6.01.2018

Cracker Barrel Artist Bradley Walker to Perform at Ocean Lakes Bluegrass Weekend




Bradley Walker remembers music always playing in the Athens, Alabama house where he grew up.

Pop, rock, country – didn’t matter; his parents played it all on the radio. And it didn’t take long for the songs – especially the country tunes by the likes of Merle Haggard and George Jones - to inspire young Bradley.

When he was just 3 or 4 years old, he wasn’t just listening to the music – he was belting out the tunes in a sweet voice that would later bring him so much success and land him a spot on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage.

“Growing up, the radio was just always on around my house. My parents were big music fans,” Walker said. “I just gravitated toward it really early.


“It just grew from there.”

Boy, did it ever. The 39-year-old has graced the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, performed with legends such as Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss and won the 2007 Male Vocalist of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. He’s also released three albums; two on the Gaither label, both available in Cracker Barrel restaurants across the country.

This August, he’ll perform during the 20th AnnualPremier Bluegrass Weekend at Ocean Lakes, set for Aug. 24-25. Lonesome River  Band, which also will perform a set during the two-day concert event, will back Walker during his performance.

“We love sharing the stage together,” Walker said. “It’s gonna be fun to come to a new venue and a new place with some old friends and have fun and make music.”


‘I just knew I wanted to sing’

Walker knew early in life that he was destined to sing on stage.

At age 10, The Oak Ridge Boys invited him to sing on the national TV show “Nashville Now,” where Walker performed a song, then the group joined him on stage to sing their hit “Elvira.” 


“They put me on that show and that introduced me to the professional side of the music business,” Walker said. “I just knew I wanted to sing.”

He didn’t let challenges – Walker was born with Muscular Dystrophy and has always used a wheelchair - get in the way of those dreams. His parents raised him to focus on what he can do.

“There are some challenges but you just deal with it,” Walker said. “My hope is that by the first few bars of the first song the wheelchair part just disappears and they just see somebody who loves to sing.

“I want people to know that no matter what challenge you face you can still go after your dreams and accomplish your dreams.”

And Walker has lived those dreams. IIIrd Tyme Out, which has performed during Ocean Lakes’ Bluegrass Weekend, brought Walker to the ultimate stage – the Grand Ole Opry. As a kid by the TV in his grandma’s house, Walker watched his heroes perform on that legendary stage.

“That’s something I dreamed about as a child – going out and singing on that stage,” he said, adding that he let his foot drop from his wheelchair on that historic spot.

He’s performed with some of the most famous names in country, gospel and bluegrass, including Jimmy Fortune, The Oak Ridge Boys, Vince Gill, Rhonda Vincent, Charlotte Ritchie and The Isaacs – all who are featured on his latest record on Gaither Music, “Blessed.”

The 13-track album features classics such as “Amazing Grace” and “I’ll Fly Away” and new tunes such as “I Will Someday,” written by Chris and Morgane Stapleton with Ronnie and Garnet Bowman.

In 2006, Walker cut his first record, “Highway of Dreams” and played the bluegrass scene. In 2007, he won IBMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year.

“Just saying that still blows my mind,” Walker said. “I’m sitting here looking at the award in my living room. It just blows my mind.”

The day job

But Walker isn’t the typical, award-winning singer and regular at the Grand Ole Opry (he’s performed there more than a dozen times).

He wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to drive his specially equipped van to Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, where he has worked for 16 years as a materials coordinator.

He works at the plant through the week, then performs on the weekends. He only performs a couple of shows a month, booking the ones that make sense.

“It’s a strange balance,” Walker said. “My day job is what puts food on the table and pays the bills but my music habit is what feeds the soul.”


Blessed

After his 2006 debut release, fans didn’t hear much from Walker for nearly a decade. The music industry was changing – touring became a necessity to get your music in front of fans. The road is tough on any performer, but especially for Walker.

But he didn’t lose touch with the industry or his musician friends. Joey Feek, of well-known duo Joey + Rory, requested that Walker sing at her funeral after her battle with cancer ended. Gospel legend Bill Gaither saw Walker sing during that service in March 2016 and later signed him to a record deal. Joey’s husband, Rory, produced “Call Me Old-Fashioned,” which also included a DVD filmed in the couple’s barn.

“That allowed my music and my story an avenue to reach a lot of people,” Walker said. “God just opened up a door for me.”

Walker’s isn’t sure what doors the man upstairs will open for him in the future.

“I have been blessed – extremely blessed,” Walker said. “I don’t know what’s next. I’m just enjoying the ride. Every minute of it.”

5.25.2018

Memorial Day Bike Loop

We want to welcome you to Ocean Lakes Family Campground and we hope you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

There will be lots of motorcycles on the roads and a late-night traffic loop that includes Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach (about 3 miles north of the campground).

Thousands of visitors will be along the Grand Strand for Atlantic Beach Bikefest. The 23-mile traffic loop that we have had for the last few years, will be in place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday aiming to keep traffic flowing on Ocean Boulevard.

Here is how to navigate the loop:
- It will start at 29th Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard.
- It will continue south to Kings Highway near Myrtle Beach Airport.
-The loop will go up Harrelson Boulevard to U.S. 501.
-Then to Northbound U.S. 31 to U.S. 17 Bypass and then back to its start at 29th Avenue North.

You can call the Myrtle Beach Police Department’s Information Line at 843-918-INFO (4636) to get directions or alternate routes or go to http://www.beachbikeweek.info/ for more information.

TRAFFIC TIP:
If you feel like the loop throws a curve ball in your weekend plans you can email pdsocial@cityofmyrtlebeach.com and include your leaving point and destination. Myrtle Beach police will respond with the best route – avoiding the traffic loop.

5.11.2018

Honoring Ocean Lakes' favorite mom this Mother's Day


You could see a part of her shine through each face sitting around the conference room table.

The class, humor, can-do spirit of Mary Emily Platt Jackson was evident in her five daughters, who had gathered on this March day to talk with a reporter about the mother who gave them so much.

For a little more than an hour, the five daughters filled the room with stories of their mother’s love - for them, their father Nelson and the arts. They laughed at memories brought back through old black-and-white family photos and beamed with pride over her legacy of love and success that prompted Sasee magazine to feature her for Mother’s Day.

“We are just honored that you would pick our Mom,” Rachel said.


The five daughters - Emily Vallarino, Laura Hoy, Kaki Williamson, Rachel Gandy and Jeanne Mize – gladly sat down with Sasee Editor Leslie Moore to share stories of their mom’s rich life. Mary Emily Jackson passed away in 2010, just 10 months after the love of her life Nelson passed away. The couple had been married for nearly 68 years.

“She encouraged us, just like she encouraged Daddy, to go out and do and be brave,” Kaki said.


In addition to being a supportive wife and mother, Mary Emily made a name for herself. She attended Converse College on a music scholarship and loved the arts. It was a passion that never left her – she always had her young girls singing and was an avid supporter of the arts along the Grand Strand, not only sitting on various boards of directors for arts groups but also being an active contributor.

“You never saw her just sit. She was always doing something,” Emily said.

A plaque honoring Mary Emily Platt Jackson is displayed at Brookgreen Gardens, one of the many organizations along the Grand Strand that she supported.

When they were kids, Mary Emily made the clothes for her daughters so they could model the material Nelson was selling on the road. He converted a Trailways bus into one of the first motorhomes so the family could all be together as he traveled.

If she couldn’t find the right pattern for an outfit, she’d make one. Needed flower arrangements for church or weddings? Mary Emily could take care of that, too.

“So what didn’t she do? She was like a Renaissance woman,” Leslie said.

But it wasn’t just the skills she passed along to her girls. Mary Emily instilled a passion and drive in them while allowing each to pursue their own interests.

“She taught us to appreciate our differences,” Laura said. “She gave us the can-do spirit.”


Mary Emily was poised and very gracious, teaching her daughters about family and how to love one another while embodying that “sky’s the limit” and “just do it” mentality.

“She was our first hero,” Jeanne said.

The Jackson daughters are still actively involved in Ocean Lakes, carrying on that family legacy.

Check out the Mother's Day story about Mary Emily Platt Jackson in Sasee magazine here.






5.10.2018

Headed to Ocean Lakes for the Harley-Davidson spring rally in Myrtle Beach? Here’s what you need to know


Ocean Lakes is ready for bikers to start rolling in for the Harley-Davidson spring rally in Myrtle Beach.

The Cruisin’ the Coast rally, which attracts thousands of bikers to the Grand Strand, officially kicks off Monday, May 14 but some bikers will arrive the weekend before the official kickoff to get the party started.

The rally runs through May 20 and includes rides, entertainment and other special events along the Grand Strand.


Ocean Lakes welcomes bikers. Special parking for bikes and trailer storage areas have been set up to accommodate biker guests. Our South Gate also will be open to help guests get in the campground and start having fun as quickly as possible.

Many guests arriving this week have been watching the weather forecasts; we've had lots of questions about rain in the coming days. As of Wednesday, our go-to meteorologist Ed Piotrowski says the rain will be scattered. "That means it will not rain all day, every day, but if you are outside for several hours at a time, chances are you'll encounter a downpour."

Follow Ed on Facebook for the latest weather info; he'll give you a local forecast that's usually better than national models.



We want all of our guests who are here for the spring rally to have a fun, safe visit. A few reminders to help you make the most of your stay at Ocean Lakes:

Motorcycle rules

Guests are not allowed to ride motorcycles through the campground. Rope and motorcycle dolly towing ARE permitted to and from your rental site or campsite.


The following are NOT allowed in Ocean Lakes:

  • Riding motorcycles beyond the designated area at the entrance (signs mark the boundaries where bikes are allowed) 
  • Coasting – not under power but with a guest sitting on the seat
  • Three-wheel rides such as Can-Am Spyders and Polaris Slingshots must follow motorcycle rules; they are not allowed in the campground and must park in the designated motorcycle lot by the South Gate.


Ocean Lakes doesn’t allow bikers beyond the front area of the campground to ensure the noise doesn’t bother guests who are relaxing. While we have a number of bikers who stay with us, we also have non-bikers staying here, too.

Motorcycle parking

Ocean Lakes has a designated area for free motorcycle parking at the South Gate entrance. You must be a registered guest of Ocean Lakes and have a campground-issued orange wristband attached to the bike’s handlebars to park in this area.


Guests should pick up the orange wristband for their motorcycle in the Main Office when they check in. If the office is closed, you can get a wristband from the Main Gate or South Gate. Your site number will be on the wristband, which gives our team a quick way of contacting the bike’s owner if needed.

For bikers’ convenience, there are two unloading ramps available in the parking area by the South Gate.

Cars and vehicles also can park by the South Gate but only in the closest section to U.S. 17 Business, which is separated from the bikes and designated with signs as vehicle parking.


Trailer parking

Guests can park their utility trailers at their site if it safely and completely fits on their homesite or campsite.

If that doesn’t work, trailer parking will be available in our West Lot, which is across the street from the campground with easy access off S.C. 544. Cost is $5 a day.

This area is only for trailer storage; you will not have 24-hour access to park your motorcycle inside the trailer at the end of the day.

Getting into Ocean Lakes


Our South Gate will be open! Bikers can use the South Gate for more convenient access to the biker parking area. Ocean Lakes also is opening the South Gate to help alleviate congestion at the Main Gate during the rally.

The South Gate will be open from 8 a.m. to midnight Friday, May 11 through Saturday, May 19 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20.

Unloading

Guests can unload their motorcycles at the South Gate parking lot or in the West Lot trailer storage area off S.C. 544 across the street from the campground.

We recommend that you do NOT unload motorcycles at your rental house or campsite unless you have a tow dolly. Remember: You won’t be able to ride your motorcycle from your site.

Need more info?

Our team is here to help. Feel free to contact Security at 843-828-4847. That number is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Have fun and ride safe!



4.24.2018

Meet the 82-year-old teammate who conquered the 22-Mile walking challenge at Ocean Lakes


John Saylors has always loved a challenge.

So when Ocean Lakes Family Campground announced the March Madness 22-Mile Challenge for teammates – walk every paved road in the campground in a month, a total of 22 miles – John figured he’d give it a try.

At 82, he’s a bit older than most of his fellow teammates. And, just a little more than a year ago, he had surgery to fix the left hip that he broke in a fall. “I’ve got a little wobble now, though,” he said.

But that wasn’t going to stop him.

“I thought I might do 10 miles,” John said. “But then I got going and it was kind of fun.”

John Saylors poses for a photo March 28 just moments after finishing the 22-Mile Challenge at Ocean Lakes Family Campground.


He’d pet dogs along the way. Chat with folks on their porches enjoying the nice day. One guest, who relied on a scooter to get around, even joined John for a bit.

“He pulled up beside of me wanting to know what I was doing,” John said. They ended up talking for the next mile as John walked the mobile home section, the man rolling right alongside him.

“Everybody’s nice and friendly and they talk to you,” John said. “I had a good time with it.”

John, a retired law enforcement officer who works in Ocean Lakes Main Office, made special trips to the campground while off duty on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during March to log the miles. On his best day, he walked 3.5 miles.

Before he would set out on the day’s walk, he’d grab his Ocean Lakes walkie talkie radio – natural instinct for a law enforcement guy – just in case he had to alert Security if he stumbled upon a situation that needed immediate attention.

He’d also give his Security teammates a heads up that he was heading out for his walk. His teammates had his back.

“Bob Muller would ride by and make sure I was in an upright position,” John said.

Once John got going on the challenge, ticking off mile after mile, he started to think that his original goal of 10 miles might not be enough.

“Heck, I could crush this thing,” John remembered thinking after he finished 10 miles.

Support from teammates also helped.

“Everybody really thought I could do it and a lot of people encouraged me,” John said.

John Saylors shows off the "Rock Star" medal he earned for completing the 22-Mile Challenge at Ocean Lakes Family Campground. By the end of the challenge, John had logged 25.8 miles.


He persevered through the aches in the knees or ankles that came after a day’s good walk. Sometimes he’d carry his cane on his walks – he doesn’t really need it to walk around every day but he thought it might help on some uneven areas.

But the biggest bummer – there weren’t many guests out and about to chat when he walked the south side of the campground.

“It was kind of lonely on the south side,” John said.

By the end of the challenge, John had logged 25.8 miles (there’s some overlap catching every road) – just shy of a marathon (26.2 miles).

“Probably no one my age has walked that,” John said of his 25 miles, which he finished walking March 28.

Dennis Wade, CEO of The Jackson Companies, presents John Saylors with the "Rock Star" medal for finishing the 22-Mile Challenge for teammates at Ocean Lakes Family Campground.


His accomplishment earned him the “Rock Star” medal at the April 9 luncheon in the Recreation Center celebrating the teammates who participated in the 22-Mile Challenge.

“I’m just happy I can still go,” John said. “I’m going to go until they carry me out of here.”