Back again for the 4th winter travel blog

Dinner is served - Myrtle Beach SP with Boyds and Darguzas

Low Country Boil - What a pile of delicious eating

Santa & Mrs Claus

Even mermaids like to sit on Santa's lap

Once in a while, Mrs Claus gets to hold a baby

MBSP Rangers

The pot bellied pig was back again. He gained too much weight...

Fellow Nature Center Volunteers - George and Phyllis

Dogs really love to have their picture taken with the Claus'

Mario from the game

Ranger Bob retiring this year

Horses being ridden on the beach. What a sight!

My old sewing machine bit the dust so this is my Christmas/birthday...

Wow! Christmas is only two weeks from now – followed closely by 2018. 2018!? What? Wasn’t it just Y2K???

We are currently – for the fourth winter – in Myrtle Beach at the State Park. We are again “working”/volunteering at the Nature Center for the third time. Our annual Santa (and Mrs) Claus was “on the Beach” on December 2 & 3 for photos with kids of all ages – from a 3-week old baby to a 103-year young great-grandpa. We had nearly 1000 folks on our laps, about 100 dogs, and a too-big-for-my-lap potbelly pig. The weather was perfect – 62-65 degrees, light sun, and mild breezes off the water. It’s fun and it’s all about being/feeling young…but at the end of the day, it felt like our faces and smiles were going to fall off. A beer and a glass of wine made it all better.

From now to December 24, we will walk the park 2 days each week for a couple of hours, greeting park visitors, and creating experiences, hopefully putting smiles on faces and hearing about grandparents texting pictures to grandkids with a “see who we met at Myrtle Beach State Park” caption. Last Sunday as we wandered the park, we crashed a company Christmas party being held and the group was delighted that Santa and Mrs Claus just happened to wander by. We also were included is several family pictures. I wonder how many Christmas cards we’ll be on this year!

In addition to our character portrayals, we do “visibility” tasks – raking, cleaning signs, sewing, and light woodworking. It’s an easy gig.

Our other big event for 2017 was assisting Rick’s Mom in her move from Connecticut to Cary NC. 95% smooth, 5%” we got thru it OK”. We spent Thanksgiving at her place and helped her decorate her apartment for Christmas. She really enjoyed the visit. We’ll be going back to her on December 16 for a Santa & Mrs event at Jordan Oakes where she lives. The management there is pushing for this to be a very special family day.

The day after Thanksgiving we had a great time with Ross and Jan Boyd (old, old friends from when we lived in St. Petersburg, FL) and their daughter Karen and her family who were camping at MBSP. They put on a low country boil with roasted oysters as an appetizer and then lots and lots of shrimp, potatoes, sausage, and corn on the cob. It was delicious and so much fun to share it with this wonderful family.

On the 12th, we did a Santa & Mrs event at a shelter for kids in an abusive situation. Betsy’s nephew’s wife Liz works at the shelter and when the question came up – where do we find a Santa? – Liz said “I know Santa and Mrs Claus. Let me ask them!.” Done deal! The arrival of Santa and Mrs Claus at their Christmas party was a hit and Santa handed out presents which were provided by the volunteers who work with these children and their families. They also provided large shopping bags to each family for presents to open on Christmas day which included items especially for the parent(s).

Betsy’s brother and sister-in-law, John & Ginny, will arrive in Myrtle Beach on the 19th for a week’s stay with nephew Mike (and Liz). Looking forward to catching up with everyone.

On November 29, our good friends, Rob and Peggy Barr, arrived from NY where they were freezing to death. This is our 4th year of spending a month with them at MBSP. This friendship is proof positive of one of the benefits of living fulltime as RVers. Of course, eating together is one of our favorite pastimes. Peggy makes a wonderful stuffed cabbage and this is the 2nd year she has brought us some. Yum! Yum! They’ve been to our place for dinner and tonight we are going to their campsite for dinner and to sit around a campfire. We both have Instant Pots so we are trying out and sharing recipes.

We have been blessed with visits from friends of the past - Randy and Grant Warren from Clayton NC and Ross and Jan Boyd from St Petersburg (now Maggie Valley NC). We talked long, ate out (of course), and caught up on news and families.

On 12/8, we had our annual Rangers & Hosts Christmas potluck dinner. Ranger Nathan brought his venison stew – oh, so good! Other delicious dishes filled out the plates. A good time was had by all!

Been keeping an eye on the weather – I’m not sure if our was any better than yours – we had 4 days of clouds, rains, and temps in the low 40’s – ugh! But next week is forecast to be 100% sunshine with highs in the 50’s. We’ve got a great pile of firewood for our fire pit, but we’ll wait for next week.

We’re doing well and good – hope y’all are too!

Love to all,

Rick (and Betsy)

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