The sign read “Homemade Ice Cream.” My wife Sissy hesitated when the vendor said it was $4 for a scoop. (We learned years ago to check the price if it isn’t posted on a vendor trailer after getting zapped for $24 for a pair of loaded tacos at Suck Bang Blow.) “I’d pay $10!” I told her desperately. We’re not cheap, but…well; OK, we’re cheap so what would make us part with what we normally spend on a whole quart of ice cream to get a single scoop? Heat indexes more than 100 degrees, that’s what.
After almost five years of missing out on summer activities while we ran our family restaurant, one of Sissy’s goals was to take in some of the many, local festivals that happen in the area. Years ago when we were raffling off a chopper to benefit the Children’s Museum of South Carolina we set up a booth at the Conway Riverfest. There was food and entertainment; games and vendors; it looked like an interesting place to hang out for the day from underneath an EZ-Up tent we were working. We couldn’t really enjoy it then so when we saw the Riverfest was back (June 30), we decided to hop on our motorcycle and actually enjoy the event. That was the plan anyway.
High temperatures have been at or near 100 degrees along the Grand Strand recently and are typically higher as you move farther inland, away from the ocean breezes. Conway, of course, is farther inland. Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle learns quickly that the exhaust pipes get really hot. As we sat in stop-and-go traffic on U.S. 501 it felt like we were riding one big exhaust pipe. Parts of the motorcycle that were not supposed to get hot enough to burn you could not be touched because they are metal and had soaked in the heat from the blazing sun.
Eventually we made it to the event that had been moved away from the river banks to the town square presumably to get beneath the shade trees. The most popular attraction there was the free, cardboard hand fans provided by HTC. We listened briefly to a Christian band that was performing before sweating our way to the HTC booth for fans and then on to the ice cream vendor. On the way the poor guy running the pony rides was wondering aloud if he was going to pass out from the heat or not. Shortly after that, we watched a couple selling hats pack up their booth saying the heat was just too much; I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t last long before deciding to head back home to our air-conditioned home. We took several bottles of water for the hot ride and I ended up pouring most of one on our motorcycle seat just to cool it off enough to sit on before heading home.
A SILVER LINING
Despite the traffic and the heat, it was nice to be able to saddle up and ride at will after years of being owned by the restaurant we thought we would own. The real silver lining that day, however, was discovering a great, new place for bikers on our way to the Conway “Sweatfest.” On the way we stopped in Socastee to tour the recently opened Cypress Camping Resort. Motorcycle camping has never been a problem in other bike rally destinations like Sturgis, S.D. and Daytona Beach, Fla., but here along the Grand Strand a true biker-friendly campground is hard to find. The big three, Lakewood, Ocean Lakes, and Pirateland, all have strict restrictions regarding motorcycles. For instance, the policy at Ocean Lakes reads, “Please note that motorcycles cannot be driven in the campground under power to your site. Guests are permitted to trailer or tow their motorcycle to their site, but are not permitted to start the engine.”
While Cypress Camping Resort, which has no such policy, is located five miles from the Atlantic shores along the Intracoastal Waterway, the staff offers daily shuttle service to the beach. At 34 acres, it is also smaller than the oceanfront campgrounds, but it is beautifully designed with more than 100 sites featuring brand new, modern RV hook-ups (30 and 50 amp), bath houses, rental cabins, tent sites, a camp store, snack bar, activity building, and swimming pool. There is also a playground, swimming area, dock and boat ramp on the Waterway, with boat rentals available on-site. Most importantly to us however, Cypress Camping Resort is biker-owned so they really welcome bikers…as well as families, fishermen, Christian groups, scout troops, or anyone else looking to camp along the Strand. The husband and wife owners Kenneth Hucks and Laura Hucks told us they “…are expecting good business during the rallies. One of our first visitors during the recent spring rally this past May is a business owner in [motorcycle Mecca] Daytona Beach, Fla. and he’s promised to recommend the new resort to all of his friends.” To learn more visit their Web site at www.CypressCampingResort.com.