When I arrived in Myrtle Beach I was warned about two things.
1. The humidity
2. Bike Week
I haven’t felt the draining humidity of the south yet but by arriving at the end of April I set myself up perfectly to experience Myrtle Beach’s infamous Bike Week.
First things first, Bike Week really isn’t a week. I noticed the well groomed visitors to the area at the start of last weekend and on my way to church today I saw several participants cruise past me so if you do the math you will figure that the term “week” is used very liberally. Actually this afternoon I saw a marquee that billed the event from May 8 through May 18 so that pretty much ended the discussion…bikers evidently don’t use the American calendar. Secondly, Bike Week is exactly what you think it is. People with motorcycles converge on this resort city for a week (err…10 days) of partying. Think Sturgis but keep in mind this event isn’t just restricted to Harleys.
From what I have gathered, the city has mixed feelings about Bike Week. On one hand the participants contribute lots of money to the local economy. On the other hand traffic is a nightmare, not all bikers are well behaved, and the potential for crime and accidents go up. But Myrtle Beach does all it can do to make the best of the situation and proper arrangements and patrols are arranged. A TV/radio/print campaign also takes place reminding both bikers and citizens of the need to respect each other during the week (…I mean 10 days).
I respect the bikers. But you know what would make me respect them even more? If they didn’t purposely make as much noise as possible with their bikes. I don’t get the appeal of revving an engine until your ear drums want to bleed. Several times this weekend when I would enter the highway I would be immediately surrounded by bikers in front of me, in back of me, and many times to both sides of me. On a couple of occasions it seemed like all the bikes circling me were gunning for some type of noise decibel record. Yeah, it wasn’t too much fun being on the road.
As I alluded to, immediately upon hitting the streets of Myrtle Beach I would see legions of bikers. That is really what stuck out to me about Bike Week…just the sheer number of people on motorcycles. They literally take over the roadways. While they do take over the roadways they don’t necessarily take over the whole town. They tend to congregate in certain areas making it nice if you want to make sure to give them their space. While I planned to give them this space last night I walked into their playground for a little bit.
Ready to hear the name of the place I found myself in last evening? The Dead Dog Saloon. Upon the recommendation of my friend Sidney the two of us went out to Murrels Inlet to rub elbows with the bikers. Well, we didn’t actually rub elbows, we more just observed from a corner table. After walking through a parking lot that was exploding at the seams with bikes jammed packed in every little space we enjoyed dinner while scoping out the week’s honorary residents. Strangely enough it wasn’t the people watching that made the experience so memorable…it was actually the food. I hadn’t enjoyed a tastier steak since when I ate at the Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. I also got to eat hush puppies for the first time.
Thankfully I didn’t get beat up, singled out, or harassed by any of the bikers. Not that I really thought I would. I joke around but for the most part I understand that many bikers are outstanding citizens who just like to pursue their hobbies like I do mine. I just wish they could keep their bikes quiet.
What if I told you that Myrtle Beach will host another Bike Week at the end of this month? It is true. Only this upcoming edition has a different twist to it. I might get to that in a future blog post or I might not. Always wear your helmets bikers and I hope you had a great time in Myrtle Beach. Don’t Blink.