I belong to a cigar forum and some of the members discussed getting together and meeting.  A date and place, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, were chosen and I used a free Southwest Airlines ticket to book a flight and also booked a rental car and room.  Jen and I wanted to travel somewhere together this fall anyway, so I also booked a ticket for her too.  Unfortunately, the cigar gathering feel apart but we already had the tickets, so even though flying across the country would not have been our first choice, we were going regardless.

Our friends, Jeff and Jenny and their kids.

Since this a retirement blog and not a travel blog I will try and write this from a retirement perspective.  First off, we had to fly into Raleigh, North Carolina because Southwest doesn’t fly to South Carolina yet, though they will in 2011.  We have friends there so it wasn’t all bad.  It was great to see our friends, Jeff and Jenny, and catch up, but flying into a city 3 hours from our destination wasn’t all that smart.  We spent 4 days flying and/or driving and only two full days in Myrtle Beach.  Free tickets aren’t so attractive when you do things like that, but as I said, we were stuck.

Anyway, the drive was nice enough, but both of us, being from Nevada, thought that their were too many trees.  We visited the battleship USS North Carolina on the way.  Don’t miss it if you’re there!  Myrtle Beach was a nice, if not a little touristy.  Lots of stores selling t-shirts, shot glasses and the like, literately dozens of miniature golf courses and all-you-can-eat seafood buffets, and the beach was lined with high-rise resorts and condos.  We were glad we went in the fall as we understand that in the summer the place is crawling with families and kids.

The guns of the USS North Carolina.

Jen modeling the luxurious bunks on the USS North Carolina.

The food was good, especially if you like fired seafood, and the beaches were absolutely wonderful.  I managed to tick of part of an item on my bucket list by swimming in the Atlantic.  In fact, we spent an hour each day playing in the waves.  Fun!  Jen was able to also cross an item off of her bucket list by eating at a Waffle House.  Oh how we both wish they had locations in Nevada.  Yummy!  We also ate at two different buffets (they both included king crab legs!) and played miniature golf on one of the amazing courses.  We also indulged in more seafood at Bubba’s Love Shak in Murrell’s Inlets.  It is a beautiful place.  The trip home was uneventful other than the driving rain we ran into in North Carolina.  Out here on the west coast we would call that California rain.  It rained so hard it we could hardly see past the hood of the car.

Jen loved the Waffle House. Actually, so did I.

Outside Bubba's Love Shak, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina.

Finishing up lunch at Bubba's.

While there we visited a 55+ community.  Part of our goal while there was to check out the area and see if it might be a place we would like to live after our kids have moved out.  We talked with Kristen at Lakeside Crossing and she gave us a the grand tour, even knowing we are many years away from the 55 age limit.  I must say that the development is beautiful.  Nice homes, indoor pool and spa, a gym, fishing lakes and though they don’t have golf on the premises there is plenty nearby.

The beach at sunset from our balcony.

We doubt we would want to move so far from where we both grew up, but the tour did make us think that a 55+ community might be good option at some point.  The amenities would be great as would living in a place with like minded and aged folks.  Not having to worry about a family of 12 moving in next door and shattering the bliss of a peaceful neighborhood is a plus.

All in all a nice little trip to a region neither of us had been before.  Like anywhere, the southeast has it’s advantages and it’s disadvantages.  If our plans hold we will spend several years traveling in an RV after the kids leave home.  We hope to spend more time in places like this to really get a feel for them, but unless a place really captures our hearts we are unlikely to leave Nevada.  Still, you never know.