Myrtle Beach Trip
May 12 - 25, 2018

Day 1: May 12

We left Hamilton at 6:30am. It was pouring rain and only 5 degrees Celsius, so we were dressed warmly. We crossed the border an hour later, and the weather improved. Eventually we stopped in Erie PA. As Don filled up the car the skies opened up and a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning started. I don't think he was too happy filling gas, standing in the wet puddles, while all this was going on around him! As soon as we turned south onto the I-79, the sun came out and it quickly warmed up to 31c. Suddenly, out of nowhere, we had a" bird strike" (yup, got the feathers in our headlight to prove it). Eventually, we had to change out of our warm clothes at one of the rest stops because we were getting too hot! We stopped at our favourite scenic lookout just before Summersville, WV, then checked into the Sleep Inn at 5:00. We had dinner at Shoney's and went to bed early.

Day 2: May 13

Today is my birthday! We were on the road by 9am. The drive was uneventful. We arrived at The Paradise Hotel in Myrtle Beach at 6pm and imagine my surprise when Don showed me the marquee with MY name on it, wishing me Happy Birthday! That made my day! We checked in and then headed out to Damon's Oceanfront for dinner. We asked if they do something special when it's someone's birthday. The server told us, if it's your birthday, you get your meal for free, (WHAT?!! Good thing I had ordered RIBS!), and a free birthday cupcake for dessert. All in all, a pretty great birthday in Myrtle Beach!

Day 3: May 14
We enjoyed our breakfast and coffee on the balcony overlooking the beach, and then went for a morning walk north, along Oceanfront Blvd. Later, I spent some time out on the beach, with my chair and umbrella. I used a lot of sunscreen, but still ended up with a slight sunburn. We had a late lunch at 5 Guys, and then walked along the boardwalk where we enjoyed some Iggy's Ice Cream. Capuccino cheesecake flavour for me, and banana apple pie flavour for Don. We strolled through Gay Dolphin and then headed back to our hotel for a nap. Dinner was at one of our favourite restaurants, Texas Roadhouse in Murrell's Inlet, where we had great service and great food.

Day 4: May 15

We took our morning walk south on Ocean Blvd this morning, and stopped at Compass Rose for breakfast, at the Compass Cove Resort. We asked for our favourite server, Jennifer, who always remembers us. This was our first visit since the restaurant was renovated, and we were very impressed with how improved it was. When we were done, we took a "selfie" with Jennifer and were on our way. I tanned poolside, until a thunderstorm hit. Later, I was on the balcony and heard the lifeguard's whistle. Next thing I knew, he was running into the ocean, Baywatch style, and rescued someone who had drifted too far out! We dined at Ultimate California Pizza for dinner. Later that night heard fireworks going off on the beach, outside our balcony. Soon the police arrived and that was the end of that!

Day 5: May 16

The morning dawned sunny but windy. We met up with Patrish and Wally to spend the afternoon with them. First we stopped at King Street Grille, in Market Common for lunch. The weather was perfect for sitting out on the patio. Our burgers were delicious, and our server, Ricky, was beyond great! Next we went to the top of the Pavilion Garage to check out the views of Myrtle Beach. It was windy, but worth it. Beautiful views of the ocean, and the city itself. Next stop was Apache Pier, the East Coast's longest wooden pier. We walked all 1,206 feet and even watched a fisherman catch a baby shark. He unhooked it and threw it right back into the ocean. We enjoyed a short visit at Patrish and Wally's home before heading back to the hotel. Dinner that night was a T-Bonz Gill and Grill. So much food, we couldn't finish it all. But it was delicious. And our server was great.

Day 6: May 17

This morning was overcast, with rain on the way, but we managed to get in another walk north on Ocean Blvd. Then we headed out to Tanger Outlets on hwy 17 for some shopping. We decided to try Steak and Shake for lunch, and it was great. The burgers were better than we expected, and the shakes were so thick, we had to use a spoon! We ended up napping at the hotel before heading out to Margaritaville, at Broadway at the Beach for dinner. We were seated upstairs (we didn't even know there was an upstairs!) and enjoyed our dinner.

Day 7: May 18

It was raining off and on all morning, but we still managed breakfast and coffee out on the balcony and then were treated to watching 3 military helicopters fly right by our balcony! Then we headed out to Barefoot Landing in N Myrtle Beach. The roads and parking lot were really busy with motorcyclists. It seemed like every motorcyclist for Bike Week was there! While we were shopping, we saw an alligator in the water, and we got a few really great photos. I must say, he was pretty scary looking up close! Now we know those signs that warn people that the alligators may bite, are for real! After stopping in at Tanger on Hwy 501, we headed back to the hotel. We ordered in pizza for dinner, and started packing up. Tomorrow we'd be checking out and heading to Patriot's Point to tour the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.

Day 8: May 19

Today was our original departure date for home, but we decided to stay an extra day and visit Patriot's Point. It was pouring rain when we left Myrtle Beach, and it continued all the way south towards Charleston. When we arrived at Patriot's Point, the rain had stopped, but it remained overcast. We spend 3 hours at Patriot's Point. We toured the aircraft carrier which was huge. Then we visited their new Viet Nam Experience. It was quite realistic with sound effects of helicopters flying overhead and they did a great job of trying to immerse you into the war experience. When we were finished, we headed into Mount Pleasant, to Cracker Barrel to meet up with some friends we'd never met in person before! Sherry and Don had been communicating for 20 years by computer, and it was great to finally up with her and her husband Bennie, and her brother Allen. We spend 4 hours at the restaurant catching up before saying good bye and heading to Georgetown and the Quality Inn for the night.

Day 9: May 20

We left Georgetown and headed back towards Myrtle Beach. We were going to head for home today, but decided to stay another 3 days until our 33rd anniversary and celebrate it in Myrtle Beach. We had made reservations at Compass Cove Resort to see if it has improved any, since our last visit, which was not that great. First we headed out to Coastal Grand Mall, then out to try Red Robin for lunch. What?! Bottomless FRIES?!! Yes please! After our late lunch, we checked into Compass Cove, and ended up adding yet another extra day to our stay. We would leave Myrtle Beach on Thursday for our trek home. I have to admit, it's a good thing we didn't fly, considering how many times we changed our departure date! We had a great dinner out on the patio at The Crow's Nest at Compass Cove, overlooking the beach.

Day 10: May 21

After breakfast at the Compass Rose (Jennifer was our server) I spent several hours on the beach, working on my tan. When I finally came in, we decided to head out to Pier 14 for a late lunch, We'd never been there before. When we arrived, we couldn't find any where to park, so Don phoned the restaurant They suggested we park across the street in a parking lot for a breakfast restaurant that closes at 2pm. Perfect! We crossed the street for a delicious lunch. We walked the short pier when we were done, and enjoyed seeing the boardwalk and SkyWheel from a new angle. We headed back to the hotel and stayed in that night, ordering in pizza.

Day 11: May 22

It's our anniversary! 33 years together! We did our usual breakfast at Compass Rose, and then I headed down to the beach for some more sun. That night, we decided to go to the Texas Roadhouse Grill at Coastal Grand Mall for our anniversary dinner. We honestly thought it was part of the same chain as the one we love so much in Murrell's Inlet, but unfortunately we were mistaken. This is a privately owned restaurant, with a similar name. We confused Texas Roadhouse with Texas Roadhouse GRILL. Food and service were ok, and we spent an enjoyable evening together.

Day 12: May 23

Sadly, this is our last full day in Myrtle Beach. No extensions this time. Jennifer was off, so we had another server, Terri. She was great. She's no Jennifer, but she was very attentive, friendly, and talkative. I spent a few hours poolside, tanning and swimming, then headed back to the hotel room so we could do our last minute shopping. I had to go into Food Lion for some Cheerwine and when I was at the checkout, the cashier asked me if I wanted the penny change. I told her no, in Canada we don't even have pennies any more. She and everyone else around me were shocked, to say the least! After my 30 seconds of fame, we headed back to the hotel to start packing up. We had a late dinner at the Crow's Nest with excellent food and service again. Even though we weren't too happy with our hotel room or housekeeping in the Compass Cove's Pinnacle building (we won't be staying here anymore), the two restaurants at Compass Cove far exceeded our expectations. I'm pretty sure next time we visit Myrtle Beach, we will be staying at the Paradise, but will be taking the short walk to Compass Cove for the odd breakfast at the Compass Rose and dinner at Crow's Nest. We packed up the car for an early departure in the morning, and had an early night.

Day 13: May 24

The alarm woke us up at 6am. We definitely are not on vacation anymore! After a quick breakfast at Compass Rose, we packed our last few things and were on the road by 8am. The first half of the drive was uneventful, but after our rest stop at the Rocky Gap VA Rest Area, we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, that moved extremely slowly up until the East River Mountain tunnel at the WV border. It seems the traffic was due to a lane closure, for construction, that wasn't even happening at the time. What a waste. We lost 1 1/2 hours there. We finally arrived in Summersville close to 6pm and were so hungry we stopped at Applebee's for dinner before going to the hotel. Don asked for his steak medium well, and it came out overly well done!. He sent it back and the second one came back medium rare! He sent it back again, and this time the manager brought a new one out, and it was perfect. Third time's the charm I guess. As we were second guessing our decision to stop here for dinner, the server brought out our bill, and Don's dinner had been removed. It turned out to be a pretty cheap dinner out. We checked into the Quality Inn, and relaxed after the long drive. Tomorrow we start the home stretch.

Day 14: May 25

The alarm woke us up at 6am again. We had a quick breakfast in the hotel, and departed for the last leg of our journey at 7:30am. We stopped at the Tanger Outlet in Pittsburg for a washroom break and ended up doing some more shopping. (there's NO tax on clothing in PA, so it HAD to be done!) We had a short nap at a rest stop somewhere along the way, and then hit traffic at the toll plaza to enter the I-90 in NY. We zipped through the EZPass lane quickly (We LOVE our EZPass!) and after a quick stop at the Angola Travel Plaza, we were at the border crossing in Fort Erie. We did a quick shopping stop at the Duty Free and then headed over to the crossing. There were long line ups, but we had our Nexus cards and quickly zipped through in just a few minutes. (We LOVE our Nexus cards!) Another hour on the highway in Canada, and we were home. Back to reality.......!

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Patriots Point pictures HERE