me at 9:30.  Until 11:30 PM I heard the constant buzzing of some kind of hip-hop music or what ever they call that commotion.  But the infra-red heater really relaxed the tired body and the sleep was positively blissful.


A pretty scene from the barge… I know the hat is a love it or hate it thing but please see the happy smile while freezing out there.


The weather on Tuesday was cold and blustery.  I had decided to fish at the barge and wanted to get a load of sheep’s head (freshwater drum).  A week or so ago the fish were biting until the bizarre, early snowfall on Monday.  After 4 hours, I was chilled to the bone and had only caught two dinky fish… There was nothing but fun memories to take home.  At least there were no fish to clean.  The plan was to stay another day but I got pretty sick from being out in the cold too long, perhaps maybe a touch of hypothermia…

It was nice to come home and the outing still had fun, amusing moments such as the one pictured below when I could not find the can opener despite seeing it so often this last week as it rode in the driver’s door pocket…


Note to self… Put the can opener with the cooking stuff, not in the car door.  That’s the worst feeling… “Have food, can’t open it, sun going down!”


Flash forward to Wednesday.  The weather was unsettled, cold and rainy;  I slipped in some fishing nearby and got some nice ones to take home.  Though still off on vacation, the plan is to work a bit on Thursday morning and get some fishing in when the highs hit 72 tomorrow before severe thunderstorms hit… It’s enough to give a feller a sinus headache!

Safe and happy camping!  Keep smiling and laugh at the silly things.  As tough as 2020 has been, it’s up to us to make it a good one!

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa


Duke says, “Happiness is having a forever home, a daddy who fishes and brings me cheeseburgers.”



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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"

2 Responses to Some Time off to Enjoy Life and Smile

  1. my_vantasy says:

    Snow already?! Wow. Not a fan. Hey, I’m a Trumpster, too, so wear that hat! Looks good. A can opener has to be one of the top ten things people forget to take camping. Once I forgot to pack one and had to use a punch-type opener (like to punch an opening in juice or broth cans to pour from) to pry into a can. After that, I bought a can opener to keep in my camping gear. I always keep it in the same tote so it doesn’t end up somewhere unusual…like the car door. I’m laughing with you, not at you. Keep warm!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi, it’s okay if you’re laughing at me… I was doing it too. LOL. I will be so glad when this election is over… if it ever is… They never did accept the 2016 results.

      Looks like Jenny might get to go camping this week… maybe. The plan is to visit buddy Johnnie in Muscatine (along the Mississippi River). Gotta run. Jenny is crawling on my shoulder wanting to go outside for a walk. Take care and have a great one! It’s so nice to hear from you! You made my day!

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