The Lardashians Take Hilton Head: A Travel Diary

It’s 4:41 PM on Saturday, July 29. I’m writing this from the back seat of the car with my head hanging partially out the window as droplets of dog-spit-infused water are being forced off my face by the aggressive wind blowing past me on I-95. 

You’re probably wondering how I got here. 

To start, I was misted with the aforementioned spiddle water in hour six of our return trip from Hilton Head, South Carolina when I prematurely turned my wrist toward the inside of the car while discarding leftover water from Lily’s water bowl. Our sweet dog offered me no sympathy as her saliva splashed across my face and instead ate an old Cheerio from her chin fur. 

There was life before this moment, I’m sure of it. I can’t say that I remember much of it, but I can recall back to eight days ago when we set sail in my 2007 Kia Sportage whose CD player is holding one of my *NSYNC records captive.

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July 21, 2017: Day One

7:14 AM: Mom, freshly showered and only wearing a towel, is rolling suitcases out of her bedroom and into the living room while barking at my father to get them “PACKED IN THE CAR THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE YESTERDAY.” She calls this “multitasking.”

At 7:43 AM, I am instructed to close the two umbrellas on our deck in case the plague passes through our area while we’re gone. It rained the night before, so I’m christened with rain water from the top of the umbrella as its circumference closes around me. Everyone indoors laughs at my expense instead of giving me a towel. The sensation is uncomfortable with the first umbrella and symbolic with the second as it unknowingly foreshadows the spiddle water that is to come.

We load the car at 8:07 AM with the assistance of ladder and make our first stop at Dunkin’ Donuts at 8:13 AM to pick up breakfast and coffee. Mom’s order, which she modified due to her “severe indigestion,” includes maple oatmeal, a fruit smoothie, and a Boston cream donut “for later.” She also intends on ordering a Frappuccino until she is scolded by everyone in the car for overestimating how much her body can handle until the first pit stop.

At 9:49 AM, dad says to mom, “I’ll be Chevy Chase and you can be Christie Brinkley.” Vacation is in full swing.

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11:17 AM: I decide I’m going to start a franchise for rest station express yoga classes if all of my real career aspirations wilt and die.

At 11:46 AM, we pass a water tower, which reminds me of a game my grandpa and I used to play when I was a little girl. It was called "Water Towers," and we would count water towers when we passed them. Our high score rarely surpassed two or three of the same water towers because all of our relatives live within a 2-mile radius of each other. It’s an Old Country thing™.

At 12:35 PM we enter Bethesda, Maryland, which makes me think about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because Bethesda is where one of the girls went to college. Or maybe it’s where America Ferrera’s dad was a total dick to her? Who knows. I guess I don’t really think about Bethesda, Maryland unless I’m peeing in one of their rest stops.

4:12 PM is when I learn that 7/11 doesn’t sell espresso even though they have a self-serve machine that dispenses apple pie macchiatos. I settle for neither and offer to take over behind the wheel so my dad can take a break from driving.

By 4:34 PM I’ve returned to the back seat of the car after I manage to hit the curb and navigate us onto a one-way street during my first two minutes in the driver’s seat. The air conditioning has also stopped working. Hm. 

At 5:01 PM we make our final pit stop at a gas station in Fayetteville, which is where we are staying for the night before we finish our trip the next day. When I open the bathroom stall door, flies emerge from the gut of the toilet. A track from Harry Styles’ latest album is playing over the intercom and it’s all strangely poetic.

At 10:01 PM, we eat Applebee's take-out from foam containers in our room at the only pet-friendly hotel in town. Mom orders short ribs and Lily gets to clean the bones. Later, Marla will sucker punch me in the middle of the night in our shared Queen-size bed.

☆★☆

July 22, 2017: Day Two

8:40 AM: “Hold on, hold on ma’am. You're speaking too fast,” the McDonalds employee says to dad over the intercom. An extra sausage ham and egg McSandwich is ordered for McLily to encourage her to McEat so we can administer her McInsulin for her McDiabetes.

At 1:15 PM, a highway billboard notifies us that there are moonshine pickles waiting for us off of Exit 53. We keep driving, but eventually stop in Coosawatchie for gas at 1:21 PM. There’s no public Wi-Fi or cell service, but there *are* boiled peanuts aplenty. (What's with boiled peanuts in the south? Did I make a mistake by not trying them??)

Sometime around 3:00 PM we finally arrive at our destination. We unpack, run outside to absorb the maximum amount of fresh air and sun we can handle, and go out to dinner to get some real food after subsisting on peanut M&Ms and Nutter Butters for 48 hours. Alcohol happens too.

At 11:56 PM, my right boob exposes itself at the supermarket when I reach for seasoning on a top shelf because I styled a long skirt as a dress. Forget what I said about vacation starting on Day One: this is my true moment of arrival.

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The days that followed were blurred into a hazy timeline, partially due to the Special Teacher Juice (frozen strawberry daiquiris) that mom force-fed us from her "Miss Lisa" teacher jug.

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In no particular order, these events definitely DID occur:

  • Lily was carted on the beach in a giant wagon like a princess. During one evening stroll, she nearly jumped out of her Bichonmobile when she noticed some boys playing bocce ball on the sand. Balls are her favorite toy, so as soon as we let her out to walk on her leash, she sat firmly on the ground and watched their game with the same intensity that I channel when I’m spying on painfully awkward first dates in restaurants.
  • We tried bike riding as a family after successfully doing so while on vacation in Sanibel Island last year. This time, we lost mom. She caught up with us eventually, but she was sore the next morning.
  • Marla and mom ordered oysters every night. I still think they’re disgusting.
Gross.

Gross.

  • We drove out to Savannah, Georgia for a day trip. Lily and the Bichonmobile tagged along. It poured for the better half of the day, but the sunnier half of the afternoon brought pleasantries, like ice cream from Leopold’s, honey tasting at Savannah Bee Company, and a spoon ring similar to this one. Savannah Relics Jewelry made mine, and they accept custom orders if you have a spoon that’s especially meaningful to your finger!!
  • I threw a melting stick of butter at Marla on the way home and ruined her new shirt. :( (Sorry, Marla.)
  • As penance, she made me climb into the trunk to access one of her bags on the way home while the car was in motion.

And now, for some unsolicited recommendations...

If you want to EAT WELL in Hilton Head, go to Skull Creek Boathouse, Poseidon Coastal Cuisine & Rooftop Bar, Fishcamp on Broad Creek, or HH Prime at the Omni Hotel (and get the filet mignon with truffle fries and the beet salad). As an added bonus, most of these places are dog-friendly!

If it's F*CKING RAINING AGAIN, go to the Hilton Head Distillery for a tour + a very inexpensive rum tasting!

If you're looking for a PODCAST to drown out complaints from the rest of the vehicle, listen to FRUIT (produced by Insecure's Issa Rae) or 36 Questions — The Podcast Musical (co-composed by my V V TALENTED fellow Sarah Lawrence alum, Ellen Winter. As a family, we bonded by listening to Ellen DeGeneres's Seriously, I'm Kidding on audiobook. This might have been the only time we bonded.

I also read Ties by Domenico Starnone on the beach. If you like Elena Ferrante's work, you'll enjoy the whiplash of THIS ITALIAN RIDE. For now, just enjoy these photos.


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ANALYZE & DISCUSS

IS IT JUST ME OR DO OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL LOOK LIKE FEMALE ANATOMY?