• Hello Myrtle Beach!

    September 2, 2017
  • Morgantown, USA to Myrtle Beach 2016:

    We checked out at 10:00 AM, anxious to get on the road. We figured we would have to stop overnight between Morgantown and Myrtle Beach, but we didn’t know where!! As we were leaving  there were  two African American employees in the hallway. I asked them if they had voted yet or were planning to vote this Election Day 2016. Surprisingly to me and Hubby they both said no that they were not planning to vote. Under further discussion, they indicated no particular concern about not voting and whether or not in doing so had any bearing on Donald Trump getting elected this day! They were completely unconcerned one way or the other. It really took me aback as I really feel that voting is a right and a privilege and that if you do not exercise your vote then you cannot point the finger at those who do vote and the election consequences!!

    Leaving Morgantown! Onto Myrtle Beach!

    On the road by 10:30 AM and we needed to fill up the Pathfinder! The gas pumps accepted our credit card no problem here, but it was the only time on our trip that this happened. More details later!!. So we gassed up and got onto I79S for 91 miles. We were using directions on our I Phone and those given to us in Barrie, Ontario by the CAA, compliments of our daughter! Interstate 79 is 343 miles long, a really beautiful highway, probably the nicest scenic highway we have ever driven on. Even though it travels through mountain terrain, it stays relatively flat by curving around hills, along ridges, and in or part way up river valleys. A really beautiful ride for sure in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

    Amazing Tunnels on I79

    We stopped and had lunch at Wendy’s along the way. We gassed up again, but this time you had to present your credit card inside for validation before you could use the gas pump. This was the way for the duration of our trip. A little disturbing leaving your credit card inside while you gassed up at the pump and then have to retrieve it once the total gas was paid for! Didn’t like this at all.  We were back on the road again and we switched over driving on US 19 S, which is a major North-South US Highway connecting Lake Erie and St. Petersburg, Florida. We were directed by our navigation aids to stay on it for 67 miles before switching over to Interstate 77 S for another 67 miles. We then took I74 for 34 miles and then onto I40 E for another 46 miles and then onto I74 for another 31 miles. Sounds confusing to you, well it really was confusing to us as well!

    Beautiful Landscapes of West Virginia!

    By this time of the day we were looking for an exit strategy. We debated whether we should take a diversion off our direct route, and find a hotel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina since it was now around 6:00 PM. We made a mistake and continued on to take I40 E/US-311 South for another 40 miles and then onto I74 for another 31 miles. We were then told to go another 55 miles on US220 S before ending up in beautiful Rockingham, North Carolina.

    Mountain Life!

    We were certain that we could get a hotel in Rockingham for the night, even though our fast dying I Phone said there were only 4 or 5 hotels in this metropolis of less than 10,00 people. Our first choice was a Holiday Inn Express located on Highway 74 in Rockingham, which was very hard to find. We found it eventually and hubby went in to get us a room, but to his surprise the hotel was fully booked. This was a major disappointment, now at 7:00 PM and completely dark.  So we started looking for another hotel, checked out the Quality Inns & Suites, completely booked also, same as America’s Best Value Inn and the Budget Inn & Suites. It was a mystery why everything was booked, maybe Election night, but we soon discovered that there was major road construction being done in this area and this is why all the hotels were booked with construction workers!

    North Carolina!

    So, a major crisis. No place to stay. The I Phone was dead. It was dark and we couldn’t read the map directions. We were hungry, and needed to use the bathroom. Anyway we plugged the I Phone into the car to charge it up hoping that we could get directions if we could get Siri and the Maps back online. We pulled into a Publix Supermarket to use the bathroom and to pick up a sandwich and a drink each. After this Hubby asked the I Phone for directions to Myrtle Beach from Rockingham. The answer along with detailed directions on Google Maps told us it was another 2 1/2 hours of driving. We had no other choice but to suck it up and drive to Myrtle Beach, which gave us a ETA of about 10:00 PM. I knew that this was going to be difficult as we were both dead tired, driving in the dark in an unfamiliar place and now I was really frustrated that we hadn’t planned this part of our journey better!!

    Smoky Mountains!

    So a major lesson learned, it can be a problem if you do not book ahead while travelling America’s Highways. The drive to Myrtle Beach was very tiring and stressful, with us now being on the road for over 10 hours. I did most of the driving since Hubby is much better at navigation than I. Thank God for the I Phone and Google Maps. It was the only way we could have made it in the dark. We rolled into Myrtle Beach around 10:00 PM. We were arriving a day early on our six night stay at the Anderson Ocean Club and Spa in Myrtle Beach. It could have been a problem but our luck finally changed and they just added another night onto our existing reservation and we had a bed for the night, finally!!!

    Anderson Ocean Club & Spa, Myrtle Beach!

    We had stayed at the Anderson Resort a few years ago, only for a couple of nights, but we liked it and now had a week to relax on Myrtle Beach, a place I referenced in my last book the Squatters. We were assigned to a room on the 12th floor which was very nice with an oceanfront view, a nice condo with a full kitchen, living room, one bedroom and bathroom, and a great balcony overlooking Myrtle Beach in both directions. We had full sun on the balcony until 3:00 PM. The condos face East so no evening sunshine, a negative as far as I am concerned. Anyway full sun for the first half of the day!

    Myrtle Beach Oceanfront!

    We got settled in the room by 10:30 PM. We were really interested in the outcome of the Election 2016. It wasn’t looking good for Hillary Clinton. We ordered up a hotel recommended pizza which was delivered in 20 minutes. We had some wine with us that we purchased in Ontario, so we had a great scoff of pizza and wine, while watching Trump roll over Hillary for victory. A major disappointment for us, but what can you do? We were off the highway, our stomachs were full and we had a nice condo for the rest of the week. A far cry from the parking lot outside the Publix Supermarket in Rockingham, North Carolina, the Town from hell!!!

    Duffy’s on the Boardwalk Myrtle Beach!

    We were booked at the Anderson Beach Resort for eight nights. Time to relax after the stressful drive from Rockingham, North Carolina down to Myrtle Beach. We had a great eight days, one day was wet and cool 10-12 C, but all of the other days were nice for November at 20-22C pleasant , but not at all pool weather. However, it was just what we were looking for in late November. I must say that the pool area of the Anderson Beach Resort while quite nice for sunbathing did not offer a great pool for swimming as it was too small and way too shallow. So if you are a swimmer this is not the place for you unless you want to swim in the ocean which is way too cold in November!

    Afternoon Walk on Myrtle Beach & the Pool at the Anderson Beach Resort!

    Everyday we had a nice walk on the beach and boardwalk. A great uninterrupted beach for miles in each direction. The weather was perfect for walking. About 30 minutes down the beach were a cluster of restaurants offering lunch and dinner. As well as a number of small beach stores which were still open for tourists to pick up a few tee shirts and other gifts to bring back home. We had lunch a couple of times on the boardwalk while we were there but nothing impressive to mention here! Most days we had breakfast and lunch at the condo, and went out to dinner at night!

    Parade of Horses for the American Heart & Stroke Foundation on Myrtle Beach!

    We did enjoy some very long walks along the city centre of Myrtle Beach and we also took some long walks down as far as we could on the beachfront area! We visited some oversold homes and watched the many horses parade on the beaches over the weekend which was being undertaken for the American Heart and Stroke Foundation. Hubby was not impressed with the amount of horse poop that was being left behind by the horses and their riders. They just let all  the left behind horse poop wash into the ocean and there were hundreds of horses, so quit a lot of poop hit the beaches that weekend! Not very sanitary for the swimmers or people walking the beach in Myrtle Beach. I guess it doesn’t happen very often so, perhaps not too environmentally  unfriendly???

    Downtown Myrtle Beach where the Estates Reside!

    Old Family Homes Here!

    Restaurants we visited in Myrtle Beach!

    Carrabas Italian Grill: We just love this chain of Italian restaurants. We have eaten at Carrabas at Virginia Beach, Virginia, St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. We also decided to visit the Carrabas located in Myrtle Beach as well. No disappointment here for sure with the veal dishes, all around $20.00 US and each with a salad or soup starter, unlimited Italian bread with their outstanding olive oil dip and a side of Cacatappi Amatriciana Pasta. We told the server that we were Carrabas fans and shortly afterwards the Manager came over for a chat with a couple of free glasses of wine. We had a great chat with him about why we like Carrabas. He signed us up with a courtesy card which gave us discounts on future meals so we went back for an encore meal before we left. It was great again as well. We recommend you visit a Carrabas Restaurant near you if you like Italian food at reasonable prices!

    MK on the Boardwalk of Myrtle Beach!

    Chili’s Grill & Bar: Our first experience with this chain which serves Southwestern food, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos, nachos etc. We didn’t visit here by choice, but by necessity. This particular evening was Veteran’s Day in the USA where everyone takes the Veteran in their family out for dinner. Since there are lots of Veterans, lots of restaurants, particularly the chain restaurants offer free meals for the Veterans on Veteran’s Day, November 11th. A very nice gesture but a difficult day to get into a restaurant! Chili’s looked like it had no line-ups to get in, so we gave it a shot. However, there was still a 30 minute wait for a table but they gave us a seat at the bar to observe the activities. It was great to see some World War 11 Veterans out for dinner with their families. November 11th is a very different day in the USA, more of a family day as opposed to a solmon day in Canada! When we did get a chance to order, it didn’t take long to get the food. I ordered a Chicken Quesadilla and Hubby had a Chicken Fajita. Good food and cheap. Lots of it too, so much so we had left overs boxed to go. Great stuff to put in an omelette the next morning. Dinner cost only $25.00 US with a glass of wine each!

    Hubby Having a Brew at a Bar on the Boardwalk!

    Olive Garden:  Our visit here was one of necessity and not by choice also. The weekends in Myrtle Beach are popular nights for eating out even in November. So on a Saturday night line-ups were everywhere except the Olive Garden. We enjoyed our dinner at the Olive Garden in Morgantown, North Carolina on the way down, so we had no problem giving it a try here in Myrtle Beach.  Our alternative was fast food so the Olive Garden was the right choice! We did however have to eat at the bar as the restaurant was completely full. Didn’t bother us though! Hubby ordered Cucinamia, pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce. I ordered a Chicken Piccata. We are partial to Italian food and it was pretty good actually. Lots of Italian Bread and a nice salad each with loads of fresh tomatoes. With a glass of wine each dinner cost less than $40.00 US including tax and tip. It was a great meal for sure and it exceeded our expectations. After this trip we view Olive Garden Restaurants with more respect.

    MK Having a Brew in the Sun!

    Carolina Road House: The Carolina Road House is Golf Magazine’s choice for where to eat with your buddies. We saw lots of Golfers with their buddies on the rainy night we ate there. We were looking forward to eating here because it looked enormously popular on the weekend with exceptionally long wait times up to 90 minutes for a table – we checked! It was a very large restaurant too and nicely decorated! No problems getting a table on a rainy Monday night. It sure was a lovely restaurant with great atmosphere, high ceilings with large fans, nice tables and plants throughout. A very pleasant place to eat. It had a very large bar in the middle of the room too! Too bad the food did not match the expectations of the decor and atmosphere! Hubby ordered a Louisiana Seafood Gumbo as a starter which would be good for both of us as a starter. It was a good gumbo at $5.95. For my main I ordered the outrageous foot long Kosher Hot Dog grilled “Backyard Style” served on a fresh bun with deli mustard, covered with a giant mound for french fries and buried with homemade chilli cheese, and onions. It was the Killer Dog at $9.95 US. It was enough food for four people let alone me! Needless to say we had it for lunch the next day too. Hubby ordered the famous Prime Rib Sandwich with lots of tiny slices of Prime Rib on French Bread with Au Jus and melted Jack Cheese. It should have been good but the beef was very dry and the Au Jus was in short supply. A very medocre sandwich at $14.95 US. So we surprisingly did not have a great meal at $50.00 US including tip. The menu does offer a lot of other choices at good prices, so if we ever go back to Myrtle Beach again we will give it another chance. Give it a try and see what experience you have there!!!

    Carolina Roadhouse & the Huge Hot Dog!

    Long Horn Steakhouse: We had a fantastic steak dinner at the Long Horn Steakhouse at 1180 Oak Forest Lane just across the street from the main shopping mall in Myrtle Beach. The line up was quite long during the Veterans Day Holiday weekend. But on a Tuesday night no problem getting a table! It was our last night in Myrtle Beach and we sure picked a winner!! A really nicely decorated restaurant with a great atmosphere for dining. The lighting was perfect and the tables were nicely laid out with seating which was quite roomy and comfortable. The restaurant had a nice old Western theme which was prevalent in the pictures, accessories and other memorabilia that lined the walls.

    Longhorn Steakhouse, Myrtle Beach! Unique Atmosphere!

    The steaks came with a choice of a side, a salad and unlimited freshly baked breads. So we didn’t order a starter.  We both had the grilled ribeye steaks. Hubby likes his medium rare, while I prefer mine more well done. The fire grilled option was delicious with a nice char and crispy surface to the steaks. I must say one of the best steaks we have ever tasted.  Certainly  even better than the Keg steaks that we really liked from the Keg located at the York Street location in Toronto which is the best Keg steak in our opinion! Both steaks were cooked to our desired level of doneness, very tender, juicy and moist and so very, very tasty!

    Cowboys at the Longhorn Steakhouse!

    Our steaks cost $19.99 US each, and with a couple of glasses of red house wine, dinner cost $65.00 US including tip, not bad at all for such an outstanding steak dinner. We would highly recommend the Long Horn Steakhouse for sure!!!!  Well we headed back to the Anderson Beach Resort for our last sleep before we hit the road tomorrow for our journey back to Canada by way of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania!!

    MK