Free night on the beach
I got to Fayetteville around 2pm and left for Wilmington after handing over the keys and doing my final checks on Ursula.
It was 92 miles down 210S to Wilmington NC, Mark had warned me that it was going to be one boring ride so it helped that I was still relatively merry and therefore somewhat pain free.
Honestly my memory is awesome but for the life of me I cannot recall much from that journey other than stopping at a CVS along the way for my Arizona ice tea and peanut M&Ms. If it wasn’t for CVS I don’t know what I would have done, they were my saviour, my oasis in the desert. I don’t even remember what the hotel was like that’s how blottoed I was.
Looking back on it I really shouldn’t have cycled that day. I left far too late in the day for a near 100 mile journey too so I remember getting to my stay around twilight.
I had to look back at my reservations online recently to actually jog my memory of where I stayed… Man that was a good night in Charlotte!
I remember going to Outback next door for a steak that night that’s about it. The next morning I woke up and had an awesome breakfast (I can easily remember food) and headed south down US17 to North Myrtle beach.
I had reached a complementary stay at a hotel due to all my reservations so I decided to treat myself to a stay at an ocean front resort called Ocean Drive and Golf resort on Myrtle Beach.
The view was amazing and the suite was huge. It had a bedroom, kitchen, living room and a huge balcony overlooking the beach….awesome or so I thought.
Like, literally on the beach
The place was beautiful and it was the first time that I truly felt that I was in the south, the sun was awesome and the heat was just ‘different.’
It was a small beach town on the strip, some call it the Redneck Riviera I just thought it was a welcome change to all the motels I’ve been staying in.
I walked to a seafood shack down the street and ordered a seafood steamer and a big bucket of rum-runner which should have been for a table or party of 3/4…. I should have seen the signs.
I walked back to my hotel as gracefully as I could which wasn’t easy after cycling 90miles and drinking for 4.
I sat on my ocean view balcony alone; the scenic views along with the oversized suite I populated began to lose its shine, even while intoxicated with Captain Morgan’s good stuff.
If the little ‘samey’ hotel rooms made me lonely then a beautiful ocean front suite meant for a couple or small family made me feel completely lost. I left the suite before I could get myself into a worse state and headed downstairs to the beach barefoot to appreciate the sunset.
I walked…. And walked…. And walked. I walked for miles on that beach, I walked until the sun went down and the tan sky was replaced with darkness. I walked until I was stone cold sober.
I walked until the soles of my feet were red raw from the broken shells I could no longer dodge under moonlight alone. I walked until I was lost yet I didn’t care. I wanted to walk until I no longer felt lonely even after finding out that no longer worked.
The following morning I woke up on the beach. I must have sat down to star gaze…either that or I didn’t sober up as much as I thought the night before.
I woke up to the sound of the ocean and the eager early birds going for their morning beach run. My back felt like I’d slept on an oversized cheese grater but it beat some of the hotel mattresses I’d stayed at. I was sweating profusely and donned a sexy sweat ‘V’ on my chest, strike 3 on the classy chart.
I looked down at my feet and for a quick second thought “Shit! Someone has stolen my shoes!” Only to remember I left the hotel without any the previous night.
I stood up as if I was just getting up from a morning lay down appreciating the sunrise; I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself so I got my phone out, checked my map, had a stretch and started jogging on the sand to blend in with the others.
I jogged back to my hotel 4 miles away. I set off with a smile on my face from the shock of me walking 4 miles the night before.
It was funny that I had that beautiful suite for the night and I didn’t even sleep in it. I felt like I woke up to an even more beautiful sight of the sun’s rays over the sea. It made me realise that the best things in life really are free.
When I got back to the hotel I bought a bottle of ice cold diet Dr Pepper from the snack machine outside my room and drank it whilst regaining my breathe over the balcony. It sure was a memorable 24 hours.
I showered, packed and just caught the last breakfast of the day downstairs in the lobby. I felt surprisingly fresh that morning after having slept with the stars. After breakfast was taken care of and my bottles were loaded up with ice for the ride south to Charleston I headed to the beach one last time.
I left Ursula packed and perched on the stump of a once thriving palm tree and sat on the sand overlooking the ocean. I vowed to leave all of my emotions right there at that very moment.
It’s funny I’ve never really been a beach person but there is something so refreshing and cleansing about bringing your issues to the ocean. It's like an ocean of bleach that cleanses the soul.
It makes you wonder just how many thoughts have been washed up in the ocean over years, decades and centuries.
I vowed to turn a page in the book and move on from that very moment on and for the first time in a while I smiled…. It felt so alien to me that I even took out the phone to take a picture of it.
I kicked my flip flops off and put my gym socks and shoes on ready to make the journey south into Charleston. The journey was horrible, there were hardly any bike lanes; there was maintenance work on what seemed like every sidewalk and every driver seemed angry at me that day.
But I couldn’t care less. I was smiling and for once I was content to be where and who I was.
I was on that new page.