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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:12 pm 
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The day of our departure was hectic to say the least. Turtles had just finished up classes the day before and we had a ton of things to do before we could start our vacation. There was grass to cut, a house to clean, garden to plant etc etc. We weren't as prepared as we normally are which didn't help things. We fared fine, no doubt, but everything just FELT out of place and disorganized. It wasn't the best way to start our past-due, much needed vacation.

We decided the night before to take my 2011 F-150 rather than Turtles' 2011 Chevrolet Equinox. Two factors led us to the decision: 1.) The truck is roomier for both the passengers as well as luggage space. 2.) It's a lease vehicle with a ton of miles to use up. I wasn't concerned about fuel mileage and I'll tell you why. The Equinox struggles mightily with its 4-cylinder engine through the mountains of West Virginia. Oh, it'll get us there no doubt but it just drives me nuts feeling it downshift constantly. It would have netted us about 26 - 27 mpg as previous experiences have proven. I figured the truck would get 17-18 mpg but would do so much better with the constantly changing elevations. Comfort wins every time.

After my regularly scheduled late-afternoon-pre-myrtle-beach-trip nap, we packed the truck quickly and headed on out. We left at about 9PM on Saturday, May 12th. We were finally on our way!!!!

I downed my 5-hour energy drink (which by the way is horrible and doesn't work), and made it all the way to mile marker #1 in North Carolina on I-77. I was so tired that I was literally shaking. I think it was about 4AM and just couldn't handle anymore driving. I woke Turtles and asked her to drive so I could rest for a little while. I had no choice but to stay at least semi-conscious so I could help her navigate. Yes, I have built in GPS in my truck but I found it to be quite annoying and paid no attention to it. Worthless $2500 upgrade.

Turtles drove for about an hour with me slipping in and out of consciousness. We decided to stop for gas around Kernersville, NC. We arrived at the gas station that was well lit just off Business I-40. I swiped my card at the pump and it told me to please see the attendant. In my tired stupor, I failed to notice that the station wasn't even open. Grrrrrr!!!!!! We chugged down the road and hit another station. We filled up with just enough gas to get us into Myrtle. I checked the fuel economy and discovered that we were achieving 19.5mpg!!!!! Bonus!!!!

I took the wheel again, still tired but certainly capable. Devin was now awake at 5AM and would not go back to sleep. Our 7 year old is a very hyper child who requires medicine to keep his mind from going nuts. Fortunately, he handled the long drive very well.

Overall, the drive down was fairly uneventful. I can't stress enough how badly I despise people who don't use cruise control. There is no need to pass me like a bat out of hell when going downhill only to have me pass you on the next stretch going uphill.

Our welcome mat to Myrtle was laid out but was soaking wet!! It was 74 degrees and just pouring. This is not what we were hoping for obviously. But, it's the coast. It could blow over at any minute so we kept positive. We arrived at about 10AM with empty bellies and full bladders. We stopped at the McDeath on Restaurant Row to relieve the latter of our problems. Turtles was craving IHOP so we hit the one on 13th avenue south. And it continued to rain.

After breakfast, we headed to the resort with hopes of getting in to the room early. We booked through VRBO and were told that there was a chance for early entry. I had high hopes that we could get in, get a nap in and enjoy the rest of the day. Sadly, the room wasn't ready. Turtles got Devin into swimming attire and I chilled in the parking garage trying to grab some shut-eye but to no avail. I struggled mightily but I think I was so tired that I couldn't even sleep. And it continued to rain.

After a couple of hours, the cleaning crew called me and we finally got into our oceanfront suite. Turtles loves me so she did the unpacking while I laid down and tried to rest. 13 hours in ANY vehicle is rough, though I am thankful it was in the truck. The room was typical of any two room suite you'd find at most oceanfront resorts in the Myrtle Beach area. There were some added bonuses that really made us happy. There was no room key: HUGE BONUS!!! No need to worry about who has what. The keypad was fabulous!!! Also, the owner included a cart for the beach along with some coolers. In the cart were two totally decent beach chairs. Lastly, there was a euro style washer and dryer which wasn't all that great after further review. It took about 4 or 5 hours to dry a load of laundry. But, at the very least, you could wash an article of clothing that you spilled pizza sauce on instead of letting it sit for a week until you got home. And it continued to rain.

Because of our exhaustion, we didn't want anything too complicated for dinner. We settled on River City Cafe on 21st avenue north. I can't remember what any of us ate while it continued to rain. But the food was good and simple. The service, however, was horrible. I think we left a $2 tip for our $30ish tab. The guy was a pud.

It had finally stopped raining when we walked out of the restaurant. It certainly wasn't Myrtle Beach warm though. It was kind of depressing. We headed to Wal Mart on Seaboard Street rather than the one on King's Road. Many of you know the dilemma with the location on King's Road. The one on Seaboard, we discovered, was a much better experience. It was the exact opposite of the King's Road location. I purchased beer because I'm a Phrogg. Phroggs drink beer to stay alive. I figured out that I hadn't had a beer in well over 24 hours so my exhaustion was propelled by the lack of beer. I rejoiced upon first sip.

After grocery shopping, we headed back to the resort with hopes of hitting the beach and pool. It was still overcast and very mild. There was no way I was getting in the water. We ventured down anyway but only for a short time. Sleep was still needed.

Monday morning was slow going but was helped by my early morning beer consumption. The weather was still not cooperating but at least it wasn't raining. We hit the pool by 10 and tried to swim in the ocean. It was so cold out of the water that it wasn't even fun. At some point, the sun came out and warmed the atmosphere much to our delight. We stayed out until roughly 4PM before heading up to get ready for dinner. By that time, I had consumed a fair amount of barley and water. Nacho Hippo was screaming my name!!!!!

We arrived at the Market Common and were seated swiftly by the welcoming staff. The waitress was delightful and attentive. If you've never been, Nacho Hippo is a great little open air establishment. We sat on the patio while we ate our nachos and burritos. The sky darkened quickly and the wind picked up steadily. One of the DMB members text Turtles and let us know that a tornado was just west of us in Conway. Yay. This just gets better and better. Thankfully, it did not affect us.

Tuesday morning started out much better. At some point late last fall, I decided to start jogging. I was never much of an active guy other than my constant physically demanding job, so I just never had the desire to run for exercise. None the less, I started doing it and have been doing it ever since. I wanted to jog down Ocean Boulevard very badly. I got up at about 5AM and hit the street. What a mistake that was. I was so out of my element that I barely made a mile and a half before I about dropped dead. Oh well. At least I made it that far. I think what really got me was when a 70 year old man jogging in the opposite direction passed by with a "hello" while I was gasping for air. I'm half his age and watching my life pass before my eyes and he can carry on a conversation like he's just washing the car. Jerk.

The weather was the best so far. It was sunny and humid which allowed us to make use of the beach chairs and boogie boards. Devin even learned to enjoy the calming effect the beach offers. We all chilled and worked on our tans. We even got to do some mild boogie boarding. Phroggs love to boogie board. Beer and boogie boarding. It's kind of like yin and yang for us.

Devin had been begging us for Medieval Times or Pirates Voyage. We settled on Pirates Voyage due to we've been to Medieval Times already. The show was very entertaining and worth every penny. If you've never been to either show, let me explain it to you. Get there early or buy your tickets in advance. We arrived about 45 minutes early. At the Pirates Voyage, they had a little side show thing going on that was fun and certainly very kid friendly. It's a bunch of singing and embarrassment of a few guests. The bar is open while you wait for the main event. Prices are slightly above average at about $4 for a beer. I had only one. Phroggs also know a good or bad deal when they see one. We were seated for the main event and were greeted by our server. The food comes out one item at a time. First, we had our drinks followed by some creamy vegetable soup which was decent. Next, our chicken arrived which was fabulous!! Some sort of processed pork product and instant nasty mashed potatoes followed. Finally, our dessert was served. Keep in mind, it was about $115 for the three of us to get in. You are also expected to tip your server. The guy next to me, with a family of four, left $2. I chose to be nice and left $15. You be the judge on how you think you should handle this. I'm not telling you what to do but I think $2 is a slap in the face.

Wednesday morning was another decent start. We hit IHOP again by walking this time. Again, the weather played nice and we got some good pool/beach time. Both Turtles and I were getting almost too much sun. The problem was that we didn't apply enough sunscreen because we feared that we wouldn't be tan enough from the while vacation. I think we got a little greedy but nothing even remotely serious. We had done some minor shopping at Broadway already and decided to head out to Barefoot Landing. We had no idea what we wanted for dinner and ended up at Wild Wing Cafe. I know, it's a chain restaurant and it goes against everything I preach about not eating at chain restaurants. However, we don't have this particular company in our area so it is an exception. The food was delicious as always and the beer was cheap and cold. I was once again a satisfied Phrogg.

Thursday started out just crappy. It rained and rained like it had never rained before. I was mildly inhebriated by 9AM and couldn't possibly drive. Turtles and Devin decided we should play some putt putt so I let her drive us there. Earlier in the week, when it was raining (imagine that), we hit up Cancun Lagoon, and indoor putt putt course... or so they advertise. See, half the holes are still outside leaving us to play the same holes over and over in order to get our 18 in that we paid for. Also, the entire place leaks like crazy. So even though we were indoors, it still sucked. This time though, it had stopped raining so we hit Captain Hook's. It's a course we've played several times and we like it. Still, it's expensive to play. I don't remember who won. By the time we finished, the sun was out and it was steamy!!!! Off to the resort for our last day of beach fun!!!

I'm the only seafood lover so I had to find a place that served seafood as well as land lover food. I know, they all do but I was hoping to find a place that did both equally well. I finally decided on the Duffy Street Seafood Shack on Restaurant Row. We had never been and had read mixed reviews. The service was ok, nothing to get excited about... neither good nor bad. My meal was very good and actually worth the price. Turtles' and Devin's food was so overpriced though. Why does a kid's meal cost $10? This was a chronic issue the entire trip. There's no need to charge $10 for some crappy chicken fingers and soggy fries. Wild Wing Cafe is the only one who got it right all week. $4.99 for 5 wings, some fries and a soda. Ya can't beat that!!!!

We made the best of our trip what with the tornadic and rainy weather and all. I was so depressed upon our arrival. I thought the whole vacation would be ruined by rain. I was wrong. We had a great time and would consider returning for another May trip. We tried to keep the costs down as we have another trip booked for August. That one is a whole week's stay.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Location: Tennessee
Great Report!

Thanks for sharing with us. By the way my July trip report was longer than yours :bootyshake:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 2:08 pm
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phroggy wrote:
We weren't as prepared as we normally are which didn't help things. We fared fine, no doubt, but everything just FELT out of place and disorganized. It wasn't the best way to start our past-due, much needed vacation.
.


I'm just like you when it comes to needing to be prepared for the trip. It's just part of the process and doesn't feel right if you are used to leaving with everything done a certain way. Thanks for posting the report over here. Enjoyed reading it.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:27 pm 
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A great read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:23 pm 
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...ahhh...a trip report...made my evening...:)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2006 10:39 pm
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Location: Pigeon Forge, TN
Thank you for posting your trip report. I really enjoyed your style of writing. No trip report is ever too long. Welcome to this board it gives us a shot in the arm to get through these winter doldrums.


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