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"When you live grateful, every day is a fairytale."

“When you live grateful, every day is a fairytale.” -Notes from a Unicorn

Life in our skoolie is not always a fairytale, but most of the time it is pretty spectacular. Everyday there are challenges. Each day we learn to live and work together. We spent the past five days between Sycamore Lodge and Myrtle Beach, before moving on to Oyster Point, today.

Sycamore Lodge is a membership campground and we spent the weekend there for free. If you attend one of their tours during your stay you get the weekend free and 3 additional weeks at other locations under Travel Resorts of America. During the tour, the tour guide tried to sell us a membership to their exclusive camping club. We were not interested in the membership as it was very pricey and our preference for camping is public lands over cramped RV parks any day.

Sycamore Lodge is near the sandhills of North Carolina. Loblolly pines were numerous on the property. The lodge normally offers activities like mini golf and a large playground for guesst to enjoy. Due to COVAID-19, these amenities were closed. The small lake had a nice walking path around it, but the lake itself was slimy and the paddleboats and canoes that were available to guests had seen better days. Rows of RVs filled the grounds. The black flies were plentiful, at the campground, and we spent 2 days trying to figure out how to rid Lucky 13 of flies. We were glad to move on to Myrtle Beach on Sunday.

We got to Myrtle Beach on Sunday, after stopping at Target to get a few items. Myrtle Beach is filled with visitors this time of year. We were fortunate to find a campsite with 2 nights available at Myrtle Beach State Park. Myrtle Beach State Park is about 300 acres in size and takes up 1 mile of beach, in an otherwise developed community. The forest area around the campground and hiking trails that go through park are dense. Magnolia trees, hickory trees, holly, beauty berries, and numerous other vegetation overtake the land.

There are over 300 campsites in Myrtle Beach State Park. The campsites are surrounded by trees. We stayed at site 133, a pull through site within the park. The campground requires a 2-night minimum stay, but one can stay up to 2 weeks during this time of year. We booked our site last minute, so 2 nights were all that were available. The price to camp at the campground begins around $30 for overflow tent sites and exceeds $60 for some RV sites. The price varies on weekend and holidays.

After unpacking and setting up our site, we all took a walk to the beach. The beach is a quarter to half mile from the campsites, depending on where your site is. We walked onto the beach, Daphney rode in her Ergobaby baby carrier and April strolled along, distracted by the other kids. April called the palm trees pinecone trees. We did not change into our swim gear for our walk, but that didn’t stop us from getting in the water to some extent. We all waded in the water, Bryon went in deeper than the girls and I. We took April to the Oregon Coast, after we got married in 2017, but this was her first time in the Atlantic. I had never swum in the Atlantic Ocean either. After dinner, we walked Chico down to the beach and swam again. Dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10 am and 5 pm, so Chico had to stay back at the bus when we had gone down there earlier.

It poured heavily on and off our first night, at Myrtle Beach. Water came in the roof vent latch above our bed. Luckily, Bryon was able to adjust it, so it eventually stopped leaking. Fortunately, the rain stopped by Monday morning.

I walked Chico and the girls on some of the park trails, in the morning, while Bryon worked on bags. I was extremely impressed by the interpretive displays outside the Nature Center and on the trails through the park. Due to COVID, all the interpretive programs were on hold. The park does have three scavenger hunts for families to do together in different areas of the park. The questions that went along with the scavenger hunt, were a bit complex for April, but they would be great for school age children. I learned to identify signs of sapsuckers and about some of the plants and animals in the area on our hike. I have taught environmental education topics both formally or informally in the West and Midwest, but the Eastern United States is full of new learning opportunities about the natural world for all of us. I am hoping to develop curriculum for traveling families to engage in when homeschooling children on the road or place-based learning opportunities for areas throughout this beautiful country. Bryon calls it anyplace education. Myrtle Beach State Park was greatly inspiring, as I try to put together my ideas in notes for these lessons.

Monday afternoon we biked to the post office, after lunch. It was hot and humid. The sun shined as we pedaled, along the pavement to the post office. We went past many hotels, originally erected in the 1960s. Unfortunately, there is not a bicycle path in this area, so we wove down the Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard, with the kids in tow, trying to be as safe as possible. We mailed our bags and headed back to the campground.

After our ride, we went to the beach. It was hot and sunny. Daphney loved digging in the sand and tried to put more shells than I can count into her mouth. April loved building towers in the sand, picking up seashells, and letting the waves crash into her body. Eventually, Daphney managed to get sand in her eyes though and grew irritated, so we headed back to Lucky 13. We cooked pasta for dinner and cleaned up around our site.

Tuesday morning, we had to depart the campsite. We decided to move to a day use parking area before heading out of town that evening. We walked out on the fishing pier and got in the water for a bit that morning. We saw a softshell crab and little sea creatures swimming in the tide. The tide was low and easier for April to play in. Daphney seemed to like letting her feet hang in the water, more during this visit to the beach, than our previous visits.

Bryon sewed after our beach fun and I walked Chico with the girls, in the maritime forest. After lunch, we went down to the beach again. It was starting to get cloudy and began downpouring soon after we got to the water. Bryon dashed back to the bus to close windows. I’m pretty sure it’s the fastest I’ve seen him run, while I pulled the Burley off the beach with April, screaming at me that Daddy was gone! We spent the rest of the afternoon listening to the rain fall, hoping it might subside.

We made dinner around 5 and then packed up to head to Wilmington. We had contacted the Cracker Barrel there and they assured us it was fine to park overnight in their lot. It took us just over 2 hours to get to Wilmington. There were at least 7 vehicles parked overnight between Cracker Barrel and Walmart next door.

Today, we had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then headed north 90 miles to Oyster Point. Oyster Point is our home for the next 5 days. I can’t wait to see what adventure awaits us here, where the Newport river meets the Atlantic.

I found the quote at the beginning of this post on a sign hanging in the forest, at Myrtle Beach State Park. This life we are living in our skoolie, Lucky 13, makes me feel our life is a fairytale at times. It may not be everyone's fairytale, but it is our gypsy fairytale. We are grateful for our business that gives us the freedom to work from our bus. If you haven’t been following our Instagram, check it out! We are grateful for our customers that support our business. This keeps us on the road! We have a daily deal on bags! Our bus is another thing I am incredibly grateful for. Bryon was able to transform our bus into a comfortable living space for our family. I just took a wonderful hot shower and washed my hair under the moonlit sky, outside the bus, here at Oyster Point. We are most grateful for the extensive amount of time we get to spend together with our children and each other. Our family explores, learns, works, and plays together each day. We all have a job in our skoolie life that helps make this whole lifestyle work. I am grateful for the work we do to make this life what it is for our family.

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