Big South Fork – VanLife #1

Van trip #1, DONE! A “shakedown” as our next-door neighbor told us. He knows, he and his wife are becoming regular RVers. They purchased “Cousin Eddie’s” rig last year at what we have been told was a very favorable price and they are having a blast, getting out every chance they can.

Our neighbor’s RV. Luckily he stores it at his wife’s work so the RV is only in front of his house at travel time.

Trip #1, a two-night outing, was intentionally close to home. We drove only 170 miles, (out and back) to Bandy Creek Campground in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The drive was easy and while early on I had made some promises that I would get comfortable behind the wheel, I managed to stay in the passenger seat. John mostly ignored this. I confess to being a little intimidated by driving something that costs more than the house I purchased in the mid-90’s. At the time, the house encircled me with a sense of security. These days the van offers just the opposite, a sense of freedom and adventure. Adventure feels appropriate at this stage of life.

Sweet Katie making herself at home in the van as we packed and loaded. Her thrill was short lived as the reality of vanlife became apparent.

Pre-trip packing was messy but not as complicated as anticipated. I combined my backpack and car camp lists with the needs on my menu list, then tossed out the fluff so only the essentials made their was into the van’s very small kitchen. The essential items add up to a lot of stuff so going up and down the basement steps a thousand times to load (and to unload) the van, appears to be a promising way to stay in shape.

Beginning to pull things together, a process that would consume our dining room and other parts of the house too.
Campsite #10 on the B Loop in Bandy Creek Campground. Bandy Creek is the most popular campground in Big South Fork. Loop B appears to be the least popular camping loop in Bandy Creek.

My first (but not last) rookie mistake was not paying attention to the Amps in each campsite. I initially signed up for a 50 Amp site for our 30 Amp vehicle. We spent several tense hours the day before the trip, changing the reservation. Frustrations peaked when I couldn’t make the change on-line (complications with senior rate) but a phone call and very helpful employee, made the change in moments.

Morning view in B #10. I wish I could bottle up the sound of insects for quiet days at home. I also wish I could bottle up the mosquitoes and ship them elsewhere.
Yum! Haven’t had pancakes in a long time.
Maybe the only tree we saw with fall color.
Almost every colorful leaf was on the ground. That is to say, most leaves were still green and securely attached to a tree. The weather is still too warm here for fall color.

We did not hike on this trip in this area known for stunning rock formations. We did walk, a lot, about 7-miles on our only full day. Fall had not quite arrived, but the daytime temperature was comfortable and even Katie seemed to enjoy the day.

Walk on the gravel road to John Litton Farm.
Field of late blooming summer flowers.
A blooming flower from above.
Curiosity got the best of me as to what was inside. Is it a puff ball?
And here is the answer, not a puff ball at all.
Sun, shade and gravel.

The trip was over too quickly, and we came home to a recall for the van, a possibility of an unexpected awning deployment. Before we purchased the van, the Travato facebook page noted this problem. When questioned, Lewis RV said it couldn’t happen when we were driving. Apparently, it can and occasionally does so we will await the solution. Meanwhile, we have another trip or two in the planning stage.

This entry was posted in Big South Fork, Outside, PetLife, RVing, Travel, Uncategorized, VanLife, Walking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s