Kim and I ventured down I-95 many times, seeking warmth and sun and the chance to work on our tans...and that feeling of being together, of adventure and being carefree - flying down I-95, peeling peanuts and throwing them out the window...I remember being pulled over in Virginia, for speeding and being so mad, telling the officer 'I paid like $150 for this radar detector...how'd you catch us?'...the officer, not impressed, explaining that as soon as those devices come out, the police simply switch technology...but, we did not let little detours like that ruin our time...
As you begin to get close to South Carolina, there are billboards for a wonderland called "South of the Border". Billed as 'America's Favorite Highway Oasis'. The first time we went to South Carolina, our curiosity was piqued, but, we were anxious to get to the beach, and we would have had to travel a way further south than our trip tik from AAA called for (hey, a trip tik was an ancient form of GPS back in the day!), so we resisted its sweet call...but the next time...we were drawn in like it was some strange magnetic force...the billboards, so compelling - marketing genious! Here's some expamples: Picture a dachshund, with the body of a hot dog...caption reads "Everyone is a Wiener at South of the Border!" Then, there is one that has a picture of "Pedro", in a large sombrero, with the words "South of the Border", printed upside down and then, rightside up, it says "Too Much Tequila!" In fact, don't let me try to explain these brilliant ads, just go to thesouthoftheborder.com and enjoy it firsthand!!
Well, we went the extra distance to see this oasis and found that it is a string of shops all peddling the same 'South of the Border' trinkets...and a few restaurants...and fireworks shops! OK, we did do some heavy shopping in the fireworks shops, so it was not a total loss! And, we took a bunch of cheesey photos at "South of the Border", too - there was a large gorilla and Kim laid in its arms, shrieking! I sat atop the dachshund statue that I decribed above, etc, - of course, we had fun!
Leaving, fully armed and ready to hit the beach, we traveled down a smaller road to get to Myrtle Beach. It wound through some old plantations, some still growing tobacco and many having tin shacks. The trees were large and filled with Spanish moss - very beautiful...we really liked the state, and loved the beaches.
The water is an aqua blue and the beaches are white sand. We would spend all day on the beaches, tanning, swimming, taking long walks and collecting shells. Kim always tried to bring home as many shells as she could - to this day, we have various decorative bowls and vases filled with shells from the many beaches we enjoyed together.
We always stayed in the cheapest dive hotel we could find, since, we knew we would not be in the room much, as when we were done with the beach, we'd go eat and stay out to close the night clubs. South Carolina had some great seafood buffet restaurants called calabashes. We'd scope them out through the windows to see who had the largest selection before choosing one. The seafood was always great!
I may have already told parts of this story, but once, in April, tired of the Pennsylvania winter, we once again found ourselves speeding down I-95 in search of warmth and sun. We had somehow lined up that rare, long weekend, where we both were off from work...Only catch was, it was Easter weekend. We promised to be back in time...
We had found a great 'dive' hotel, checked in and hit the beach. Later, we ate at a calabash and went in search of some nightlife. We walked for a couple of miles and came across a bar called 'PJ's'. Looked good. We entered, and a lady behind a caged in desk asked us for cover charge $$. We happily paid and turned to the inner door to enter, finding it locked...the lady we had paid the cover charge too, said 'oops, let me buzz you in' - there was a loud buzzing, a click and wah-lah! We could enter...although, in retrospect, it typically is not a great idea to enter a place where the lady collecting the cover charge is in a cage, and has to buzz you in to enter...but, we were young and naive and just didn't care - we were together!
The band that night was fantastic - playing a lot of cover tunes that we loved. At one point, I had to use the men's room and remember it being pretty well covered in blood, passing the loser of that skirmish on my way in. I went back and told Kimmy...she asked if I was ok - I told her yeah, just needed a beer and we resumed watching the band....until the place closed. The band came out and we met them and hung out for awhile. When it was time to leave, the band invited us back to their hotel - we declined - ok, we weren't that naive!
Getting back to our dive hotel around 3 a.m., we could hear a lot of action going on several floors above us - loud music, singing, etc. I went to close the sliding glass door (we loved to keep it open to smell the ocean air and hear the waves...), when a lounge chair went whistling by our balcony, landing with a crash next to the pool, just below! This is about the time we'd head out to the beach, with our arsenal of fireworks and set them off, oooohhhing and ahhhhing over our own display. Good times....
Anway, it had been a chilly beach day, and we did not get much tanning time, as was the next day...but, the day we were to leave - it warmed up into the 80's...so we decided to stay...but would have to miss Easter - not a comfortable phone call to our parents, but, it was so worth it! We got great tans and had a lot of fun.
Myrtle Beach had a pretty good amusement park, too. Kim and I were always suckers for a good roller coaster, and this park had the first corkscrew roller coaster we had ever been on - it was pretty wicked!
We loved the beach and always thought when we hit the lottery, we'd definitely buy a house right on the beach. Over the years, the location of where we were going to buy changed...Long Beach Island, N.J....South Carolina -any beach! San Diego....and, most recently, Laguna Beach (oh, it would have to be a serious Powerball jackpot!).
I know I have a lot of pictures from South of the Border and South Carolina - I just can't seem to locate them at the moment, having even check Kim's basement under our bed (found another pair of her sneakers and a couple more framed photos!) - but, I'll keep looking and update this post when I do!
Bambini's are doing great! One more day of school and they have a 4 day weekend for Rodeo Days! That's right, Tucson may very well be the only city in the country that awards the kids a long weekend for the professional rodeo that comes through town, kicked off Thursday by the longest, non-mechanized parade in the country! Yee-haw! We love it! They stayed after school today and got their homework done again (thanks Mrs. Schrantz and Mrs. Rudzena!) and I was able to peddle a lot of raffle tickets to the teachers and staff - thank you all for your generosity! We ate at Bruegger's Bagels tonight with Betsey, Brian, Mitch and Hadley, Amy and Alex for a Rincon Vista Middle School fund raiser - first of its kind at Bruegger's out here. Great sandwhiches!
And Barnes & Noble is helping me ease back into work life, slowly and graciously...Jaimelyn and the team have done a great job keeping the store looking fantastic and not piling me up with a lot of work. And Regina, the Foothills Mall manager, had me down to her office today to welcome me back - they had done a lot for our family, too, in terms of gift cards and checking in on the store - and is going to help sell Knight of Columbus raffle tickets to benefit Kimmy's foundation! And Mary, the Marketing Director for the mall, had cute Valentine's bears for each bambini, along with pens and other neat stuff - the kids were delighted!
My focus seems to be returning - I can't tell you how good it feels to be able to do 80 on the 10 and know where I am and where I am going (well, I had a small lapse Monday, but recovered nicely)! And getting back to work on the new high school planning committee Monday was nice, too. Everyone at the Vail School District Office had such nice things to say about Kimmy and how much they loved working with her...
So, I'm just keeping my eyes focused on the sun....