Vacation was a word we didn’t talk about much growing up. We had a family business and summer was our busiest time of the season, therefore vacation wasn’t an option. Now being young and never getting to go anywhere weighss on a kid and he begins to become ruthless in his efforts to get out of the mundane life he leads and go on vacation somewhere, anywhere it didn’t matter. So one year late in the summer late ,August to be exact, the business had slowed after a very busy and hot summer. We had an appliance business and did air conditioning as well so the hotter the summer the better and in Missouri you can sure expect a pretty hot and humid summer so needless to say we stayed busy. Anyway the weather took a slight drop and business slowed considerably but we had put quite a bit back in the bank. Now we had nothing but time on our hands and plenty of money just sitting in the bank I said why don’t we go on vacation. Now mind you vacation is something we only heard about or saw on TV in the winter time when there wasn’t anything to do. South Carolina
was the first place I mentioned cause I had heard a lot about Myrtle Beach and wanted to see if it was as fun there as I had been led to believe it was. There wasn’t any complaints and no real ideas since this whole concept of going away was new to us, so off to Myrtle Beach we went. Now mind you going that far away on a road trip
should be well thought out and planned but we threw caution to the wind loaded up and headed out of town like the true explorers we thought we were. First stop of course was getting something to eat for the beginning of the long drive and let me tell you when set off on a long journey your choices are limitless on what to get to eat. This is time to be different and try new things, but instead we stop at the first McDonalds we could find. I guess stick with what you know and you’re safe was the idea anyway. Well we got food out of the way, had gassed up, and off we were. It only took 2 hours to get out of town after actually loading up in the car to head out so that whole getting on the road at a certain time went out the window but mind you we weren’t real experienced in this whole vacation thing so I guess we were doing ok. Now mind you Myrtle Beach is 15 hours away nearly 900 miles of driving. I wasn’t looking forward to being cooped up in a car with my parents for that long, but the outlook was good swimming
in the ocean and fresh sea food made it all worth it. The first hour went by without any problems at all quiet- no talking, no radio- so I dozed a little. I thought if I slept some the trip would go quick and I would be there when I woke up. Hour two started off pretty good. We were pretty close to Tennessee, probably an hour from Nashville. We stopped at a rest area to go to the rest room and stretch the legs. It was vacation no hurry to be anywhere. We all headed into the building where the restrooms were it was nice and air conditioned and very clean good choice for stopping I thought. When we all finished and headed out the door, I noticed our left front tire was flat and I’m sure when we went in it was fine. Puzzled, we took out the spare and changed it there at the rest area. Minor setback we were off again all refreshed and ready for the trip. I had the bright idea to ask for some radio. As a youth asking their parents for radio turned out to be a very bad idea so back to sleep. I headed without delay. This was turning into nothing I had planned for but I was patient. I knew the real fun was just ahead and the trip would be behind me until we had to come back anyways. Just past Nashville, Tennessee the real fun had begun. My step-father decided he was going to make up some time and get us there faster, so he stepped it up a notch. I guess I don’t have to tell you the rest of this. Yes, a speeding ticket to add to our trip. So much for saving time that took up more time than if he would have just stayed on course like we were, but hey like I said no where to be so no harm just another small setback. After laughing and poking fun at my step-father for about an hour, that put us deep into the mountains of Tennessee heading for Knoxville. We were getting a little hungry again and needed a break from the road so we pulled off to find somewhere open it was just getting dusk but the town seemed to have quite a bit of places to go so we decided to get some buffet. There was a nice place along the strip that was open so we all agreed and went on in. The food smelled great. I was pretty hungry so I’m sure that helped. Our waitress was obviously from around there she had a real southern drawl chewed her gum like it was trying to get out of her mouth and seemed to know all the regulars pretty well like they were neighbors . She had the “I hate my job therefore I hate you” attitude though which made ordering drinks a task in its self but we muddled through it all and went up to the food bar and loaded up on goodies. When it came time to pay and get out of there my mom asked the waitress for a ticket so we could pay and go. The waitress told my mom if she would open her eyes she could see it was already on the table. I can tell you all for those that don’t know my mother that was a bad thing to say to her. I told mom not to say anything. We were going to be leaving and never see this woman again. It wasn’t worth the time to argue. My mother politely told her that if she did her job and kept the table cleared she could have seen the ticket laying there. I told my step-father that I thought it was time to go and knowing her, he agreed. So we loaded up and headed on back to the highway. It was dark now so I figured it was a good time to take a nap. I was nice and full and the air was nice so we put down the windows for a while and turned off the air conditioning. The mountain air smelled fresh it made it relaxing to take a nap. For the first 20 miles, I could still hear my mom talking about the waitress back there and my step-father trying to calm her down and remind her that we were on vacation and to let it go. It was getting pretty late but we all were determined to just get there and find a place to stay after we made it there. Fifteen hours isn’t all that long after all. We figured we could get there and find a hotel there and sleep in. When we reached the South Carolina border, my step dad woke us up. Mom and I both had fallen out on him. He had the radio cranked but I didn’t mind. I was out of it. We were almost there, probably two hours at most, and I was determined to stay awake the rest of the way. There was absolutely nothing to see for miles and miles except crops and crops and more crops. I was hoping the whole state wasn’t like this. We arrived at Myrtle Beach all safe and sound. FINALLY! It was so pretty. We drove down the strip where all the hotels were and was in search of a place to stay. Now mind you it is dead in the middle of tourist season, so yes you guessed it “No Vacancy”. That was pretty common and my step-father was ready to park in the middle of the strip and sleep right there in the driver’s seat. This guy walking down the street said there was a pretty decent motel and fairly reasonable in price but it was up from the beach. At this point, it didn’t matter where it was, we were all ready to get out of the car and get a nice shower and some sleep. We pulled in and sure enough they had a room and the guy was right it was real cheap for where it was for that time of year. Well that should have been the first clue to what was about to be reality. We all walked in and it smelled like they were raising dogs in there. I took out some spay deodorant I had in my luggage and began delousing the place as best i could. My mom said we would tough this out tonight and find somewhere to stay tomorrow. It wasn’t 30 minutes past, I had to jump out of the bed. I was getting eaten alive by fleas! Yes, huge fleas. I said I can’t sleep like this we have to go, so we all walked down to the beach and laid out a beach towel. It was twenty minutes later when beach patrol said we had to leave there was a strong storm surge coming in and the beach was going to be closed all day. No beach? What was the point? That was the whole reason I wanted to go there, because there was the ocean and we couldn’t even be there. I told my parents why don’t we head inland, find a room, and just head back home. This whole trip was a bust, nothing good had happened. All agreed and my mom drove us into town where we found a Super 8 and finally got some sleep. When we woke up they asked if I wanted to try and go back and I said no let’s just go home and find something to do there. I was so discouraged after this trip, I didn’t ever want to go on vacation again. A couple years later, we did re-take the trip there and I had a blast. I just cringe at the thought of this trip every time I think about it. At least I finally got to go there and now I love Myrtle Beach. It is one of my favorite places to go now that we know how it is there and when to go. It is quite enjoyable.