It’s always nice waking up on the water with a beautiful view. Unfortunately, it was evident we were going to have a hot day. The heat will be with Mabel and me for the next few legs of the trip. I decided to stick around this morning and work on writing and downloading/labeling the pictures from my camera. It was a no go. The computer decided to stop reading my SD card so the pictures were held hostage on the camera. I tried downloading drivers but nothing worked. Looks like a trip to the Geek Squad will have to be fit in. As I was having breakfast, a fisherman with a unique pull cart came down to the small pier just to the left of my spot. It looks like he is an experienced fisherman that fishes often. He looked relaxed as his casts hit the water and then pulled back to the dock. I would like to get his story but don’t want to bother his early morning routine. He leaves, pulling his cart back to his trailer, and I go back to work.
The fisherman comes back, and is heading my way so it is appropriate to strike up a conversation. I am getting better at initiating interactions on this trip. His name is Tom and he is a physical therapist with a schedule that allows for four-day weekends. Today he is fishing for flounder and as I look at his cart made from aluminum tube, he is ready for almost any type of fish. There is room for a bucket, tackle box and a cooler with four fishing rods stowed aboard. As we spoke, a stream of various sized boats were using the channel to reach the ocean. Tom explains that his secret to fishing is all about balance. Time spent with his wife works out to time spent fishing and time fishing means more fish. Pretty simple when you think about it. “How do you like the campground?” I ask. “I like it” he replies as he looks over the channel. “I have a millionaire’s property for $300 a month.” He points across the channel, “Those folks over there, aren’t so lucky.” I thank him for his time and hand him a Travel’s with Mabel business card and ask that he check us out.
We pack up and I look for the man who checked me in so we can settle the bill. The campground has seen activity, not a lot, just a few campers walking their dogs. No dog run here. That’s what I like about KOA campgrounds, they all have a spot where Mabel can roam off her leash. No sign of the guy so I head back, briefly thinking of a dine and dash. His wife has been keeping an eye on me and comes out to lead me to the small office and I pay for the night. She was working on a resume and wants to go back to school to get her North Carolina teaching license. I told her it’s never too late to go back to school and I truly believe that. There are so many options to learn for a new career or to learn for learning’s sake. We are off, or so we think.
As I do my walk around, the rear passenger tire looks low, not flat but rolling smooth. I check it after we pull out and the tire is down to about half of what is recommended. Luckily the little compressor I brought pumped it back to specifications but this is troubling. Temperature will not selectively decrease the pressure of one tire so there is something more going on. I looked for a nail or screw and didn’t find any or hear air so I left, but the tire was at the forefront of my mind.
First time in a Dollar General store and I bought ice. They seemed to have everything anyone would need, like the Sag Harbor 5 & 10. We headed to Myrtle Beach on HWY 17 but never actually saw the beach. We did get to experience the strip before heading NW on HWY 501. The strip is packed with mini golf centers, go kart tracks, and a variety of cheap beachwear stores; all trying something different to get you inside. Depending on the theme you may see neon water cascading down a waterfall while golfers stroll about a fake volcano. Or a pirate points the way to speeding go karts around a partial sunken ship in a fake lagoon. Entering through a shark’s mouth, the beachwear shops advertise $5 tee shirts and even cheaper beach towels. All this is repeated, block after block, and I get to see it as I am stopped at each stoplight. Mabel, her head out the window, is taking it all in. She has seen some sites this trip and I want to tell her, “we aren’t in Minnesota anymore.”
I think Myrtle Beach tries harder than the Outer Banks to be a destination. To me the OBX allow the beaches to define them while Myrtle takes a page from the Vegas playbook. Of course, there are touristy shops and activities at the OBX, they just don’t seem so prevalent.
The tire seems to be holding air at a safe level.
Travel on HWY 501 is smooth until it isn’t. Our first traffic jam and it is a good one. We creep along, inch by inch and I worry how far before it’s again smooth sailing. Google maps shows red farther than I can scroll so I accept my situation and keep calm. The new Ron? Finally, we get to HWY 378, and cruise at my standard pace of 60-65 MPH. I poke along when pulling the trailer.
When I was first in the Air Force, my Unit went to Shaw AFB, South Carolina for a week to make room for the Reconnaissance Air Meet; an international, inter-service, aerial photo competition. I believe it was September of 1986 or 1987 and probably have a copy of my old orders. They lodged us at a hotel in Sumter and I remember going to the lounge to watch a husband and wife acoustical team named Doug & Dee Dee. Why I remember this I do not know but I saw Sumter on my route and decided to see if I could find the hotel. It turned out to be another hopeful distraction ending up with me questioning why I thought I could find a hotel I stayed at over 30 years ago, without knowing its name or address . There was no question about it, I failed. Turning my attention on today’s objective, I pointed the car West and continued towards Columbia.
My cousin Scott Simms lives in West Columbia which is a suburb and as he put it, similar in feel to Noyac, NY. We are related through my Mom. Her Mom and his Dad were siblings. We cruised through tree lined one lane roads until we found his street and made a right turn into his drive way. It was great to see him and I am thinking the last time was in Sag Harbor around 2006. So again, too long to go without seeing family. He welcomed me into his home and his wife Aneeda had dinner waiting. It was nice to have home cooking and I liked their Southern hospitality. We caught up on kids and jobs and family stuff while Mabel and their dog came to an understanding that distance was best. Scott has done a lot of work on the family genealogy and told me many things I did not know about my Grandmother’s side. Looks like a trip to Ancestry.com is in order when I get back home. Will, their son, came in from band practice; school has already started in South Carolina and I couldn’t imagine practicing in this heat. I like when schools place an emphasis on music, all three of my boys have played and I am amazed at the talent level at our Hopkins High. Will has a sarcastically intelligent sense of humor and I enjoyed talking with him. For growing up in the South, his viewpoint is not necessarily Southern which I am sure isn’t always appreciated by the Skoal ringed, jeans pocketed students, at his high school Yee Yee, Will!
A big mattress materialized on the hide-away and Mabel and me took our sleep positions for the night, nice to be in a big bed again.
Today was mostly driving so not many pictures.
Thankful today, as always, for extended family. They must like you until they get to know you. Then its 50-50.