Making the Most of our Last Day in Myrtle Beach (Sat. May 19)


The day started out cool and cloudy, but we had no rain. We took the bike back to Barefoot Landing one more time, this time to the Kite Store to sort out a problem with the payment for a pin wheel that we’d bought the day before. From there we searched out the local Costco to sample some of the different items that aren’t available in Canadian stores.  We had lunch, but bought only one item – a new GPS; yes the old one bit the dust. ): Walmart was in the same area, so we went in there too, to pick up an electric skillet, before we headed back towards the campground. It was three o’clock by then, and we had tickets for the Carolina Oprey at 7:00 pm, but we had time to stop at Mt. Atlanticus to play a round of miniature golf. It was a close game, but Jim crept past me on the last hole to win. By the time we were done, we had time to only rush back to the RV, unload the bike, brush our teeth and head off again to the Oprey.

Atlanticus Mini-Golf

Must have made the shot!

Atlanticus Mini-Golf

Yes, we played to the top!

Atlanticus Mini-Golf

Beautiful Course

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanticus Mini-Golf

Now who’s smiling?

 

 

The Carolina Oprey isn’t quite what I’d expected it to be – all country type of music.  It was, however, another excellent music and comedy variety show, featuring many former American Idol top contenders. A nice end to our visit.

Lessons Learned


Friday, May 18, 2012

Today we were reminded of two things that we’d forgotten – conserve propane gas, and conserve internet data!

Yesterday we were also reminded that in older vehicles, things wear out, when, after we had our showers I wondered why the water pump didn’t seem to come on as often as usual, and Jim noticed that the lights seemed rather dimmed. Jim checked the battery levels and found that every one of the three new batteries we’d just installed before we left were dead! It seemed that for some reason they had not been recharging as they should when we are hooked up to hydro.  The problem was, Jim concluded, with the inverter, but he couldn’t figure out exactly what. We were given the number for Coast RV and they were here by 1:00 pm. Half an hour later the problem was solved (a broken ground wire) and we were able to get on with our day.

We had lunch at the restaurant on the Pier before taking another brisk walk up the beach for a mile or so and back, splashing through the waves as the tide rolled in. Another trip to the post office (why are they so hard to find?) and a wander around the Harley Store pretty much completed that day. The bikers have arrived at last; even our campground is nearly full with more very large motor homes and bike trailers.

Today’s Lesson #1:  This morning I prepared eggs and cheese to make an omelet for breakfast. Then I attempted to light the propane stove.  Nothing. Check the gauge – tank is empty!  The only way to get it filled is to unhook the hydro and sewer pipe, hoist up the leveling jacks and take the RV up to the store. I think we can get along without the stove and hot water until we’re ready to leave on Sunday. Our site is just across the road from the bath house, and the microwave works.  Perhaps the purchase of a small electric frying pan might be a good idea. Off to the restaurant on the pier again, for breakfast.

Lesson #2: Back home, we both logged onto the internet to take care of business.  I had one graphic to download. I sent one email in response to that and replied.  But when I tried to send another email, nothing happened. Jim got a message that he was disconnected because we had used up our monthly allotment of one giga-byte of data on our Verizon internet card. Lesson number two–from now on I will not be adding pictures to the blog until we are using someone else’s WiFi.:)

This afternoon and evening were spent cruising up and down Hwy 17 in search of another Post Office located in the direction that we wanted to go, and a Verizon store where we could make a payment that would allow us back on the internet.  It took a good half hour to find the Post Office; it took five hours to find a Verizon store, and many miles in the opposite direction from the Post Office. Mind you, we did take care of a few other things while we were looking. We went back to Barefoot Landing to check once more at the Lost and Found for my missing Tilley, to no avail. We did learn that if I contact Tilley directly, they will send me a new one for half price. We had to tour the Harbor Freight store, and stop into a couple more motorcycle equipment tents; and we enjoyed an exquisite meal at The Olive Garden.

At The Olive Garden we had an interesting conversation with the waiter about health care and wages, that made us realize again how lucky we are to live in Canada, despite sometimes getting frustrated with taxes and wait-times.

Tomorrow is our last day here, before we leave for Florida.

If Anyone finds a Tilley Hat at Barefoot Landing, It’s Mine


The storm missed us last night, but apparently a tornado touched down in Conway, just 30 miles north of here.  The air remained heavy and humid until the sun came out this morning.  After taking care of online business we went back to Barefoot Landing to look for some LED signal lights for a friend back home. The sun was hot and we both wore our Tilley hats. After looking over the biker booths we went into the River City Cafe for lunch.  The burgers there are huge and delicious. We noticed on the TV that there was a storm warning, and sure enough when we went back outside the dark clouds were moving in. Rather that go anywhere else on the bike, we thought we might as well continue the tour of the shops at the Landing that we’d missed when we had to leave for the Condo Tour on Friday.

We looked around only two stores before the rain began to come down. It didn’t seem like it was going to stop any time soon, so we bought one of the five dollar umbrellas that were conveniently by the door and dodged in and out of the boutiques along the street. Two hours later, when the rain had finally let up and we’d seen all there was to see, we started towards the bike. Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have my Tilley! Thinking back, the last time I could remember having it was when, I’m sure, I set it down on the counter in the store where I bought the umbrella to free my hands to get out my money. We trotted back there, but they hadn’t seen it. I left them my name and phone number. We checked at several stores that we’d been in; no luck.  We even went back to the hat shop where I’d bought it, hoping someone may have found it, but again no luck.  The store owner made a call to the security office to ask them to keep a look out for it.  The girl at the Wyndham booth alerted all the staff there to be on the look out for it.  Sigh.  Perhaps it will show up yet.

The sky was still dark off in the distance; it was time to get on the bike and back to camp before more rain. The helmets were hanging on the bike and Jim’s was turned up to the rain like a bowl.  Needless to say, he rode home with a wet head.

We actually had time to make and eat dinner and get the laundry done before the rain started again.  It’s been raining now since 9:00. Again, we’ve been lucky. Had we’d headed back towards Murrells Inlet today, we might have been in trouble.  According to the news there was major flooding in the area this afternoon.

It hasn’t been an ideal week for the Bike Week organizers, and all of the merchants that we talked to  apologized for that! 🙂

Sex on the Beach


That was the highlight of my day today. 🙂

Stayed up too late last night, catching up on blogs. The night was raining and hot and humid; neither of us slept well. We didn’t get up very early this morning, even though the sun was shining, so it was nearly noon before we got out anywhere. We’d already decided to stick closer to “home” today.

We walked through the park and up the street in search of some groceries, but got only milk at the corner store and some sweet local strawberries at the nearby fruit and vegetable stand, before coming back for lunch. After lunch we took the bike to the Post Office, since Jim had a package he needed to mail. The sky was already beginning to turn black in the distance so we made a quick stop at the nearest grocery store and scooted back to the campground. We tried to read, but fell asleep. When we woke up the sun was shining again. We lathered on the sunscreen and headed to the beach. The tide was rolling in and we strolled along the edge of it, taking some pictures, including this one of a “cabbage” jelly fish that had washed ashore.

"Cabbage" Jelly Fish
The sun was hot. We decided to take some refreshment at the Queen Annie, a hotel bar along the beach. That’s where I enjoyed “Sex on the Beach”. I’d hoped it would relieve the tension pains that were beginning in my shoulder and neck, but it only made it worse.

For the first time since we’ve been here, we ate all of our meals in the motor home today. Having a quiet evening and will no doubt hit the sheets early tonight. Another storm was in the forecast, but nothing has happened yet.

Avoided the Rain Again


Monday, May 14th, 2012

The sun was up when we were today, so we got ready to leave early, before the predicted rain could ruin the day. We’d seen an ad on TV about the Weave Shops out on Pawleys Island, further south of Murrells Inlet, so that was our destination goal.

We detoured off the highway to go into the town of Murrells Inlet and did the “Marsh Walk”, a couple of very long piers that traverse the marsh lands in the inlet. We had a lunch of chicken salad melts at one of the several restaurants along the shoreline pier before getting back onto the highway and on to our destination. The fair weather stayed with us and we soon found the Weave Shops. Actually, the only weave shop there was the one in which hammocks are hand crafted. That was interesting to watch. There was also a woman weaving beautiful baskets from sweet grass and pine needles, while sitting on the porch in front of a clothing boutique. We investigated the candle shop and the outdoors shop and I peaked into a couple of the clothing shops while Jim waited on the porch. No sexy pants today, just a $20 pair of white capris.  We found a couple of unique toys that the younger grandchildren will have fun with when they come to visit us. You might have noticed that we aren’t big-time shoppers.

Hammock in Progress

Hammock in Progress

Smelling the Magnolia Blossoms

Smelling the Magnolia Blossoms

From the Weave Shops we turned off the highway and onto Pawleys Island, an original area of large clapboard “cottages” backing onto a long stretch of beach. We went out to the beach to take pictures and I couldn’t help but think “what a great writers’ retreat one of these places would be!”

Cottages on the Beach

Cottages on the Beach

As we finally turned back towards “home” we turned off the highway once again at Murrells Inlet, further south of where we’d been earlier, and there we found a large contingent of motorcycles, vendors and music. Of course we had to stop to take in the sights and sounds and share a cooler – not big drinkers either.  There was lots of partying going on. I wondered how some of these partiers were going to get home safely.

We were back in Myrtle Beach, on Hwy 17 again, when we stopped for dinner and stuffed ourselves once more, this time at the Seafood Buffet. The sky was dark with clouds when we left there, but we made it home before the rain struck.

Another awesome day.

If You Don’t Like the Weather, Wait a While


Sunday May 13th, 2012

Well, before we could finish breakfast this morning, the rain had begun and the winds were howling.  Soon the light mist turned into a torrential downpour so it seemed it wouldn’t be a day for either the beach or the bike. What do you do on a day such as this when you live in a motorhome and your only means of transportation are motorcycle, bicycle or feet? This was the first time that we’d encountered this problem.  We were fortunate on our last adventure that the only days we had of rain were ones that we were traveling anyway.

We listened to music, read, answered emails and tried not to trip over each other.  After lunch I was tired out and had to have a nap!  When I awoke the rain had about stopped so we got out our gear, ready to take off on the bike. Before we got out the door, the skies opened again, but it lasted for only a few minutes. We headed out the highway and soon drove out of the rain entirely.

Again we went in search of the biker activities, this time further south towards Murrells Inlet.  We found one advertised venue, Jammin Leather, but there wasn’t much happening there either. At the Rally Centre next door I was almost convinced to buy a sexy pair of stretch pants with mesh and sequined cutouts on the legs. They were very comfortable indeed, but somehow they looked more like they belonged on the woman wearing the half-unzipped leather vest opened low enough to reveal her ample and rounded cleavage.  In fact, she’d just bought a pair, and assured me that they looked great on me.  Perhaps if Jim had shown some encouragement I might have been persuaded, but, although he agreed that they looked good, he doubted that I’d wear them much. I don’t know, he might have been wrong, but $50 was a lot of money to spend to find out so I left them on the rack.

Further down the highway, at the SB&B Bar (for those of you who really want to know what those letters stand for, put your imagination in the gutter – the rest of you don’t want to know), we found some biking vendors and some music, but after a short stroll through we’d had enough.  Instead of seeking out more rally venues, we became regular tourists again.  Further along the highway, an enormous upside down house captured our attention and we were drawn into a village called Broadway on the Beach.

Broadway on the Beach is a sprawling complex of boutiques, restaurants, bridges and entertainment. By the time we had entered, we were ready for dinner. Chef prepares dinner The Yamato Seafood and Steakhouse of Japan looked promising, so in we went.  We were a little surprised when the host said there would be more people coming to our table. Once in the dining room we discover that it was a traditional style Japanese restaurant where our food would be prepared on a hot grill, the centre piece of our dinner bar. A young family of six joined us. It was great fun watching the meal preparation and the reaction of the children when the grill went up in flames! And what a delicious meal of chicken, scallops, fried rice and mixed vegetables,  preceded by a yummy clear soup and a small garden salad with a unique choice of dressings. We enjoyed some very unfamiliar flavours. Flaming Grill

 

 

After dinner we wandered around the village, peaking into some of the shops, getting a closer look at the Upside Down House, gasping as some brave souls climbed to the top of a high deck to catch a zip line that whisked them through the air to the other side of the lake. I shuddered at the sight of the multitude of carp in the lake, scrambling with mouths open and fighting with young mallard ducks to capture the food pellets being dropped off the boardwalk. As the sun disappeared the lights of the carnival rides and the Dungeons and Dragons-themed miniature golf course dazzled the night. It was nearly 9:00 when we left for home.

Upside Down House

For a Mother’s Day that started out poorly, it turned out to be one of our best days,  despite being so far away from our children.

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.