• gfeldstein

Day 39 Myrtle Beach Rest Day Zero miles

I had hoped to rent a catamaran to take out on the ocean but it was blowing 18 knots, and notwithstanding my credentials, including racing a sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean in gale force winds, the proprietor flat out refused to allow any boats out today. Instead I took a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, Myrtle Beach was hopping with activity. It seemed like an old fashioned carnival with scary attractions, trinket shops, white knuckle amusement rides, and even a beach volleyball tournament. Myrtle Beach is loud and crowded, it is not at all my style, it appears more suited for rowdy college students or families with young children.

The craziest ride I saw was a 300 foot tall hydraulically powered slingshot that shoots you up at over 120 mph with 5 G’s of force. You return to the launch platform face down. As far as I was concerned this was just a newer version of the Vomit Wheel, which was popular when I was back in High School. I asked the fellow whose two pre-teen daughters were about to be launched, if he had tried it himself, he responded, “Hell No!”

Apparently on Friday and Saturday nights you can attend the Live Zombie event on the boardwalk, I’m pretty sure I will pass on that.

On the way back to my hotel I stopped in for a couple of Nathan’s hotdogs, how could I resist? Plus I needed to compare them to the Gray’s Papaya hotdogs I had a few weeks ago in Manhattan. In my opinion, Nathan’s dogs are much better than Gray’s.

I know that they are not healthy, but hotdogs always conjure up fond memories. As a kid, long before we discovered pizza parties, no birthday would be complete till you ate enough hotdogs to feel sick. Hotdogs also played a memorable role in my children’s lives. For nearly a decade in East Hampton ever Tuesday and Thursday evening was spent at Georgica Beach. Our beach bonfires were a local legend that spawned tee shirts and copy cats. Upwards of 50 gathered around our carefully crafted beach fire pits. Children ranging in age from 4 to late teens frolicked in the sand, the surf, and even the abandoned lifeguard lookout chairs. Parents occasionally dipped their toes in the ocean but mostly they milled around the fire with a Chardonnay or cold beer while dinner was being prepared. Some came with prepared foods or even pizza, but the most prominent food was hotdogs, cooked on sticks over the bonfire. Children as young as 5 were taught the correct method to load a hotdog onto small tree branch and cook it over the open fire. It was important not to allow the branch to catch fire, both to avoid losing your dinner, but more importantly for the kids, the same branch would be used later in the evening for roasting s’mores. One day my late wife discovered that you could buy wooden dowels instead of resorting to tree branches. Eventually, Rudy, the owner of Dreesen’s Market in East Hampton would carry the dowels for our hotdogs. He carried everything else we needed for the bonfire including his world famous feta cheese salad which even tasted fine with a bit of beech sand mixed in. Dreesen’s has long since been converted to a catering shop, but in the 90’s all of East Hampton shopped there. Rudy had the keys to the few houses in East Hampton that were actually locked as most of his best customers called from their cars or the Hampton Jitney to place their weekend orders as they were leaving the city. Rudy would make certain that his customer’s refrigerators were stocked with their favorite items after their long drive out. Rudy and Dreesen’s garnered a national reputation in 1994 when then President Clinton was spotted walking out of Dreesen’s, doughnut in hand.

But I digress, getting back to the beach and the hotdogs, our bonfires were a family tradition that lasted over a decade. They were never loud or ruckus, acoustic guitars and folk songs took the place of the then ubiquitous boom boxes. Occasionally a single person would show up as friend of a family, but the bonfires were by and large family events. Over the years the kids grew older and moved onto college, a few families moved away, but the core remained and the bonfires went on. Even after we moved to California we would drop in on the bonfires when we were in East Hampton. Years later, after my wife had passed and my kids had long since flown the coop, I had a chance to revisit a Georgica Beach bonfire. It was not the bonfire I recalled, it had all the same elements, right down to the Dreesen’s hotdogs and folk songs, but the guests were all total strangers, a generation younger than me and starting their own family traditions. Caroline, one of the original Georgica Beach Bonfire Kids, a close friend of my daughter, and the daughter of a dear friend of mine now has a son of her own. Perhaps Caroline can pass our grand tradition on through her own family.

Dinner was at Pier 14 Restaurant, 1306 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, a popular seafood destination. Let me start off by saying that I’m not fond of restaurants that don’t take reservations, make you wait for hours for a table, then have the audacity to expect you to pay $1.00 for the privilege of walking out on their pier while waiting for your table. Once inside the noise level from the drunken crowd drowned out any chance of having a conversation. One look at the menu had me wishing that Nathan’s was still open. The food was actually worse than the menu. My steak and that of my buddies was so over salted that you could not even taste the meat. I’m not sure what was trying to be passed of as garlic mashed red potatoes, but I can tell you that it was inedible. The Key Lime pie did in fact have a graham cracker crust, but it was also obviously a manufactured frozen pie. Even the “fresh” lime garnish looked like it had come overland from California, last month. Aside from that dinner was a complete waste of nearly 3 hours.

Walking back to my hotel I noticed that the character of the crowd had changed. The families with little kids had driven off or were neatly tucked into their hotel rooms. The nighttime crowd reminded me of what you might encounter on the east side of Los Angeles or the south side of Chicago, the kind of crowd that warrants the sign posted at the restaurant, no firearms allowed inside.

Twelve states down, 3 more to go.

Cumulative Totals

Miles 2,051

Feet Climbed 77,041

States Visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina

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