On our way out of Willmington I stop to take a photo of the USS North Carolina. It is hours before the sun will kiss its skin, but the lights from the parking lot next door do the job of lighting the hull:
I drive and drive. Eventually my eyelids become heavy, and around five in the morning I stop to sleep. I wake up to daylight just a few miles north of Myrtle Beach. The dog and I enter a ghost town. It’s the off-season and it is early in the day. We walk down an empty boardwalk next to shops whose shuttered windows and doors state clearly that they are not interested in selling us anything just yet.
I laugh at some of the places, such as the Gay Dolphin:
A name so bold it must draw crowds.
The boardwalk ends at a pier, where we turn around:
We find a dog park, and I let the Doo run wild with the other hounds. He barks and humps and romps in the water and the mud. I find a starbucks to allow myself the pleasure of the internet. I make chit chat with a few people, they are interested in my travels. I make vacation recommendations like I am a travel agent. It is funny.
With caffeine running through my veins I lace up the running shoes and we are off to the beach again. Running down the sand in lovely 75 degree weather. It’s shorts weather for the first time in a long time, and I take every advantage of it. We run down past the pier, then back. Miles, who knows how many, until a final sprint leaves my calves quivering and my quads burning. I strip down to my undies and get in the ocean. A shocking cold that is feels amazingly good. I draw a few stares; I’m the only one getting wet, and I’m definitely the only one without real clothes on, but I’m happy as I throw a towel around my waist and head back to the truck.
Mom calls, and I help her troubleshoot some computer problems. Sometimes I wonder how I remember all the computer nonsense. It’s been months since I’ve done any work, and yet there it all is, an image at the forefront of my memory as I walk her through her troubles.
Night falls and we go to the ‘happenin’ spot in town for entertainment. There is a christmas tree lighting, and a billion people. There are fireworks, and huge burgers. My camera sits in the truck with the dog, as I take it all in quickly. It’s not my thing. I finish my burger and get going. I prepare tomorrow to enter Charleston.