Toes in the sand: Life is good in Myrtle Beach

We got to Myrtle Beach super late Wednesday night, post-midnight Thursday morning. We might have arrived sooner if I hadn’t suggested we take a not-so-quick detour to Athens, Georgia.

There had been a bad accident along Interstate 20, so we might as well have. The jaunt from Atlanta to Athens adds an hour.

It was worth it.

My aim was to see Sanford Stadium and the University of Georgia campus. Just a drive-by. I came away super under-impressed, especially with Sanford Stadium. Mind you, I only got to see the outside. By every account, the field itself is gorgeous from what I’ve seen on TV.

Anyway, we drove straight through to the eastern side of South Carolina. We checked in to the Coral Beach Resort & Suites. The best way I can describe this place is “perfect for the beach,” much the same way hotels in Vegas are perfect for Vegas.

It’s utilitarian. Not fancy. Lots of security given that we’re in a vacation town with a fairly decent crime rate. The beds aren’t awful, and the rooms get ice cold. The floors in the halls get slippery as heck because we’re all basically staying in a giant beach dorm.

Speaking of which, there’s a hotel bar with grub on the beach, an establishment that is just for us hotel guests. Both Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, which we visited tonight, remind me some of Vegas. Lots of food, a billion tourists and lights everywhere.

By one account, Myrtle Beach is the 12th most dangerous city in America, and by another it attracts more new residents per capita than anywhere else in our union.

The median age is 45.8. Lots of retirees.

By the end of the second night, it reminded me mostly of Galveston, but smaller. And, also, by the end of night No. 2, we were spent.

After a three-mile run from 12th to 21st, down to King’s Highway all the way to 6th and back, I hit the beach with Kristi and Olivia. We rented an umbrella and some chairs, and I got a Yuengling and, later, a rum drink.

Kristi and I inhaled deeply as Olivia frantically started playing in the ocean and plotting her sand castle. She collected shells.

We soaked in moments.

You could smell the salt in the air, and the sand worked like a magical agent of exfoliation, washed away in 85-degree sunshine by cool waves from the Atlantic Ocean on our toes.

The sound of the wind and the waves erased temporarily the constant ringing in my head. It was delightful!

Kristi and I soon joined the young castle builder to help. Olivia and I later emptied our pockets and rode as many waves as we could, too.

The castle was complete but with little help from me.

And then we cleaned up and headed to the hotel pool, doing laps in their “lazy river” section.

I took the first trip back to the room for a shower, and I was zapped. In the best possible way.

I’m certain I could never be a ski bum — but a beach bum? In an instant.

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