Planning a visit to the
South Carolina or the Grand Stand?
We just visited for the first time in early March, 2001. Come
along with my wife and me as we drive south (and back). I have
tips, suggestions and ideas for you. Many of the attractions,
restaurants, and sights are "linked" so you can get more
information. Just click the Link you are interested in and if
this page has been helpful to you, please bookmark it or e mail
it to a friend.
been welcoming tourists for years. If you are either a Golfer or
a shopper, seafood fan, or just walk on the
will truly enjoy your trip. The "Grand Strand is 60 miles of
wonderful clean beaches with a number of towns located on it.
Something like 2000 restaurants (honest), and some of the largest
shopping outlets on the East Coast.
Our Mar 3- 11, 2001 Road Trip to
Our trip was scheduled 9 days. According to
CAA/AAA it looked like it would take two full days of hard
driving. The trip back actually measure 1,839 kms or 1,142 miles.
There were a number of routes which could take, but CAA/AAA
recommended Hwy 11 south to Toronto, onto QEW, crossing over at
Fort Erie; West on I 90 and south on I 79, which eventually runs
into Hwy 19, then onto I 77, finally crossing over East at
More about this later!
We left North Bay, Ontario at 8:15 am Saturday March 3, 2001 on a
bright sunny cold day, (9 Degrees F) driving south on Highway 11
towards Toronto. At 1:50 pm we crossed the Fort Erie bridge (US
Border). Getting low on gas, we made a pit stop at the Angola New
York overpass at 2:40. An interesting stop, you can cross right
over I 90 on a covered foot over pass. There is a Mobil service
station outlet on each side the of the divided interstate, and
also a good sized food court and small gift store. We purchased
some New York Lottery tickets and then headed back out again.
(Checking the internet later when we got home I discovered we lost
again, but hey, what can you do with $6,000,000 US anyway?)
There are three Cracker Barrel restaurants along this stretch
of the I 90, in fact the first one is just over the US border and
you can easily miss it. We decided to stop at the second Cracker
Barrel in Jamestown at 3:35 pm. The third one is located in
Erie, PA. If you read
my Cape Cod tourist guide, you'll know that I can't say enough
about Cracker Barrel. If you've been in one, you'll find that
every one looks the same, with minor variations in stock. A great
country store in the front with Rockers (big and small) on the
porch for sale. Inside the store you will find a wide selection
of gifts, kitchen ware, dolls, kids toys, nut and syrup items,
candies, jarred and canned goods, Sweat and T Shirts, sweaters,
caps, etc. Each store will have similiar items but different
enough that's it worthwhile just to stop at any Cracker Barrel to
browse the Store.
Then you'll get to the restaurant. . If you're hungry, it's
best to go straight to the restaurant and then check out the store
later. Because if you're not alert, one or more buses may pull in
and all of a sudden you've got a long line up, waiting to get
seated. However, even if you do have to wait, it's well worth it.
There is a huge selection of breakfast, lunch and supper choices
with a wide variation in prices. Matter of fact, it can be hard to
choose just what you want to eat. One good idea is to pick up a
breakfast and lunch menu (they're separate) and peruse them while
you're on the road. I'm assuming your "navigator" will be doing
the reading for you, and you can zero in more quickly on what type
of meal you can look forward too.
Cracker Barrel loves to sell a big breakfast special, the only
problem being you'll actually end up with two breakfast
portions. Which is fine if you can really eat it. For instance
on our trip we saw the following advertised (and delivered to
another table): A Blackberry Pancake Sampler- two (large)
buttermilk pancakes, with blackberry sauce and real whipped
cream. Two eggs, a portion of ham, sausage and bacon, choice of
fried apples or hash brown casserole for $5.99 US. A 20 oz size
of Orange Juice was $1.99 and coffee was $1.19. I might add there
was a disproportionate number of very large people- in the 250-300
lb range who were ordering these types of meals.
I ordered the baked ham sandwich for me, and the turkey
sandwich for my wife. On lightly toasted sourdough bread, these
sandwiches are great! Cracker Barrel is well known for it's Sugar
Cured Ham. Try it, you'll enjoy it too!
Back on the road again we reached the
at 4.22 PM and Erie, PA at 4;54 PM where we exited onto I 79. The
driving was fine, the temperature was increasing. It had reached
35 degrees F. However we had heard on the news prior to our
departure there was a cold front coming in from Canada and warm
front heading north from Florida and there were warnings of "the
storm of the century" coming with as much as two feet of snow in
some areas of the North East, including bad weather as far south
as Richmond Virginia and heavy heavy rain forecast for
Charlotte, North Carolina on
Sunday afternoon. We had a quick stop, and then reached the
Virginia Welcome Center at 7:50 pm. The temperature has increased
to 37 degrees.
By this time we had already picked up the Interstate Motel
Discount Coupon magazines and were planning a stop at the Day's
Inn at 228 Middletown Rd. Fairmont, West Virginia. I spotted the
exit sign and got off I 79 ok, however I managed to miss the turn
sign and took a scenic trip into town which added about 20 minutes
or so there and back to the correct turn. As soon as I got back
close to the Interstate I noticed the Day's Inn sign where I
should have turned. So I guess we can say we ended the days trip
at 8;30 PM. Like I said a hard days driving of 990 kms or about
615 miles. At this time of night we were pretty tired and simply
had some juice and fruit in our room.
This Day's Inn was quiet, however the housekeeping was very
lacking. It needed a good cleaning. The room was $45.78 US or
$71.34 Canadian at the special Interstate Discount Coupon booklet
Sunday March 4, 2001
Up early in the morning, we awoke to cool wet weather with an
outside temperature of 39 degrees F. This Day's Inn advertised a
"Continental Breakfast". The office was quite neat, and had a
small eating area. I was impressed as there was a selection of
cereal, coffee, tea, Orange Juice, cinnamon buns and fresh
apples. We enjoyed a light breakfast and picked up a couple of
apples to take with us. We quickly packed up our belongings from
our room, checked out, filled up our tank at the Sunoco station
for $1.439 per gallon and left at 7:30 AM.
Warning: Speed traps on Highway 19, West Virginia!
70 mph legally in West Virginia. Except for the speed traps!
Which we'll soon get to. Although the coffee was nice, it soon
necessitated a Rest Stop at 8:25. At 8:56 AM we reached the
junction of Highway 19. And this is where you really have to
watch yourself, both north and south of Summersville. Remember
you were blithely driving along at 70 or even 80 or more in the 70
zone. But now, you're going to go through various zones of 60,
55 and even less on roads that were designed for much higher
speeds. Having been "caught" in this speed trap before driving 66
in a 55 zone headed north to Canada over four years previously, I
was being very careful to watch the speeds signs and adjust my
speed accordingly. In fact, so much so, that in much of this
driving I was "legal" all the way. However three young girls in a
compact car driving beside us weren't as careful. They took off
very quickly from a stop light. The driver didn't even see the
new unmarked white police cruiser take off behind her in hot
pursuit. She must have really built up the speed because all of a
sudden she was gone, and further up the road over the crest of a
hill, pulled over by the friendly local police department. And
ahead of her another new white unmarked Police SUV had pulled over
Now here is how these speed traps work: The first tip off
should be if you are lucky enough to be warned. In this area
there are plain sign warnings: "Speed Strictly Enforced" or "Radar
enforced". Next keep a look out for the Police. They drive white
unmarked sedans and SUV's. Why do you think they are unmarked?
Then the speed zone drops like a rock. You better too. Just
going with the flow won't protect you either. At times a whole
row of cars may be pulled over. Or just the Out of State plated
vehicles since they are not likely to contest the ticket. You can
also research the Net for these speed traps. Highway 19 is one of
the famous ones. Matter of fact when I looked it up (just type
"speed traps, radar enforcement, etc into your browser) I read one
article that estimated $8,000,000 US or more annually in speeding
fines were levied in this area. That's a heck of a lot of tickets,
and the average one is about $117. US. So you've been warned. If
you have to speed, don't do it in this area!
Our slow little trip along Highway 19 ended at 10:12 am when we
reached Beckley, or about a hour and 16 minutes drive time. We
stopped in the Beckley Cracker Barrel, walked around a little,
but the restaurant had a pretty good line up, and we decided to
stop and eat at the next one at Exit 9 in Princeton about 35 miles
We drove through the big mountain tunnel and crossed the North
Carolina border at 12:00 noon. We reached Charlotte at 3:11 pm,
and exited Highway 74, headed South East to
were amazed at the clusters of large auto dealers- Arnold Palmer
Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW, Saab, Volvo, Ford, GM, etc. in the
Charlotte area. They seemed to be on every block.
Now the real tedious part of the trip begins. Stop and go
traffic, city and small town traffic and lots of exiting. From 74
we exited on 52 South, then 9, then 38 south and finally 501
South. Rather excruciating at the end of the day, and finally
arriving at our Hotel- Day's Inn on the Oceanfront at 21st. and
North Ocean Blvd at 7:12 PM. Another full day. 869 kms or about
540 miles. (Check out the alternative routes at the end of this
We had pre booked our Hotel from North Bay and I had reserved
an Ocean Front room. I checked ourselves in at the front desk and
was assigned an efficiency on the 4th floor. The current
temperature was 52 Degrees which wasn't bad for a night
temperature this early in the season. In fact it was quite
comfortable. It was breezy and although I wanted to walk down to
was outranked and advised I could do that tomorrow. The surf was
quite loud and due to the lights form the high rise hotels, fairly
bright on the
We hadn't had supper and I asked the desk clerk where a nice
simple restaurant was. She suggested the "Bumz
which was only a few doors down the street,
side. An awful name, but a delightful little spot. This was a
fairly small one story restaurant which was was quite neat, with
large picture windows and a deck, surfside. Since it was 8:00 pm,
we were eating inside. There were only about a half dozen other
dinners, having a liquid supper at the bar. I chose the Grouper
sandwich (blackened) and Marion had a Philly sandwich. I ordered
a draft and Marion had a coffee. $19.76 US plus tip. The food was
excellent and we planned to go back.
It seemed there were as many sporting clothes stores as
restaurants-names likes Wings, Bargain, Surf, etc. Since a few
were only a block from our hotel we stopped in one and I picked up
a nice beige sweat shirt, with a collar and zipper. Mid way
through our trip I learned you're not supposed to pay the actual
price listed on these clothes, but instead bargain the retailer
down. One friendly store owner even offered "if you see anything
you like and don't like the price, just ask me". However some of
the prices are pretty good to start with, but if you enjoy
bargaining, go ahead.
Monday, March 5 2001 Sunny, windy and 57 degrees!
Up bright and early to a gorgeous day, we took a little stroll
on the Beach.
Too cold to stick a toe in the ocean, but warm enough to walk by
the surf. Very small sea shells littered the
few other walkers out early as well.
I went down to the Hotel office and picked up a couple of
coffees, miniature muffins and a cinnamin roll. No juice. "Not in
season yet". Funny, I can get orange juice back home, even in
winter. So the "Continental Breakfast" was a big disappointment
again. Note to Ray: Find out what a Continental breakfast means
when reserving room.
We decided to check out some of the shopping areas. Driving in
through Conway, yesterday, we had noticed a lawn ornament
business and were on the look out for a replacement deer and fawn
which had been stolen from our front steps while on vacation in
Cape Cod the previous year. We made that shop our first stop, and
found some deers, but they weren't anything like our original
ones. We had found out after the theft that the concrete deers
were made in Massachucetts, which was pretty ironic as we could
have probably bought a spare set when we were down there. However
we hadn't planned their theft while we were away. And the darn
thing was they were over ten years old, purchased in Florida by
us, given to my in laws, and then given back to us when they sold
their Florida mobile home. So we decided to keep looking but
never found ones we liked.
Onto Myrtle Beach Factory Outlet
on 501. What a big place. The down side was
all outdoor entrances, which would have been fine in warm weather,
but there was a cold wind blowing.
We also stopped at Dicks Pawn Shop on 501. The old computer equipment was
greatly over priced. The collection of semi automatics,
revolvers, rifles and even an AK 47 were pretty frightening.
Lots of jewellery and Rolex watches to look at too. Interesting
Back on Hwy 17 in
stopped at Grandmas' Kitchen for a buffet lunch. The old guy at the
front cash register was busy on the phone and didn't acknowledge
us. The food was ok, the fish good, but the surroundings were
fairly scruffy, and this one was de listed from a repeat visit.
The bill was only $13.00 plus tip (US).
Back to the hotel and another long walk on the
walked over to the Pier 14 Restaurant (yes it is on the pier, one of many piers along
A combination bar, restaurant we decided to have a beer and check
the menu for a possible return for dinner. Very nice surroundings
plus a nice little gift store on the premises with jackets,
sweaters, t shirts etc. We decided to come back later for supper.
Heading back to our hotel room I caught a catnap for about an
hour and one half. After all this is a holiday.
Walking out to the
again, we headed south towards Pier 14, stopping in at the
Gau Dolphin. Now I better explain this one. It was not a gay
bar, not that there's anything wrong with that, but being husband
and wife, not husband and husband, or wife and wife we prefer
heterosexual bars and restaurants. After all there's nothing wrong
with that. The Gay Dolphin is in fact a gift store or rather a
series of gift stores, all under the same roof. You name it,
you'll probably find it in there and it's quite interesting. It
was highly advertised on the local TV stations as were many of the
other attractions and restaurants.
Due to my catnap, and our side trip, we missed getting a window
seat at Pier 14 for supper, but we were only one row over and
still had a good view of the ocean and beaches. We had pretty
much decided to order the Lobster Tail at $14.95 each (US), and it
was a good decision. Excellently cooked, I told myself not to
worry about the Exchange rate and just enjoy the meal, which I
did. Adding tip and taxes this meal would work out to $37.14 US or
about $59.50 Canadian for the two of us. And that was only with
ice water and no appitizers.
Unfortunately, South Carolina restaurants have not heard of "no
smoking" areas, and this we really missed. Cape Cod is way ahead
of them in this area. I think Cape Cod had a no smoking policy
in all their restaurants.
Tuesday March 6, 2001 Sunny, windy and 47 F degrees
Yikes, it's cool this morning! No sun bathing on the
either. And golfers would probably have to wear gloves. However,
we're headed to Waccamaw Factory Outlet, right on Hwy 501, just over the
Inter coastal Waterway. Basically comprising four separate indoor
malls, this place has everything. I've already called my friend
Bud, who's also from North Bay, visiting
set up a date for supper with ourselves and Bud and his wife
Joyce. It's ironic that we not only spot Bud's car in the parking
lot, but we also bump into Joyce as she's waiting at an entrance
door for Bud to bring the car around. Bud's taken the same route
south as we did, but the day before our trip, and we've managed
to book adjacent hotels, ours at the Days Inn and theirs at The
Being on the lookout for a small luggage bag we stop at the
Samsonite Factory Outlet Store. We find a small one similiar to
our existing set, purchase it for $58.00 US, and Marion finds a
bargain, a Buxton wallet at $8.00 US.
Feeling a little famished we stop at one of the food courts
which is almost deserted and pick up one large Pizza slice and
drinks and split the slice. One of our lower priced lunches at
$6.25 US. Walking on solid concrete really gets to you after a
while, and we feel relieved when we decide to call it a shopping
day and head out.
We walk over to the Breakers for before dinner drinks with Bud
and Joyce and then Bud chauffiuers us all to supper. Bud's found a
nice Italian restaurant, about a mile south of our hotel on the
main drag: Romana Villa Restaurant. The surroundings are quite pleasant. The
wait staff very attentive. There's even an accordian player who
comes in later. However we'll miss "Mother", the matriach of the
family who usually visits the dinners to see how they are doing.
The special is spaghetti and meatballs, salad, rolls, and wine and
it's an excellent choice. The bill was $67.46 US for four
($107.93 Cdn) Bud tells me it's my turn to pick the restaurant
Wednesday March 7 2001 Sunny, Windy and 54 F!
The day is certainly looking nice. As we have an efficiency
unit, we start off our morning with a fresh glass of Tropicana
orange juice and cereal in our room, sitting by the front balcony
(not on the balcony -too cold right now), watching and listening
to the surf. The only down side to the efficiency is that the
large 15 cubic foot fridge, although it appears almost new and is
spotlessly clean, makes a fair amount of noise at night. Little
did we know that the fridge will be the least of our problems late
at night. I'm also wondering why the wall paper is missing and
peeling over the kitchen counter, then I realize there used to be
a microwave bolted in there, but it's not now. Maybe someone took
it. Hopefully not the guest before me.
Another long walk on the
There's a new high rise condo being built just to the south of our
Days' Inn. However this time of year, there's a pretty limited
number of other walkers out. Although some sun bathers will come
out later in the morning. This section of the
all commercial buildings- hotels, motels and restaurants. Further
south or north, you'll find more residential areas mixed in with
the commercial ones. Some of the designs are quite interesting.
Square Mall is located not too far from our hotel at 2501 N Kings
Highway. Their anchor stores are Belk, Sears and Peebles. Another
good shopping area to visit. We find a couple of nice Nike
baseball caps for our son Kipp at Champs Sports.
Krispy Kreme Donuts Alert
Walking and shopping is a sure way to make you hungry. I had
heard different stories about Krispy Kreme Donuts. All good.
Matter of fact, most of them sounded like they came from Over
Eaters Annonymous. Marion had never heard about the chain, but I
had noticed one right on Highway 17 (Kings Hwy) not too far from
our Days Inn. So I suggested we should stop there. Actually I
was going to stop there anyway, I thought "suggesting" would be
the polite thing to do. We pulled into the lot, looked over the
counter and I spotted glazed raspberry filled donuts right away. I
said that's what I'll get. Marion agreed and we both ordered a
donut and coffee. Sure we were hungry by this time. We agreed
these donuts were the best we've ever eaten, anywhere. The Tim
Horton Donut Chain back in Canada may start to shake, as Krispy
Kreme is supposed to be headed north of the border.. Fortunately
for Tim Horton's, we found the Krispy Kreme coffee to be ok, and
not as good as Hortons'. After we got back home Marion saw Donny
Osmond on a TV talk show and he said he had bought a whole box of
Krispy Kremes and eat them all. At one seating. We only had one
Walmart Superstore Highway 501
The day being still young, we had previously spotted Walmart
and decided to check it out. Superstore was a good description. We
had what we thought was a big Walmart store back home, aren't they
all? But this one was huge. Even a grocery store on the
premises. We ended up buying some fresh grapefruit (was it
ever!), apples and single serving fruit cocktail. Over in the toy
section we found some nice little Matchbox vehicles that our
grandson Connor, age 2, is crazy about. It used to be Canadians
would buy a ton of stuff in the U.S. as the prices, even with
exchange were much lower. That's not the case now, and we had
previously discovered many items, including food was much more
expensive in the U.S. Computers can be cheaper in Canada. Video
cameras can be much cheaper in the U.S. Hard liquor is cheaper in
the U.S. Wine is cheaper in Canada and you can enjoy a low cost
Canadian wine, but a cheap US wine will taste like swill.
Back in town we stop at one of the local Chamber of Commerce
buildings (there are a few) and purchase a good city map. Then
it's off again, driving down Highway 17 and stopping at more
tourist traps. After, we head back to the hotel, take a walk out
on the beach
again before supper.
Back at the Days Inn, we notice there's actually sunbathers on
What a strange combination I think: sunburn and pnuemonia!
Actually once you get away from the high rises, the wind velocity
decreases somewhat and with the sun shining, it's quite nice.
Another walk on the
declined by the Boss. Her turn to rest. I put on my shorts and
short sleeve shirt just in case this is the last chance to wear
them and decide to head down the
Pier 14 again. I had purchased a nice embossed cotton sweatshirt
for $13.00 on Monday. On special as it was a second. I had asked
the clerk why, he replied "something wrong with the logo". I
couldn't see anything wrong at all. It took me some time to find
out the logo was just slightly tilted. However if you were not
looking for it, you wouldn't notice , so I decided I should get
another one, since I liked them and the original price was
$25.00. Ok, I decided I liked the price, but they were 100%
cotton. Anyway, I was in luck and found a green one in my size,
to match my other blue selection. This time the clerk added .65
sales tax so it came to a whopping $13.64. And there were still
more "off" sweatshirts left.
here we come.
Never been to a Planet Hollywood before. And it was my turn to
pick a restaurant for me, my wife, and Bud and his wife for
supper. I had heard the food there was pretty expensive, but it
sounded like an interesting place. Tons of actual movie props and
clothing. So our guests buzzed us at 5.00 and we headed out this
time with me as the chaffauer. The restaurant is easy to find,
right across the road from the Hard Rock Cafe and Broadway by the
However the parking lot was nearly deserted. We wondered if it
was even closed and weren't sure which door to go in (up the
stairs or at street level). We chose up the stairs as people were
coming out there. It turned out the street level entrance led
into the gift store, which in turn led directly into the
We were greeted warmly, and seated right underneath the
Porsche Speedster driven by Luke Perry in the TV series 90210.
Never watched the series, but I was assuming they had taken the
engine and any other heavy part out of the car and were using
really strong wires to hold it up. I was feeling a little
paranoid until both Bud and the wives mentioned their unease at
our seating arrangements, and they didn't believe the waiter
either when he said "Don't worry, it'll never fall down". So we
simply moved to another "clear" table, much to the surprise of
the waiter when he came back. The waiter was very friendly and
asked where we were from, then offered to take us for a little
tour around the restaurant. That was the most interesting part of
our supper. We'd seen a lot of the movies in which the memorabilia
appeared and it was pretty neat to see the stuff up close.
Thursday, March 8 2001
It's been a noisy, partying, drunken night. No, not us, the
people next door! Finally at 5 AM I'm about to call up the Front
Desk to complain, when we hear the pounding on the door next door
and "Open Up! This is the
Police Department. Open Up! I'm not going to ask one more
time!" The noise level suddenly drops to nothing. I'm almost
tempted to open the door and check out what's happening, then I
think maybe that's not a good idea. I peer out the peephole and
see the Police a couple of doors down. Apparently someone finally
complained and now we can get some sleep.
It's a very cool morning when we do get up. In fact only 28
degrees F. It will eventually warm up to 58 degrees, then cool
down again in the evening.
We're headed to North Myrtle Beach
and our Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Cracker Barrel will kill
you with the food if you're not careful. But we had a light
breakfast. And it was very good as usual.
Onto our next stop -
Barefoot Landing , lots of shopping, restaurants, and
entertainment. An interesting concept, it was relatively quiet the
day we went. Lots of factory stores (13) and about 100 other
stores, all set around a huge pond that you could cross over a
couple of boardwalks.
We made a few other stops on the main street, including a
Christmas type store.
Back at the hotel, took another walk on the
walked over to
Pier 14 Restaurant for supper. We were smarter this time, arriving
about 4:30, so we got a seat right by the window, overlooking the
ocean. We ordered a jumbo shrimp cocktail to start (just one - we
split), then ordered the Flounder. When it came I thought they
made a mistake and given me two orders. It was huge! And
delicious. $34.24 US before tip. Plus some live entertainment. A
very enjoyable meal, we recommend this restaurant!
Friday March 9, 2001, Last Full Day in MB
7:30 AM and it's 55 degrees F, cloudy with a light rain. With
our effeciency unit we've had a lot of our breakfasts in our
room. This morning we'll try the Olympic Pancake House, just up
the street and across the road. A nice little restaurant, I try
the Pecan Pancakes and Marion has the Buttermilk Waffles. $11.72
US. Very enjoyable
Then it's off to Murrill's Inlet, a area known for it's Seafood
Restaurants, located on the ocean, just south of
stopped at the Inlet Mall on Highway 17 for a little walk around,
and then drove through Murrill's. A lot smaller than I imagined.
A lot slower pace. Some nice looking restaurants, and interesting
homes. Hoping to stop for lunch, we found most of the seafood
So we headed back, and by chance I turned off a side street,
and ended up in
one of the smaller and prettier residential areas along the Grand
Strand. There were hundreds of rental homes, most on stilts and
multi unit buildings and condos. Many had "for rent" signs on
them and it was extremely quiet. At least this time of year. We
tried to find some public parking so we could walk along the
it seemed to be wall to wall private housing.
Fortunately we came across the
Conch Cafe at1482 N Waccamaw Drive, on the
There were a few cars in the lot and we thought we'd try it out
for a late lunch. Good decision. We got a seat by the window and
enjoyed the ocean view. Marion had the Po Boys Crab cake. I had
the shrimp. Very tasty, good service and reasonable at $16.61.
I asked our waiter about all the fire work stores we had seen.
Apparently almost everyone who comes into town for the summer
rentals sets off fire works on on the
night. Thus all the stores. And "no smoking" in the stores
Time to pack up our suitcases and get ready for our trip back
Saturday March 10 2001
7.55 am and we're checked out and heading home on the same
route we came in. We stop at a fireworks/slash/pecan store on the
way out. The owner talks me into buying unshelled paper thin
pecans. A bargain. Until I get home and spend about one hour or
more cracking them open. (Note, just buy the bagged, shelled
pecans next time). We picked up a few Claxton Cakes for my father
in law too. The owner asks where we're from and then makes a few
suggestions as to where we should have stopped on our visit.
Damn, why didn't we bump into this guy when we came in! Oh well,
maybe next time!
We stop at Sparky's on the way out as well. A must see! What
a tourist trap, they have everything! A good way to blow 30
minutes. The drive back out seems not as slow as the tail end of
the trip coming in. However it still is somewhat of a wagon trail
getting back to the main interstate. We reach 95 about 10 am. and
Charlotte at 12:20.
Time for a break again, we stop at at the Mooresville SC
Cracker Barrel for a rest and lunch. Excellent as usual. Wish we
had them back home!
Entering Virginia at 2:30 we note the temperature is 53 F. At
7:00 we stop at Shoney's for a quiet supper at exit 119.
AT 8:20 in W Virginia, we pull into a newer
Super 8 at Fairmont. What a nice place! and $48.00.
Sunday March 11th 2001
7:30 am and 31F degrees. Brrrr. We reach the bridge through
Pittsburgh at 9:20 am and at 10:45 am stop at Cracker Barrel in
Meadsville. At 1.50 we reach the Bridge at Canada and it's still
Time for a real cup of coffee at the local
Tim Hortons in Fort Erie.
We reach the 407 bypass at Toronto at 3:20 and at 5:00 pm we're
delighted to find Webbers Hamburgers open north of Barrie. What a
great place. At 7:30 pm we pull into our driveway in North Bay
and a chilly 20F.
We enjoyed our Myrtle Beach trip. I always wanted to visit
wondered what it was like. Now we know! Certainly if you are a
golfer this place will be even more of a must stop, however if you
like sun, restaurants, shopping and the ocean,
Would I stay at the same motel? No. As usual we picked the
busy area of town. Fortunately we didn't pick a real budget place
as the real budget motels are magnets for the kids who like to
drink and party. Next time I'll pick a more expensive hotel/motel
or one further out from the main drag.
Editors update March 13 2017: I noticed I had this page
uploaded years ago and sort of forgot about it. Then
when I was searching the net, I noticed it again after years of
just sitting there. Whats changed with us? Well, a
lot of years have passed,, we're older now, we added more grand
kids, upgraded our car a few times, and added a second one, we
moved twice, and our present home is located in St Davids, a
short 7 minute drive to the Queenston Lewiston Bridge, and 13
minute drive to the Nexus only Whirlpool International Bridge,
which makes car travelling to the US and flights out of Buffalo
much more easier.
The Cracker Barrel Restaurants are still
around and just as good. Early March travel to Myrtle
Beach can still result in chilly weather. Matter of fact my wife
asked why Myrtle Beach Tourism was running TV commercials in
March por traying Beach weather. (Yes it can be warm,
average high temperature in March is 68F and average low is 46F)
Or in the 50's F when we visited.
Days Inns like a lot of the older chains are
gettting..... older. Older doesn't always equate run down
but it can. An old hotel or motel can look quite nice on the
outside, until you get inside. The Days Inn we stayed
at in 2001 - 16 years ago- is obviously older again, and when I
checked Trip Advisor reviews seems to have a lot of unhappy
customers. We now try to stay in newer hotels.
The Days Inn in Fairmont is still listed
and had a 2 Star review in Trip Advisor in 2017. (More bad to
Terrible reviews than Very Good)
The Days Inn in Fairmont is also still
listed and had a 3 Star review in Trip Advisor in 2017. (
To be fair to the more budget motels,
hotels out there, generally you get what you pay for. You
can't compare them to a level such as Hiltons or Hamptons. In
the Niagara Falls Ontario area we have the expensive hotels such
as the Marriot, Hilton, Fallsview Casino Resort, Great Wolf
Lodge (great for families), and others, and on the other
side of the scale, many Mom & Pop motels, including some lower
scorers on Lundys' Lane. Best to check Trip Advisor on any of
these hotels/motels keeping in mind you have to balance the good
and bad reviews on the same location.
The speed traps are still there along Hwy
19 in West Virginia. I googled it.
I haven't googled all the restaurants we
visited in Myrtle Beach. I did check Pier 14, and its
still there. Bumz Cafe was still listed. I suspect
many of the other ones are there as well.
Gas prices in the US (compared to Canada)
are still very reasonable. But in 2016-2017 we are being
pummelled by the low Canadian dollar.
Mr. Trump has also scared the pants off a
lot of travellers, and I've even had some clients cancel their
US tavel plans because of the current political environment.
email me at
(c) Copyright 2002-2017 Ray
March 12 2017 Revision