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 Post subject: The Prince September 3-9
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:41 am 
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Day 1

It was raining pretty hard Sunday night. We decided we had to pull the car into the garage to pack it. That's not the kind of weather we want when beginning a beach trip. Our home is only around 4 hours from the beach so rain here may well mean rain there too. We have successfully dodged the weather demons in the past and have never spent a rainy week at the beach. We have had storms at night and cloudy days, but never any weather that forced us to significantly alter our plans. As we packed the car I wondered if this would be the year.

Jodie said that she wanted this years vacation to be lower on the adventure scale than previous ones with more emphasis on relaxation, or “beaching it,” as I understand it is now properly termed. Creating enough space in the garage for the car proved something of an adventure itself, but I was able to make enough room to get the stuff in the car without getting soaked.

Monday morning our plan was to go by the gym and work out and then drive to Cherry Grove. We had reservations in The Prince Resort. We had a wonderful time there last year when we discovered how perfect early September is for beach vacations. However, I wasn't feeling well at all as we got up for an early start, and it was still raining. My enthusiasm was uncharacteristically low considering that a week at the beach with my sweetie lay ahead... and the rain didn't help. Trying to be optimistic despite the queasy stomach and the weather, I went through the motions of getting ready. We went to the gym as planned, but I wasn't feeling it. I would have passed on the workout myself, but I didn't want to bring Jodie down. She was feeling great and I didn't want to mess that up. I got on the treadmill for a slow jog. Basically I was just marking time while Jodie was out to set another world record on the elliptical machine. As wimpy as it was, my workout and the shower afterward made me feel better. About 30 minutes into the trip I was starting to feel pretty good, and apparently so was Mr. Sun. The gloomy morning had turned into a lovely day, a little warm, but lovely none the less.

We had not eaten breakfast so we stopped for gas and junk food about an hour into the trip, but we didn't eat too much because we had plans for lunch. We arrived in Conway about 12:45 and after just a few minutes found the historic waterfront. We walked along the boardwalk beside the river. It is not very long, but it is nicely done. There were a couple of kayaks and some swimmers and a dog playing in the water. Under the big arching concrete bridge that carries traffic on 501 over the Waccamaw River there were some wooden structures, I assume they are constructed to keep boats in the channel and to keep them from running aground or hitting the concrete pillars. Two brave souls were climbing up these structures and jumping into the black water below. I told Jodie that it must be Conway's answer to Acapulco's famous cliff divers. It was only about 10-12 feet “plummet” to the river below, but since they had no rocky cliffs in Conway, they made do with what they had.

We watched for a few minutes and and then went off to find one of Conway's delightful cafes and bistros I had read about. Unfortunately, they were all closed. Monday at lunchtime, and all the restaurants downtown were closed??? Then I remembered that it was Labor Day. Dining in Conway's delightful cafes and bistros will have to wait for another trip.

Disappointed, we turned our car toward Cherry Grove. Just outside of Conway I said to Jodie that even though we didn't get our lunch in any delightful cafe or bistro we could still make our visit to Conway unforgettable. I suggested that we turn around and go back and jump off the bridge like those kids were doing. I told her it would be fun and would make for a great story to tell when we get old. I pointed out that we had swimsuits right there in the car and towels too. However, Jodie wouldn't budge. Jodie can be pretty adventurous at times, but the possibility, however remote, of alligators in the water and the fact that, strictly speaking, it probably isn't completely, altogether legal to jump off of any part of the bridge didn't help me in my attempts to persuade her. So we kept driving.

The Reece's Pieces we bought at the gas station had worn off and we were both hungry. We ended up stopping at one of the first places we saw in Ocean Drive. It was one of our favorites, Duffy's Seafood Shack on Main St, right at the Horseshoe. I had their famous shrimp and grits Jodie had a combination platter of some sort. We both had a frozen daiquiri-type drink. When mine came to the table Jodie commented that it was a girly-looking drink. It was pink with a big dollop of whipped cream on top. I realized that she was right, so I quickly ate the whipped cream off the top to make it look less like something Ken would buy for Barbie.

After our late lunch Jodie was feeling woozy from her drink. As I have said before, she cant hold her liquor like she used to. In hindsight Maybe that was when I should have suggested the bridge jumping adventure. We made our way to The Prince, with me driving, of course. Our room was not ready and we waited about an hour and a half for the housekeeping staff to prepare it. 4:00 pm was the check in time. We finally got the green light from the desk personnel about 4:45 With the Labor Day crowd the housekeeping staff was behind schedule, so there were several other guests who were waiting too. Some of them were not any too polite about it. I was happy to see a couple of them get their rooms so they would stop fussing. We just relaxed in the lobby. There was no need to get irate. It wouldn't get the room cleaned any faster and it would only raise my blood pressure.

The 10th floor corner suite was just as good as last year, bright, clean and in every way, perfect. We had two bedrooms, two baths, a large kitchen, living room, and a private balcony on the north corner of the building. We had requested a north corner this year because it faces the sunrise, and you know how spectacular the sunrise over the ocean can be. It also has a washer and dryer. Jodie really likes to return home with clean clothes in the suitcase. Having a washer and dryer also allows us to pack fewer clothes. We have found the Prince prices after Labor Day to be very good, especially considering what you get for your money.

We unpacked and after a while headed out for our favorite place in the world, Fat Harold's Beach club. If you remember any of my trip reports from the past you probably saw that coming. We are shaggers so we almost always end our evenings at Fat Harold's. Its the main reason we choose the Myrtle Beach Area to vacation. There is no place like it in the world for beach music and beach dancing. This year Fat Harold's was even better than before because, like other places in NMB, its smoke free!! The famous Judy Duke was finishing up one of her shag lessons when we arrived. The class had people in it from elementary school age to Medicare age. We talked briefly with Judy after her class. We danced until pretty late. We were pretty rusty as we had only danced twice since last September, but as the evening went on we got a little better, a little smoother, and we remembered a few more steps.

We left Harold's and stopped by the Bi-Lo for some supplies. It is open 24 hours and we often go there on our first night. I'm sure it gets busy, but fortunately we have never seen it as crazy as the Walmart gets. We went back to the room and enjoyed a late, late dinner of Gorgonzola potato salad, chicken, and some grapes. We usually have poor eating and sleeping habits while on vacation. This trip was shaping up like all the others in that respect. We got in bed around 1:30. I opened the drapes wide so we might be able to see the sunrise without getting out of bed. We were off to a good start.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:31 am 
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YAY, a Cherry Grove report!!! Cherry Grove and Shagging...hmmmm makes me think of this;

http://youtu.be/GV6DpyAgAKU

So glad your feeling better and the weather cooperated! Can not wait to read more (seriously)!!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:40 am 
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Bill, my only disappointment is that you visit MB once a year. If you vacationed here more often, we would have more trip reports to enjoy! You are an excellent writer, and I always look forward to reading about your vacation!

Conway's Riverwalk, like the Georgetown Harbor area live in the shadow of Myrtle Beach. Yet both have much to offer, including great restaurants. I know that both towns offer many activities to lure people away from MB, but I've never heard of a bridge jumping festival in Conway. You may want to contact the Conway Chamber with this unique money making opportunity. :clown:

Thought you might also like my recent Conway photos:
http://www.funbeaches.com/Conway.SC.html

Looking forward to your next vacation installment! :cool:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:31 am 
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Great report - thanks !

Quote:
There was no need to get irate. It wouldn't get the room cleaned any faster


Amen..... amazing how people think bad behavior gets rewarded somehow.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Im sorry Patrish. You are right. We really do need to go to MB more often. We travel around a lot in the fall and winter, following the ASU wrestling team which doesnt leave a lot of time or money for extra beach trips.

I have to confess, we strayed a little this year. We went to Florida in the Spring and stayed in a very nice ocean front resort near St. Augustine. It was a fancy place and a fine experience, but in the end, it confirmed that Myrtle Beach is the best place for us.

In one of your photographs of Conway you can see the wooden structures under the bridge. I see those things all the time. I know they are not really diving platforms. I wish I knew what they were called. Even though I spent much of my childhood just down the road in Loris, I dont ever remember going to Conway. It appears that we have been missing quite a jewel. Im sorry everything was all closed down for the holiday. We will try Conway again, hopefully sooner than later, and next time we will check the calendar first.

Emmy isnt that the sweetest sound? It makes me think of happy times, people and memories. I think next year we may try to work Harolds on the Ocean into our schedule.

With regard to the fussy people, Kirk. I belive there is a time and place for everything, including anger, but just like too much seasoning can make food taste bad, too much anger makes life bitter.

Enough with the philosophy. I will get back to my long-winded trip report. I will try to figure out how to put pictures in it, but dont hold your breath.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:28 am 
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Day 2

I just missed the sunrise. I wanted to see the edge of the sun peak above the horizon, but I didn't quite wake up in time. What I saw was still impressive, and I got a couple of pictures. Unfortunately, that was the only morning that the clouds cooperated. I am not a morning person by nature but mornings at the beach are different. While it's true that I can't ordinarily watch the sun come up over the ocean, I don't think its just the ocean that makes it special. I think I have a deeper appreciation for nature's grandeur when there is nothing forcing me to be out of bed that time of morning except a desire to see something beautiful. I told our kids when they were little they should never get so busy with life that they don't pause to enjoy the sunset. I told them that the beautiful evening sky was God's gift to them so they should take time to notice it and to thank Him for it ..same goes for the morning sky.

Speaking of beautiful things, Jodie was still asleep while I was admiring the sunrise. I was feeling much better this morning than yesterday, so I quietly tried to get ready for a morning run without waking her. Just before I was about to leave the hotel room, Jodie jumped up and put her running clothes on. We went down the elevator together, getting our ipods, earbuds and ponytails properly situated. When we walked out to the street, Jodie turned right and I turned left. Jodie wanted to run toward the end of Cherry Grove. I wanted to run toward Ocean Drive. “Ok, I'll see you back at the room.” was the mutual exchange as we turned and ran in opposite directions.

I ran 5 miles that morning. I didn't run especially fast, but I kept a steady pace, kind of a metaphor for my life these days. I felt pretty good when I got back to The Prince. Jodie was already in the room getting ready to head out to the beach. She had run about 3 miles. We packed up our umbrella and chairs and all of our other “beaching” supplies and headed out to set up camp in the sand. I was just settling into my chair, digging my toes into the sand and taking the first sips of the HUGE mimosa I had prepared when Jodie said she was going for a walk down the beach. I was content to stay relaxing in my chair and enjoying the latest issue of Garden & Gun magazine which I had refrained from reading for almost a month so it would still be “new” when we got to the beach.. I was leaning back listening to beach music on 94.9 “The Surf” when Jodie returned. She had walked 4 miles. If you are doing the math that puts her 2 miles up on me for the day.

We beached until almost 2 o'clock when we packed up and went back to the room for some rest time. We then headed out to look for dinner. We had no particular place in mind, so before we knew it we were turning around on the South end of Murrells Inlet. We settled on Drunken Jacks. We walked in and got a table. It was the last table available, so unfortunately, it wasn't the best table. In fact, it might have been the worst. But the food was good. I really didn't think it was anything special, but I didn't have any complaints. Jodie thought her she crab soup was excellent. When we left there was a sizable line of people waiting to get in. I guess the worst table is better than no table. Jodie napped on the way back to Cherry Grove, and I drove slowly to let her rest a little longer.

We got back to the hotel and changed clothes for dancing. We got to Fat Harold's while the free shag lessons were just finishing up. Jeppy always tells his students that if they don't use what they learned and dance here tonight they probably never will. Despite Jeppy's warning there are nights when all the students seem to leave as soon as the lesson is over. This time, however, a lot of them seemed to take Jeppy's advice and stayed to dance. The floor stayed busy with the latest shag class graduates for a long time. We danced pretty well this night. We saw several familiar faces. We didn't stay as late as we often do. We were both a little tired.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:39 am 
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Bill HOTO's is MUCH different than Fat Harold's...I mean totally. A bit "rougher" crowd and a lot of power drinking. Hence, my last trip report where the "lady was slapping the boyfriend around" story. We went once a couple of years ago and never went back. Maybe we hit an off day or something but just wanted you to have a heads up.

Sounds like you are having a wonderful time!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:15 am 
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I remember when HOTOS was "The best place on the beach to get in a fight" We went there several years ago and only stayed a few minutes before we knew we should leave. Since then they have had lots of really good beach bands playing there. The radio station has had remote broadcasts from there, and there has been more advertisement for the club. It even won a couple of cammys for show club of the year. But we still havent been back. As The song says, "first impressions are lasting imressions." I guess I was just hoping it had really improved. Its in such a great location its a shame if its not a safe place to go.

And FYI that song has been stuck in my head now since yesterday. I just start singing it all of a sudden and I cant control it. Thanks!!!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:01 am 
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Day 3 “the lost day”

Wednesday started our slow... and stayed that way. Jodie told me that she wanted to have more relaxation and less adventure on this vacation and Wednesday she proved that she was serious. Simply put, we did nothing. I got in my morning run. I ran from The Prince down to just before the bridge over the waterway at Harbourgate and back. I think that's about 4 miles, give or take a little. When I got back to the room, Jodie was still asleep. She slept till late. I just relaxed on the couch an on the balcony, reading the rest of my magazine and watching TV and napping. Jodie alternated between her book, the TV and napping. It was a very lazy day. We didn't even go out on the beach. We had both gotten just a little too much sunshine the day before. I drove down to Judy's House of Oldies to browse a little and ended up buying a Craig Wollard CD and a Biography of the King of Shag, Fat Harold himself. I tried to make reservations for an airboat plantation tour for Thursday, but the lady said that we needed a minimum of 4 people. Jodie was a little disappointed about that. She had picked the airboat tour over some other boat tours we looked at when we were planning our trip. The lady on the phone said that she would call me if anyone else tried to book a tour so we could combine our numbers, but she never called, and I really didn't expect her to.

About 5 o'clock I suggested that maybe we should think about dinner. We got dressed and went to Little River and found Patios. I wanted to go there to see Calabash Flash who was scheduled to be singing along with the band from 5-9. Parking was difficult, but we found a place and got shuttled to Patio's by a guy in a golf cart. It was a short, but thrilling ride. We entered Patio's and found that it was packed with people. The band was playing but I didn't see Calabash Flash yet. The only table available had no chairs. Just like last year, it didn't look like we were going to get to see Flash I think we would have liked Patio's but I wasn't willing to wait for a table or stand up to eat. After a minute or two we walked out the other side of Patios and headed next door to Capt Juel's Hurricane Restaurant.

It was a good choice. We sat out on the deck and enjoyed the views of the waterway. That is one of the great things about September vacations, the evening temperatures are perfect for dinner on the deck. I'm not sweltering and Jodie is not cold. We both had the she crab soup and a salad topped with Salmon.

Harold's was busy this evening. Across the street The Entertainers were playing at Ducks but that didn't diminish the crowd at Harold's. There were lots of locals putting on a great show. There was one very drunk young lady with a very short skirt who was out on the floor dancing alone, showing off her moves (and a lot more) to the crowd. The poor woman suddenly fell to the floor and was helped up by the other patrons. She appeared to be uninjured,. She was escorted to a chair next to the dance floor. In a few minutes she was out on the floor again. When she started staggering the bartender and the DJ intervened and escorted her to a chair again, this time near the door, and called her a cab. I guess she thought she was a HOTOS because you don't see loss of control like that too often at Fat Harold's.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:57 am 
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Great report!!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:39 pm 
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As always enjoying your report. Looking forward to your next installment. You are a very talented writer.
Judy


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:51 pm 
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My Honey Love Sugar Babe (husband) reminded me several time while we were "vegging" in the great room or everyone was chill'n with their 'puters or phones, "vegging at the beach is better than vegging anywhere else". He is such a smart guy! :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:28 pm 
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Quote Bill:
"...headed next door to Capt Juel's Hurricane Restaurant. It was a good choice. We sat out on the deck and enjoyed the views of the waterway."

How was the food? What about the view? The reason I'm asking is because we were up that way at the beginning of November, and we were far less than impressed. My impression was that the area was dirty and unkempt, and the walkway area behind the restaurants was downright dangerous. We did not eat at any of the restaurants. I hope it has improved. (My comments are below.)

viewtopic.php?f=48&t=12894&p=88726&hilit=fibbers#p88726

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:39 am 
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Patrish,
You are right about the area having an unkempt look. There has been no improvement. I suppose we were not taken aback by it because we knew what to expect. The Murrells Inlet area is immaculate by comparison. I neglected to mention in that section of my report that after dinner at Drunken Jacks we walked down the marsh walk in Murrells Inlet. The last time we were there we experienced a huge lightning storm, so a walk was not an option. This time we did take time to enjoy the marsh walk. It was delightful and EVERYTHING was beautiful. Even the concrete sidewalks are adorned with oyster shells. You cant say everything is beautiful in Little River.

The restaurant furnishings, the décor inside and out, and general appearance of things at the end of Mineola ave, are definitely not on a par with what you would find in Murrell's inlet, or indeed in most of the more frequented restaurants in Myrtle Beach.

I did see a couple of docks that looked like they were overdue for a date with a carpenter, and I did see the outside of the building in need of a major overhaul. The area is not helped by the daily traffic through numerous dirt parking lots which give the whole place a "dusty" look.

I suppose what it has is best described as "local color." As an outsider just visiting, I am intrigued by things I don't usually get to see, in this case, the trappings of a fishing culture of which I am not a part. The fishing boats docked outside were not someone's recreational vessels. They are the unadorned tools of the local economy, and from the look of some of them, have been so for a long time. You don't see that where I live. They were tied up to docks, never built to be beautiful that reflected many years of weathering. When do the signs of wear and tear from daily use cross over from “adding character and charm to “looking run down and dirty?” Sometimes its easy to say, “Yep, that one has crossed the line,” other times, maybe its in the eye of the beholder. Probably a big factor in our acceptance of the... “lackluster” appearance is, as I said, we knew what to expect. It is fair to say that if we found ourselves there by accident and didn't know where we were, we would likely turn around and leave.

As for the view, while we ate we were entertained by three guys maneuvering their fishing boat into the slip right next to us. They carried away their containers of what I supposed was their days catch while their two dogs waited patiently in the boat for them to return. We watched several different kinds of boats pass by. You cant see all that at the Barbecue restaurant in Hillsborough. On the other side of the river was a salt marsh with little rivulets running through it. A maritime forest stretched out behind the marsh grass. The only complaint I had about the view was that the Sea Screamer was docked nearby, which seemed out of place and I though detracted from picture.

As for the food, It was good. We only had the soup and a salad with fish on top of it, so maybe its harder to mess those up. Perhaps if we had ordered something more complex my report would not have been so glowing, but what we had was quite good. Both in flavor and in presentation, it could definitely compete with our experience at Drunken Jacks. Our waiter was pleasant and helpful. Our table appeared to be clean, and the deck where we sat showed no signs of the parking lot dust. It was a simple, but pleasurable dining experience.

Could we get “local color” and watch boats and fishermen, etc someplace else? I suppose we could, but … we had already been to Murrells Inlet.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:40 am 
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Day 4

Thursday it was back to beaching as usual, with a little more care, perhaps, in the application of sunscreen. No morning run happened for either of us, though Jodie did take her usual walk on the beach while I took my usual seat on the beach in my Tommy Bahama Chair with the built in cooler. The ocean waves were big today. There were warnings of rough waters and possible rip current because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Leslie, but it wasn't bad enough to keep us out of the water. Mostly we just relaxed. I settled into my new Fat Harold biography. If you are familiar with, or would like to learn some local NMB history, or if you are a fan of Beach Music or you are familiar with some of the people involved, you will probably enjoy this book, like I did. Otherwise, you might want to look for something else to read on the beach.

Speaking of reading on the beach. Before we left home I bought a great beach accessory at Walmart, bifocal sunglasses -$14. They are regular sunglasses on the top part, to shade your eyes from the sun and, of course, to disguise exactly where your eyes are looking... 'cause... you know... you're at the beach. And they are reading lenses on the bottom part. I never needed glasses like that before, but, alas, the years are creeping up.

It was a beautiful day on the beach. I was bobbing my head to 94.9 and enjoying my “special” Diet Coke. A dad nearby was pulling his little girl on a boogie board in the edge of the water. It made me think of my own “little girl” at UNCW and how they grow up so fast.

While sitting there enjoying all the pleasures of “Beaching” I got a text message from one of my employees. He was working security at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. He talked about how awful his assignment had been all week and how stressful it was dealing with the delegates, and dignitaries, and protestors. He had been there for several days and I could tell he was nearing the end of his patience. He asked me if he could be off the following Monday. Maybe I have an evil streak, or maybe it was the “special” part of the Diet Coke, but I replied to him by sending him a picture of my feet propped up with the ocean in the background. He responded, “That was just wrong!” (Before you think I'm a terrible boss, yes, I let him off Monday AND Tuesday)

We broke camp a little earlier today and went back up to the room for rest time. Resting and recharging in the middle of the day has been a good strategy for making the most of our vacation time. - up early, down for a siesta around lunch time, and then out on the town until late.

For dinner we went to Capt. Poos for some steamed shrimp a pound for me, a half pound for Jodie. We sat outside at the bar. Again, the weather was just right for doing that. Capt Poos is not a fancy place at all. Its a biker bar at times, apparently a boater bar at others. In appearance it would probably fit better in Little River than in Murrells Inlet. I like it because it has character that you don't find among the giants on “restaurant row.” The waitress/bartender was in a good mood and she danced as she served the patrons sitting around the boat shaped bar and thanked them for playing certain songs on the 21st century version of a jukebox

After Poos we went back to the hotel and changed clothes. We needed to get to Harold's early tonight for Line Dance lessons. The instructor called us out to the floor. I was a little reluctant when I realized that I was the only representative of my sex out on the floor. Maybe I was still sensitive from Jodie's comment about my “girly drink”earlier in the week, but with Jodie's coaxing I joined her on the floor and before long I was doing “The Swamp Thing” with the other ladies. The instructor moved on to a couple of other dances, but I let the womenfolk do those without my help. I went instead to the Shag City Grill located in the front part of Harold's and ordered a famous thick fried bologna sandwich which I enjoyed along with a beer while watching the ladies dance.

After the line dancing classes were over the shagging started. There were lots of great shaggers on the floor, but one couple was AMAZING. I have seen really good shaggers many times at Fat Harold's but this couple was, without question, the best I have ever seen. Their footwork was masterful and their turns were as smooth as buttered glass. After watching them a while they started to look familiar. I pulled out my iPhone to confirm, and sure enough, it was 9 time National Shag Champion Charlie Womble dancing with his partner, 10 time National Shag Champion Jackie McGee!! I kept looking at the pictures on my phone and back at the dance floor. Jodie told me to stop because she said I looked like a stalker. She was probably right; she usually is. I realize that non-shaggers reading this won't appreciate the significance, but imagine going to a local swim meet and having Michael Phelps show up.

About 10 we got a call from our friends from home, Kay and Bo, who just arrived to join us for the remainder of our stay. We have often wished some of our friends would join us on our Myrtle Beach vacations. This is the first year it could happen. They are “empty nesters” now too.
They met us at the Sugar Shack in OD and we all had a “welcome-to-the-beach” ice cream.

We drove back to the hotel and all went out for a nighttime walk on the beach. I looked really hard for the UFO lights. In fact, I looked hard for them all week, but wasn't lucky enough to see them. I was lucky enough, though, to catch a glimpse or two of the infamous green lasers, but just a glimpse. They were not the problem for us that others have described.

After the walk it was back to the room for some great conversation that went on till late. I thought I might convince Kay, the more adventurous of the two, to join me in a Conway bridge jumping adventure on the way home. If she agreed to do it, I know Jodie would too. She told me the would “think about it.”


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