Myrtle Beach Parents before Hitching and Flying Away

The last time I'd met her parents was over a year ago preceding our first summer trip together. It hadn't gone well.

Not knowing anything about hitchhiking other than chainsaws and certain abductions, they approached me as irresponsible at best, and most likely as a devilish, daughter-murdering fiend.

Marilyn assured me that after the first three month journey ended without death and instead beautiful pictures and her accounts of life changing bliss, they'd perhaps come around. So, after some bribery and other convincing, I'd agreed to hitch across the country to Myrtle Beach and meet them for the second time.

More or less, as I'd find out, they had come around. Or at least they acted cool about it, which was more than good enough for me. The first day we linked up and had a good lunch close to the beach, my attention between them and the games on TV, this being the first Sunday of the year. Luckily her dad was on board with this distraction, I got to explain to him about my crushing my friends in fantasy leagues and how that worked.

I also met two sets of Marilyn's aunts and uncles, all of which were pretty fun to hang out with.

The rest of that day and the next two were chock full of trips to the beach, floating the lazy river at their resort and feasting on incredible meals her family generously covered the tab for. We even got up on the SkyWheel, did the funnel cake thing and Marilyn and I escaped for part of an afternoon for mini-golf and a local pub.

A proper family vacation stitched into a life of travel, I dug it, though.

We rode with her parents to Asheville, NC afterwords, they dropped us off there on their way back to Tennessee. Asheville was an obvious choice for us, one of the world's great beer hubs and an otherwise standalone gem by the mountains. We still had four or five days to get to Atlanta.

We hit three or four breweries before meeting up with a host we'd found on the Couchsurfing site, by then we wound down trying some of his roommates home brewed cider before calling it a night.

The next day was more of the same, soaking in the Asheville brewery scene, nursing some beers to wait out quick bouts of rain, munching on some tasty food here and there, some rounds of shuffleboard thrown in there and finally winding up on the porch chatting with our hosts roommates.

It took a bit of walking and finagling in the morning, but we got to a decent hitchhiking spot and quickly got picked up by a pretty rad biker girl. She had all kinds of stories about the Hell's Angels and traveling. We stopped into a house outside of Asheville with her, there was an older lady there with wolves who had just taken all of her money out of her account claiming that "the system is getting shutdown tomorrow!"

Marilyn and I walked back to the main road, ready to catch our next ride aiming towards Clemson, South Carolina, we were going to see one of Marilyn's friends on the way to Atlanta.

We got our next rides in the back of a pickup truck from a woman and her grand kids, then a short ride from a guy towing his boat, then another ride in the back of a pickup truck a little ways. It started raining right as we got dropped at a gas station, we hung out for a bit and waited for a window of dryness to work with.

We scored a ride from a guy who passed us and turned back around, changing his mind and picking us up, all before the rain started back up. He was cool and went out of his way to take us directly to Marilyn's friend's house.

We spent the night catching up with her friend and boyfriend, hitting the town for some food and a growler. The next day was relaxing, swimming around the lake and eventually getting some good BBQ in town.

The morning after her friend's boyfriend offered to give us a ride to the interstate to give us a boost in our hitchhiking trip to Atlanta, about a hundred mile trip. We got to the interstate and kept on going, though, he decided he might as well take us all the way to the city, an awesome favor that saved us a rainy day of waiting for some other rides on the side of the road.

Got challenged to eat $20 worth of Taco Bell. Too easy.
The reason for Atlanta was for the airport the following day. Marilyn had bribed me with a flight back to California as part of hitching all the way out east to hang with her parents. The harvest was calling my name and I was needed over there, had I had to hitchhike back I wouldn't have made it in time.

She got us a room for the night at a motel close to downtown. We mostly relaxed and got our last night in together, it would be almost a couple months until we'd reunite as I'd be working the harvest and she'd be on her own adventure in the meantime.

Come morning we made our way to the airport, parting ways at the final security checkpoint. Marilyn had the tears in her eyes, she always seemed emotional and nervous whenever we parted. She told me a few times it's because she was never sure if it would be temporary or permanent. Reunite, we would, though, in time.

Now, my headphones were going on, ready for the teleportation affect of flying, skipping over a country I'd otherwise hitched across more times than I could count. Amazing that in just a few hours I'd be somewhere that would otherwise take days or weeks, feeling every bump in the road, meeting the characters along the way, sipping the local brews... it was OK, though. I was ready for the harvest, my California crowd, the intertwined adventures involved and the blast off after harvest to come. Life is good.

September 7, 2014 to September 15, 2014