Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures on vacation

On the road, somewhere between Pennsylvania and South Carolina :: All Pretty Things
On the lovely road... again :)
We took off at the end of July - with a grand plan in mind: first we'd go to a nice competition in Pennsylvania, then we will go for a week in South Carolina, at the beach, then we'll come back to PA and OH for 3 more weeks of training and competitions. Good plans usually don't work (and we know best than to plan very strictly, since our plans rarely go smoothly), but for the first part we were in luck.

The competition was nice, and I managed to improve my scores from a month ago (with not much training in between) - so I was happy (more on this another time).

Myrtle everywhere! Myrtle Beach, SC - vacation 2012 :: All Pretty Things
From Central PA we started our long journey to Myrtle Beach. We've passed through SC once before, 5 years ago on our amazing one-month-long vacation: from our home in Ontario to Florida and back. But we haven't really stopped then, I remember just passing through on I95. Since then, we've never been southern than Columbus, OH and I remembered now how beautiful the South is! When you start having blooming trees and bushes on the highway median you know you're there :) Plus the Waffle Houses at every stop!

Sun rise in Myrtle Beach, SC :: All Pretty Things
1st sun rise at the ocean: you must feel it!
We weren't sure what to expect from Myrtle Beach, back in 2007 the beach in St. Augustine has been too 'violent' (wave-like violent) and we had moved on the Golf's side for the rest of the vacation. This time, as soon as we arrived, after setting the trailer in the campsite (we have it down to art now, it takes as less than 40 minutes to unpack and about 45 to pack it back) we ran to the water... blimey! the waves were huge! But now we have a very good swimmer in our household (which posed quite an interesting problem: knowing he swims well the kid became a bit reckless!) and my hubby *loves* the ocean (I am mountain person, to tell you the truth) so everyone was happy: they spent most of the day in the water (with brief breaks to catch their breaths and eat some), I spent as much as I could in the water, some time on the beach (I must take a picture of the collection of shells I gathered!) and some under the umbrella, reading.

Boys surfing, Myrtle Beach, SC :: All Pretty Things
The boys with the surf board
We were supposed to stay only for a week in Myrtle Beach, but halfway through we got news that we might need to return home earlier than expected - so we decided to make the best of the time we had on our hands, and instead of returning to PA we stayed for another 5 days :) Can you believe that we were so much in love with the water and the sand that we felt no need whatsoever to get out of the camping site, other than visiting the grocery store almost daily (I underestimated how hungry the water and sun made all of us)? It was during the last 3 days when we got out 3 times: once to eat at a Calabash Buffet (William was truly in love with that place), once the day-before-last to visit the actual Myrtle Beach visitor area (beautiful) and once the last night to eat at a splendid Southern Supper place (must find a Southern cooking book to try some of the recipes... just loved everything!) and to play a round of mini-golf.

Boys playing mini-golf: Myrtle Beach, SC :: All Pretty Things
The boys playing mini-golf under the lights
You'd think we would have been ready to leave after almost 2 weeks of constant fiery sun (and tropical behaviour: every day we had a quick and powerful storm, then all will be clear and nice), but not really. I could have stayed for much longer - and if you ask both my boys where is our next vacation they'll both answer: Myrtle Beach.

The only huge disappointment was the Aquarium. I knew I should not expect much (so far, besides the Smithsonians - and not *all* of them either - no museums impressed me much in North America), but the place was quite a circus. Nice sea life, no complains there, but much too less for our hungry-for-information son (and his parents too). Lesson learned: if a museum is under the Ripley's 'hat' - stay away :)

During our stay, the child decided he would like to fish (lots of kids where throwing nets) so we bought a net for him at the camp store. The net was a bit big for him, so the fishing had to happened in pairs: mostly with daddy, and a couple of times with mommy. We mostly got small fish - which we would put in a pail, watch for a while and release. But we had 2 huge surprises: one day a small stingray fish was caught in the net. It wiggled its way out of the net quite quickly, unfortunately, but seeing it in the net was quite a feeling! Another day - a puffer fish: I have never seen one in real life (only in documentaries or animated movies) and that was a sight! when we got it out from the water it was all puffed and scary-looking! then it deflated and inflated again and on and on it went like this for a few minutes. None of us knew anything about this type of fish, the pail was way too small to keep it in - so it was released right then and there. The experience stayed with all of us, we were all quite excited.

William studying the clams, Myrtle Beach, SC :: All Pretty Things
William studying the clams, Myrtle Beach, SC
One day we saw a pelican - it dove into the waters, grabbed itself a fish and flew very closely :)

And, of course... the dolphins! Oh, my! Gorgeous creatures - simply amazing. We saw them first while we were in the water - it seemed like you could touch them, but of course they weren't that close. Arching elegantly from the water - a family (pod? herd?) of a 5 or so. I watched the water like a hawk every day after, with the small hope I will see them again. Nothing - for a full week. And in the last 3 days: every day they came to visit, swimming graciously and having no care in the world. Not sure what it is about dolphins - but they sure gave you a sense of profound beauty!

The memories are still raw and the excitement still huge about this vacation. And, of course, the ideas I got from the sandy beach and its shells (more about this later, though).

We are now safely home (that's another story too!) and enjoying those memories :)

Where did this summer take you and your family?

1 comment:

  1. Frumoase experienţe şi de neuitat !
    Rămân , aşa cum ştii, o admiratoare şi o iubitoare a muntelui, oricînd, sub orice formă, , dar recunosc mării, oceanului , apei în general o anume fascinaţie, mai ales prin viaţa şi frumuseţile din ele-- o fi ceva ancestral, poate .
    Despre munte--altă dată.


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