Monday, April 12, 2021

One Ugly (but tasty!) Sucker

 Hi and welcome to the blog!  Last week I was planning to go camping... but it never happened, unfortunately.  The weather was crazy, the work situation was hectic, and the body crashed.  But it's going to be a very exciting time very soon.  More about that later...


Wapsi River at Jungletown




An easy way to transport without stink!

I fished a few times last week.  Two of the days sucker fish came home.  They were dangled from the bicycle rack on the van.  It's still cool enough to be able to do that.  Of course, the kids at work chuckled when I popped in for an iced tea and there was a fish hanging in mid-air from the back of the van.




Suckers are such a different looking fish.  Though they look like carp, the mouth is not in a line with the rest of the body.  Rather, it is pointed downward for scouring food.  Suckers are omnivores and eat a variety of things.  The fish fillets are quite meaty and a wee bit bony.


Max attacks!



There are so many ways to prepare fish.  Due to the high bone content, I soaked the fillets in salt water for a few days to soften the bones.  After thoroughly rinsing them, the fish were cooked on a griddle in olive oil.  (Sometimes I use butter.)  For this kind of fish, I'd rather break it up while cooking it to make sure the flesh was heated all the way through and the kitties would not get parasites.  Additionally, it is necessary to pick out any fine bones so that the cat doesn't get them. Max attacked the cheesy hash brown potatoes first but loved the fish.  He's a smart kitty!

There will be more angling as early as later today.  Also coming up before long I have to train at another store up north.. .near trout country.  The training shifts are very short with lots of fishing time available.  It's also far enough from home that a person should look at an overnight camping trip to save mileage on the vehicle.  The boss was cool with the idea because his family also loves fishing.  There will be pictures!




For now it's back to work in the kitchen.  It's a blast to have a job doing something you love and then get off and... go do something you love as well.  I guess that meme above sums it all up!  Enjoy every minute of every day!

Take care and thanks for visiting!  Have a terrific day and a smooth week.  Safe and happy camping adventures!

Brad and Jenny and Max
Jones County, Iowa

Sunday, April 4, 2021

First Fish of the Year

The first fish of the season is the tastiest

Hi and Happy Easter! Today was the fishing trip that almost wasn't. I was dead to the world about 1 PM after three grueling days of working a holiday travel weekend... But what doesn't kill us just makes us hurt more. 

I was picking up a few things at Walmart, riding the electric scooter around because the legs were fried.  Buddy Steve called said "Let's go fishin'" ... and the game was on.
Fishing just above the old Hale Bridge

The picture above is the bridge that once stretched from Hale to the area called Jungletown east of Anamosa.  I believe it was built in 1879 and relocated here in 2006 or so.  It is a rare example of a multi-span bowstring truss bridge... The bridge is only open to foot traffic.

Steve and I fished for a few hours here at the Wapsipinicon River State Park just a half mile downstream from Anamosa.  Cars and trucks of all vintages cruised through the park on this warm day; a few of the young friends yelled "Hi Bradford".  One of the redneck guys even yelled the f-word at me. Steve and I laughed... Kids.  😏

The fish were a little slow to bite and I'd assumed they were either carp or suckers...  I was correct.  All I caught was this decent 16 inch sucker.  They are ugly to look at but pack some really nice fillets of white meat.  That's Monday's lunch!
Not even a part of the tree, this twig
is only connected by a piece of tangled line.


We didn't get back until dusk and it was fun trying to fillet that thing out with the sun going down.  But the trip was enjoyable and sadly, it's like when I take Jenny outside - it only fuels the outdoor desires all the more!  Fishing fever is back. 
The poles are loaded and after a little paperwork in the morning, Monday is a well-deserved day off which means...more angling fun.  I'm planning to camp on Monday evening as well, just to get some fresh air and try one of the new accessories... which has to do with fresh air.  😀  The next post will show some tweaks to make the van more comfortable and organized.

Take care and happy camping and fishing fun!
Max loves his new home
and we love him!

Brad and Jenny and Maxamillion
Jones Couny, Iowa

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Cleaning up the Mess from the Old Blog

Hi and welcome! I'm still working on cleaning up the mess left behind from the blog that was hosted by GoDaddy. It's a disaster. I can at least try and save the 3300 or so pictures - memories of the last and happiest decade of my life.  Despite not being able to display posts, I was able to get a distress email out to the 7000+ subscribers letting them know the blog was moved here. 


Maybe 8+ years ago?


Thank you for the suggestion from friend Jo for the broadcast email!  Please check out her blog at 

In the meantime I've been working like a fool the last few weeks. It's not uncommon - other businesses are reporting that kids are not showing up for work in large numbers... some of them citing the stimulus money as a reason. I've heard a number of excuses and literally have been working night and day - like 19 out of the last 21 days!  As the old saying goes "Ya gotta make hay while the sun shines!"  In about a month, I'm finally getting a new roof and it doesn't hurt to have extra $$$ ready.

Thankfully Monday and Tuesday will bring rest... finally.  And, of course, why not enjoy the time outdoors?



Speaking of rest,  this pillow was recently ordered with the likenesses of my two cat buddies. I needed an accent pillow for the bedroom and these little buggers are always waking Daddy up... although it's not always their faces I wake up seeing. (ick) 

I still miss the black cat that passed, Duke. It's gotten better now that the little boy Max is here. Despite some turf wars, he and Jenny are getting along pretty well. She seems happy to have the company - Daddy sure is! 


A sign that Sis gave me a couple years ago.  My name is at the top if you look closely!


The weather on Monday is expected to be quite warm - around 67 - and somewhat windy. Buddy Steve reported that the river is up and muddy. I'm already thinking about hitting a "crick" (Iowan term for creek) and seeing if some kitties (catfish) are running up from the Wapsipinicon River. There will be pictures. It should be a fun time.  Just a sidenote - I'm going to do a lot more fishing locally and on private land along the river this year.  There should be some really cool pics and adventures in the "boonies!"

The only real resolution this new year is to fish and camp more than ever during the spare time!  To the devil with the old blog in the meantime.  It was a tough week seeing a decade of hard work start to fade away but we'll see how it goes from here.  I'm optimistic about adding more links and my trout cookbook (free, of course) to this page.

Thanks for stopping by and best wishes to all the friends who made the transition. Live long, prosper, and happy camping! Stay safe and enjoy the freedom to social distance outdoors!

Brad and Jenny and Max
Jones County, Iowa

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Star Trek Gifts from the Boss

Mr. Scott and Brad.  "Live long and prosper" Star Trek Fans!


Hi and welcome to the blog.  It's been a rough few days but things will work out.  Earlier in the week the old VanTrekker blog had a big meltdown.  I called the hosting company to find out what happened.  Three people worked on it and the results were devastating... The more each person tried to help the worse it got.  Most of the problems were related to a mid-stream upgrade forced upon existing customers.  GoDa**y offered to repair it for the low, low price... No, it wasn't low.  We'll leave it at that.

The VanTrekker blog was around for 10 years.  When time allows early this week I plan to siphon off as many pictures and posts from the server as possible.  It was a pretty devastating blow but rather than be fleeced out of any more money, it was time to move on.


Max is such a fun guy... I just wish he'd quit
knocking fishing bobbers around the house.


The saddest part is being unable to post anything more there - not even an automatic redirect - to let people know to come to this site.  I was getting thousands of hits per day... now it's all gone.   But the really good friends here mean everything!

In the meantime, two cool things happened.  First, at random, a good friend in Michigan texted me via Facebook Messenger for some advice about using a charge controller, inverter, sealed batteries etc.  That just blessed my heart and made me feel useful at a very sad time!


NCC 1701 diagram of the original
USS Enterprise


Mr. Scott (see the replica above).  Chief Engineer
of the USS Enterprise.


Yesterday on the way to work I was intercepted by my former manager and now area supervisor.  He had been cleaning and found a couple of Star Trek items that were way cool!  The wall hanging is now in my home office above the desk.  The "Scotty" replica is hidden from cats Jenny and Max.  Those two don't need any more toys.  Scotty is going on a shelf. 

Gotta run for now.  There might be some fishing very soon at the beginning of the week.  There will be a new theme and features added to this blog in the near future!  Please tell your friends about this page.

Happy travels and welcome to the first day of spring!  It is one of the favorite days of the year!

Brad and Jenny and Max
Jones County, Iowa

Tuesday, March 16, 2021


Hi and welcome to the new blog!  This blog succeeds the blog I've authored for the last decade.  

This new blog will be a downsized version with shorter but upbeat posts, lots of good recipes, plenty of camping and outdoor fun, and the two fur babies, Jenny and Max.

New Arrival Max

Jenny with neighbor Bianca

The weather is slowly warming up here in Iowa.  We've had bouts of snow but as of this weekend spring will officially be here!  There will be plenty of outdoor fun!  Please bookmark this page and stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting!  Safe and happy camping!

Brad and Jenny and Max

Jones County Iowa

One Ugly (but tasty!) Sucker

 Hi and welcome to the blog!  Last week I was planning to go camping... but it never happened, unfortunately.  The weather was crazy, the wo...