7/3 Morehead City, NC 2132 Miles

Up in the morning and back into Charleston for the City Market, a protected open-air market for vendors to hawk their wares. It’s really everything you want in a city market: covered from the sun, huge diversity in products, a bustling and movement that you just don’t see in other places. The spotlight in South Carolina is on sweetgrass baskets made by the local women. The baskets are handwoven and beautifully designed, and these women know how to haggle. I did not purchase one of these baskets because they were just out of my price range for baskets. This is not to say they are not worth the prices charged, they are. They just cost more than I can comfortably justify for something that won’t get much use in my house.
A quick and pleasant drive up the coast got us to Georgetown, SC. This is one of those small towns with some sort of historical significance, but at this point everything I have seen is just oozing with humidity and history and it all sounds about the same. Lunch at The Rice Paddy, a trendy little spot with good crabcakes and sweet iced tea. During lunch, a cockroach the size of a VW Vanagon came cruising by on the windowframe. Now, be assured he was in fact on the outside looking in at me, but it was still a disconcerting experience to see a bug larger than my own vehicle looking in the window at me, begging for a bite of crab or a sip of tea. I sat quietly and watched his movement around the windowframe while still trying to look as though I can’t actually see him asking me for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. Now, I know that in the south they try to make things seem more genteel, so they give things new names: your wife is called kin; under-educated, truck driving racist assholes are called rednecks; and gigantic,thunderous cockroaches from hell are called palmetto bugs. Here in the north (Yes, Cletus, I did see the bumper sticker on your Ford that expressed that you did not care how things were done in the north. Just crawl on back to your cousin, I have things to explain here) we call a cockroach a cockroach because it is a cockroach. We can not make up lies about something just to hide the fact that it is an epidemic. We have winter up here and it kills off many of the outdoor bugs each year. You don’t, so they just continue to grow and grow and grow and eventually are given their own express lane on the freeway and special discount cards at Krispy Kreme. God, I hate cockroaches. I hate them. And I hate how calm you are about the one thing that will survive the next major extinction event.
Up to the family vacation spot and ‘Branson East’, Myrtle Beach. The big moneymakers in MB are the ‘free’ hermit crabs, mini-golf and outlet malls. It’s all about the family in MB, and I couldn’t escape fast enough. Unfortunately, traffic conspired against us and it took us 76 hours to move 32 feet. I combined common swear words with obscure body parts to create new and exciting ways to express my displeasure with the situation.
Eventually I got past the pecan logs, the peaches, and the fireworks stands and found myself at the world’s tackiest gift shop ever. Not Wall Drug, even better: SOUTH OF THE BORDER! 24 buildings make up this complex of gift-buying fun. Presents were picked for friends, and then we entered a zone of mystery and confusion and the world became a different place. We went into the adult toy section (The Dirty Old Man Shop) and decided to pick out a special souvenir to commemorate the trip. Features were balanced against price, and a toy was chosen. The somewhat elderly but decidedly no-nonsense cashier was ready to help us at the counter. She surprised us by opening the package, showing us how to insert the batteries, and demonstrating its settings to us. This woman could have been my grandmother. Satisfied, she popped out the batteries and completed the sale with a smile. Not the creepy smile of someone who is thinking about what you will be doing later that evening, but the warm, gentle smile of a person who takes pride in her work, even if her work involves the secret pleasures of others.
The ride out of South Carolina and into North Carolina was not noteworthy except that, like Texas, distances and time in North Carolina are deeply warped and the problem is exacerbated by low speed limits. I have noticed that the states with little or nothing to offer me near the roadside seem to have the slowest speed limits. I think this is some sort of special torture just for me, just like people with no cruise control. Look, if you don’t have cruise control and you are somehow mentally incapable of maintaining a consistent speed, then once I have passed you, don’t speed up and pass me and get in front of me and slow down. I have cruise control and anyone who has ridden in the car with me can testify that I would rather eat my own femur than switch off the cruise, so I can guarantee that I am staying at the same speed (generally 9 miles over). You don’t have to prove your dick size to me by trying to race my car. First of all, your dick is pointless to me, I just bought a substitute from a woman who understands doily patterns and secondly, your dick is of little concern when you are driving a car with no cruise control and no air conditioning. I am not going to think “He drives faster than me. He must be a good mate, and I won’t let his poor car-buying choices detract from his obvious skills at erratic velocity maintenance.” If you don’t have cruise control, just let me pass you and be off, because after awhile I can’t be held responsible for what I do to you or your brethren.
Our goal was Morehead City, NC, and as I stated it was taking forever. I mean absolutely forever. Time and distance were being calculated in relation to infinity. We eventually got to Wilmington, NC, where we stopped at a place called Kiva for dinner. The food was good, and I had a lot of fun noting the hatred the husband had for his wife at the table next to ours. I hated her too, and I secretly wished him luck in dealing with this nasal beast.
15,000 hours later we finally made it to Morehead City and would have been excited by our view of the ocean, but it was late and we had to get up in the morning and drive 90 minutes to catch the 8am ferry the next day. So there was no fun for us, just sleep.