I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Paddle Day 84: TV and Radio Interviews, Kayak Surprise and more Southern Hospitality

Back in the saddle!
It was a mid day start to the paddling, so spent the morning doing a TV interview at the local Fox station WFXB.  Then a radio interview at WEZV.  It was hard to get back to paddling.  But the reward was more great southern hospitality at the end of the day!I had misspelled "hospitality" in the line above, and the spell checker suggested "hostility".  Glad I caught that, as I am happy to report that memories of the war of northern aggression does not lead to hostility towards yankees.

Rigby, originally from the midwest, gave me his quick guide to South Carolina.  Greenville is the high tech "new south".  Florence is the "old south", where people ask "How's your Moma?" and really want to hear the answer, as they will be seeing her at the store soon.  Charlestown is "way too good for South Carolina".  Myrtle Beach is "not the south at all".  When the military base closed there the town and the military got together and planned what Myrtle Beach had been lacking: a "downtown" area.  There are streets of "live-work" places with small shops on the ground floor and living quarters for the owners on the upper two floors.  There are business offices, shops, restaurants, sports complexes and more.  But most important of all, there where people all over the sidewalks.  It was so busy we couldn't find a spot to park.  Great success story for conversion of a military base!

Once I finally made it to the Lightkeepers Marina to get back to paddling I had a great surprise.  They had put my kayak right in the middle of their office for the entire holidays, and offered a donation bucket when folks stopped to ask about the kayak.  My kayak generated more donations than I did over the holidays!
Deb and James with the bucket!
Back on the water, I found I had miscalculated the currents and had a slog of an afternoon, slowly making my way against a slight current.  People always ask if I get bored when I am kayaking, and I had always said no.  But this day was a little boring.  I resorted to using my son's old Blackberry, Chris's old headphones, and a waterproof eCase with a old plated headphone jack.  I listened to an audiobook, and that made me forget the blisters forming and my aching muscles.  Amazing how out of shape you can get in just 10 days!
The lighthouse at Lightkeepers Marina
This section of paddling is along a ditch.
Areas of natural beauty
You can tell how boring as even the pictures are boringly the same.  But that's not fair, as it actually had lots of natural beauty.  Clearly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I was not as receptive as I usually am.
I did have one UFO sighting.  
Grand Dunes bridge
As the sun was lowering, I finally made it to the Grand Dunes Marina, where I was met not only by Rob my host, but also Mary and Alan, my hosts from before the holidays!  These Myrtle Beach Rotarians sure know how to turn on the charm!

Had a wonderful dinner with Rob and Deb Wilfong.  The food was a variation on the South Carolina classic, Chicken Bog.  But this time it was Quail Bog, using birds that  Rob had shot.  The conversation was wonderful and included Cotillion, something I recall from my southern past.  Their son was at the rehearsal for a cotillion ball where a friend will be one of the debutantes presented to society.  "Coming-out" is such a graceful southern tradition.

Also heard stories of the intense rivalry between NC State and Chapel Hill.  Rob's parents attended Chapel Hill, but he went to NC State as it has a great engineering school.  Once, when the two schools were playing each other at Chapel Hill, Rob asked his parents if he could use their season tickets, since his parents would be out of town.  "Hell will freeze over before we will let you use our tickets to cheer for NC State," was the short version of their answer.
Rob and the two Deb's (no longer debs)
Rob was the one who organized all of my hosts in this area.  Thanks for a great time spent here!

Paddle Day: 84
Date: Jan 2, 2015
Start: Little River, SC                                          
End: Myrtle Beach, SC
Distance: 13.3 miles                                                   
Paddle, hike, bike distance: 1194.3 miles
Motor portaged: 264 miles
Total distance: 1458.3 miles
Max speed:  4.6 mph                                               
Moving ave.: 3.0 mph
Kayak storage: Grand Dunes Marina                     
Hosts: Rob and Deb Wilfong

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