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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Beach Day in SC

~Saturday, April 15, 2023~

Day 1,036

As expected, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind ever since we met up with the Alonzi’s, Bacher’s and Happ’s. And the fun just continues. We are so blessed to have met these families on the road. I’d call them our forever friends where age knows no boundaries. Between us, the age gap can swing a decade or two with the parent’s ages running anywhere from mid-30’s to mid-40’s. We can’t wait to see what is in the future for these 3 families as they caravan the country together, giving their children the best “classroom” you could ever ask for and eventually settling in to wherever they settle.

Since it was our last day with the Alonzi’s, the Bacher’s and the Happ’s, we wanted it to be a day of fun that could include Sadie. Taking Amy and Kristen’s lead, today would be a beach day…..perfect for the littles and our “kid”. I think Sadie even knows the word “beach” based on her excitement. The Penn Center was of interest to all of us, but because it was not dog friendly, Jeff and I chose to skip this outing and meet up at the beach later. A little background on the Penn Center…….founded in 1862 by an abolitionist missionary from Pittsburgh, PA, it became the first school west of the Mississippi River for the express purpose of educating black children. Finally, they would have the education they had been denied for so many years. Hopefully we’ll be able to see this another time.

Hunting Island Beach near Beaufort, SC would be the destination for today and like Charleston, about an hour’s drive from the campground. Watching these families struggling to get out the door in a timely manner brings back so many memories with our kids. At the time, especially on beach days it seemed to take forever to load up all the gear, get lunches made, and bags packed. But I must say, I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. About an hour behind the other 3 families with the requested cornhole boards packed, we hit the road as well.

First……a stop at a local Subway shop to pick up a few sandwiches. The hour-long drive wasn’t too bad, as we were always used to driving at least that when we lived in Napa to get to Stinson. The line just to get into the main gate was long and moving at a snail’s pace indicating what we were in for in terms of parking. There was hardly one to be seen, but it was a Saturday after all. The park itself is a

stunner as the sun seems to dance through the dense maritime forest with the Saw Palmettos at its feet. You could just drive through this scenery all day, it was THAT pretty. It wasn’t until Lot C that we finally found a spot big enough for Hank, thanks to someone wrapping up their day early. Trying to find parking for the remaining 3 trucks in our group was challenging but everyone eventually found their respective spots.

The minute Jeff and I saw the historic 1859 lighthouse, we realized we had been to this beach before. Packing many beaches into this long trip of ours, it’s hard to keep them all straight. Come to think of it, when we were here a few years ago, we could see the effects of Hurricane Matthew that struck the area back in October of 2016. Most of the parking lots as well as the campgrounds were closed at the time. Evidently this Category 2 storm caused more than $5 million in damages, wiping out the dunes and anything oceanfront. Today, you’d never know there was that much destruction. I guess it’s a good thing that the lighthouse was moved inland a mile back in 1889 due to coastal erosion.

On the 5-mile stretch of beach, once we found our perfect, LARGE spot for all 17 of us, the kids hit the water instantly. Everyone was having a ball.

Sadie had endless attention from all the kids, and the kids couldn’t get enough of Sadie,

their sand time and catching waves on their boogie boards. The guys played several rounds of cornhole before the ladies took over. Kristin and I were a team against Amy and her son Zane. It was a blast despite Jeff’s and my cornhole mojo being a bit “off” today. Perhaps we could blame it on the wind?

All of us ended up leaving at the same time with the exception of The Happs who had to leave a little bit early to nap their 18-month old daughter. Plus, we all had quite the full day yesterday, so we weren’t too far behind. With the hour-long drive home, we wouldn’t get back until about 7:30, just enough time to get dinners done and everyone’s kids off to bed. It would have been nice to enjoy a little campfire time, but the guys wanted to get a jumpstart on their packing before leaving tomorrow. The 3 families have a big drive day in store (about 350 miles), with the goal of landing in North Carolina. Our drive would be much shorter, making our way to northern Charleston.

With a coating of sand and salt, I thought a soothing bath would do Sadie some good. Plus, we’d prefer not to have sandy sheets. After her much needed “spa” treatment, she must have felt like a new woman! Jeff had whipped up some tacos for our dinner while listening to an exciting basketball game between the Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. By the end of the game, the mood really swung when the Warriors lost by 1 point. Those are painful games for sure!

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