2015 Running Trip – Day 3 – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Problem #1 with getting old – It’s tougher to sleep. I had all intentions to sleep in a bit on our relaxed day, but 5:45am it was. My instincts kicked in, so I turned to something familiar. Uncle Steve mode in full effect.

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After getting a few more hours in with Sarah, the kids, and Zoe-pup, we got on the road just before 10am. The drive to Myrtle Beach was a short two and half hours, and we were prepared to find parking near our start point and get going. Today was the first day without rain in the forecast, and we were quite excited about it, especially being on the beach.

We started our Myrtle Beach route at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park. I found great amusement in the fact that their ferris wheel was missing a section. Good thing the park was closed for the season. In lieu of the theme, I thanked some family members, Randy & Lori Good, my uncle and aunt. Randy & Lori represent the Iowa farm family wonderfully. They have four kids and farm just 20 minutes west of us near Boxholm, Iowa. Cal was able to ride “the tractor” this fall during harvest season with Randy, and he now mentions Randy all the time when we see tractors in the field. It’s pretty great. I don’t have the heart to tell him that Randy isn’t in every single tractor in Iowa. A conversation for another day.

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Beach days on these running trips are always a treat. Mainly, because the packed ocean sand provides a great running surface for my battered knees. While the busy season is over here in Myrtle, there was still a bit of activity on the beaches today.

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Our second stop was the famous Myrtle Beach Skywheel. This wheel was a bit more put-together. Myrtle Beach is filled with crazy structures and high-rise hotels and resorts. The Skywheel is a fun piece of the city’s skyline. I thanked Tyler & Brooke Cronk again for their donation.

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Just down the way, we stopped at the 2nd Avenue Pier. Every great beach town definitely needs an impressive pier, and Myrtle has one. I thanked my colleague Laurie Rosenberger. Laurie is a Phi Delt staple, one of the friendly folks at our Headquarters that keeps the ship afloat. I look forward to seeing her in December while in Oxford.

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The Myrtle Beach boardwalk is quite impressive. It snakes in and out of the coastline among beautiful scenery. I thanked Jason Brannon, another Phi Delt from Iowa State. Jason has supported my running trips each year, and I’m envious of the places that Jason has lived in his life. He’s been all over the place in some incredible cities.

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Another view of the Boardwalk. A beautiful day!

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We had a real treat in store at our next stop. If you are a fan of mini-golf, Myrtle Beach is your haven. Courses are everywhere, and it seems that each owner attempted to outperform the next in the development of their courses. Mt. Atlanticus was tough to miss, and we couldn’t pass up a friendly round of mini-golf mid-run. I thanked my former colleague Steve Curtright, because I knew that he’d appreciate the ridiculousness of this golf course. Steve works at the University of South Carolina and is a passionate Nebraska Cornhuskers fan (don’t hold that against him).

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Seriously, look at this place!

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Brad found a friend.

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The view from the 18th green. Incredible. Unfortunately, Brad took me by two strokes.

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We then headed towards the Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball stadium, but on the way, I found the perfect Runner’s Choice for Suzanne Alexander. Some donor stops just make you feel real good, and I was quite excited to find this billboard for her. I agree with the sign. Let’s finish ALS.

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As a baseball fan, stops at baseball stadiums are always fun. The Chicago Cubs have a Class A Affiliate team in the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. We entered the team shop, and a friendly chap let us into the stadium to grab a picture. I thanked my former colleague Alex Stefanic. Alex went to school at Clemson, so I know that the state of South Carolina holds a special place in his heart. He’s also a huge baseball fan, and I know this because he willingly keeps a scorecard at games!

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A cool shot of the logo and team van.

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Just across the road is Broadway at the Beach. I was a bit amazed by this area. Filled with shops, stores, restaurants, mini-golf courses, etc., the area was quite cool. It even had a hotel that was built to make it look like it was crumbling. I thanked Jay & Heidi Longnecker. Jay is an Iowa State Phi Delt and is the Province President (regional volunteer) in Iowa. Jay and I interact quite a bit with my role as chapter adviser for the fraternity at Iowa State.

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I was pretty proud of our next stop – Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. One of my new colleagues, Robbie Marsden, played football at Dickinson College. During his senior year, Robbie was chosen to play in the North-South All Star Game, a 60-year tradition. The bleachers offered a nice break to thank my new favorite Instagrammer.

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On the way out of the stadium, we got a kick out of the pictures of the local high school team. Just classic.

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We ran back to the beach and ended our run at Bummz Beach Cafe. I once again thanked Mike & Deb Sedlacek for their donation. We were pretty tired.

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We had all intentions of taking Uber back to our car, but we couldn’t pass up a stroll on the beach. The sand and water were a well-needed relief to our feet.

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Taking advantage of the moment, I thanked my two awesome nephews – Will and Graham. I take my Uncle responsibilities pretty seriously, and I am blessed with two adorable and hilarious nephews. They crack me up, and it’s great to see Cal and Tess interact with them.

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A fun pic from our family photo shoot a few weeks back.

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Our brief walk in the ocean turned into a 2-mile walk back to the car. We couldn’t pass up the scenery, although we were pooped by the time we arrived back at the car.

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Our lodging was in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, about 45 minutes up the road, so we decided to grab dinner in Myrtle Beach prior to making the drive. A smart decision. Our dining destination for the evening was the popular Mr. Fish, and it absolutely hit the spot. We apologized for our attire – sweaty running gear – but the restaurant staff was extremely hospitable. Mr. Fish is pure Myrtle Beach, filled with delicious food from the sea.

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Included in the restaurant is a sushi and oyster bar. We skipped the sushi, but I ordered the fried oysters among other things. My mom makes a mean oyster dish each Thanksgiving, so when I have the opportunity to eat oysters, I take full advantage.

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We started with a few appetizers – hushpuppies and a smoked white fish salad to enjoy on crackers. We were basically full before the main course arrived. So good.

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Brad ordered the Boom Boom Shrimp tacos, and I had a medley alongside my favorite Southern side – greens. We definitely had enough to eat, so much that I took some leftovers with me. There was no way this goodness wasn’t going with me. I want to specifically thank Shaina at Mr. Fish for a wonderful dining experience!

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On our way to The Sunset Inn, our home for the night, we came across Tommy the Crab. Whaaaaaaat! It was the perfect backdrop to thank my niece – Alaina Purdy. Alaina is the daughter of my sister-in-law Jadee and her husband Jason. The crew stayed with us this fall, and we had a great time. I know that Alaina would have had the same reaction that I did to Tommy.

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We didn’t arrive to The Sunset Inn in Sunset Beach, North Carolina until 6:30pm, just after the office closed for the evening. The friendly folks at The Sunset Inn left the lights on for us, and our rooms were waiting for us. The Inn even delighted us with separate rooms, a seriously luxury on this trip! Check this place out. Beautiful! Rocking chairs on the decks, awesome rooms. Some serious Southern hospitality.

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A view from the decks. (Taken from the Inn’s website). We’ll have an opportunity to enjoy the views in the morning.

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My room! A very special thank you to our new friend Andrea Ward, the Inn Manager. Thank you so much for making our stay in Myrtle Beach a memorable one.

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Our route for the day.

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On to the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill). We get to run with friends tomorrow!

 

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