Bob Bestler

Life on the road already providing revelations, including one right in the backyard

I started visiting Myrtle Beach in the early ‘70s, then bought a condo in North Myrtle Beach in 1985 and moved into it in 1988 as a permanent resident of the Grand Strand.

In all those years I had heard about Myrtle Beach State Park, but never once did I visit the place. It was on the south end, I lived on the north. Not a good excuse, though: I found plenty of time to visit Huntington Beach State Park down by Litchfield Beach.

Anyway, two weeks ago I spent four days on a campsite at Myrtle Beach State Park and realized that I had missed one of the Grand Strand’s gems, a hidden treasure I’m betting not many know about.

Its 336 campsites were rather hit and miss, some good ones, several not so good, in my view. But the pluses were many. Close to Myrtle Beach and Market Common, a clean, quiet, nearly unpopulated beach about a mile long, and a forested acreage missing in so much of the Grand Strand. And a nature center rivaled by nothing on the Grand Strand.

The bride and I were delighted and it became one of many revelations we’ve experienced in our brief time as RV residents. Here’s a few more:

  • Not much more shopping at Costco. Everything comes in a package of two, three or six and we barely have room for a package of one. A small one. (I’m reminded of Jay Leno joke: Costco is planning to sell caskets, but you have to buy a package of three.)
  • Martini glasses do not travel well for several reasons. They are too dainty for camping. They do not stack and take up more room than they are worth. So now martinis come in a stone-solid old-fashioned glass —a great loss to a by-the-book martini drinker. Ah, well. Just means more trips to the Tini Martini Bar in St. Augustine.

  • No cable TV, of course, and so far no satellite, which means no ESPN — a great personal loss. We have over-the-air reception and the channels change with every change in campsites. Last weekend, I missed the entire PGA Tour Championship because I could not get NBC. I’ve warned the bride: When I can’t get a Green Bay Packers game, I’m heading to the nearest sports bar.

  • The only other TV I cared about was my liberal MSNBC friends, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. No problem: We get their full shows the next morning on my trusty Levono laptop. Also Stephen Colbert and Bill Mahr.
  • Unless we get a portable Dish, which we may, TV is free. No cable bill, no satellite bill. And while we’re at it, no electric bill, no internet bill, no mortgage, no homeowners insurance.
  • Yes, I’ve got my golf clubs, but so far no interest in getting them out. Maybe when the weather gets cooler, maybe when we hit a state park that has a golf course. (And maybe a good reason to reserve a site at Cheraw State Park, a few miles up Highway 9.)
  • Every campground has a store with dozens of cutesy RV sayings. Stuff like “RV there yet?” and “Home is where I park it.” I actually like the truth of that last one, but I’ll pass nonetheless.
  • A lot of our time, so far, has been finding places to stay for longer than a couple of nights. With millions of RV and campers on the road, and with most of them heading for warmer wintertime climates, that is no easy task. And then, weeks after booking it, we have to remember where the place is. If this is Sunday, Sept. 1, I think we’re somewhere in Kentucky.

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