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Wandering USA: Birthday at Myrtle Beach

I got to Myrtle Beach with just a few hours to spare before the first night of wild fun. And I was sicker than a dog. I took DayQuil, Mucinex DM and a nap. Then Zach and Joel showed up, bumping into the bike rack on the back of my RV and getting out of the car in full-force laughter. It was a definite indication of how the whole weekend would go, and it was only Thursday night.

I started drinking, while they continued, and I caught up and surpassed faster than ever. Must have been a side affect from also taking cold and flu medication… I felt like crap, but I was looking forward to this weekend for months and I was definitely not about to sit it out. It was my birthday in a few days after all.

I’d never met Joel before but we quickly became friends. Zach I’ve known for almost exactly 10 years. When I first told him I was thinking of traveling the country he told me about the Carolina Country Music Festival on the weekend of our birthday, because we share the same birthday. He was just born a year before me and it’s been a fun joke since we met. Anyway, that became my first official destination on my Wandering USA tour and off I went with Legedu and Murphy.

From what I remember of the first concert, I had a blast and apparently we also went bar hopping afterwards. Zach and Joel told me I would ask for a shot and then immediately pass it to someone to make them take it instead. Which I was pleased with, because I didn’t remember the situation but thankfully I was smart enough to not drink anymore.

The next morning I woke up with a massive hangover and no interest in another concert.. but it was the first official night of the Country Music Fest and we were in Myrtle Beach! There was much fun to be had, and no time to waste. Slowly but surely we made it to a restaurant for breakfast.. or lunch because by then I’m pretty sure it was lunch time.

Next stop was the beach. It was a typical beach day filled with frisbee, beer, a guy who called himself Elvis handing out Crown, Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan… and of course music. You can’t go to the beach without music.

Kevin Washam brought his guitar to the beach and just started jamming. He’s written songs that would actually be great on the radio.. and apparently he was close to being chosen as John King’s guitarist… but the lovely John King chose some other guy instead, who quite honestly was not as good.. Maybe he didn’t want anyone to take away from his “stage presence”..

I digress. We walked to the concert straight from the beach in one giant mob of people. Ironically, John King was the first performer I saw that day. (In the picture below, his pick for guitarist was the guy behind him on the right.. and you can see my point.)

After the concert, Zach and I lost the group somehow and everyone’s phones were dead so we headed back to the RV. On the way we grabbed Subway, and (after proclaiming my hatred for Subway for 30 minutes) I devoured a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich while waiting for an Uber to finally become available. Uber is a beautiful thing, but when there isn’t one available it’s the worst feeling in the world… I felt so far from where I needed to be.

The next morning I looked at my receipt. We took an Uber a total of 1 mile. Walking may have been a better choice.

The morning of our birthday, Zach and I picked up Zach’s friend, Khalid (who you’d remember from this video), literally from the middle of the street. I have no idea where he came from, but he hopped right in while we were stopped.

Then we headed over to The Boathouse where we had the best chicken wonton rolls ever and mimosas for breakfast… and then shots for lunch. There was probably more food thrown in there too somewhere, but people hear birthday at a bar in Myrtle Beach and they say, SHOTS! Food is more of an afterthought.

All the guys went outside for a while for a smoke break, so I made some new friends at the bar. A couple was sitting there laughing at my inability to take shots of Jagger, so they bought me a Jagger bomb.. I’d never had one before then, sadly. As it turns out, it was the woman’s birthday too. What are the odds?

By then, Joel and some other people had ridden arrived on jet skis, so we went on an off-road adventure to try finding a place to get them out of the water and get ourselves to the Carolina Country Music Festival. The details.. you may have seen on snapchat. If you didn’t, then you really missed out. For now they’re a secret.

We failed to find a place to pull the jet skis out so we headed back to the RV to catch an Uber a total of 2 miles down the road to CCMF. I think out of all the groups of people I could have gone with, this was the most fun and the most.. outspoken about how much fun we were all having?

That day was a roller coaster of events, the lineup was awesome and the night ended with a midnight group swim in the Atlantic Ocean. (Although retrospectively, given the recent shark influx, that was not the wisest decision.)

I looked up at the moon, a caramelized sugar cookie tauntingly suspended in the sky, I was hungry too. But I realized how happy I was to be standing there in that moment. I made it, coast to coast. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic.. I stood listening to the waves crash for a minute more before I heard many more people splashing around behind me. A group of high schoolers decided our midnight swim was a good idea and followed us in. It was time to go.

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I'm a 24 year old writer and full-time wanderer. My dog, Legedu (Leg-a-doo), and I just finished a trip in my 23 year old motorhome wandering through half of the vast USA. Armed with an annual national park pass, a camera and my pen, I'm determined to see everything this country has to offer. Next Spring I will set out once more to travel through the rest of the states.As a Master's Graduate at the School of International Service at American University, I'm fascinated by culture and societal conflict. This is the story of my ultimate global cultural immersion. I'll get to know the culture of my own country intimately and then set out to meet the rest of the world.

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