Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Down South of the Border

A station wagon makes its towards Florida on a sweltering summer day in 1968. On the rear benchseat little Billy and Petey sit with the family dog, Tiger. Sweat mats the brothers bangs down against their foreheads. Dad and Mom listen to the non-stop chewing and popping of the boy's large wads of pink bubble gum as the brothers practice their fast draw with shiny silver cap guns. Suzy and Kathy are playing with dolls and bickering over which of the girls dolls would have Ken as their escort. All of the passengers are antsy and it is long past time to pull the wagon over.

Up ahead a large billboard promises clean restrooms and cold pop. On the horizion an odd shape is taking form. The boys kneel on their seat looking over the heads of Suzy and Kathy and watching as the shape becomes a large, bright sombrero. The children become excited as colorful animals and buildings seem to be magically coming into view. At last they have arrived at...

South of the Border!

Random and quirky places make our travels so much more enjoyable. We enjoy looking up the random sights featured on Roadside America and, when we are close and have time, stop for a photo shoot and some silliness. Paul suggested that we stop at one such place this evening. Dillion South Carolina is home to "South of the Border", a near ghost town of a tourist attraction.

Tacky? No Doubt! A fun place to get out a little of the truck induced stir-craziness? For sure!

A man opened a beer stand on the spot in 1950. Over time his little stand grew and packages began to arrive addressed to "south of the [North Carolina] border"and so a theme was born!

At one time it must have been an amazing complex. Much of it still stands, but the paint is worn, parking lots are vastly empty and it looks much like some of the forgotten landmarks along the old Route 66.

Outside of each building is at least one piece of gaudy fiberglass fabulousness. Pink gorillas are just the beginning! It looks a bit like a sad Disneyland wannabe.

There is a wedding chapel, motels, conference center, diner, steakhouse, campground, minigolf, arcade, amusement park, fle market, gas station, truck stop, handful of tacky gift shops and a multitude of other buildings belonging to the South of the Border (SOB they call it for short- get your mind out of the gutter!) complex.

Pedro is the SOB mascot and can be spotted all over they place. In the past, all of the employees were refered to as "Pedro."

They have an observation tower that rises 200 feet into the air. For a good work out after a long ride, you can climb the long and everwinding staircase.

Though I have never been to Roswell, I would imagine SOB might have a similiar feel- just a little less intergalactic alien!

Hasta la vista!

1 comment:

b said...

love it. i'm gaining appreciation for 'americana'.

come visit my neglected training blog. seriously. neglected, but i'm using it now!

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