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October 2013

Myrtle Beach

by Richie
Myrtle Beach
The Grand Strand

Myrtle Beach, SC

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Freewheeling down the mountains from Asheville and into the rolling foothills of South Carolina, your arrival at the lowland country is heralded by the appearance of cotton fields, Spanish moss, and palmetto trees. Heading toward the beaches you’ll also see a hundred billboards for Sparky’s– a fireworks joint that grew into a giant emporium, and is well worth the stop.

 

Myrtle Beach is a splendid blend of Atlantic City-style boardwalk and Gatlinburg’s overload of touristy fun. Plus a marvelous beach that offers warm water late into the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a couple of days enjoying the sand and surf at Myrtle Beach State Park. Camping was excellent, even in the middle of the busy Bike Week Rally. The campsites are deeply shaded, and a short sidewalk stroll took you right to the pearly sands.

 

Tike Bikers

Also on the State Park property is a long fishing pier and gift shop, where we slurped ice cream cones and watched a huge shark circle slowly around sniffing for chum.

On the north end of town is Broadway on the Beach – a large complex of attractions connected by walkways over man-made lagoons. We had a fun supper at Margaritaville, where waiters on stilts twisted clever balloon art to help you celebrate any occasion.

 

Our stay here was too short…there’s so much to enjoy. We’re sure glad we had cousins to show us the highlights.
Tonight we are motoring in the direction of home, skirting around a tropical storm that has dumped flood waters back home. We’ll hunker down in camp tonight as the rain passes by.

 

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Beach & Bikes

by Richie
Beach & Bikes
Myrtle Beach State Park
South Carolina
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It’s Bike Week at Myrtle Beach! And a great place for a birthday celebration! Hundreds of bikers have arrived to cruise Ocean Boulevard. The campground is full of sweet looking machines. This Fall meet is a bit tamer than Bike Week in the Spring. Cyclists are a little older, more prosperous, and are riding expensive tricked-out machines. More like the Doctors and Lawyers Club than Hells Angels.

Spent the afternoon on the beach with cousins. Deliciously warm day and wonderfully empty beach. Great to be out here in the off-season!

Giant Jellyfish!
Cousins
We strolled the boardwalk in the evening. Great seafood at Dirty Dons Oyster Bar. Giant Skywheel ferris ride. Lines of motorcycles parked everywhere.

Highlight was a 30,000 sq ft souvenir shop called The Gay Dolphin. Never seen so much stuff in one store. We gawked and gaped at all the merchandise and didn’t buy a thing!

 

More beach time scheduled for today, including combing the sand for buried treasure with our metal detector.
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On The Rodeo

by Richie
On The Rodeo
Newport, Tennessee

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Having a motorhome means…get this…you’re motoring a lot. On the road and traveling the wilds of America’s interstate system, where anything can happen.

Like another Epic Traffic Jam.

Alert Readers will recall that less than a week ago we spent the better part of a day parked on I-71 while highly trained authorities and expert contractors spread a truckload of molten fat across the highway and had a giant weenie roast as the gooey stuff burned for more than 11 hours.

They had a really great time, said they would do it again real soon, and the Kentucky State Police even invited travelers to join in the fun by keeping the highway open. We went along because, geez, how often do you get to see 44,000 lbs. of Crisco go up in flames, and besides there weren’t any warnings that we’d be stuck in a colossal tailgate party for the rest of the day.

Out here in Tennessee, authorities don’t have the same partying spirit. They actually closed the highway and diverted traffic from the scene of a huge wreck.

From the midst of the Smokey Mountains we saw a black plume rising, and it didn’t seem like the kind of picturesque vapor that would usually draw tourists. Sure enough, there were yellow flashing signs, red traffic cones, and serious-looking cops waving us off the interstate.

It was supper time, we hadn’t had a snack in a good 20 minutes, so we pulled into a campground on the detour road and tucked in for the night. And we watched an account of the accident scene on the national news. If it had been Kentucky, we could have seen it live.

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The Dirty Pants Club

by Richie
The Dirty Pants Club
Troy, Ohio

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 Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Every September a couple of thousand blacksmiths convene in tiny Troy, Ohio. The annual convention is sponsored by SOFA (Southern Ohio Forge & Anvil), and is the signature event for those who like to beat upon hot iron.

 

 

 

We’ve attended for several years, camping at the fairgrounds where the Meet is held. It’s a great event – smoking forges, hammers ringing, rusty implements for sale. If you’re interested in the hobby, this is the place to buy and sell all the tools of the trade.

 

Guys (and gals) who come to this meet tend to be a bit grizzled, whether they are young or old. All display great guns (muscles), and are generally convivial and anxious to talk shop. Demonstrations and competitions are held all weekend, with lessons by expert forgers.

 

Steam Engine
Fire-Breathing Dragon
At a large gallery in the center, participants can display their creativity. There’s some real artistry in the pieces, showing many hours of dedicated work. (They also have a small table for Spouse Crafts, and I won a Blue Ribbon for my tatted doily.)

 

My Tatted Medallion
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