Tuesday, July 11, 2006

poke salad annie... gator's got your granny

Ah yes... vacation. It seems miles and light years away now. But to fill you in... (and so I don't soon forget it...) here 'tis.

So we made the stop in Charlotte on the way down. We just sort of meandered our way there on Saturday. It was nice to take it slow and not rush to relax (seems contradictory, right?). So on Sunday we got up and had breakfast and headed the rest of the way. We figured on a 3 hour drive, but it ended up being 4 hours, no biggie. We didn't get caught in any traffic, so that was nice. And we went off the highway to go around Columbia on a very nice 2 lane road. It was perfectly straight, and since everyone was at church, the road was ours.

We got to Huntington Beach with plenty of daylight to spare. Since we were guests to my aunt and uncle's camper where there was limited space (with 4 adults, a pre-teen, a dog, and an odd cat), we were living out of the trunk of Mom's car. So nothing to unpack. We just found our swimsuits, lathered on the sunscreen, and flip flopped to the beach. I think we did some body surfing that day, walked the beach, and took a nap. I remember the nap because I was sort of in and out and it was sunny AND it was sprinkling. And I remember thinking, "It's raining. No, it's sunny. No, it can't be sunny if it's raining. Well it is. You must be dreaming. Ok, night, night." STACE! You wanna go for a walk? "Uh... what? who? Ok..." I was awake, no more rain in the sun.

The next day was QUITE eventful. We got up at 5:30am in order to be on the beach at dawn. We took our cameras and headed for the jetty. The jetty is in Murrell's Inlet, about 2.75 miles up the coast by way of the beach. It's just out there in the ocean, beckoning. Ok, truth is, my mom won't shut up until we walk all the way there and back, no matter how much pain it causes us. It was nice to go at sunrise. Few people on the beach. The light was spectacular for photographs. It was quite the memory.

After the walk we had breakfast and I took a nap. (Do you see the pattern yet?!) Nothing like waking up from a nap around 10am. We called the kayak company to see if they had added an additional excursion that day... we were in luck! It was on like donkey kong at 12:30pm. Mom and I headed to Oyster Landing just north of the park. It's a saltwater marsh filled with oysters, crabs, swamp grass, and part time sea water.

Our group had to wait for a couple chics in swim skirts and flip flops before we could get started. One introduced herself as SPARKLES. We thought, "Grrreat... she's gonna hold up the whole trip." Our guides gave us some instruction, and we shoved off. The group started paddling after the guides... while Mom and I paddled the other direction in our tandem kayak. We exchanged a few words with each other and then paddled in yet another direction. And then back around in a circle before we got headed anywhere near our group. Luckily,one of the guides stayed back with us. We caught up to the group once or twice when they were stopped. Only because once we were going fast, we couldn't stop and we'd just crash into them.

We spent two hours rowing like crazy through the marsh. Mostly, we were working against each other... it was pure torture. Great scenery... never riding tandem with my mother in anything, ever again! (Sorry, Mom.) We got a divorce as soon as we got out of the kayak.

Camping with my aunt and uncle isn't like real camping. The RV is air conditioned and my aunt whips up gourmet meals lickety split every night. We were mere steps from the ocean. A boardwalk path leads from the campground to the beach. Only other campers were on our beach during the day. It was MUCH less crowded than the public beach. And there were stretches of beach where there wasn't a soul in sight.

On Tuesday we watched fireworks from the beach after dark. There were fireworks south and north of the park. The moon was out, there was a breeze, the waves crashing... it was fabulous. A wonderful 4th of July!

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