We are coming to terms with the idea that maybe we actually like Dirty Myrtle.
We seem to end up here at a frequency that would indicate this actuality, especially since Myrtle Beach (#dirtymyrtle) is not on the way to anywhere. So our ‘Nashville’ excuse (we have stopped there a few times too – but Nashville is usually ‘on the way’) doesn’t elucidate the fact that we have now spent over three months of our traveling life parked in Dirty Myrtle over the span of 5.5 years.
If I was Jake, I would give you that in percentage form, but I am not Jake and I did not participate in AP math in high school because I was not invited to participate.
Why have we found ourselves parked at Myrtle Beach State Park for a portion of three out of the five winters we have spent living in our wheeled house?
Initially, we chalked it up to our good friends and fellow cat aficionados Cam & Liss living in the area. But they left for warmer climates two years ago – so that no longer accounts for being drawn to the Myrtle’s tacky, off season seashore.
The price to camp for a month at Myrtle Beach State Park during the winter ($400/month Winter Special – that’s East coast cheap, baby) has definitely incentivized our stays.
COVID still ravaging the U.S. – even as vaccines are beginning to become available – is another, I suppose. We are still cautious about spending time indoors with others, so experiencing some of the offerings of a novel location is still off the menu for us. Myrtle is no longer fresh to us, and the slight guilt I experience when either not being able to (closed) or not feeling comfortable (personal decision) to experience a town, city, or area’s special activities or place isn’t a concern when there.
Off-season Myrtle is pretty barren of people. We get to experience mostly people-less beaches to our heart’s content – especially if the weather isn’t lovely.
And this go-round in Myrtle, the weather sucked a sour candy. Yes, it was mostly really gross. It rained. And rained. And then sometimes it rained with an added side of wind. A few times a special helping of thunder and lightning spiced things up.
When it rains at Myrtle Beach State Park the campground floods. Not ‘carry your shit down the river flood’ – but annoying, miserable, 5 inches of water everywhere floods. We somehow lucked into an ‘island’ campsite – the rare site that didn’t hold water. The flooded campsites around us were really just bonus water features, which would have been nice if we didn’t feel bad for the other full-timers and weekenders who were trying to live in or enjoy them for the weekend.
We’ve experienced a bit of rain flooding at Myrtle Beach State Park during every stay – but this time, it was for most of our stay.
We participated in a trail race while in Myrtle. It rained. All-day.
It just rained. A lot.
It was okay though. Not too much has changed in Myrtle since our most recent stay back in January 2019 or even the stay before that in February 2017.
The glory hole is gone.
A few hotels have or are being renovated.
A dilapidated mini golf course or two has been vanquished from the area.
We monitored the beachside Ferris wheel was being dismantled for ‘future exciting renovations!’ during our daily runs.
But our favorite parts of Myrtle still thrive.
Croissants is still pumping out delicious grits and lemon bars.
Myabi Jr’s, while horrifyingly closed during our first week in town (we attempted to patronize them upon arrival), resumed business shortly, permitting us to acquire takeout from their tasty hibachi-style rice and shrimp (or meat) kitchen on the weekly.
Kosta Bowls is still providing the people with fresh Açaí bowls (the nutty bowl is clearly the best).
The beach is still endless, void of people, and dotted with dying sea creatures – from jellyfish to starfish, and sadly, even the occasional dolphin.
We discovered a pizza place that built us pizzas that we felt were worthy of mention. (Disclaimer: we rarely pizza hate or discriminate, so a pizza ‘worthy of mention’ is a decent compliment).
The candy stores are still abundant – although the thought of bulk candy bins is no longer appealing to me. A side effect of the pandemic, I suppose. Where once I lived in a cloud of oblivion that germs existed and could possibly infiltrate god’s gift to man, candy, I have now become aware.
We celebrated Jake’s 31st year of crunching data and solving problems on Earth while in Myrtle. A bit tricky to fully recognize his glory, with our discomfort of indoor activities and dining, but a valiant effort was made. He’ll always deserve more, of course. While the steak dinner provided from afar by my dad was take-out style this year, in the future (post Fauci Ouchies?!) we’ll be able to fight Jake’s ‘meat starvation’ (I swear, my dad thinks Jake is going to die from not eating enough meat) with in-person fancy steakhouse dining.
Would Myrtle be better if Cam & Liss still lived in the area?
Is it still a tolerable – even enjoyable – place to spend a down month in the winter season?