Beach, Piers and Bikes

Saturday, May 12, 2012 PM

This morning the laundry bag was full so we put our clothes into a washer at the Laundromat and went for a walk on the Apache Pier while we waited for them. A sign on the pier claims that it is the longest one on the East Coast with a length of 1206 feet. The railings were occupied by many fishing poles, under the control of men, women and even a couple of young boys. We chatted with a few of the men and learned that today was a slow day.  We were disappointed that we saw no fish being reeled in, but we learned a few things about the King Mackerel fishing, for which spaces were reserved at the furthest end of the pier. The view of the miles of ocean and beach was incredible too.

Apache Pier







Some of the permanent trailers at this campground are very interesting and several have wooden decks built above the roof line, making great use of the small piece of land that they sit upon.

After lunch we got back on the motorcycle and drove into town to see what was happening. Jim was disappointed to find that there were only a few parking lots occupied by vendors for Bike Week, and the number of bikes on the roads was surprisingly low. We were actually in North Myrtle Beach, so, after checking out the largest selection of vendors there, we headed to Myrtle Beach in search of more activity, but it was obvious that the bikers were being discouraged, at least from the residential areas.  Every side street off the main drags had sandwich board signs at the entrance “No Thru Traffic.” The multitude of hotels and resorts along Ocean Drive, however, displayed signs welcoming bikers. Every one of them also had “Vacancy” signs and some offered rates of only $35 or $40 per night. If we’d had the stamina to ride the bike all the way here and stayed in one of these rooms, we could have had a much less expensive vacation.  And still there were only small groups of bikers cruising the street or sitting in the outdoor bars.

The sun was bright and warm.  We parked the bike and wandered along the street, stopping to listen to music at the band shell, enjoying an ice cream cone and strolling along the board walk.  Then we decided to check out the view from 200 feet up via the Sky Wheel which from a distance I thought was a Ferris wheel.  It is the same concept, but the seats are enclosed in glass bubbles – no seat belts necessary. It moves slowly, allowing plenty of time to snap pictures of Myrtle Beach below.

Sky Wheel

Back on the bike, we finished the drive along the coast on Ocean Drive, admiring the prosperous-looking homes that we passed. Obviously there are many people who are not affected by the recession. We stopped at Shorney’s for the healthy salad bar, and then called it a day.

Note: Jim just found a message on the Myrtle Beach website that says the “Spring Ride” is NOT in Myrtle Beach, but in North Myrtle Beach, Murrell’s Inlet and Surf Side Beach.  That may explain why there are so few bikes around here! Not like the last time Jim came down eight years ago. Perhaps we’ll be riding further south tomorrow.


Life is Good

Saturday, May 12, 2012

We are awakened in the morning by a very chatty bird somewhere in the tree above the RV. Otherwise, all is quiet at the Apache Family Campground.  I’ve yet to discover the bird, but he makes a pleasant alarm clock. The sun flickers through the blinds. Ahh, life is good.

We arrived here at about 4:30 pm on Thursday.  Other than the witnessing of some amazing driving skills by a tractor trailer driver who had somehow lost control of his rig but managed to keep it completely upright as it careened through the grassy medium between the north and south bound lanes of I95, the drive on Wednesday and Thursday was uneventful and rather tiring, despite mostly sunny weather.  It did pour rain on Wednesday night while we holed up between semis parked at a truck stop. Poor sleep and frustrated attempts at getting connected to the internet with our newly purchased Verizon Wireless Wifi card (you may recall the problems we had with that on our adventure to Sturgis) caused us both to be a little grumpy, creating some tension.

Fortunately Thursday was sunny and we made good time, so took a couple of breaks.  We HAD to take Exit 97 to check out the JR Bargain Shop that had been bill boarded along the highway for the last twenty miles or more.  It’s huge, but there wasn’t much there that we couldn’t live without. The next exit took us to a very large outlet mall. Can you believe I left empty-handed? Jim picked himself up three badly-needed new shirts.

The evening was spent setting up, having dinner and making a trip to Walmart for a few necessities, and one not-so necessary item, but a great buy – a 22” TV for the RV. Hey, cable is included in the price of the campsite! Yes, I carried it between us on the bike!

After catching up on emails and business on Friday morning, we headed into town. The sun was warm; bikes were just beginning to arrive; things were getting set up for Bike Week.  We pulled into Barefoot Landing and began a walk around.  It’s an area of boutique style shops and a number of restaurants and a theatre. I treated myself to a new Tilly hat, and we had a bowl of clam chowder at Joe’s Crab House. On the boardwalk, a chatty sales lady representing Wyndham properties convinced us to take advantage of some free treats in exchange for spending a couple of hours listening to a presentation for time-shares.  Not in the market for luxury traveling at the moment, we never-the-less decided to take the offer. Who knows, someday we might tire of “roughing it” and knowledge is always a good thing, right?

It turned out to be well worth the three hours that it took for the talk and the tour of a grand suite on one of the Wyndham properties.  In exchange, we enjoyed a wonderful sea food dinner at The Flying Fish Market and Grill, Flying Fish Market and Grill followed by a two hour variety show called simply ONE, at the Alabama Theatre. The show was spectacular, with musical numbers from a variety of genres – country, rock and roll, Motown, a couple of show tunes, and tributes to both Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson. The amazing costumes, lighting and special effects were icing on the cake. During the many scene and costume changes, comedian Grant Turner (a.ka. Ricky Mokel) had us laughing uncontrollably with his “stage hand” monologues.

Between dinner and theatre we took a stroll across the parking lot to photograph The Blues House, a popular bar and entertainment venue named for the Blues Brothers. I wonder what it looks like on the inside!

We haven’t yet decided what we’ll do today. We could walk down to the beach and pier (we should have brought fishing rods) or get back on the bike to take in more of the sights and sounds of downtown. I’ll let you know tomorrow what we decided.