Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Waylaid, Shanghaied, and Hauled Away....

Fog beginning to roll in over the Grand Strand, December 31, 2018, about 10:30 p.m.
So Ms. B. and I had figured we would spend a fairly quiet New Year's Eve with friends Terry & Beth at their place in Winston-Salem. Drink some wine, maybe lounge in the hot tub on a chilly winter night. Sounded like a fine plan. Up until Friday night, that was the plan. Then, friends Terry & Beth put Ms. B. and me on notice: "We are going to the beach."

All righty, then.

Dang if we didn't go the beach. Sunday noon-ish, we hit the road, bound for the Caribbean Resort and Villas in Myrtle Beach. Brugger and I had been to Myrtle Beach couple of times already this year, and the last thing we expected to do was spend New Year's there. The horror of it! Waylaid, Shanghaied, and hauled away from home against our wills. There was only a wee bit of geocaching involved. In fact, there was none on the trip down—a first for me, at least since I started caching in 2008. It was hard, but I survived. (Don't know if I could ever do that again.)
Shark, viewed from 18th floor balcony

Fortuitously for us, our friends Gerry & Bridget, with whom we visited the beach previously this year, were down at their place again, so we met for a delicious, if quite noisy dinner at Taco Mundo, near their beach residence at Barefoot Landing. The sangria we had was decent at best, but Taco Mundo's Baja fish tacos—tempura fried mahi mahi, red cabbage, cilantro & ancho chile yogurt sauce—are the best I've had anywhere. For afters, we made a brief stop at Gerry & Bridget's place, where Ms. B. and I had made a sojourn back in May ("Strange Magic," May 28, 2018). Then the lot of us trucked back to the Caribbean for some wine and horrifying fellowship until the wee hours. Fortuitous indeed.

Yesterday morning, we spent a while watching a shark from our balcony. Eventually, having found no children to feast upon, it headed northward. I hope it managed to satisfy its hunger... somewhere. Then, we Four Mooseketeers once again met Gerry & Bridget, this time for breakfast at Carolina Pancake House, just around the block from The Caribbean. Scambled eggs, smoked sausage, grits, toast, coffee. Perfection. Gerry & Bridget then departed for North Carolina, and the rest of us headed over to Broadway at the Beach to get in some much-needed shopping. Here, I finally managed to snag a handful of caches and thus preserve my sanity—not so easy when you've been waylaid, Shanghaied, and hauled away from home against your will. The shopping outing lasted until fairly late in the day, at which time we needed wine. We found this at the Coastal Wine Boutique in Barefoot Landing, a fine little establishment we had discovered back in May. Good, good wine indeed. And since we were by now hungry, we snagged a couple of pizzas from Ultimate California Pizza, just next door; brought them back over to the wine bar; and enjoyed a pizza-and-wine feast we figured might hold us until we could kill some larger game.
The Four Moosketeers
Broadway at the Beach
Scary ladies!
Good wine, great company
Back at the Caribbean, we suited up and headed for the indoor pool/lazy river/hot tub, which at first proved agreeably mellow. After a while, though, hordes of screaming, running, snotting miniature human creatures, which our shark friend had apparently missed out on, overran the place. We did enjoy the time we had there, though, so we were content to return to our suite and dive into the massive charcuterie arrangement Ms. Beth had so kindly and expertly put together for us. I will tell you, one could not have paid top dollar for anything better.
Fog shrouds the ladies on the balcony

By this time—nine-ish—we had been all around Myrtle Beach, but not on the beach. Fog was beginning to roll in, but the temperature was still nice—around 55 degrees or so. Terry & Beth opted to stay in the suite, but Ms. B. and I went for a fairly lengthy walk by the ocean. She found a trove of beautiful seashells, which, in my experience at Myrtle Beach, is pretty rare. By the time we turned back toward the resort, the fog was getting thicker (and Leon was getting larger). And when we arrived back at the 18th floor and went out on the balcony, the fog had become so thick you couldn't even see the breakers, a couple of hundred feet away.

Over the next couple of hours, the low clouds continued to gather, classic rock music began to blast from the neighboring quarters, and the previously sporadic fireworks started going up in earnest. From our balcony, we had a fabulous view of a lengthy, fairly extravagant fireworks presentation, which appeared to be the work of someone other than amateurs, but which we learned had not been contracted by the resort. We briefly checked out New Year's Rocking Eve on the telly, but since it really doesn't incorporate any rock, we deemed it superfluous. As the midnight hour drew nearer, the fireworks blasted away amid the heavy mist, and cheers rang out from all around the resort. The music director a couple of floors below began taking hollered requests for tunes from Terry, who was all about boogeying on the balcony.

At the stroke of midnight, a fantastic fireworks finale kicked off AD 2019.
The Caribbean Resort & Villas, seen from the beach as the fog rolls in, December 31, 2018, 10:15 p.m.
Fireworks in the fog, viewed from our 18th-floor balcony
Get on down and party.
Things wound down quickly after this, which suited us old people just fine. We'd had a full day on the go, with lots of exercise, satisfying food and drink, and exceptional entertainment. And what a surprise for Ms. B. and me. Of all the things I might have expected to be doing on New Year's Eve, hanging out at the beach with good friends really wasn't among them. I should be waylaid, Shanghaied, and hauled away places more often.

I did manage to snag one cache on the return trip today, so I guess I'll be able to sleep easy tonight. Unfortunately, the rest of this week is going to be anything but relaxing, so the timing for this unexpected outing couldn't have been better. Thanks to our friends who really enriched our lives this weekend. And to all of you out there, have a helluva great 2019. Something tells me we all really need it.
Some of the shells Kimberly found on the beach
By 9:00 a.m. this morning, the fog had broken and the temperature hit 70 degrees

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