September 28 & 29, 2006
Myrtle Beach SC
Pavilion Last Ride
Waking up on Thursday morning I got my things together, ran some errands, and headed south. This was my only major trip planned for the year, and it was a mixture of excitement and sadness because this would be the last time I would visit the legendary Myrtle Beach Pavilion. The drive from my home in southern West Virginia to Myrtle Beach was around 7 hours. Thankfully Janet Jackson had released her then latest album that week, so I planned to give it a full listen on my way south. The weather was rather dreary, but I knew that reports were for sun in Myrtle Beach thru the weekend.
About 90 minutes in to the ride I stopped in Wythville, VA since gas was only $2.08 to fill up and get some food. I wouldn’t stop again until North Carolina to get some directions, and then South Carolina for gas. Just outside of Myrtle Beach, on US 501, something in the other lane caught my eye. The Wacky Worm station and train from the now closed Grand Prix was on the back of a truck being transported elsewhere. I had seen pictures of the track packed up. I guess someone bought it. I had left around 10 AM and expected to arrive in Myrtle Beach around 5 PM and surely enough, at about 5:30 I was pulling in to the parking lot of the Hotel. I had spent the last 3 hours looking forward to arriving and relaxing in the room for a bit. That, however, would not be the case once I arrived.
Once I arrived it seemed as though everyone was having some type of problem with the staff. Sea Crest is a very nice ocean front property where we have stayed for at least 10 years. My parents would be arriving there the day I was leaving, and my mother had made my reservations as well since we were going at almost the same time. Unfortunately, there was an issue with the reservation.
After 45 minutes of waiting the Desk Manager, a rather snobbish woman with an English accent informed me that I no longer had a reservation due to the way I’d booked online with a debit card. I asked if I could keep the reservation and pay cash, but the prices almost doubled plus there was a $100 deposit. I was on limited funds for the first day of the trip, which was Thursday, as I was getting paid on Friday, making this the end of the pay period, when cash can be tight. Thats why I’d prepaid and budgeted everything for the trip down.
After a lengthy time spent at the front desk I left without a room. I went to a couple of other places but they all wanted ridiculous amounts for deposit since I was a walk up, and was usually about ten to twenty dollars more than I had available that evening. I spent four hours running around Myrtle Beach looking for a place for the nite and honestly the outlook wasn’t so good.
I called my mother and asked her if she could wire me the money that I had given her for the room since the hotel refund would take a couple of days. I asked if she could send it through Western Union online since I was at a K-Mart, but it was storming in WV and internet was out on the mountain. She said she’d check with Walmart and then go to the local Western Union if Walmart couldn’t wire the money. As I waited for her to call me back, I parked at K-Mart where Western Union was and got hassled by a homeless man who wanted money.
Eventually my Mother called and she had indeed sent me money via Moneygram. I went to a local Walmart and picked it up, a little bit happier after a few miserable hours. I almost went back to Sea Crest but instead I stopped at a Comfort Inn & Suites nearby. The room was $20 more but that included a private balcony, even if I didn’t have quite as many pool options. It was clean and convenient, so I was happy.
After showering and freshening up I rested in the room f. It was still rather early, so I changed in to shorts and a shirt and headed out to cruise around. I wanted to see the fairly new Coastal Grand Mall as I’d passed on going the previous year. It had gotten dark by this point so I drove down near Surfside and back, eventually settling in down town for the evening for a few hours, a couple drinks, and conversation with locals and non-locals alike. I arrived back at the room fairly late, sat on the balcony for a bit, and went to bed.
Friday morning I’d planned to sleep in then run to breakfast, and then spend the day at the beach before heading to the Family Kingdom that evening. That, however, wasn’t what happened. I’m used to getting up just after 7am for work. So about 7:30 I woke up for the first time. Then a little later, my phone started going off, which I thought was my alarm going off. Nope. Text Message. “Hey” I replied “Tim?” since I was expecting to hear from him at some point. Then I got the reply “No stupid, Tommy”. Oh! Yeah, he was coming down too.
We exchanged a few texts making plans, then I left him a message after I got ready. It was just before 10 AM, so I went and paid for the Hotel for the rest of my stay since I wasn’t sure I’d be staying there the rest of the trip the previous nite. I stopped by a convenience store for a few things and then I drove down town to my favorite breakfast spot in Myrtle Beach, Mammy’s Kitchen.
I sat and ate and looking out at the people walking and driving by. After breakfast I headed back to the hotel for a bit and then made my way down to the beach. I went for a fairly long walk on the beach, with the waves crashing against my legs. I love the ocean. The day was beautiful and the beach wasn’t crowded at all. Eventually, I made my way back to the room, watched some TV, and took a nap till about 2 PM.
I needed to pick up some disposable cameras, so I headed to K-Mart. Unfortunately it was a really crummy K-Mart. Not only that, but my ATM card wouldn’t work on their system, so I got back in the car and headed back out 501 towards Walmart where I picked up cameras and shoe strings. Next I decided to head over to Broadway at the Beach.
I parked by the new Heroes Harbor which is anchored by the new Margaritaville. This was a very nice addition. Then I made a complete lap around Broadway at the Beach. As a shopping and entertainment district, Broadway at the Beach is a very nice place with tons of stuff to do, but I’m not a big shopper and wasn’t hungry, so I walked around and then headed to the car.
Olive Garden was offering their Never Ending Pasta Bowls so I then went there for an early dinner. I took what was left back to the motel where I sat on the balcony a little longer looking at the ocean. As evening approached I decided to walk down to the Family Kingdom. I stopped in the lobby to pick up a $3 off coupon for the wristband and then went to say hi to my Swamp Fox. I was glad that Family Kingdom was just across the street from the hotel. I walked over, purchased my wristband, and headed straight for Swamp Fox. There wasn’t really a line, but the park was actually filling up quite a bit. The first two rides were really good.
After getting off of the coaster, I noticed that although the base for it was still there, the Chance drop tower had been taken down. Tommy later said they take the Ferris wheel down at the end of every season, so perhaps they do that for the drop tower as well. I’d have liked to ride it, but oh well. I walked over to the other side of the park and hit Pistelero Round up. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden this when anyone else was riding. Walking back around back to the carousel, I snapped some photos and ventually came back around to Swamp Fox.
Swamp Fox–This is the only rundown I’m doing for a ride in this trip report as I rode it multiple times and only rode everything else once. The first two rides were good, the third was really good. But then the people started coming in to the park and by my fifth ride, I got an amazing rides with an almost full train. I was slung all over the seat. I love buzz bars and the coaster delivered each time I rode it. Finally I tired of running around to get in line and wanted to rest before going out for the evening.
By this time it had gotten dark. I would take more Swamp Fox rides for sure, but I headed over to the Thunderbolt. There was a decent crowd in the park now. Thunderbolt ran us backwards first, then stopped and ran us forward. The program was pretty long, and I hadn’t ridden one in years. I actually enjoyed the spinny ride! I took a few more turns on Swamp Fox, but then headed up for the Pirate ship which wasn’t running at that moment so I opted for the Ferris Wheel instead. I was on the ride by myself and got a fairly long cycle both forwards and backwards. That one runs fairly fast too.
I hopped back on for more Swamp Fox rides. I toyed with riding the Log Flume, but decided against it. Then I decided to go back to the room and change clothes for the evening. I went back down town and hit a couple other spots in Myrtle that nite before heading back to the room as I knew that Saturday I needed to get up earlier, so I hopped in bed slightly earlier on Friday.