Ocean Lakes

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A trip was planned to Ocean Lakes Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in October, 2003, however, due to my knee surgery this trip had to be cancelled. We were fortunate enough to be able to reschedule that trip for October, 2004. This is a journal of that trip.

 

Please remember to click on any picture to enlarge it

 

Saturday, October 9, 2004 

For this trip, rather than the usual I95 south route, we tried an alternate path to avoid the traffic and confusion around Baltimore and Washington DC. This alternate route took I95 south to I695 east around Baltimore and the harbor tunnel which does not allow RV’s with propane tanks. We followed I695 over the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I believe the toll was $5…..used EZ Pass) and then picked up I97 south.  This then intersected with Route 301. This (Route 301) is a 4 lane highway with lots and lots of commercialism on both sides. Around the city of Waldorf, Maryland, the traffic was heavy with frequent traffic lights. Just south of Waldorf some minor repair work caused a traffic backup of 30 minutes. If you are looking for an alternate route these highways will help you to avoid Washington DC but be prepared for a slow, stop and go experience. I will not take this alternate route again, I’ll just travel I95, going my 58 mph in the right hand lane. 

Our final destination is Ocean Lakes Resort, but we are taking 2 days to drive the total of approximately 640 miles. Our interim destination for today was Joe and Bobbie’s home in Midlothian, Virginia. Joe and I used to work together at Verizon until we each retired. The last time I saw Joe was at his retirement dinner 3 years ago, so he and I enjoyed catching up on news. Both Bobbie and Joe were very gracious hosts and prepared an outstanding steak dinner with all the fixins.....but Joe almost caught the stove on fire using the broiler to cook the steaks.  

After dinner we all sat in their beautiful family room and discussed current issues such as the presidential election and the George Bush vs. John Kerry debates.  Around 9:00 pm we decided to call it a day and headed out to our motorhome to check on our miniature schnauzer, Rebecca. Joe allowed us to park in his driveway and it made for a perfect boon docking location.

     
 

Sunday, October 10, 2004 

By 6:15 am this morning we were back on road heading south on I95. Traffic was light and the roadway was in good condition. At 3:00 pm we were pulling into Ocean Lakes Resort after driving 350 miles for the day. 

The pictures below where taken at a rest stop along I95 in South Carolina. As soon as I stepped out of the motorhome to walk Rebecca I was overwhelmed with the beautiful aroma of the pine trees. I was delighted when I discovered a cotton field adjacent to the rest stop. For the past 50 miles we have been seeing massive cotton fields and I commented that I wish I could take a picture of one. The fields look like a snow fall had just taken place. In the picture below, if you look through the trees in the foreground you can see the cotton field in the distant background.

Our site number I38 at Ocean Lakes Resort is directly on the beach and about 90 footsteps from our motorhome door to the Atlantic Ocean waters at high tide. As you sit in the motorhome you can easily hear the waves crashing on the beach. Following a quick setup of the motorhome and dinner we drove to the Wal-Mart Super Center which is located about 3 miles west on Route 544.

     
 

     
 

     
  Monday, October 11, 2004

What a great way to begin the day with a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. As I was putting Rebecca (our miniature schnauzer) out for her morning walk, I noticed that the sunrise was going to be colorful so I quickly grabbed the camera to capture the moment.

When people read my journal they often ask why do I give so much detail about the weather each day. I do so in an attempt to help others that might be planning a trip similar to ours at the same time of the year. This way they can know what to expect. The weather this morning was very pleasant...about 65 degrees with a 10 mph breeze. This made for a pleasant walk along the beach following breakfast. We headed south down the beach and continued about 1 1/2 miles before turning around and heading back. If you ever get the chance to take this walk we almost made it to the fishing pier. Before we return from this trip I want to walk the entire distance to the pier.

Many of the other RV'ers are starting to leave today since it's the last day of the long Columbus Day weekend. This campground is huge with almost 900 transient campsites. In addition they have another 250 seasonal sites and 2,519 annually leased sites featuring a variety of permanent structures including full sized homes selling for $300,000+.  Many of the folks that camp here either bring their own golf cart or they rent one during their stay, so the roads in the campground can become very busy with golf cart traffic. But since this is the off season it isn't overly crowded so the little bit of traffic is tolerable.

     
 

     
 

     
  Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The weather continues to be just perfect. It has not been necessary to run either the air conditioner or the furnace. Right now at 1:00 pm the outside temp is 80 degrees with a nice cool ocean breeze.

This morning after, our walk and breakfast, we headed south on Route 17 toward Pawleys Island to visit the Hammock Shop Village. We were disappointed with these over priced shops and would not recommend this as a place to visit.

This afternoon a nice cool breeze, about 10 mph, was coming off the ocean so I thought I would get out the stunt kite. Flying in a nice constant breeze was certainly fun, in fact I was the best on the beach. Oh, did I mention I was the only kite on the beach?

When Diana and I were teenagers growing up in Pittsburgh, we would often go to the local Eat'N Park Restaurant when we were dating. Eat'N Park was unique in those days because it was a drive in restaurant. The waitress would come to your car to take your order and then deliver the meal to you in your car. On Sunday as we were arriving at the campground I noticed there was a drive in restaurant named Sonic on Route 501. Sonic was our choice for dinner tonight so that we could enjoy the nostalgia of a drive in restaurant. We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the meal, the ample portions and excellent service. This place is a glorified McDonald's but we enjoyed it for the memories that it brought of the good old days back at the Eat'N Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We were both glad we stopped at Sonic.

     
 

     
 

     
 

     
 

     
  Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Normally when I prepare my daily trip journal I use Microsoft Word and then when I return home I copy/paste from Word to FrontPage. Once pasted in FrontPage I then add the pictures and hyperlinks before publishing to the website. But, this time I'm entering my daily journal updates directly into FrontPage and adding the pictures. This way I keep current and when I return home I can add hyperlinks and publish to the server immediately. Why I didn't think of doing it this way sooner, I don't know. Rather than taking days, and in some cases weeks, to publish the trip I will have the website updated the day after we return home.

I wanted to do some more kite flying today but the winds were actually to high.....a constant 20 mph with frequent gusts of 25 to 30 mph. I decided to wait until tomorrow rather than destroy the kite in the heavy winds.

The folks camping across the road from us were born and raised in Pittsburgh just as Diana and I are, so we have had many conversations with them during the past few days. They are in a pop up camper and this is their maiden voyage so they are learning via trial and error. I spent about an hour with him getting the propane on his refrigerator working properly. I was glad to help and he was most appreciative for the help I provided.

During the afternoon we drove 20 miles north on Route 17 to Barefoot Landing. This is a unique shopping area with boardwalk paths traversing large ponds. You can also find a large variety of eateries. We did some Christmas shopping in The Christmas Mouse.

     
  Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Verizon cell phone service has been working well even though it is in an Extended Service area from time to time. The 1X digital service allows me to log on to the internet after 9:00 pm so as I do not use peak minutes. For this trip I called the Verizon Customer Service and had our plan increased from 400 monthly peak minutes to 800. That allows us ample time to keep in touch with friends and family on a daily basis.

The weather overnight was chilly and for the first time the ceramic heater was needed when we first got up this morning. The forecast is calling for thunder storms tomorrow with the possibility of gale force winds, 25 to 35 mph. Tonight before going to bed I be certain to role up the large patio awning but will probably leave the 3 window awnings in place.

Before lunch we took a bike ride and I used the portable GPS to track the length of the ride. We recorded 3.5 miles and still only visited part of the campground. This campground is so large they have their own post office. We are expecting the campground to fill up to full capacity this weekend because of a rally. I'm hoping the place doesn't become too crazy because of the additional crowd.

This afternoon we took a walk on the beach heading south toward that fishing pier again. We were walking in our bare feet and finished the almost 2 mile walk to the pier and was surprised to find a restaurant that overlooks the ocean. The name of the restaurant was Latitude 22 Riverside Cafe. Unfortunately I did not bring my wallet or any money so we could not even get a soda or ice cream. One day next week we might drive to the cafe for lunch. I wish I took the camera with us so I could take a picture of the pier to prove that we made the complete walk. By the time we returned to the motorhome we covered 4 miles and I was glad to finally sit down to take a rest.

     
  Friday, October 15, 2004

Rain, rain go away. At the time I writing this journal entry it is 9:45 am and has been raining since 4:00 am this morning. Winds are blowing at a steady 20 mph with an occasional gust to 30. The forecasters call for clearing around noon time. Rebecca, Diana and I needed a day like this to just sit around and relax.

     
 

     
  This evening we have tickets for the 8 o'clock show at Carolina Opry and we expect the show to be very entertaining. When we visited Myrtle Beach 2 years ago we attended several shows and  would rate "One the Show" at the Alabama Theater as the best of the shows we saw. Lots of good music, high energy talent and wholesome family entertainment.

Yesterday while sitting at the dinette in the motorhome I snapped the beautiful picture below. This is a view looking our the window toward the Atlantic Ocean. Just on the other side of the sand dune lies the ocean. This morning I took the same picture so you can see the contrast in weather. I like the picture to the left much better.

     
 

     
  By 1:00 pm the rain and cloudy skies were gone and the weather turned beautiful again, but the winds stayed with us. Even though I thought the winds might be too much for the Prism E2 Stunt Kite, I thought I would give it a try anyway. It turned out to be lots of fun and I look forward to giving it a try again tomorrow. From the motorhome Diana was able to see the kite in the air so she grabbed the camera and snapped a few pictures.
     
 

     
  Much as expected the Carolina Opry was fantastic. Lots of very talented musicians, vocalists and dancers keep your attention for 2 hours of endless entertainment. On the way home from the show we stopped at Ultimate California Pizza to try a medium pizza. The pizza was OK....not great, not bad....OK.
     
  Saturday, October 16, 2004

It was past midnight last night before we finally returned form our outing to Carolina Opry but we still got up this morning at 7:00 am because Rebecca (our miniature schnauzer) was anxious for her feeding. We started to head toward Wal-Mart but got delayed by talking with the folks in the Class C next to us and the Canadians across the street from us. It's amazing that we never met these folks before, but we seemed to have a much to discuss.

While removing a tarp that I used to cover the bikes I had an accident. To prevent the tarp from blowing away I had secured it with several bungee cords. One of the cords was excessively tight and when I went to removed it, it slipped from my hand and the metal hook flew up and hit me in the forehead. The force of the bungee put a gash in my forehead but fortunately not deep enough or long enough to require stitches. But, it did take awhile to stop the bleeding and a bag of ice was needed to stop the swelling. I was lucky because this could have been a very serious accident.

     
  Sunday, October 17, 2004

Consider yourself lucky if you can find a modern, clean Laundromat. I don't quite understand why Laundromats are not clean. We found a Laundromat conveniently located just a mile from the campground, south on Route 17. I would rate its condition as satisfactory. The good news was that all machines were available so we were able to complete 5 loads of laundry in 90 minutes. It won't be necessary to do laundry again till we get home. While waiting for the machines to do their job we are catching up on phone calls to friends and family, and I'm updating the PC and will surf the net shortly using the cell phone once Diana is finished making phone calls.

The winds today diminished to 10 mph so I decided to pull out the patio awning, installed some tie down straps and add the new sun screen. Before installing the sun screen I had to modify it to add some additional brass grommets because it came with only two grommets and that wasn't sufficient to secure it properly. The sun screen did a nice job providing some much needed shade. After I finished the job Diana brought me a cookie and I sat in a chair and admired the finished project while enjoying the cookies.

     
 

     
 

     
  Before dinner we took a 4 mile bike ride through the campground. Every so often I stopped and took a few pictures of the homes locate here in the campground.
     
 

     
 

     
 

     
  Monday, October 18, 2004

This time next week we will be on Interstate 95 heading north toward home. The first week of this trip has passed by so quickly....each day goes by faster than yesterday did. In terms of sightseeing we haven't really done much. Basically each day has been simply relaxing, taking walks on the beach and one or two bicycle rides.

This afternoon we drove up Route 17 bypass north to Broadway at the Beach. This was a fun spot with lots of unique shops, a great assortment of eateries and lots of entertainment stuff such as an aquarium, miniature golf, Imax and much more.

     
 

     
 

     
 

     
 

     
 

     
  Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Rebecca, our miniature schnauzer, woke me up at 5:30 am this morning because she needed to go outside. Boy was I glad that she did. Thanks to her I got to witness Mother Nature performing a huge lightning storm out at sea. We weren't getting any of the storm but I could see one lightning strike after another out over the ocean. The suspect the storm was 20 miles off in the distance because I could not hear any thunder but the lightning was striking every 5 seconds. What a spectacular show.

The weather is uncomfortably humid today so we took a 3 mile walk around the campground early this morning  while we could tolerate the heat. Right now we are showering and getting ready to go to the Tanger Outlet after we finish lunch. Like everything else around here it is located on Route 17 about 18 miles from the campground. Once at Tanger Outlet we were able to find some nice items for friends and family on our Christmas list. So Diana was very pleased to make further progress with our Christmas shopping.

Around 4:00 pm we drove to Nibils located 2 miles south of the campground at 11 South Boulevard in Surfside Beach. The restaurant is located right on the ocean adjacent to Surfside Pier. As we sat in the restaurant the ocean is only 25 yards away which made for a nice view while dining. The food was good, I had a grouper platter and Diana had a crab cake sandwich.

On the way home from dinner we stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries. As soon as we returned to the motorhome I immediately went onto the beach to do some kite flying before sunset. Be able to fly each day has help me to learn the proper technique for landing the kite without crashing.

Right now it's 8:13 pm and it has started to rain. The weather forecast called for thunder storms tonight into early tomorrow morning and then the long range forecast calls for beautiful weather through next Monday...daily highs in mid 70's and night time lows in the 60's with lots of sunshine. Today it was 83 degrees and humid and that was too warm for me.

     
  Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Clammy and cloudy would be the words that best describe the weather so far today. At the time I'm making this journal entry it is 10:30 am and the outside temperature is 78 degrees. Over night it rained heavily but no thunder or lightning which was good. This morning I went to the basketball courts to try out the new ball I bought yesterday at Wal-Mart. I hoping that I can use this as a way to get additional exercise 2 or 3 times a week even after I return home. Following a frustrating 20 minutes of basketball Diana came down to meet me and then we walk 3.4 miles around the campground. With all this exercise I still cannot drop the 15 to 20 pounds that I would like to loose. I think it must be those cookies I eat.

This entire day was basically a do nothing day. We didn't leave the campground but instead just spent time reading and walking the beach. We collected some sea shells for our youngest grandson to play with. Also, Both Diana and I did some small chores to prepare the motorhome for winter storage when we return home form this trip.

Oh, by the way, today was the first day since we have been here that we were able to spot dolphin swimming in the ocean. We saw quite a few as they would surface and then go back below the water. I would estimate they were about 100 yards off shore. Even though we have seen them swimming many times before, it's always a magnificent site to see again.

     
  Thursday, October 21 , 2004

This morning I started to realize that we will be heading home 3 days from now and actually Diana and I are looking forward to being home again. This place is beautiful but we miss being away from our children and grand children. When we arrive at home it's going to be a big contrast in weather.....being 20 to 25 degrees colder at home than here at Myrtle Beach.

We walked almost 3 miles after breakfast and then I went to shoot some basketball for about 30 minutes. Following lunch we returned to Tanger Outlet Stores and then stopped at the new Bass Pro Outdoor. As you can see from the picture below, even Diana was able to find some nice ladies attire in this store.
   

   

   

This evening we went to the new mall... Crystal Grand. This is a very nice mall but they seem to badly need more customers.....the place was not very busy at all.

   

This afternoon before dinner I went to the beach to fly the kite. It was high tide so the beach was quite narrow. Due to the overcast skies and chilly winds there we very few people on the beach. The wind was blowing from the south west so when getting the kite airborne it flew out over the breaking waves. This made for some fun flying but also dangerous. If the kite went down it would go into the ocean waters and that would certain be the end of a $150 kite! Then I realized the problem that I had.....the wind was strong enough that it was very difficult to land the kite and the very narrow beach provided a small landing target. I tried numerous times to make a soft landing but finally had to settle for a crashed landing so I could end the flying session before a rain shower was about to start. Even with all the problems this made for an interesting and memorable flight.

     
  Friday, October 22, 2004

Only 2 more days remain after today....then it's head north for 635 miles and the end of the camping season for 2004. Rebecca is having a peaceful trip as seen in the pictures below.

     
 

     
  This has been an absolutely do nothing day. I mean positively nothing at all. Just sat back and enjoyed the pleasant weather and sounds of the ocean. High tide was at 3:00 pm today so right now the waves are coming all the up to the sand dunes and subsequently there is no space on the beach to fly the kit. Maybe after dinner as the tide goes out there will be space to launch the kite.
     
  Saturday, October 23, 2004

The overnight temperature went down to 51 degrees so it feels a bit chilly outside right now with a 12 mph wind. But the sun is shining brightly over the ocean and the skies are clear blue. WE will begin to do more preparation for our Monday departure and getting the motorhome ready for winter storage when we return home.

     
  Sunday, October 24, 2004

As planned we started our cleaning of the motorhome first thing this morning following breakfast. I folded the patio carpet before the forecasted rains began and its a good thing I did because about 30 minutes after I stowed the carpet a steady drizzle began. By 10:00 am we had washed down all the cabinets and walls. Then we gave the oak cabinets a good coating of Liquid Gold polish. This will certainly make it much easier to winterize the motorhome when we get home.

It continued to rain all day so we didn't get to have much fun during our last day here at Myrtle Beach.

     
  Monday, October 25, 2004

Bright and early this morning, 7:00 am, we were pulling out of Ocean Lakes Resort heading home. We planned to travel about 360 miles and then stop at the Cracker Barrel at Ashland, Virginia, Exit 92B on Interstate 95. When we arrived at Cracker Barrel it was 3:30 pm and earlier than I expected. We did anticipate staying the night and spoke with the Manager and she gave her OK. We ate dinner and while eating decided to push onward for the last 260 miles. By 11:00 pm we had complete the 620 mile trip pulling in front of our home safe and sound.