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Editor note: The about me page has been updated. It includes the google map of the Route for easy access.
Until today, the furthest South I had ever been was Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. I’ve also been to Memphis, but that does not really count because Graceland was like some kind of psychedelic 1960s meth nightmare.
Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, where I grew up, have a history of serious racial strife. I have often heard that the Midwest is in some ways more racist than parts of the South. I confess I accepted this received wisdom unchallenged, as I have limited experience below the Mason Dixon. Then I met this guy:
Descending across the border into South Carolina from North Carolina, you will find “South of the Border.” The billboards appear some 170 miles before the border, ratcheting up your excitement into a frenzy as you approach. My friends who have been to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan will recognize this marketing ploy. Unlike the “Mystery Spot” in the UP, “South of the Border” is not a gigantic sex organ hidden away in the woods.
Have you ever seen “Carnival of Souls?” This blonde woman crashes her car into a river. She pulls herself out of the water, and stumbles into an abandoned amusement park. The park is shot in moody black and white, and it is peopled by creepy undead carnival-goers that chase the woman around the decayed and debased ferris wheel with murder on their minds.
“South of the Border” is a lot like “Carnival of Souls,” only instead of zombies it has this horse in a sombrero.
The location’s mascot is “Pedro” (see above). Pedro apparently owns several buildings. There is “Pedro’s T-Shirt World” and “Pedro’s Tamales” (no tamales are served here) and “Pedros Leather Shop.” We entered Pedro’s Coffee House/Hat Emporium*.
There are no customers. The parking lots are vacant, silent. The only life consists of a handful of melancholy employees, eternally damned by Pedro to clean his floors with foul-smelling tile cleaner. Leaving “South of the Border,” but not without taking advantage of Pedro’s restrooms, we soldiered on toward Georgia. And when I say Georgia, I really mean Jesus:
Travel: Washington, D.C. to Savannah, GA.
States: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.
Post-trip meal: Domino’s Pizza and three 24 oz. bottles of Red Stripe.
*A word on my photograph of the Viking Hats. Emily swears she had this exact hat in college. What did she use it for? Unknown.
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