Monday, August 4, 2014

a real beach vacation

Our June coastal vacation left us longing for the presence of a real beach with real surf and our favorite restaurants and hangouts.  Lucky for us, several things came together at just the right time and we were able to take a last minute trip to a real beach.  The kids were ecstatic and the adults were too.  Because it was last minute, as in getting reservations the day before we left, we got a great deal.  But also because it was last minute, I walked out and left the bag that had my sketchbook and drawing stuff along with my computer and books.  Actually things got weird much earlier the morning we left.  I had to get up at 4:30 am to run so we could leave early enough to beat the terrible traffic that's been on I-26 this summer.  It's really dark here at 4:30 and the critters are still out.  I was afraid I'd run through giant spider webs but I immediately startled a huge deer in the yard and was almost stampeded.  This was after not being able to sleep all night because the day before I was jumped by an unruly gang of fire ants who thought it would be fun to bite my legs and arms more than 20 times.  After the deer the run got easier and it was nice and cool but I was ready for vacation.

 We arrived early with no traffic at all and had plenty of time to get groceries and eat lunch at Hamburger Joe's.

 This is the second time this summer we've eaten in a place that had money all over the walls.  

 The ocean was happy to see us.  It was especially loud all week and the waves were very nice.  You could hear the surf quite well from the balcony and sometimes even inside with the door closed.  

 And we wasted no time getting out in the sun and sand.  This was a sea monster that almost ate the kids.

 Their favorite part of building sand things is destroying them.  This may have been the most fun they had all day.

 The weather all week was great.  The first two days were pretty hot but there was a nice breeze.  Perfect weather for eating dinner on the balcony.

 And with us it's always perfect weather for ice cream.

 I've decided that when I retire I'm going to work at one of these ice cream places for fun.  And for free ice cream.

 That bag I forgot to take also had our exercise DVDs in it.  We just started PiYo and I didn't know it well enough to do it without the videos so I tried to run extra to make up for all the bad stuff I was eating.  These early morning beach runs are great.

 We went to Broadway to enjoy the cooler temperatures that rolled in and we watched the statue lady mess with people and scare kids.

 We got one of the scavenger ducks to eat out of our hands but I just realized those photos must be on G's phone.

 A couple of nights we had some great electrical storms off the coast.  Phones are the best things to photograph lightning but you get the idea.

 The kids made some spending money at the art sale and this was the first and probably the best purchase made by Violet.  She kept saying she wanted to find a "prank store" so she could buy one of those "fart balloons".  The whoopee cushion was a big hit.

 Another early morning run with a great view.

 This started out as a small castle that turned into a 25 foot long alligator.

 What do we do while G shops at the factory stores?  We pretend to be mannequins and stand very still in store windows while people walk by and think we're idiots.  Blue got pretty good at it.

 The food was great all week.  This shrimp cheeseburger with sweet potato fries wasn't quite as excellent as the crab topped bacon cheeseburger I had at Russell's but it was still very good.  

 People watching is one of our all time favorite things to do and we discovered it's one of the things we enjoy about going to the Grand Strand.  Most of the people we enjoy and laugh at, but this guy really irritated us.  Broadway was so crowded people were parking in the grass medians.  At times it was hard just to walk from store to store.  And yet this guy thought he needed to pull his kids in a big wagon with huge tires.  They almost ran over G and as we watched them mow down all the other pedestrians it was hard not to notice how smug and proud the parents were that everyone was looking at them and moving out of their way.  I guess it's no wonder kids grow up feeling entitled, huh?

 No beach trip would be complete without taking a drive down Ocean Boulevard.  We rolled down the windows, drove slow, stared at all the people and explained to the kids why they wont be allowed to date until they are 40.

 Running is never easy, but it seems a little easier when you get to see this while you run.

 High tide rolled in every day during our prime beach time.  As the week progressed it became a game to us to try to build something that the tide wouldn't be able to destroy.  We built this one right at the high tide mark and gave it three walls and two trenches to protect it.  It took some pretty big hits during the day but it survived.

 Later we turned one of the walls into a dragon and Blue pretended to battle it before we gave the whole thing over to the neighbor kids and went inside.

 Not only were the morning runs pretty, they were also nice and cool.

 On our last night we decided to try the Gulfstream Cafe not far from where we stayed.  The view was great.

 After dinner we happened across Anna and Elsa, two princesses from that movie that Violet sings all the time.  She was beyond thrilled.  They had story time and a singalong where about 100 kids screamed that song at the top of their lungs.

 This is my new favorite family portrait.  We love Shell World!

 For whatever reason, there were fireworks every single night outside our condo.  

 For us they were loud, pretty and free.  The best kind of fireworks.

 Another retirement goal:  I want to live in this house.  I may need two ice cream parlor jobs.

 My last beach run until Thanksgiving.

I eat a lot of bananas.  They're starting to show up in my sketchbook.  I made a giant one out of sand.

Two weeks until summer is over for me.  I'll have to start wearing pants again.

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