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"

Camping Turned Picnic – Great Veggie Pizza Though!

The chef’s jacket we use at work. It’s nice for cooking at the campground!

Hello and welcome to the blog!  I decided to take a little camping trip on Friday.  Things have continued to be hectic around here.  After next week the schedule should calm down a bit at work – more people are being hired where I work.  Now proficient at the cash register, I’ll be training a newbie who I once trained to cook at McDonald’s!

The thought was to camp on Friday at the Coon Hunter’s club in Jones County.  In any case, a night of restful sleep sounded good.  (Doesn’t it always?)


Veggies are yummy and taste great on a pizza!

A blog friend who regularly comments suggested vegetarian things like garlic bread, veggie pizza, and salads.  All that sounded so very good!  I had promised to make a really good vegetable pizza on a future trip.  This one turned out splendid.

I arrived at the camping area around 3:30 PM Friday afternoon.  The belly was hungry for an early supper.  After donning the red chef’s jacket it was time to work on the evening’s fare:  a veggie pizza and a salad with LOTS of fresh blueberries.


Boring salad? Add a few fresh blueberries!


In anticipation, I purchased a commercial crust from Walmart; there wasn’t time to make the dough at home.  On top of the crust I’d spread a mixture of several tablespoons of real butter, Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of garlic powder to give a garlic bread effect.

The next step was to add little blobs of veggie cream cheese spread, distributed evenly around the crust.  The vegetables came next and included:  thin sliced Roma tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, green and red peppers, red onions.  The cheese on top was freshly shaved, whole milk mozzarella.  Just a note – whole milk mozzarella is REALLY tasty but it’s not stringy like part skim (what most people use); the cheese can come off in large blobs and burn a person’s chin!   The Presto Pizza Pizzazz machine did a great job cooking this yummy pie.  The pizza was delicious and the leftovers didn’t last long.

Unfortunately camping didn’t happen Friday night as I’d planned.  The gnats were terrible after all the recent rain with the biting bugs not even honoring the $6 paid for insect repellent.  Bad storms were predicted on Saturday and I opted to come home after the meal, mow the yard, and snuggle up with the cats.  We did get the storms on Saturday.  Returning and “taking care of business” was a good call.


Saturday’s breakfast


After an amazing night of rest, Saturday morning I made these scrumptious blueberry pancakes.  Bless the person who invented the sugar free whipped cream in a can!   This is the ultimate comfort breakfast food!

There might be a short overnight trip this or next week… but nothing major until later in June.  I’ve been super busy with chatting with vocational rehab, medical tests, etc.  Life is getting complicated.  But there will be future expeditions and good food to share.

Played by a stuntwoman, the Talotion “Keeper” will be in Riverside, Iowa on June 28 and 29… and it’s not an illusion.


It’s now Sunday and there are exciting plans materializing for a longer trip toward the end of the month. It sounds like there will be an extra fun Star Trek festival this year in Riverside, Iowa (future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk).  The lady who played the Talotian Keeper (Star Trek episodes “The Cage” and “The Managerie”) is going to be there.  I’m excited about some of the events… and plan to be half a galaxy away from work for those two days!  (work can’t disturb a person that way)  There should be some terrific pictures.

Take care and have a great rest of the weekend!  Thanks for visiting!

Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa