A Family Camping Trip in a Van

On April 13 – 17, 2019, my sister and her friend came to visit us from Thailand. We rented a van from sCamper Van for 2 nights so that we could take them on a camping trip. The van fits maximum of 5 people seating and 6 people sleeping. Great family time!

Sunday April 14, 2019

In the morning, we invited Trent’s mom, and his sister to come to our house for breakfast so that they could meet my sister and her friend, Jimmie. It was a wonderful time.

Family Breakfast at Home

We scheduled to have a van drop off at our house at 10 am. The weather on that day was not that great. It had been raining the whole morning. We met with Dutch (one of the owners of the company). He drove the van to our house by himself. He walked through the van with me. The van was well equipped. It had everything we could have wished for: a cooler, camping chairs, beds, blankets, pillows, dishes, silverware, coffee mugs, wine cups, pots, pans, wine & beer opener, Uno cards, and even an USB plug for charging your electronic devices… and more.  I signed few more paperworks and then we got the van for our trip!

Since we already have our bike racks, we took out bike racks and Trent’s bike with us.

We waited until the rain stopped a little bit to start our journey to Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. We left home around 2.40 pm. We made a few stops for lunch and gas.  Around 6 pm, it started to rain and got heavier and heavier the closer we got to the mountain, which made it pretty difficult to see. Even so, Trent was still able to navigate through the rain and handle the van gracefully. The van also came with a satellite radio, which made it so much more enjoyable.

Satellite Radio on sCamperVan

Camping at Pounding Mill Overlook on Blue Ridge Parkway

Pounding Mill Overlook

By 8.40 pm, we got to Pounding Mill Overlook where we planned to stop and camp. On July 30, 2017, Trent asked me to marry him there. So this was a special place that we wanted to show my sister and her friend. When we got there, it was still raining heavily. But you know what? WE GOT A VAN!  So we (4 adults and 1 big dog) were able to hang out comfortably in the van. Having a great fun time!

Hanging out in the van
Trent and Tsali in the Van

When the rain died down a little bit, it was the time for us to go to bed. My sister and her friend slept in the main bed, while Trent and I went up to sleep in the roof top pop-up tent. Tsali stayed with my sister and slept in the van.

Only one big mistake we did on this trip was that we didn’t bring our good winter sleeping bags and was assuming that the blankets from the van should be enough. At that night, the temperature was below freezing. The beds were very comfortable but we got very cold.  Because of that, we missed to see the sunrise on the next day.

Monday April 15, 2019

We missed the sunrise because we didn’t want to come out or even open the window/door to see it. It was too cold. However, the view up there in the morning was (as always) amazing. 

View from Pounding Mill Overlook
Too cold to get up!
Nan and Tsali on Pounding Mill Overlook

Then we headed down from the mountain toward Brevard, NC to make breakfast by the river. Tsali was really happy to swim there as well.

Trent making breakfast
Breakfast by the river

After finishing our breakfast, we were headed to Davidson River Picnic area to use the restroom, and wash our faces. We stopped at The Hub to get food from a food truck before hitting the trail.

Art Loeb Trail & Graveyard Field Day Hike

If you have never been to Art Loeb Trail, you are probably missing out. This trail is very beautiful and unique. On the top the mountains around this area are big giant fields without big trees so that you can see the view from the top in 360 degree. Take someone you love there. It will be a trip to remember for everyone.

Bee and Jimmie on Art Loeb Trail
Bee and Jimmie on Art Loeb trail
Bee on Art Loeb Trail
Us on Art Loeb Trail

After we hiked on Art Loeb Trail, we drove to Graveyard Fields. The scenery there is different from hiking on Art Loeb Trail. The trail is more flat and there are a lot of beautiful creeks and water falls along the trail. It was gorgeous.

Bee and Jimmie on Graveyard Field

Camping at Davidson River Campground

Camping at Davidson River Campground
Davidson River Campground

We were so lucky! When we pulled up to the registration office of Davidson River Campground we found out that there was only 1 campsite left. This is a busy campground. We recommend you to make a reservation before you come.

Tsali at Davidson River Campground

The campsite we got (#140) was a great campsite.  It was tucked away from other people, pretty, and close to the bathroom. Nothing much we need to do to set up the campsite. The beds were already in the van and ready. We took a shower and hung out around the camp fire while Trent went for an evening mountain bike ride.

Our camp fire

We went to have dinner at a El Chapala, Mexican restaurant near by, and came back to hang out around the camp fire a little bit before going to bed. This time I decided to sleep in the van with my sister to stay warm while Trent slept on the roof top tent. I slept on the bed below the main bed. It was actually the seat that can be converted into another bed.

Extra bed

And surprisingly it was really comfortable. At that night, it was much warmer and we all had a really good sleep.

Tuesday April 16, 2019

Since we had to return the van by 3 pm at our house, we didn’t have too many activities planned on that day.  We had coffee and took some pictures in the morning and left the campground.

Bee and Jimmie on the roof top of the van
Nan and Bee

Making a Stop at Looking Glass Waterfall

We made a stop at Looking Glass Waterfall before heading back to the city.

Looking Glass Waterfall
Bee, Jimmie, and Tsali at Looking Glass Waterfall

On the way back, I suggested to make a stop at Chick-fil-A for my sister.  Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in Georgia. I think it is a better version of typical fast food chain. They were sold by their waffle fries!

Chick-fil-A experience for sister

We made sure to fill up the tank back to full before returning the van, and we got to our house at 2.30 pm. Alexa (from sCampervan) came to pick up the van at our house. And it was easy just like that.

Such a great time and memories we had from the trip!

Happy Tsali
All of us!

How much was the van rental for this trip?

I listed the total cost from this 2 night-trip here.

Rental Amount$318.00
Cleaning Fee$25.00
Delivery & Return Fee$40.00
Roadside Assistance$24.00
Trip Insurance$32.53
Insurance Fee$63.60

+ We spent around $128 on gas.

Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes. Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive; inner peace does not.

Eckhart Tolle

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