to one of the strangest tour diaries I will likely ever produce.
that definitely deserves a bit of an explanation.)
the past couple of years, for a variety of reasons, Terry and
I had been trying to figure out a way to take some time off… hit
the road… and effectively have a vacation while spending as little
money as possible. The odds were stacked against us when it came
to anything significant for this journey. But we didn’t give up.
a sudden opportunity led to a wave of brainstorming and e-mailing
and phone calling, we arrived at set of fairly interesting possibilities…
and Dad were willing to loan us their car… an extremely well-maintained
2004 Camry with significantly fewer miles on it than any of
room at Orange Lake in Orlando for a week. (More specifically:
A week at one of our favorite places on the planet, the tremendous
Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.)
that has looked around my web site… specifically the interviews
and photo galleries… knows that I love Legends
in Concert, and that over the years
Terry and I have become friends with several people that are
part of the group. Legends has a theater in Myrtle
Beach, South Carolina. Some friends of ours in and around
Myrtle Beach offered up some suggestions for an inexpensive
place to stay and some things to do if we wanted to drive
down the coast and stop there along the way.
trick was… see the initial concepts presented in this very effort…
dollar signs mattered. It was something that had kept us quite
limited in our travels since 2013. While we would have the ability
to splurge a bit here and there, any designs or thoughts or activities
had to involve keeping things low cost. That meant pools instead
of theme parks… cereal and picnics and saved gift cards instead
of eating out for every meal… and you see where this is going.
of the eventual way things played out, this trip is going to be
divided into four entries… three tour diaries and one “Best of…”
first entry for the diaries—this one—covers our departure from
New York state, the drive south, and the stay in Myrtle Beach.
second diary will begin with our journey from South Carolina to
Florida, along with the first four days in and around Orlando.
The third diary continues with our stay in Florida, moving over
the four days until we left on our drive back home.
most of our other travel efforts for the Backpack, there is no
ribbon on the end of the trip. There is no clear moment involving
a plane for the flight home, the returning a rental car, or the
last group meal before heading off in separate directions to serve
as a bookend. Plus, in part because our travels to Florida have
been documented in the past and things were so low-key, the “Best
of…” effort focuses only on our time around Myrtle Beach.
entire trip was strange and fun and great and exhausting. It found
us enjoying some tremendous opportunities and thrills and entertainment
that worked out phenomenally well… and a hurricane that tossed
a massive curveball into the early stages of the journey. And
it all kicked off with an alarm going off well before sunrise…
One – Wednesday, August 31, 2016
are awake and moving and it’s not even 5am. (And while not an
unusualy way to start one of our adventures, this time we don’t
have a plane to catch or friends to meet. Awake… moving… on the
road (and on the road for a while)…)
in the darkness it sure seems like we’re a bit crazy. But there
is a bit of a method to our madness.
don’t mind driving. I don’t love it the way I used to… but I am
ok with it, even over several hours and long distances.
I do mind is putting in ten or eleven hours of driving, and—cue
music and explore opportunity to insert a literal and figurative
nice sunset—after a day on the road add another long stretch to
it while driving in the dark. I hate that. It’s tiring, grueling,
and creates moments where time and distance and even sanity all
blend together in a mind-numbing warp of reality.
the day, I find you can put on a pair of sunglasses, pick the
right music or topic of conversation, and a drive will have stretches
where hundreds of miles fly past.
the dark, you glance at the clock on the dashboard and it’s 2:03am.
You adjust the temperature since you don’t need the AC anymore…
change the radio station and hum along for the last chorus of
a great song, only for a so-so song to follow and you consider
changing the station again… think about why more songs can’t be
as good as that great one, and realize the last time you heard
it was when you were on vacation two years ago… reach into the
back seat to grab a bottle of water or perhaps that bag of pretzels…
rub your eyes… decide when you get back home you’re going to buy
that great song, wait, no, it’s on a great album so you’ll buy
the whole thing… wonder if that’s a motorcycle on the other side
of the highway, or a car with one headlight burned out… rub your
eyes… try to stretch and take a deep breath… turn the radio off
since you’re not listening and the rest of the passengers are
sleeping… see a sign announcing an upcoming rest stop and debate
if you’ll be ok since the same sign also posted that once you
pass it the next rest area is forty-five miles away… drink some
water… rub your eyes… decide this isn’t too bad, and with everyone
comfortable you might just keep going beyond your assigned time
behind the wheel and let them sleep until sunrise or so when you
stop for some breakfast… adjust the temperature since it’s getting
warm in the car… breakfast sounds good, maybe you can find that
place selling that great sounding new egg and sausage sandwich…
blame yourself for not grabbing a couple of bags of those chips
you spotted earlier in the day because they would sure taste good
right now… realize you’ve been fidgeting and thinking for quite
some time, the miles must be clicking away, and… glance at the
clock and it’s 2:03am.
don’t like driving at night.
made some interesting plans for this trip hoping to minimize the
overnights on the highway. And since we have about thirteen or
so hours of driving ahead of us today, we have a bit of time to
explain what’s going on.
and I were presented with an opportunity to enjoy a week at our
favorite resort… Orange Lake in Florida. Being quite aware of
budgeting for this trip, with the ability to have fun and do things
as long as we don’t go crazy, we decided that the combination
of plane tickets and a car rental wasn’t going to work out too
well for us.
quickly realized that while it meant driving down and then back
up the east coast, bringing our own car would allow us some to
include several things as part of the adventure. We could visit
Richard in Ocala… stop for a few days and see Justin and Jason
in Maryland and Pennsylvania… plus, Terry had the ability to add
some time on both sides of our stay in Kissimmee, which meant
that driving thousands of miles didn’t have to destroy massive
chunks of time from a short window.
one thing Terry left no doubt she wasn’t crazy about was an all-in-one-run
dash from north to south. On the drive back, we would stop to
visit the boys for a few days. She wanted to find a way to add
a stop on the way down. And as we considered a couple of thoughts,
a somewhat unexpected option emerged.
e-mail exchanges with a few friends raised a bit of awareness
about Myrtle Beach. Neither of us had ever really stopped and
looked around South Carolina. Myrtle Beach had always been a place
we were interested in seeing, and for this trip it sounded fantastic.
Our friends made arrangements for us to get a great rate at an
oceanside hotel, suggested tickets to see a performance of Legends
in Concert, and offered a few recommendations of things we
could check out while in the area.
Myrtle Beach settled into place and the timing for meeting with
the boys was confirmed, we had our outline…
early on day one, hitting the road around sunrise in order to
reach Myrtle Beach before sunset. Stay in South Carolina for two
nights before heading off to see Richard in Ocala, and then move
along to the Orlando area for a week. Into the car on Saturday
the 10th well ahead of daylight to begin the longest drive of
the trip to Pennsylvania. Stay on the farm while seeing everyone
for a couple of nights, and then complete the final leg back into
our driveway to wrap up an interesting and exciting thirteen days
now back to the first leg of our journey…
barely crossed from New York into Pennsylvania and Terry already
has a suggestion for adjusting our approach to things. The sun
is up… weather is good and drive so far has been fine… stopped
at a McDonald’s for breakfast and decided to use that stop as
a chance to fill up the gas tank… so far, so good. Terry’s suggestion?
conversation after breakfast had turned to the drive overall.
Initially we’re just talking about the roads we’ll travel and
state lines we’ll be crossing, if either of us has any preferences
for stops and eating beyond rest areas or anything that appears
when we’re hungry, and the weather down south which is beginning
to show a hurricane winding around our destinations. Really basic
stuff. Then she asks about my plans for returning the car to my
parents in Rhode Island. I had been thinking about doing that
on my own a few days after our trip wrapped up. She is wondering,
since I had been on my own a few days earlier going to pick the
car up, if it would save me any driving time by adding that stop
in after Pennsylvania. She has the days off at the end of the
journey, would love to keep me company instead of setting up another
long drive on my own, and she’s up for heading out that way for
a night to swap vehicles back.
don’t commit to it, but it sounds like an option both of think
could work out well for us.
around noon when we make the decision to skip lunch. We’ve brought
a cooler with beverages on ice along with us, and we have plenty
of snacks. Combine that with us making decent time and not encountering
any issues on the road, and we are both thinking that an earlier
arrival in Myrtle Beach with a nice dinner easily tops any late
arrival with two fast food meals involved.
not yet 6pm… and everything has gone as well as we could possibly
hope… approximately 850 miles behind us and we’re closing in on
the entrance to the Crown Reef Beach Resort. But first…
sitting at a red light on route 501. This has been one of the
stranger finishes to a long drive that I can recall. And our finishes
are usually strange. See…
speaking, when you go on a long drive there are three segments
to it. The middle part—the actual long drive—usually involves
a highway or two (or three), with perhaps hundreds of miles to
cover and, hopefully, cruise control ready to go. The beginning
and end though are a bit different. The opening drive has some
twists and turns and red lights and intersections to navigate
in getting from the starting point to the highway. Maybe a car
to load and a quick bite to eat. The end could involve roads you’ve
never been on before, with some more twists and turns and red
lights and intersections to navigate. The idea being, the start
and finish tend to be a bit choppier… start and stop… maybe some
uncertainty… and you expect that.
Beach is a different kind of choppier though. Depending on the
path you take, Myrtle Beach is miles away from the highway. No…
example, 501 is a good road to be taking in toward Myrtle Beach.
There are a few ways to connect from 95 to 501, and based on where
you do it will be more than 60 miles of travel just on 501 to
get you from 95 to the main areas of Myrtle Beach. That’s well
over an hour of driving after you get off the highway.
that’s not what you’re prepared for. You get off of 95, and in
your mind and from past experiences, you’re thinking that some
twists and turns and red lights are on the way. You’re also thinking
you’re close. It is absolutely not in your mind that you have
more than an hour of reduced speed driving still to go. (Back
to our red light…)
on 501, sitting near the entrance to the Tanger Outlets, and off
to the side of the road is a billboard with a changing video display.
And there it is… the Big Dogs logo. Terry and I love Big Dogs
sweatshirts and more. Great stuff. The stores disappeared a while
back and are really non-existent now in the northeast. We might
just have found a place we need to check out before we depart.
But first… the light turns green… we cover another ten miles of
driving… and finally…
to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!
pull in to the garage at the Crown
Reef Resort and walk in to the front desk.
As we go through the process of checking in, I’m asking some questions…
about the pools and lazy river… about dinner recommendations…
and, ok, most importantly about dinner recommendations.
had been kicking around whether or not we’d go out to dinner all
the way back to before we actually set off. Drive time… being
too tired… for all these reasons and more, we still weren’t sure
when we left the house if our first night would be a visit to
a restaurant or a drive-thru.
of the people at the front desk begins talking about a restaurant
called Driftwood. He can’t say enough positive things about it.
We’re a bit skeptical when the best he can do for getting us there
is to direct us to looking it up on our phones. Granted… yes…
these days smartphones are virtually a given. But it seems a bit
weird that he’s telling me to search for it on my phone. Still,
he seems convinced of the recommendation.
do find Driftwoods Seafood & Steak… I found a restaurant with
the same basic name, was able to pull up the menu, and one of
the items he was talking highly about is there. It’s more than
twenty minutes and over ten miles away. We decide to try it anyway.
was ok. It would not be something we highly recommend.
decided to try a few things… she crab soup… hush puppies… stuffed
mushrooms… a burger. Turned out, the burger was the best part
of our order (and not all that memorable). Food was ok, but nothing
rose above the level of so-so. While I certainly hope to find
my way to Myrtle Beach again in the future, I have feel certain
we won’t be returning to the Driftwood restaurant.
note: Whenever I write a travel piece, I end up doing several
searches and using the internet a lot. Usually it’s to confirm
things, like names and locations. I couldn’t find this restaurant’s
regular web site any more, though I swear they had one. Actually,
not just swear, I KNOW they had one, since looking
up their menu in our hotel room and comparing it to what the guy
at the front desk said was how I was certain we were going to
the place he recommended. Now they just have a Facebook page.
Not too certain that the shrinking presence on the web is a coincidence.)
we arrive back in our room, the dominant questions are about Hermine…
a hurricane churning around and threatening to hit Florida and
possibly move toward us. Forecasts are still a bit all over the
pace as far as speed and true path, but it certainly looks like
our intended move on Friday is going to involve planning around
Two – Thursday, September 1, 2016
was one of those amazing days that you really would never believe
could possibly happen in these circumstances—a vacation—unless
you’ve headed off on an adventure with Bob and Terry.
in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. (A beautiful place, and I’ll
tell you know is one that earned a spot high on our we-need-to-get-back
list of travel desires.) We’re only here for two days (and basically,
today since we have outlined leaving tomorrow for Ocala)… with
a storm defining its path to include a sweep directly through
the middle of our plans (and possibly move that drive to Ocala)…
and really aren’t looking to settle in, explore the tourist musts
and discover a hidden treasure or two. We want to relax. We want
to see a show. We want to find a good meal. And even with that…
decided not to set an alarm clock after yesterday’s thousand-mile-marathon
drive, we awaken to that old cliché of a calm before the
storm sun-shiny day. And, we’re going to kick off our enjoyment
of it by heading to… a factory outlet.
Big Dogs sighting yesterday stuck with us, and we simply can’t
pass up the opportunity to stop in. (And those of you that know
us and our love of St. Bernards cannot be too surprised.)
park and head in to the Tanger Outlet on Highway 501, stopping
at Auntie Anne’s for a quick snack. Big Dogs is next on our list,
and we spend a fair amount of time in that store. And then… another
has stopped in a shop to check out some clothes. She has found
a top she really likes, but they only have one left in a smaller
size. Inventories checked, there is another store not too far
away with the shirt in stock. It looks like we are actually going
to head about 15 miles away to the other Tanger Outlet.
vacation in Myrtle Beach… two factory outlet stops. And we are
both happy, laughing, and having a terrific day as we leave the
second Tanger Outlet and begin heading back to our hotel.
have tickets to see Legends in Concert later tonight.
We have decided to get a bigger meal in the mid to late afternoon
(hence Auntie Anne’s this morning). For now… we have time for
the beach and the pool and the lazy river.
this is perfect.
ok… not perfect. The Crown Reef is a nice resort. We’d stay there
again, even though I’m not certain it would be our first choice.
We enjoyed our stay, thought the staff we interacted with were
friendly, and had no real issues. Our room was on an upper floor,
with a decent kitchenette, and the view of the beach and ocean
said… as anyone that has pulled into the Crown Reef Resort garage
will acknowledge… the entrance and parking is a feat of engineering
design that boggles the mind. And the pool area is actually a
perfect example of what I mean by boggles, since just about everything
about the design choices at the Crown Reef can be described that
have multiple pools. Walkways to the beach and ocean. A lazy river.
In fact, just like pretty much every place where you find a lazy
river type set up, it winds its way in and around what I’ll call
the fixed locations such as sitting areas and pools. The trick
is, in making use of every square foot of space to put in another
pool they have created an area where: you aren’t sure where to
get a towel, you aren’t sure if this set of stairs is leading
you to a pool or the lazy river or a line to something else entirely,
you aren’t sure which door leads to the elevators and which leads
to the indoor pool and which leads to an employee only area.
Crown Reef web site boasts of twenty water features… which I believe
definitely covers the water slides and whirlpools and indoor pool,
outdoor pool, bridge pool… I think you get the idea. In trying
to have everything, it gets confusing to understand anything.
more time… can’t say it enough… we liked the Crown Reef Resort.
While we might consider other options on our next visit to Myrtle
Beach, we would stay at the Crown Reef again if it became an option.
the moment you hit the ramp off South Ocean Boulevard and move
up into the parking garage though, nothing seems to be where it
should be. Parking the car… the front desk for check in… the elevators
to the room… the river and pool and beach… it all seems two floors,
three turns, fifteen feet and obstructed behind a wall from where
it should be.
I said perfect a moment ago. Let’s get back to perfect.
something to be said for timing. Certain events or experiences
taking place at certain moments. For lack of a longer description,
with various examples and conditions, suffice to say this-is-exactly-what-I-needed-right-now
what allows a cheeseburger and fries to top the most expensive
entree to be found at a recipient of multiple fine dining stars.
Same concepts for a favorite blanket, broken in just right sneakers,
and more than a handful of wines that can be found for ten-dollars
a bottle (or less). Each and every one… in the proper moment…
so it was, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, that the afternoon
at Crown Reef Resort was proving to be perfect.
took a short walk along the beach, checking out the waves and
wondering what was ahead from the storm. We wandered from pool
to pool, spending some time in a couple. And we floated along
the lazy river, completing a few carefree laps spent contemplating
absolutely nothing. Sun and sand and water and relaxation.
floats in the lazy river might have been uncomfortable in the
vast majority of our attempts for use. There could be other moments
of inconvenience or confusion. None of it mattered. The afternoon
was perfect. (And, a terrific example of why the Crown Reef is
the cheeseburger and fries of resorts. It’s not the cleanest,
the nicest, or the most expensive of resorts offering an amenity
for each and every desire. But there is a better than average
chance that you will find it incredibly satisfying and exactly
what you needed. (We did.))
to the room… clean up a bit… and we’re off. Time for a bit of
a look around, something to eat, and then a show.
have a few things plugged in to the GPS… ranging from the South
Myrtle Beach location of Christmas
Mouse to Broadway at the Beach… past a few
potential dining options… and getting a feel for our surroundings.
it is pretty cool.
a few stops, we pull the car into a parking lot to get serious
about dinner. Part of our exploring led us to circle Broadway
at the Beach, but we’ve basically decided that we need to put
that off for another time. Just seems to be too much to do, and
we’re not sure we’ll be happy about stopping if we begin looking
around. Terry works with someone that had recommended a place
he has enjoyed on several visits… Carolina
Roadhouse… and after a quick phone call to
confirm the location, we’re off.
it is… very nice.
wait, impressive. Impressive is a better word.
just something about the interior. Honestly, I never really was
able to figure out how big the place is. There are a few steps
here, tables and booths there, design features all around, basically
just immediately connects as very comfortable and familiar although
you recognize it is large and… yup… impressive.
friend described it as being a Carolina-style steakhouse, and
I think that’s a fair assessment. Still… we were looking at the
menu while thinking barbecue and seafood, from a casual dining
hush puppies were very good. I went with a barbecue rib meat sandwich,
and Terry ordered a shrimp po boy. Both of us were happy with
the choices, though the menu has enough that we could stop in
several more times and the only repeat on our table would be the
in Concert has their own theater in Myrtle Beach, which for
the sake of landmarks is across the street from Broadway at the
Beach. It is a terrific facility with a comfortable theater. Our
lineup included Adele, Brooks & Dunn, the Blues Brothers,
Bruno Mars and Elvis. Couple of quick notes…
Brando as Adele. Brilliant. Outstanding. Awesome. Incredible.
I had seen and photographed her performing in Connecticut previously.
Fantastic to see her again.
met Dan Meisner and Russ Peterson (Blues Brothers) and seen them
perform years before in a different location. Great to see them
on stage again, though we made a quick exit after the show and
I didn’t have a chance to say hello tonight.
had our picture taken with Isaiah (Bruno Mars) before the show,
and Terry went over to pick it up and speak with him during a
break. She said he was incredibly friendly and polite.
admit, I have some personal interests in Legends. I have
attended many of their shows, and consider several people that
I have met from their casts and crews to be friends. That acknowledged,
I have always been impressed by the professionalism and kindness
that I have been treated with each and every time I see a show
or interact with a member of their team. Amazing people.
both enjoyed the entire evening, and the show was fantastic.
our way back to Crown Reef, we make a decision about Hurricane
Hermine. Our original plans involved leaving tomorrow morning
for Florida. Even though most information we have sets up Hermine
for a downgrading to tropical storm status overnight, the travel
path has been narrowing and coming into focus. The storm is expected
to cross the top of Florida, enter Georgia and continue into South
Carolina while following the highways and roads we would be using
to get to Richard. A Friday drive where we’re going is out of
the question… we’d be asking for hours of dangerous travel straight
into the storm.
now settled on staying in Myrtle Beach for another night and heading
to Orlando on Saturday. Our Friday night in Ocala and staying
with Richard is out… we’ll figure out how to see him a few times
during other days of the trip.
with that decision made, we pull into a Krispy Kreme location.
If we’re going to be in a hotel room, playing cards and weathering
a storm, a dozen donuts is a solid addition to the kitchenette.
Three – Friday, September 2, 2016
day starts off more or less where you might expect… looking at,
acting, and to a degree reacting to Hurricane Hermine.
really start the day off, we make a few phone calls to organize
the additional day in our room.
trick wasn’t adding an extra night… although we never did really
ask about things like the upcoming holiday weekend being matched
up with possible storm-related cancellations or delays. We knew
from speaking with a few people at the front desk the day before
that we would be able to get a room with no problems.
the question was staying in the room we’ve been in. Because we
had inquired after regular business hours, with lots of phone
calls coming in about the weather keeping staff busy and occupancy
predictions a bit off balance, the people at the front desk couldn’t
make adjustments and commitments concerning which rooms were truly
booked or available. All of it was set to be sorted out this morning.
call made… we’re staying in our room.
up is getting both of us to focus in on the storm itself. Hermine
has been playing games. Rather than picking up any speed, the
hurricane keeps slowing down. The projected path still has it
swinging through Florida into Georgia and then more or less along
the coast and Interstate 95 into South Carolina. And it is weakening.
But the arrival in immediate area is getting pushed back… and
pushed back… and pushed back… and…
thinking we might just have time to get some lunch. And… well…
a great scene in the movie Caddyshack. (Yes, absolutely,
there are several great scenes in the movie Caddyshack.
This one is specific to our day.)
“I don’t think the heavy stuff’s gonna come down for quite
that pretty much sums up what is about to happen with Terry and
I in Myrtle Beach.
been watching the weather reports and forecasts and news on television.
We’ve been checking out weather apps and looking up details on
the internet. And everything points to the storm having slowed
down while weakening… yup, “the heavy stuff” is still off in the
distance, and not hurricane-level heavy stuff.
investigative work is also showing a few places nearby are open.
(At least for lunch.) A trip to the front desk (the final portions
of finishing off the additional night at Crown Reef)… I meet a
few people claiming the roads aren’t too bad.
and I are dressed, ready, and heading to Broadway
at the Beach.
know Joe’s Crab Shack is open, and we’ve enjoyed eating at other
locations in their chain before. Our hope is that a few of the
shops might be open as well.
still haven’t found any post cards, know that there are some unique
possibilities around Broadway at the Beach, and while we’ve got
no desire to stay out for too long it seems like this just might
be the place to find a couple of interesting options to explore.
circling the property, we park the car and head in to the restaurant.
It’s obvious that most of the businesses are closed, and we don’t
spot one retail shop open around the restaurant. Strike one for
Crab Shack is indeed open. We order a crab bucket (with Dungeness
crab, snow crab, shrimp and sausage), their classic sampler appetizer,
and shrimp nachos. (I’m not big on shrimp, so Terry is going to
enjoy that side of our order a bit more while I get extra snow
our meal, we can see the rain and wind are getting worse outside.
No longer is it a polite kind of annoying because it’s wet. It’s
not pouring. It’s storming. Rain and wind… strikes two and three
on exploring the Broadway at the Beach property.
we pack up our leftovers and prepare to leave Joe’s, and since
this is likely to be our last excursion around the vacation wonderland,
here are a few notes about Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach,
– Broadway at the Beach – Loved it, and we saw pretty much none
of it. The rundown… about two dozen restaurants, more than twenty
entertainment options (shows, movies, museums/aquariums, arcades,
escape challenges, etc.), roughly six dozen retail shops. Felt
like a terrific place and one we fully expect to visit again.
– Myrtle Beach – Ok, yes, between factory outlet shopping and
a hurricane, combined with a stay of just a few nights that were
bookended by long drives… you could easily say we never settled
in and saw much of Myrtle Beach. Still… awesome. There was a comfort
level about everything that we enjoyed, and we were especially
happy to find that things seemed much different than so many high
tourist vacation destinations. Myrtle Beach did not present itself
like so many oceanfront locations, which often can be wonderful
but look exactly the same. It appeared to have plenty of unique
opportunities, and easily made it known you weren’t going to see
everything and would need to come back.
– Postcards – What is it with finding postcards in Myrtle Beach?
We could not do it.
family tends to find postcards an amazing thing. It’s not quite
the same as it was when we were younger and traveling, but we
still look for them and send at least a handful around during
our trips. So it was that Terry and I thought we’d grab a couple
and send them off from Myrtle Beach… since most of our family
had seen ones from us in Florida.
Crown Reef front desk is basically a room with a bit of everything…
check-in and the hotel shop.
fact, when I asked about postcards I got a look from the cashier
that really seemed very close to having never heard of one. (Not
kidding. It wasn’t a look that said something like “we never sold
that many so we stopped stocking them” or that “everyone just
snaps a selfie and texts their best wishes” with a side of wondering
why we didn’t do the same. Nope. Definite confusion about the
very idea of postcards.)
we get in the car to drive back to the hotel, I mention to Terry
that if it isn’t too hideous driving I’m thinking of making a
stop or two at the souvenir-style stores along the ride. We do
make two stops… but only because they were in the right places
and on our side of the road. The driving was hideous.
postcards. But, for some amazing reason, the first shop we stop
in does have store gift cards.
offering startled me for a few minutes, so I’ll repeat it with
a few more details.
walking around for five minutes or so, I went to the counter.
I mentioned to the cashier that I was looking for postcards. She
said they didn’t have any, but did sell store gift cards in a
few different styles and that people collect them. I stood there
for several moments, frozen while a duel took place in my head
of thinking that she didn’t understand why a gift card wouldn’t
work as a postcard against the thought that she just told me people
collected sets of souvenir shop gift cards.
streets aren’t flooded. They are overflowing in places with water
surging along in riptide-like currents. Rain is dropping in sheets
from the skies. It is breathtaking in scope and power, having
really moved in seconds from strong storm to sweeping ferocity
of danger. The heavy stuff is apparently coming down.
take our time, drive slowly, and eventually see the ramp in the
Crown Reef. Parking on level two actually seems like a pretty
decent idea now.
our balcony, the views continue to stun and amaze. Now for totally
different spectacles. Waves are rising and crashing, with whitecaps
as far out as the eyes can see. Precipitation is whipping sideways
past our deck. Rivers have appeared along the beach, forcefully
flowing from the streets into the ocean.
our room, we flip on the television, set up a table, and begin
playing some cards. It’s our version of Stink Foot Canasta (a
wildly expanded version of the Hand and Foot style of playing
Canasta), and we split a couple of games before deciding to reheat
wins the nightcap card game, and we settle in for a quiet evening
of quality programming (meaning whatever we could find since so
many stations were focusing on Hurricane Hermine updates).
we check out of the Crown Reef. We’ll move the car out of Myrtle
Beach and toward the highway. We’re prepping for Orlando.