Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Road Trip - (Part 3) - South Of The Border

This is the final chapter of my road trip saga and it will be dedicated to a roadside "distraction" called South of The Border. On day-two of my driving drama, as I left lovely Emporia, VA on the wee hours of the morning (actually 8 AM), I kept seeing these colorful billboards mile after mile on I-95 South. I must have driven by 40 of them at least, no exaggeration. They were all very colorful, with a sassy sombrero-wearing Mexican cartoon guy as mascot, announcing different attractions for this place that I couldn't make out what it was. The signs were done in 1950's style and would state: "(Miniature golf, Camping, Barbecue, Arcade, Accommodations, etc) at South of The Border, in (50, 47, 44, 41, etc) miles!" What was it? I thought it was an amusement park at first, then a restaurant, but how come they had EVERYTHING there!? I just had to check it out as I very intrigued and already fascinated by the Mexican dude. I could tell the place had to be very kitschy and camp by the way the ads were done. I love all that Americana stuff and was dieing to buy a T-shirt or a souvenir there.
SoTB is located in Dilon, South Carolina, a 350 acre roadside attraction with 20 shops, 6 theme restaurants, a motel, 2 gas stations, convention center and dozens of really weird concrete statues, including a collection of Pedros, the cartoon mascot with the sombrero. The statues were amazingly odd, but in a cool I-wanna-hug-you way. It was mix of dinosaurs, flamingos, African animals, giant golf balls and sea creatures. And some were done as a blue rhinoceros or a green horned-rabbit, not much connection to reality. Love that stuff! I was only disappointed by the shops that missed their niche clientele (me) as the stuff they sold was not too cool. They need a good graphic artist to design some hip T-shirts and some take-me-home tchotchka. I found a cool Pedro coin bank but at $15.00 or so was not worth the price. They also had a pet-rest room, a fenced in area with a mock dog house, for the puppies. As Booboo was with me he got to enjoy the stop as well. It was still early in the day and the place was not mobbed yet so I got to walk around and take some pictures. I wished I had more time to explore but I still had many more hours driving to get to Miami and had to leave.
By the way, there are 175 billboards in total, from Philadelphia all the way to Daytona, Fl passing through Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. There is no way you'd miss them on the road!
Road Trip (part 1) and (part 2) can be found here.

1 comment:

Frank Grimes said...

I like it, I like it. I did not know that South Carolina had it in them.