Apex, NC, in search of a RV…

I briefly mentioned in my last post that we are thinking about truck campers and camper vans. Actually, John has been thinking about campers for a long time, I am fairly new to the game. I have been waiting for him to sort through you tubes, reading blogs and researching articles, which he is still into…deep. But this process was excelarated in the last few weeks when he found a truck and camper for sale, online. Good opportunity; decisions have to be made, quickly. But the only truck campers I have ever stepped in were ones I would not want to own.

John found a company in NC that had both the truck camper and van that we are interested in on their lot. Perfect, we could compare them side by side. While the RV lot was located in Apex, NC, a 5+ hour drive, it was much closer for a quick look than going to New Hamphire where the “for sale” truck/camper are located. That’s the backstory, now here comes the trip.

Friday morning we packed the car, loaded the bikes (cause the VA Creeper and American Tobacco Rails to Trails were in our plan), dropped the dog at the sitter and headed out on our grand adventure. Fun times ahead!

Morning light on the Tennessee River as we head out of town.

We were maybe 30-40 minutes into the trip when the “check oil light” came on. Grrrrr! Stop #1-a gas station somewhere on I-40 for a quart of oil. Stop #2-10 minutes later because the hood latch popped, stop # 3- the hood latch popped again, stop # 4… you know where this is going. After the 4th stop, John believed he had fixed the latch, I was pretty adamant we go home and change cars. We turned around. A bit of driving indicated that the latch was not going to pop again so we turned back around. We had lost nearly an hour.

My favorite view on I-40 headed toward NC. The Great Smoky Mountains are center right.

The drive to Apex was incredibly long and stressful. The issue was not just the car but more importantly the decision looming in front of us, the big $$ purchase, a truck and camper or Class B camper van. These types of campers are very different with one’s pros being the other’s cons. We can make a good case for either and did for many miles. Finally our destination, D & H RV and Marine was on our radar. We had been on the road over 6 hours.

Our search started on the Class B side. The camper vans are so shiny, sleek and trendy. The front seats are comfy, the height is reasonable, and John can even stand up in the shower. Lots of windows result in a bright, breezy interior. They are easier to drive than a truck, require low pre-trip prep (like loading the camper on the truck), but have lower ground clearance and storage is almost non-existent.

Promaster Class B camper vans

The truck camper… The unit on our radar is built in Canada and is a 4-season camper. It will require more pre-trip prep but oh, the storage space, both inside the camper and the truck (a 4-door model). This camper has a better kitchen, a dedicated bed, higher ground clearance but it is oh so very tall and intimidating. And I wonder, will our neighbors think Jed Clampett has moved into the neighborhood??!

Truck campers, in particular the Northern Lite we are considering.

We spent a couple of hours on the RV lot, back and forth between truck campers and vans. We were tired, confused and no closer to making a decision. Finally we decided to shut down the search for the day, find our hotel and a good restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately, the American Tobacco Bike Trail would have to wait.

Our hotel, the Comfort Inns and Suites in Apex rates a 2* by my standards. The hotel was certainly clean enough, the price very reasonable and they had no problem with our bikes in the room. But lots of street noise into the night and around 12:00 am, someone mistook our room for theirs and tried to get in. Then there was the mattress, OMG! Thin and very hard, every time one of us moved, the other woke up. Poor night’s sleep!!

The food and arts scene in historic, downtown Apex was wonderful and worth the visit. Apex appears to be a bedroom community of Raleigh-Durham, NC. From what we saw, the town has expensive houses, new and historic, well-manicured parks and green areas, good building codes, ethnically diverse and a busy downtown. Lots of choices of places to eat but John had previously selected Scratch Kitchen and Taproom so that is where we went.

An entrance to the restaurant through a long, wooden hallway from the main street. Scratch is a no reservations restaurant; we had an hour wait on this busy Friday night.
The back of Scratch Kitchen and Taproom. We ate outside under a heater; it was quite comfortable.
Menu, lots of good choices
This was our first course, smoked pimento cheese wontons
My meal (I almost forgot to take a picture) was Low Country Pad Thai. Delicious!! John’s meal, behind mine was Blues Mac and Cheese. So good but way too rich for us.
Historic downtown Apex was quite active on this Friday night.
Shops and restaurants line the main street
Art gallery with Apex artwork in the front window
Another downtown gallery
Fresh Ice Cream shop. This photo was taken after 9:00 pm. Families and friends were lined out the door to get a scoop or two of delicious local flavors. We got in line too!

Saturday arrived, it was cold and windy outside. Instead of bundling up and getting on our bikes, we decided our time would be best spent on the RV lot looking for answers to a few questions we had discussed over dinner. After all, we had driven six hours to do this. Another hour plus spent with the vehicles and talking to the D&H owner, and we were ready to move on to our next location, Abingdon, VA. Maybe we could bicycle there.

Our route took us through Mt. Airy (Mayberry), NC significant only because I once commuted from Knoxville to Mt. Airy for work. Though John and I were dating during this time, he had never visited the town, so we stopped. Felt too much like a Saturday in Gatlinburg, in this case, a Saturday morning with tourists looking for everything Andy of Mayberry. We grabbed a rather forgettable to-go-lunch and ate in the car. Sadly, much of that overpriced lunch was tossed

The “sheriff’s car” is used for sightseeing tours.
Main Street, Mt. Airy, NC

The last stop on this trip was Abingdon, VA. Again, we had hoped to get in a few hours bike ride but it was still cold, windy and we were pretty exhausted. Seems our bikes were there just for show! We had an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, 128 Pecan, and went back to the hotel. We shamelessly watched TV, looked at our phones (RV videos and websites, of course) and went to sleep early.

Abingdon mural

Monday morning has arrived and we are at home. Sadly we haven’t made a decision between the two campers but the hold time on the truck and camper is ticking down so a decision will be made soon!

This entry was posted in Abingdon, Food, Life, Regional Travel, RVing, Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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