So, while Mike and Andrea were on their cruise in April, touring stops in the Caribbean, I got really jealous and ticked off that I wasn't on a beach somewhere. For those who know my line of work, I often find myself near an ocean and make it a point to head to the ocean if possible. The problem with that is, I am still on a trip for work, not vacation. I wanted a week of pure vacation, and to share said vacation with someone or some people.
I jokingly send an e-mail to Kristen saying let's go on a trip. She, every bit as frustrated with our company, says she will as long as I am not joking. I was, but, here was my chance for a trip, I agree and we begin to discuss location. I have a free flight and plenty of Holiday Inn points to try to make this a cheap trip. Even though I am sick of Florida, when it comes to just wanting to lay on a beach and then have some night life...Florida is king. If I went, it would the Ft. Lauderdale region. I've been there, nice weather, nice beaches, good nightlife. However, after looking up flight prices for Kristen (I would've been willing to pitch in), it was determined we should go somewhere driveable. At this time, gas was a cheap $3.60ish (barf) and with my Ion getting 33-35 mpg Hwy, it would be affordable. We both conclude that Myrtle Beach, SC would be a fun trip. South Carolina is one state I had never been to, and well, she has been to few places...and we both had people tell us it is a neat area. We decide the week, 6/15-6/20.
An Epic Journey Begins
Early on Sunday, June 15 we pack my car and set off on the open road. Knowing we have approximately a 17 hour trip, we decided to get little more than half way there and call it a night. Anyways, you know when you start a long trip, you are excited. You have been waiting for a month, and now it is time. the problem though, is there is a ridiculously long drive ahead of you and the thrill wears off, right about when you hit the Chicago traffic and its never ending construction. And for anyone who has driven South into Indiana from Chicago will know how krazy (yes), you will go after you see 500 straight Krazy Kaplans billboards. KRAZY KAPLANS is a fireworks store and I know they have 3 for 1 deals. The funny thing is, right before you get to the KRAZY KAPLANS exit, there is a billboard for another fireworks store, saying 3 for 1 deal, next exit. I am a spiteful person, and if I was going for fireworks, would totally stop at the 'other' store. KRAAAAAAAZY
You know what state sucks...Indiana. yeah, enough said.
We briefly touch Ohio in the Cincy area, then back into Indiana because apparently the state won't leave me alone. But shortly after we get into Kentucky, we are officially in the south now. Let me tell you something. Driving through KY and TN is scary. Should it be, probably not. But I had a conversation with Matt, Jake, and Jon on how Wisconsin could be one of the more stereotyped states, but not nearly as bad as KY and TN. The people you meet there never really help their cause either. Back to the point. After 10 grueling hours (I drove the whole way for some reason) we arrive at the hotel in Caryville, TN, just north of Knoxville. It was a really nice Hampton Inn, I was impressed. We, immediately crash.
After 7 more hours of driving we arrive at the hotel, Coral Beach Resort. I have my $500 worth of hotel credit card I can use thanks to my many stays at hotels, I use said cards for a total of $130 stay for a whole week (noice) and then we are off to the room.
The hotel was pretty cool actually, and I was not exactly sure what I was going to get. They boast like 10 pools, lazy river, sports pub, comedian, magic acts, beach side bar and grill, bowling alley, convenience store, breakfast buffet area.....well, the amenities are plentiful to say the least. When we opened our door to our room, the first thing is, it is a large room and we have a patio with a view of the ocean. It said angle-view, but it is pretty good!
After unpacking and filling the fridge with our beer and booze, we decide to get some food. On our way in there was this nice looking Mexican restaraunt. It was tasty, the margs were delish, and that is that story. The problem though is, after spending all day in a car, then eating tons of Mexican and drinking a couple margs, we were beat! She tried to drink another beer, I drank like 3 more...but the will to get drunk was with neither of us. We decide to walk around the hotel and check out what it has to offer. What we found was that the bar next to the beach has karaoke every night.....definitely be hitting that up later.
Tuesday AM, we go get some breakfast then make a break for the ocean. I grab a couple of beach chairs they had set up, we lay down for about 30 seconds before we decide we have to go in. The water was perfect, the waves were large enough to have fun, but small enough to not knock you around. The salt, was, well, extremely painful on the eyes, but eventually we got used to it. After a couple hours of fun in the sun (and after the lifeguard kicked us off the chairs because we were supposed to pay for them, it was lunch time, and poor Kristen had never been to a Sonic, so yeah, guess where we went. She, like everyone else, falls in love with their slushies....so f'ing amazing! When we got back it looked like some rain (storms were to move in), so we mixed up some cocktails in the room, sat on the porch, and watched as the storm moved in and out. I will say, watching lightning over the ocean is a really neat thing. After everything settled down and the sun came back up, we went down to the beach bar and grill, had a burger, grabbed a table and watched as the karaoke began to sound up the night. Both of us were feeling pretty good and we started playing a game called, "Would you do that person". The idea of the game is to say if you would, well, do the person (according to gender) who came on stage to sing. There were different levels too. "I would do that person sober/buzzed/drunk/blackout/never". Now, many of these people were southerners, and well, rednecks to put it nicely. If you know a thing or two about redneck people, it is that the girls can be oddly attractive, older women never are because eventually the sun's harsh rays and the years of smoking eventually take their toll....and all the guys look like white trash. So, I decided I won the game, as I would do more people. We then take a drunk dip in the ocean.
Hard Rock Park
Wednesday we decided we were going to go to this brand new amusement park that just opened up, Hard Rock Park. Kristen is a big Led Zeppelin fan (I also enjoy), and the parks main attraction was, Led Zeppelin the ride! After we finally got out of the main room that had two unfunny guys pretending to do Wayne's World, you started your 'experience'. It moves you into a room that starts playing 'Whole Lotta Love' music video. The doors then open and you proceed onto the ride, the whole time the music is still playing. once seated, they start you up the lift, and one really cool feature is that the cars have speakers in them, so you are jamming to Zeppelin as you are pulling some serious G's around 6 awesome loops.
There was this Moody Blues ride, and well, I know what it is like to trip on acid. It was actually pretty neat. They give you some 3D Chronograph glasses and instantly all this trippy painting pops out at you. While waiting in line there is this tunnel that spins around you with lights. I had to take off the glasses and close my eyes because motion sickness was rapidly setting in on me. Hard to explain the ride, it moved slow, the glasses made everything 3D and, it was a simulated acid trip to put it best.
The Eagles - Life In the Fast Lane, Coaster had the same speaker set up, but the ride was completely gay, as was the rest of the rides they had. It is a new park, and I am sure they will be adding rides as years go by. It was neat, and we watched a BMX show, but overall, I would wait a few years when they get some more rides. they do have a large stage and have acts play every night too, but, we had to go drink some more as the 95 degree sun was making us thirsty.
Well, a nap was first. All day walking in the heat, wore us out. BUT! we woke up and debated going to the bar scene downtown. We decided against it, as it cost more money, wastes time, and is just a hassle. We had so much fun the karaoke night, we decide to do it again. We order some pizza for dinner then head down. This time we had a spot at the bar and first this old dude buys us a beer, nice. Then this guy I am sitting next to asks if we want their bucket of long island. I agree only because he offered us this because his wife was cutting him off the sauce for the night. He tells me there is something added......this scares me, but I proceed to drink the free booze. Kristen and I tried to sneak this guy shots everytime his wife got up, but she has to be the fastest woman bathroom goer ever! Anyways this guy tells me since I am in SC, I am a southerner now. I agree and talk with my best southern accent I have, hoping he wouldn't punch me....he laughed thankfully.
Now, this old lady had warned Kristen about some guy making a 'mess' in the women's bathroom. So, as she was walking to the bathroom later, she was joking with some guy about what she might find and told him the story of the 'mess'. The guy laughs and admits that it was him. Apparently he had to go bad, and the men's room was full.
Now, I opened a tab this night. We only bought 6 beers, but we were doing shots. Kristen likes shots, so we did all sorts of things, JD, cherry bombs, who knows what else. I told Kristen to put drinks on my tab, but she apparently paid for all the shots w/o me knowing. So, when I closed my tab I was astonished that none of the shots were on my tab, just 6 beers. i proceed to tip $7.50 for 6 beers thinking he gave us free shots. dummy!
Then things get bad. I wake up, in the bed, throwing up all over the floor next to me. Spend some time in the bathroom, go back to bed. I wake up to find my pleasant treat I left next to me bed. Get sick again, and for the 3rd time in my life, throw up the morning after. This day was officially going to be shot! Well, maybe not, I start to feel better and we go to the lazy river, but after about an hour lounging in the river, I feel bad again. We decide I need food. We go to this homestyle looking place, boasting they are American owned.....umm, ok. The lady said all the food is home-cooked. I am not sure what that means, as we are in a restaurant, did they make it from home then transport it...that would be gross. Well, that was a joke, this next line is not a joke. Worst food I have ever eaten, and we'll leave it at that. Here is a picture, DON'T EAT AT THE COUNTRY KITCHEN IN MYRTLE BEACH (not part of the chain)
Finally at night I feel better. We decide to take it easy as we decide to drive straight through on Friday. We went to a nice steakhouse, shot some mini-golf and called it a night. (How come mini-golf places dye their water kool-aid blue?)
Are We There Yet?
nothing of note, just a long, looooooooong, drive home.