September 19-22, 2004
Myrtle Beach, SC
For many years Myrtle Beach was my favorite place to visit for vacation. It had everything I want to do; roller coasters, swimming, restaurants, night life, you name it. As a kid my family went every year. My most recent visit had been in 2002. As it was late in the season, it was much different visit than I was used to but I had a lot of fun. I decided to take some time from my new job and head to the beach with my family. Because of a previous engagement, we would be leaving for Salisbury, North Carolina on Friday, September 17 and staying the nite.
Because of Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Bonnie, and Janeen, I was very afraid we were going to be rained out as it started raining late Thursday evening at home, and continued thru our trip to NC. I was happy, though, to see beautiful blue skies when I woke up Saturday morning. We left Salisbury around 4:30 pm and headed south. It was about a 4 hour trip including our stop at Pizza Hut in South Carolina for dinner, but we made it to the Holiday Inn (now Sea Crest) Hotel we were staying at around 9:00 pm that evening.
After checking in and taking our luggage up to the suite, I promptly changed clothes and headed out for a nite on the town. I hadn’t really been out since moving back home, so I was happy to finally be getting dressed up for a reason. I cruised around downtown for a bit which, though it was the off season, was still fairly active as it was the weekend. I didn’t want to arrive at the club too early, so I cruised some more around Myrtle Beach. Then at around 11:30 pm I headed for Club Kryptonite, the hot new club at Broadway at the Beach. I forgot my flyer to get me in for two bucks, so I ended up paying $10. It was “Coyote Ugly Night” so there were loads of girls on boxes and up on the bar dancing and pouring drinks. The DJ was great, loads of good music, and the crowd fun. Getting back to the room, I took a shower and went to sleep.
I’d been feeling bad in the days leading up to vacation and woke up with a severely sore throat. Thank goodness I packed the Bufferin. We left and went to breakfast at Mammy’s Kitchen. The food was good and cheap. We left around 9 and the folks took my grandmothers for a ride around in the daylight of Myrtle Beach. My fraternal grandmother hadn’t been to Myrtle in almost 30 years, so it was quite different than the last time she was there. Instead of accompanying them my mid-morning nap was calling so I went back to the room and slept for a couple more hours.
On Sunday I went to the Pavilion. You can read about my visit Here.
On Monday of my Myrtle Beach trip I actually got to sleep in. I wasn’t out very late Sunday nite, but I was still not feeling that well, so I slept for a while after the parents and grandmas’ left for breakfast and strolling around. I had checked the websites for both Family Kingdom and Myrtle Beach Grand Prix to see if they would be open so that I wouldn’t have to cram everything into Sunday and, sure enough, they were both open during the week. I looked at the time on Family Kingdom and could have sworn it said the park would be opening at 1:00 pm until 6:00 pm today. Grand Prix had similar operating hours.
So I got up, got dressed, and headed out to the Family Kingdom around 1:00 pm as I needed a hit of Swamp Fox badly. I also had really wanted to ride their log flume and drop tower, both of which were not so new, but I hadn’t been able to ride on my previous trips. Imagine my shock when I drove down to Family Kingdom and saw nothing open. No ops anywhere, and the electronic sign just kept flashing that it would be open on the weekends. You mean I came all this way, skipped a ride the nite before, just for the website to have lied to me?
I was very disappointed, but thought that maybe the park opened at 3 instead. So with a little bit of hope, I hopped on up to North Myrtle Beach for a spin on my first spinning mouse. I could see that nothing was open when I got there, so I pulled up to the front and saw that the park doesn’t open till 3:00 pm. Great! I can go back down to House of Blues for lunch and a drink before I ride. This was good because I was starving.
So I went to Barefoot Landing and headed straight for the House of Blues. There weren’t many people there (gosh I just love the off season), so I was seated right away. A few minutes later I was waiting for my Blues Burger while sipping a Southern Comfort and Lemonade. I got to keep the funky glass my drink came in as a souvenir.
After I finished eating I headed back to MB Grand Prix. There weren’t very many people there at all. In fact, there was a group of 3 small boys and their parents. This was going to be interesting. I went and sat by the Crazy Mouse waiting for some ride ops to come over, but none did. There were only a few working, but every time the kids moved from one ride to another, the ride op had to follow them. No one paid any attention to me sitting alone by myself at the mouse. I sat for about 20 minutes and, hoping that someone would realize that I’m in the park and have tickets, got up and walked around. There were a few flats I had wanted to try, including a Top Star Tour and an oddly themed Rainbow but, alas, no one was running them!
Finally some more people arrived and someone asked if the Roller coaster was running. One of the ride ops said sure and went over to open it up. I was able to get on with the man and his girl.
Crazy Mouse-Crazy Mouse was definitely interesting. We were the only people riding but I didn’t trust the ride op with my safety. In fact, he told us all that we didn’t have to buckle the safety belt. All we needed was the bar that came down. Now, I’m sure that the safety belt is just a redundancy as the bar was more than enough to cover, but I’ve never had anybody operating a ride tell me not to use a safety feature. So anyhow, off we were. You get to the top and go thru your typical mouse section before a drop and turn around hill. Then there is another drop, which leads to a double up that goes to the next typical mouse section. The difference here is that you hit the spinning switch. We started spinning fairly good, and the ride got even more fun. There were quite a few dips and bunny hills to this ride.
So I got off and then got right back on again. I needed another spin, but this one would be by myself. I needed a bathroom break. Myrtle Beach Grand Prix wasn’t really that large. It was an open park with tickets or a POP wristband that I’m glad I didn’t get. The park was clean, but looked like it was just a carnival on the side of the roads with some nice cart tracks nestled in between. I can remember how popular it was when I was a kid. There were 2 rides sections, one with mostly adult rides like a Rock-N-Roll that was down for maintenance, and a Top Star Tour that I really wanted to ride, but didn’t feel like bugging an op to let me on. Then across from that on the other side of some go cart tracks there was an area with mostly kids rides and the funky looking Rainbow.
There was supposed to be a log flume somewhere, but I didn’t see it. Shame, they could have gotten more of my money had they just been operating more rides. Maybe had I went later in the day with more people there and more rides up it would have been better. I took one last spin on Crazy Mouse. I couldn’t get enough…
I got in the car and headed back to the motel. I wasn’t hungry, but the family was going out to eat and I wanted dessert. I got back and changed cloths into something I figured would be warmer. We decided to ride towards Surfside beach for some food, and my dad steered me to an Italian Buffet. It mustn’t have been very good, but they didn’t have any dessert, so I was out of luck. Oh well.
We got back in my Xterra, and Dad wanted to show my grandmothers where Alabama’s Theater was in North Myrtle Beach so away we headed. Imagine my surprise, and delight, when I saw the Ferris wheel at the Family Kingdom running as we went by! We went on down to N. Myrtle and back, and I got in my Xterra and headed down the street for my shot of Swamp Fox.
You can read about my visit to the Family Kingdom Here.
So that was it. I rode downtown to see how dead it was down there, and then circled around for my Donuts and Pizza. I love Dunkin Donuts. I ate 2 chocolate filled powdered ones before I even got my Pizza. Now it was time for bed, I had a long day of swimming and shopping for tomorrow, but this was the end of my riding days at the beach. The final day at the beach I spent some time at Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and hung out with my family some more at Broadway at the beach before heading home a day later.