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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 5:58 am 
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A couple of years ago, my parents wanted to get my brother and his family, myself and my family and my sister and her family to take a family vacation to the beach. Talk of Wrightsville, NC and various other destinations were mentioned but too many obstacles kept us from closing the deal. One particular obstacle was neither my nor my brother's desire to spend an entire week with the rest of those folks. I love my family but I also know them too well and can easily predict how the vacation would go. In the end, we'd have ended up mortal enemies.

For whatever reason, my sister in law mentioned going with us to the beach. For a long time, they would travel to Bethany Beach in Delaware every year with her parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Then they started doing the Florida thing for a couple of years with her family. I guess we were perhaps the test market for something new. They have four kids, none of whom have been to Myrtle Beach. My brother and his wife had been but it was 20+ years earlier so in essence, it was a new experience for them as well. We started planning in late January and ended up getting a great deal at the Caribbean Resort for a Sunday to Sunday stay.

Against my brother's wishes (he's pretty stubborn and hard headed), we talked his wife into doing what we do on the drive down. They live outside of Pittsburgh so they have about a 2 hour head start on us. We all booked rooms at the Country Inn and Suites in Archdale, NC for Saturday night.

About two weeks prior to our departure, Dawn, (my brother's wife) mentioned that their daughter was going with a friend and family to Myrtle Beach the week prior to all of us. Lucky girl gets to spend two weeks in a row on the beach! The bad part was that those folks would b heading home to Pittsburgh the same day we were leaving thus the poor girl would be in the car almost the whole way home then turn around and head back south. My brother had to work that Saturday morning until 11 so yeah, she would definitely be in the car almost the whole day as the people she was with were leaving at sunrise.

Kristi and I offered to adjust our schedule for our niece. We left two hours earlier than we initially planned and met those folks in Beckley, WV to swap out my niece and her luggage. It worked out pretty well even though we arrived an hour before they did. It was ok though because we sat down for lunch at Applebee's while we waited for them. I was happy to not have to suffer through fast food.

From there it was about 3.5 hours to Archdale for the night. I declined stopping for gas in Wytheville and instead made the executive decision to drive straight to the hotel. I have a 36 gallon tank in the truck so I had plenty to get there. Gas was $2.14 in Wytheville compared to $2.25 in Archdale. Not that big of a deal.

We were at the hotel by 5PM and we checked in and unloaded the necessities for the night. I had a half dozen beers in the cooler and had one right away. Kristi was exhausted due to her pregnancy. She was a champ though for the ride. We didn't stop nearly as many times as I thought we would for bathroom breaks. We chose Wendy's for dinner as no one was overly hungry. Fast food sucks but I didn't want to spend much money on dinner.

The kids and I spent a little time in the backyard of the hotel playing catch with the football. It was just something to kill time until everyone else showed up. Come to find out though, my brother didn't get home from work until after noon and they didn't get on the road until 1:30. I crawled into bed at 9 only to be smacked awake by him a half hour later. What a jackass. I ignored him though.

End day 1.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:24 am 
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Location: Central Virginia--5 1/2 hr drive to MB
:nanner: Good start, good read!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:01 pm 
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So nice of you to get your niece! Hope you have an awesome week with lots of sunshine!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 1:19 pm 
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Off to a good start. Your niece must have been grateful to have such a thoughtful uncle. Traveling for hours in a car is tiring and for her to have to go back and forth I can't even imagine doing that. Fingers crossed that the weather will be great.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 6:55 am 
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Kristi and I woke early Sunday morning; somewhere around 5:30. Come to find out, the hotel breakfast didn't start until 7 which put a damper on our plans to leave by 7. So I had time to kill which I did by showering, getting ice for the cooler and annoying my brother and his family by beating on their hotel room door at 6. Payback!!

My niece stayed in our room with us so she joined us for breakfast and the rest of the drive to Myrtle. We were the first ones to eat and we sort of took our time hoping the rest would join us and we could all drive together. After 45 minutes and no one coming downstairs, I headed up to their room to let them know we were leaving. I wanted to be in Myrtle ASAP. It is, after all, the whole point of the trip.

We stopped at Johnson's Peaches for a quart and ended up with four quarts and a watermelon. I'm not sure how I squeezed it all in but it worked. The bed of the truck was packed tight! It has become a ritual for us to stop there for peaches. After a few cups of coffee, it's great for a potty break plus their fruit is always good.

The rest of the drive was fairly smooth. Coming in on a Sunday morning doesn't seem to be quite as hectic. Folks who rent houses generally come in on Saturdays for their weekly stays. We stopped in Marion at McDeath for another potty break (pregnant women, ugh!) and a cup of coffee.

501 became quite bumpy and packed with traffic before getting into Conway. Kristi begged me to get off that road so I jumped on 22. It takes a bit longer but it's faster and much less traffic. I set the cruise at 75 and I don't think we lost any time really. Before we knew it, we were on King's Highway and breathing a sigh of relief that we had finally arrived! It was 11:30 and we needed food! Besides, the room probably wasn't ready so we had a bit of time to kill. We stopped at Subway near 82nd Avenue and filled our bellies.

We went down Ocean Blvd from Subway all the way to our resort. Viktoria (my niece) stayed in Garden City the week prior so she didn't get to see much of Myrtle Beach proper. It was a beautiful day for such a drive.

I parked the truck across the street in the reserved lot for the Caribbean Resort. There's a big parking garage but I opted to stay out of it for the time being. The rest of my party grabbed swim attire while I headed for check-in. There were 3 folks behind the desk and 4 groups in front of me. 30 minutes. 30 minutes I waited to check in. The young man I had helping me was rather clueless but was nice enough. It was very loud in there and I had a hard time hearing anything. I'm not hard of hearing by any means. Thankfully, we'd stayed there before so I didn't need to whole tour. Sadly, our room wasn't ready yet so I joined the rest of the gang at the pool. Kristi had my swim trunks and I headed to the pool side restrooms to change.

If you don't know, the Caribbean was voted several times over the years as the best family resort in Myrtle Beach. It's a large complex with two towers in the main building: The Dominican Tower and the Cayman Tower. The Dominican is the older portion of the resort but was renovated at the time the Cayman was built. The Dominican is the portion with the one bedroom oceanfront suites. The Cayman is all 2, 3 and 4 bedroom condos. The complex also includes the Chelsea condos across Ocean Blvd as well as the Jamaican Motor Inn two doors down. Keeping this in mind as I headed into the restroom to change, the age of the complex is starting to show. Now it could be that it's getting late in the season and the tourists have abused the restrooms or it could be that they just don't do a good job of upkeep. I'm betting it's a bit of both but the restrooms are DISGUSTING!! The vent fans are non existent so the smell is atrocious. You have no idea if it's urine or water on the floor. Everything is rusted on the inside. Just plain old gross.

After changing, Kristi received a call from Dawn that they were almost there. I headed out front to meet them with their parking pass. They went to the same lot that I had gone to and I gave them the down low. We headed back to the pool area and everyone else changed in the disgusting bathrooms. The kids were in awe of the resort. Like I said, this is all completely new to them. They're used to a second row house in a residential neighborhood for their beach trips.

After about an hour or so and 2 beers, I called the front desk to get the status on our room. It was ready for us and I headed in to get the keys. The line to check in was out the door but I was informed to head to the golf reservation desk to get my key as I'd already done the check-in process. It was a swift experience and Kristi was lucky enough to obtain 2 luggage carts. Those damn things are hard to come by! I took one look at the unloading zone right in front and just shook my head. There are about 10 parking spots which doesn't work at such a large resort. We took the carts to the parking lot where we parked and started unloading. Kristi, Oskar and Jakub (the oldest of my three nephews) helped my load up out of my truck. We left the boogie boards and chairs for the time being.

Our room was a three bedroom, three bathroom angle oceanfront condo on the 18th floor. I've NEVER been that high in Myrtle Beach and the view was just spectacular! Two downsides of the room though were that it had two balconies: one off the living area and one off the master bedroom. Both were big enough for 3 people maximum. Also, due to it being angled, the view was limited to the north. There are no resorts north of the Caribbean so it didn't block the view of the ocean at all. But, it's more ocean view than oceanfront. For the price, I was happy though.

After we unloaded the carts, I called Dawn to have Chris head to their car so we could get them unloaded. The boys and I headed back down and met him there. We took a few minutes to unload while drinking Bud Light Lime which Chris provided. It was 88 degrees and the sun was punishing. Soon we were all back at the pool and ocean enjoying our vacation.

It was nearing 6 when we decided to head to dinner. Chris and Dawn were willing to just order pizza. With 4 kids, their dinner bills would be outrageous for the week. But we were able to talk them into walking to River City Cafe on 21st Avenue. It's 9 blocks from the resort; about a 15 minute walk. You never heard so much bitching in all your life. "My legs hurt! How much further? This sucks!" And it wasn't just the kids. I just smiled and strode away.

We told them first available when we arrived. The young man told us about a half hour wait which I was pleased with. We ended up sitting inside at a large table. I had a couple of Budweisers and a burger platter while everyone else had nearly the same thing. I don't think the kids drank beer though.

The walk back produced even more whining and complaining. My alcohol intake did nothing to alleviate it. Kristi and Dawn then headed out to grocery shop while we chilled until they got back. We ended up playing UNO for the time being.

End Day 2.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:24 am 
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Location: Central Virginia--5 1/2 hr drive to MB
:nanner: :nanner: Two dancing bananas. Keep em coming.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2015 1:21 pm 
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Great report!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:50 am 
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Fun Read!! I want pictures Phroggster!! You had to have taken at least one of you and Kristi :wink: :wink: !!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 11:36 am 
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Oh my gosh...nothing like a fun family vacation! Your room sounds great despite the small balconies...I have yet to find a hotel with huge ones...but it seems like Terry always wants to stay in the AC so I have the balcony to myself...keep enjoying the fact that you all are at the beach...hope you have lots of sunshine! Can't wait for your next report...and yes pictures, please!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:35 am 
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Great report - we have stayed at the Caribbean many times and love it. But your point on that outside poolside bathroom is spot-on (and disappointing the management never corrects it).

Cheers ! :drinkin:

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:59 pm 
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Phroggy, I am loving your trip report, as I always do!

We have been out of town. 1 night in Boone, 2 nights in Pax, and 2 nights in Morgantown, Living out of a suitcase and happy to be home. Looking forward to hearing more about your vacation!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:42 am 
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Monday started out just as any other Myrtle Beach vacation for us, albeit with 6 extra people in the room. I was up rather early and fumbling around trying to make coffee. Dawn is one of those folks who if she doesn't have coffee, you steer clear of her until she does. It's like Jekyll and Hyde and that's no joke. In fact, it's almost frightening. Anyway, I enjoyed my morning hot brew on the personal sized balcony. The sun was just rising and it already was warm.

One cup of Joe and I was ready for a beer. Chris was up a little later and headed to Dunkin for a dozen. By the time he got back, I had 3 beers down and was feeling spectacular. Getting 5 kids ready to head to the beach is a hell of a lot of sunscreen. Luckily, all my nephews and niece were really tan so we didn't have to be overly concerned about reapplying so frequently.

Heading to the beach turned out to be a daily friggin chore. It was almost like work. 2 coolers, 6 chairs, 2 bags, 2 umbrellas, 3 boogie boards and a bunch of sand toys. I can't believe we carried that crap every single day.

The kids all enjoyed boogie boarding. Even Devin learned to like the beach perhaps more so than the pool. We did split time between the two but it seemed we spent more time on the beach thankfully. Kristi and I were more or less babysitting the kids in the ocean. I can honestly say that neither my brother nor his wife spent more than an hour the entire week in the ocean. The water was 84 degrees and not one jellyfish made an appearance. It really was a great beach week.

Another annoying factor about the Caribbean Resort. There are two main entrances to the beach from the resort, both wooden decks and steps leading to the sand. On the deck, there is a place to clean your feet and a shower head to rinse off the rest of your body. They also have these things you stand on and it turns on a spray to rinse your feet automatically. The north entrance, neither device worked. The south entrance, the foot thing didn't work and the shower head was a joke. They never took the time to rinse the sand off the deck and steps in the mornings. Because of this, we were unable to really rinse off the chairs, coolers, etc when heading up for the day. More on that later.

I was craving fish so decided that I wanted Flying Fish for dinner. Again, my relatives mentioned ordering pizza instead of going out. Hey, whatever. I'm here to eat, drink and be merry. I know what I like and am willing to pay for it. So we showered up, which led me to the realization that I'm an idiot and didn't reapply sunscreen to my abdomen. It wasn't terrible but definitely burned.

Kristi, Devin and I headed to Barefoot Landing for dinner. We were seated right away on the waterway side of the building with a great view. Service was decent. I ordered a New South Brewing beer. I wanted badly to try the Myrtle Beach based brewery and I ended up being extremely disappointed. It was not good at all. Kristi had a salad which was terrible and I had the grouper which was fabulous!

After dinner, we meandered around BFLanding for a while and were sad to see so many places permanently closed. Almost every shop between Flying Fish and TBonz is closed. Other than the restaurants, the place seemed dead.

We headed back to the resort only to find no one there. Maybe they went out for pizza? However, they came back shortly and we discovered they went to Hooters. Thanks for the invite. We all changed and headed back to the beach for a while to throw the frisbee and enjoy vacation.

End of day 3.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 8:39 am 
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New South's beers are rather bland, nothing too special there but they're okay. If you want a better local brew head to Quigley's and try their Peach Wheat. I'm not a huge wheat beer fan, but this was solid.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:36 pm 
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phroggy wrote:

After dinner, we meandered around BFLanding for a while and were sad to see so many places permanently closed. Almost every shop between Flying Fish and TBonz is closed. Other than the restaurants, the place seemed dead.



I had not really thought about it, but I don't think I've been back to BFLanding since Broadway opened. How long would that be? :shock: All the shops in those places would go out of business if they were having to rely on my business. I might be looking in the wrong stores, but I can't afford to pay retail for items I can find discounted at other places. I do still love walking around just to look.

Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:11 pm 
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Very enjoyable, very thorough report. Looking forward to the next installment.


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