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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:05 pm 
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Location: Hillsborough, NC
This trip had its highs and lows. As usual we did some familiar things and enjoyed the happy and familiar surroundings. Maybe our age is slowing us down, but I noticed that our adventures didn’t require as much energy as in years past. I don’t like that so much. This trip was all vacation to me, but for Jodie it was partly for her education. A medical conference was going on and Jodie was signed up. Jodie goes to a lot of these conferences, I tag along.

We checked in at Kingston Plantation early Sunday afternoon. We were to be staying in the Brighton Tower. We didn’t expect our room to be ready, and it wasn’t, so we drove off to Coastal Grand Mall for Jodie to find a new swimsuit. We also picked up a couple of inexpensive boogie boards. We don’t boogie so much on them, but they are nice to hold on to while we bob in the waves.

We got the call from Kingston much earlier than we anticipated and were soon marveling at the beautiful two bedroom condo that was to be our home for the next few days. It was on the 19th floor, and was, I think, the fanciest room we have ever had at Myrtle Beach. Our son Chris, and his wife Becca were planning to join us for the first couple of days, not just to enjoy the beach, but also to see the total solar eclipse. They were as impressed with our accommodations as we were.

After we got everything unpacked we set off to find something to eat. Everyone wanted seafood, of course, and Becca wanted an ocean front restaurant. I was, of course, given the task of finding the perfect ocean front seafood restaurant, while driving. It always works out that way. I first suggested Croakers, at the Apache Pier, we had never eaten there before, but then decided to head to the Sea Captain’s House. It was a good choice. It was not inexpensive, but it was very good.

The crowd was large and we were told the wait for a table would be pretty long, at least an hour, but we decided that it was best to just be patient. Outside there was a singer with a guitar, who was quite good. Everyone applauded as he announced that just that day he had been offered a position as music director in a local church, his first "real" job. I was about to order a cocktail from the outdoor bar and find a comfortable place to sit for a while and enjoy this newly employed young man's performance, when to our surprise, our pager began erupting after only about 15 minutes. We went to the hostess and presented the flashing, buzzing puck. She asked us if we were “Bryan.” No, that wasn’t us, we explained. She and another couple of ladies spoke among them selves and went scurrying around. Then the Hostess began calling out the name “Bryan” looking for a response. After a few minutes of consultation with the staff, the hostess told us to follow her and she led us to our table… or perhaps Bryan’s table…. Either way we had a great spot in the restaurant, with a beautiful view. Jodie and I both ordered a “SOLAR ECLIPSE” specialty cocktail, and with heartfelt gratitude we raised a toast… to Bryan, whoever he is.

After dinner we wanted to play mini golf, a Myrtle Beach must-do. We found ourselves at Mt Atlanticus. Chris and Becca had been there before, but Jodie and I had not played that course before. I enjoyed it very much. It has some interesting holes, including one where you have to hit you ball into the water “hazard” in order to get a hole in one. I don’t remember who won, but it was a lot of fun. When we returned to Kingston Plantation Jodie went to bed. She was tired and she had to be up early to attend a class. Conferences at Kingston are the best, because most of the classes are broadcast into the hotel rooms on the hotel television. This class was one of the few that were not, and Jodie paid extra to attend it. Chris, Becca, and I stayed up a while, Chris and I faked our way through a couple of ukulele duets while Becca sang, not too loud, because we didn’t want to disturb Jodie.


The next morning we woke to rain and clouds. PERFECT eclipse viewing weather. Jodie signed up for this particular medical conference last October specifically because it coincided with the eclipse. 10 months ago I ordered our official NASA approved “GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE” glasses. I had seen a total solar eclipse many years ago, also at Myrtle Beach, but this was to be everyone else’s first. Jodie spent the morning in class. Chris spent the morning studying for his next Actuary exam. (These actuary exams are very hard and each one requires 100s of hours of study. His test wasn’t till October, but he set aside a few hours nearly nearly day after work to study. At the time of this late writing I am happy to report he PASSED!!)
Becca and I relaxed with coffee and read quietly on our 19th floor balcony. Well, the truth is, the perhaps Becca relaxed a bit more than I. I spent less time reading and more time looking hopefully, but not optimistically, at the ugly clouds that were going to block our view of the GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE.
To be continued…


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:33 pm 
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Bill, I wish I had known you and Jodie were here. You are one of the “regular” message board members we have never met, and I think that’s our loss.

The Sea Captain’s House is always a good choice. I like “smaller plate” offers they have now. Always good service and lovely views from the room facing the ocean. Glad you enjoyed “Bryan’s table. I particularly love their Sunday Brunch. We don’t make a habit of it, but it’s our “go to” choice when we have company or a special occasion.

“I don’t remember who won, but it was a lot of fun. “ You are always a good sport.

Now waiting to hear about your eclipse adventure. We were supposed to go to Georgetown (for the TOTAL eclipse) but I got impatient with the traffic and we stopped at Brookgreen where we are members, and watched it there. It was a little less than total, but good enough for us!

Thanks for taking the time to write your review!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:47 am 
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After a while I decided to give up on relaxation and go for a run. I only ran about 2 miles. I used to run more at the beach, but Im feeling older these days. Jodie returned from her class and we decided to head out to the beach. Chris and Becca joined us a short time later with lunch from Burger King. It was a typical day on the beach, bobbing in the waves and relaxing on my Tommy Bahama beach chair with the built in beverage cooler, except that everyone around had eclipse glasses, on their head or in their hand. The clouds had thinned out and while it was not clear, by any means, my optimism was increasing as I assessed our chances to see the eclipse. I met a man from Erie, Pennsylvania. We talked a while and eventually our conversation turned to “kids these days.” Perhaps another sign that Im getting older. A little boy ran up to the man and told him that the eclipse was starting.

SHOWTIME!! This was why we were here!! I passed on this update to Jodie and the kids and ran back to my chair. I donned my NASA approved GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE viewing glasses and looked skyward. A tiny bite could be seen on the edge of the solar disk. Becca Chris and Jodie came out of the water and joined me as I marveled at this celestial phenomenon that was unfolding before our eyes. The clouds were still threatening, and sometimes they would block the view, but then they would clear up again and we could see that the tiny bite in the sun was getting bigger. A family with three daughters had fashioned eclipse viewing devices out of cereal boxes. Those contraptions do let you watch the eclipse, but not nearly as well as NASA approved GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE viewing glasses, and we had extra. ( I like to be prepared ). Jodie took a handful of glasses to the family who thanked her later by surprising her with a Kingston Plantation T shirt.

Just as the eclipse progressed to where you could actually notice the diminished light, a huge, dark, thick, ugly, cloud parked itself directly over the sun. Timed passed, but that cloud did not. It sat in the same place as the day got darker. There was blue sky on the horizon in nearly every direction, but that cloud was relentless. It was quite dark on the beach, but we could not see the sun. It was as if the sky froze. The eclipse at Myrtle beach was 99.46 percent total. Our original plan had been to go to Georgetown, in the zone of 100% totality, but after considering the time we would spend and the hassle of getting there with all the traffic, we decided to accept the <1/2% of imperfection and stay at Kingston. As I sat in my Tommy Bahama beach chair with the built in beverage cooler I listened on the FM radio as a reporter from near Georgetown went on and on about how spectacular the eclipse was. I thought about our original plans as the excited reporter commented that the sky was clear and conditions were truly perfect! I thought about how excited I had been last October when we made reservations to see the GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE. Then to make matters worse, in the midst of all this disappointment my boss from work sent me a text about how good eclipse viewing was back home. It wasn’t nearly total, but at least they could see it. While it was dark the lifeguards made everyone get out of the water. Just as it was light enough to let people return to the water the evil cloud started slowly moving. Soon you could see the sun again. I used my NASA approved GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE viewing glasses to watch a tiny bite, now on the other side of the solar disk, slowly disappear. It was over.

We played in the water for a while and then headed in to clean up. We went to Broadway at the Beach so Chris could find some new sandals. I always enjoy Broadway at the Beach. While we were there a kid got stuck on the zip line out over the water. It looked like he just lost momentum and just stopped “zipping” about 100 feet from the finish. He just hung there for a long time until one of the workers pulled himself out by hand and then dragged the kid back to the platform.

We ate seafood this evening at Duffy’s in Ocean Drive. We at one of the sidewalk tables, and we ate way too much. After dinner we went to Duck’s where The Embers were playing. The show was great. Craig Wollard always has a great show. I had not remembered to bring my shagging shoes, but still managed to dance ok. A quick basic lesson and Chris and Becca were shagging beside us. It turned out to be a fun evening. The sting of missing the GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE wasn’t as sharp. Shagging to sweet Beach Music can have that soothing effect. We got home about 1am.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:20 am 
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Patrish I do want to meet you some day. I feel like I known you for years, though we've never seen each other in person. You are too kind when you say I am a good sport. If I had been the winner of the Mt. Atlanticus mini golf outing... I would have remembered that. I enjoy writing trip reports. Its kind of like reliving the vacation. The last time we were at MB, a couple of years ago, I neglected to write a trip report, and I regret that. Life gets in the way sometimes, which is why I am so late in submitting a report this time. I enjoy reading trip reports from other people, so I am just returning the favor. I will submit the next installment ASAP and hopefully not make it too long. I know I tend to do that.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:31 am 
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>...who thanked her later by surprising her with a Kingston Plantation T shirt (snip)
Kindness and appreciation at both ends. I like that!

So your destination was also Georgetown! Wally's company (Chicora Coldwell Banker) has a Georgetown location, so they invited the neighboring offices. Sounds good, but they only have one bathroom, and the traffic was so congested and slow I knew I would need to stop before we got there. We go to Beookgreen enough to know our way around.

No trip review is ever too long and I'm enjoying yours! Thanks!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:14 pm 
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Thanks for the report. Really enjoyed hearing about your trip. Has me missing the beach.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:33 pm 
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Thanks for the report. I was about as amazed at the color of light during the eclipse as I was with the eclipse itself. If the light of day was like it was during the eclipse then most companies that make sunglasses would be out of business. It was a very cool look to be the middle of the day, and so much easier on the eyes than a bright sunny day.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:53 am 
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Got up around 6:30 on Tuesday and tried again to start the day with coffee on the balcony. The humidity drove be back inside. I decided to go for a run. The humidity is no fun when Im running, but if I’m going to sweat I may as well get some benefit from it. Again it was only about 2 miles. When I finished I read and napped, this time in the air-conditioning until the scholars Jodie and Chris finished their studies. We all hit the beach again. It was a fine day, but the water was a little rough. We saw the lifeguards rescue two people who apparently were unable to swim ashore. That was insetting. Im was glad everyone was ok, and thankful for the lifeguards.

Around 3pm we all entered a horseshoe competition. Jodie and Becca formed a team, and I teamed up with Chris. I thought that Chris and I were going to get a bye in the first round, because only one half of the opposing team showed up. The one guy who was present started looking for a partner among the passersby who came within earshot. Just when he was about to give up a very drunk man volunteered his services. After I watched him take a couple of practice pitches I was feeling confident that Chris and I could take them. I was wrong. With the first pitch that counted this drunk guy became the Robin Hood of horseshoes. He couldn’t miss the stake. Chris prevented the shutout by managing to get a single point, but very quickly we found ourselves eliminated 15-1.

We went over to the women’s side of the tournament where Becca and Jodie were managing a little better. They were in a close game. Jodie saved them once by canceling out what would have been their opponents’ game winning leaner by putting a ringer on top of it, but eventually they too fell out of the tournament. So, we four losers took our walk of shame back to pick up our beach chairs to head back to the condo.

I knew what she was up to when Jodie suggested that we go to Barefoot Landing for dinner. She loves Greg Norman’s Australian Grill. We rarely skip it when we visit Myrtle Beach. When we got there Jodie guided us to her favorite restaurant. As usual it was outstanding. We sat outside on the waterway. After we ate Becca and Chris had to head back home, so after hugs in the parking lot they were on their way, and we were on our own. We put on our shagging shoes and headed to Fat Harolds.

The free shag lessons were in progress. We found a table and waited till the floor opened up. While we waited we ordered dinner from the Shag City Grill, inside Harolds. We were having a great time shagging and watching others. Jodie commented that she liked a step a certain woman was doing. A few minutes later she commented again, and I suggested that she go ask the woman to show her how to do it. Jodie approached the woman who gladly began teaching her how to do the step. They moved into the back room where there is another dance floor. After a few minutes I went to check on how she was doing. Suddenly found ourselves in an INTENSE shag lesson. (We nearly bit off more than we could chew.) This lady and the man who came into help were very strict and demanding coaches. For about 40 minutes they put us through the paces, calling us out for small imperfections with stern corrections. “NO! Now try it again!” she would say. It was really quite intense and the instruction we got will permanently improve our shagging. We had never experienced that at Fat Harolds. When it was over we were tired. We had used up all our shagging energy so we packed up our dancing shoes and headed out. Now a few years ago it would not have been unusual at all for us to close Fat Harolds down and go for after midnight walk on the beach before turning in for the night (morning). But this evening were back at the condo around 11. More evidence of age catching up?

Wednesday started much like the other mornings with Jodie studying. I went to Walmart to pick up a few things. I did a little laundry and played some Tams songs on my ukulele while Jodie finished attended a class. After lunch we agreed that we both could use a break from the sun, so we went exploring. We drove to Garden City and Surfside beach looking at houses for sale….maybe one day we will actually buy one. We ate dinner on the deck at Wicked Tuna at Murrell’s Inlet. After we ate we drove to Pawley’s Island and eventually found the grave of the area’s most famous ghost, Alice Flagg. It was interesting how tourists have created a dirt path around the “ALICE” marker, trying to make her spirit appear by completing the required number of circles. Records show that she is not really buried there, in fact no one is. It is not a grave marker. It is a commemorative marker for someone else entirely, but those inconvenient facts don’t get in the way of a good legend. No, I didn’t march around the marker, and I don’t believe in ghosts, so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t see one. I noticed among the little tokens that people leave on the marker was a pair of GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE viewing glasses - a reminder of something else I didn’t see.

I don’t like the damage that they can do, but I have always been fascinated by thunder storms, and I love to watch them. Some of the best I have seen have been over the ocean. That night there was a such a show right over our hotel. Being on the 19th floor provided a unique perspective, and the excellent Pino Grigio I was sipping added its own contribution that perspective.




Thursday was not a typical Myrtle Beach vacation day, and this account will not read like most trip reports. Our activities at Myrtle Beach are usually fairly predictable, but we never expected what happened this day. After Jodie’s classes It looked like it was going to rain any minute, so we had decided again to skip the beach. We went to the shoe store at OD, where they have all the shagging shoes you could want. They have other shoes too, but shag shoes are their main thing. We bought some shoes and as we were leaving Jodie’s phone rang. It was a our prodigal daughter, Kayla. We had not heard from her in a while. She needed help. She didn’t know that we were at the beach when she called, but it turned out that she was less than an hour away. Just as I don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t believe in coincidences either. We thought the eclipse was why we were at Myrtle Beach, but there was a greater plan. I think God knew she would need us so he put us where we needed to be. We met her and were happy to give her the assistance she needed, but most importantly, we were happy to have contact with her. I know it was difficult for her to call us. Im glad she did, and Im glad we were available. Like I said I don’t believe in coincidences. Since that day she came home, for a while, and is now living close by. We are all adjusting, and praying (a lot). All the “adjusting” is why this trip report is two months late. Everything is not all OK yet, but things are better and we are optimistic. As a good friend of my once said to me, we don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.

After we left her that day we drove back toward Kingston Plantation. Confusing emotions were all over the place. Jodie suggested that maybe we should stop by Fat Harolds on the way. After changing our minds several times we eventually decided to stop at Harolds. It was a good decision. We did not get any intense training from hardcore coaches. We didn’t stay late. We just danced away the stress, together, to our favorite music, at our favorite place. It lifted our spirits; it was just what we needed.


Friday morning we had the first pretty sunrise of the week. I packed the car while Jodie watched one more lecture on the TV. We drove home through Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle, just to look at properties for sale

…maybe someday we will actually buy one.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Great trip report, thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:01 am 
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Great report! Thank you! It is on my bucket list to learn to Shag...seriously. We wet to Fat Harold's once for the free lesson and though I kept up I couldn't remember one step if you asked me...lol.

Praying events with your daughter continue down the positive path! You are so right...we do know who is in control :wink: !

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 7:21 pm 
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Enjoyed the report.
We stop in to Harold's sometimes to watch the dancers. With two left feet and no coordination you'll never see me on the dance floor. But. The dancers are fun to watch.
Sorry to hear about the prodigal child. We have one too. This was second trip we've spent half the week thinking maybe we should head home. It's an epidemic. Everybody I talk to has a family member or knows of somebody with same story.
Thoughts and prayers for your family.


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