Showing posts from May, 2023

One pot camping meals for a weekend adventure, no ice required!

If you hate cleaning dishes on vacation, you aren’t the only one. Plus,  ice is a hassle you don’t really need to bother with. These four recipes are far better than the typical ramen or plain instant backpacking foods, and pack a surprising amount of fruit and vegetables. These one pot camping meals (no refrigeration required!) are perfect for your next overnight adventure. One Pot Greek Pasta Salad Dinner for travel on day one of camping I usually make a big batch of this, or something similar, ahead of time to eat on Friday night after we drive to the campsite. It's very filling and the feta and veggies hold up well for a few hours on the road. I don’t do exact measurements when I’m cooking, so feel free to adjust ratios how you like them. If you would like to exclude the cheese, follow food safety for longer journeys, try adding in sun dried tomatoes and black olives for flavor and richness.  Ingredients: Broccoli florets Pasta shells, elbow macaroni, or bowtie pasta Crumbled

Isn’t Iowa a Boring Place to Travel? Is Iowa a Flyover State?

  When I moved to Iowa from Minnesota for college, I heard a lot of people tell me that Iowa would be the most boring place I would ever visit - a true flyover state. I heard the stereotype that driving is nothing but fields of corn, and the only thing you can do for fun is drink. Now that I have been living here full time for several years, do I agree? How does this affect my views on local travel? Let’s dive in. Living In Iowa is more likely to be boring than traveling in Iowa I think before we start I need to clarify that when measuring how fun or boring a place is, you need to differentiate between living in one location full time, and traveling. Iowan towns tend to be more spread out and smaller than the part of Minnesota where I grew up, which has specific cons for people who permanently live here. For example, you have to travel further for specialized healthcare, specialty shopping, and some kinds of urban entertainment like theater or pop concerts. And since Iowa has very litt

Why the Best Cooler For Car Camping Might Be No Cooler At All

I have been car camping with and without a cooler for a while now, using either a Prius or a Hybrid Rav4 with a bed platform. And honestly, I have come to realize that I really don’t need a cooler. Maybe my opinion would change if I was traveling full time, but for now, my mind is made up. Here is why for minimalist car camping setups, you really don’t need a cooler, even if you love meat or are trying to eat healthy.  Problems with using a traditional ice cooler Traditional coolers, such as your average Coleman cooler, use a combination of water ice or dry ice and insulation to keep food cold. This means that you will have to buy ice for each camping trip, and you might need to refill during your trip to make sure food stays at a safe temperature. While ice isn’t particularly expensive, it is an expense that should be kept in mind if you are working with a tight budget. A second problem with ice coolers is that water ice will melt into water, which has to be removed from the cooler ev

Camping at Elk Rock State Park: Review and Guide

  A few weeks ago I went campaigning at Elk Rock State Park in central Iowa. This beautiful park is located on Red Rock Lake near Pella and Knoxville, Iowa. Let's break down what camping here is like, and who would have the most fun camping here.  What are the campsites like at Elk Rock State Park? How do I get a campsite?  These campsites are very different depending on what loop you pick! All campsites have a firepit and picnic table. There are electric and non-electric sites. If your site does not come with water, each loop also has a drinking water pump. We took a spot in the furthest loop into the campground (non-electric), which happened to have a lake view, but was further away from the bathrooms. There is also an equestrian section, where riders can camp with their horses. Our camping area didn't have a lot of tree cover, so I could see it getting quite hot during late summer. We found the campground to be very peaceful and quiet. That being said, our loop was empty wh

Why you NEED to Visit the Tulip Festival in Pella, Iowa, and What To Do There!

  I just came back from my second annual trip to see the tulips in Pella, Iowa. If you have never been to this adorable Dutch inspired city, it is definitely worth the road trip; here’s why! Why Should I Visit Pella For Tulip Time?  Pella is a unique community that was founded by a group of Dutch immigrants in the mid 1800s. The city of Pella has retained so much of that authentic Dutch culture and “flavor”. In fact, I would say it's about as close as you can get to the feeling of being in Europe while still being in Iowa. From the dutch themed shops, to local heritage groups, to the dutch inspired architecture, it’s everywhere! Pella also carries on the Dutch tradition of Tulip Time, a springtime festival marked by hundreds and hundreds of colorful tulips!  Tulip Time in Pella is a really great weekend trip because it offers something for everyone. It can be as active or relaxed as you want the trip to be. Furthermore, It really is one of the most unique and quintessential Iowa e