So, you can imagine how it took me by surprise when my Mom actually agreed to be my travel companion on a bus tour from New York to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!
The year was 1985, I was 20 years old and it was just me and mom and a bus load of people we didn't (yet) know, headed down and back up the East Coast for a week long trip.
You may be wondering, why a bus tour? Several reasons - First, a bus tour, leaving locally, would require no flying and was more economical. Secondly, my mom had experience with bus tours and actually enjoyed this mode of travel and having everything organized and planned out. She also spoke of how much fun it was to get to know people in such close quarters.
I had found a very economical bus tour company, called Domenico Tours. It was no-frills. Not what you'd call 5-star accommodations, but they hit all the desired tourist spots with well-thought out itineraries.
The map above, shows the route we took along the East Coast. It all started at the Queens Center Mall in Flushing, which was the meeting point for everyone in the area that were going on a Domenico Tour. From there, we were shuttled to Bayonne, New Jersey, where the group was split up by their respective destinations to board their actual tour bus.
There were a variety of traveling companions on our bus load - from married couples to groups of ladies traveling together. We were the only mother-daughter team. There was also an interesting comradery among these people as many of them had traveled together before on other Domenico tours.
They welcomed us right in, especially this one women, Helen, who was an absolute hoot. It was she who organized most of the bus' sing-a-longs and games. What Domenico lacked in frills, it more than made up in warmth and down to earthiness in the travelers.
I had an opportunity to get up close and personal with "Pedro" who is the official mascot of South of the Border, which has been a landmark of the southeast for over 50 years.
Since the internet did not exist back in 1985, but does now - I found a lovely video online featuring the planting of more than 60,000 Caladiums in the Live Oak Allee at Brookgreen Gardens (circa 2013).
The Gardens has so many attractions and things to do and since my visit in 1985, it appears from the website that the events and things to do are unending, which include a zoo, sculpting classes, events calendar, and boat rides.
The new 1.2 mile-long Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade extends along the sand from the 14th Avenue to 2nd Avenue Piers in Myrtle Beach. There are festivals and events including Ocean Boulevard's Hot Summer Nights located at Plyler Park in the heart of the downtown area.
With lots of shops, Mom and I traversed the pier and had lots of laughs. Those of you who know me, know I love rides and amusement parks! I can't, unfortunately, say the same for dear old Mom. But, that didn't stop me from hitting the Ferris Wheel on the Boardwalk. I was not going to miss an opportunity to go on this huge ferris wheel, even it meant going on alone.
The new Skywheel is now a popular attraction!