August 23 – Northward from Richmond Hill, GA to Wade, NC

While doing a last minute walk-around of our motorhome and tow vehicle, we noticed that a "local" had climbed aboard and obviously looking to "get out of dodge" … actually Richmond HIll.

Back on I-95 north, there was again little of note other than

located in a shoopnig mall.

Next we crossed the Savannah River and into

Ever wonder why taxpayers of a state tolerate their governors spending on having their names on or under highway "Welcome" signs.  Does anyone really care?

As we observed yesterday, local law enforcement was out in significant numbers patrolling the highways.

Well hidden, by the time a motorist spots anyone speeding, they are "toast!

Clearly, their tactics were working.

In our years of traveling all across the U.S., we can't recall any other two-day period when we've seen so many motorists pulled over.

We remain mystified as to why the state's DOT is clear cutting long streteches of the median between the north and south bound lanes of I-95 …

often leaving just one or two trees standing.

About 50 miles into South Carolina, the first of some 60-plus highway billboards begin to appear promoting "Pedro's South of the Border" 

South of the Border

is located at the intersection of I-95 and US 301/US 501 just south of the border between South Carolina and North Carolina. The site is a 350-acre compound that contains a miniature golf course, truck stop, 300-room motel, multiple souvenir shops, a campground, multiple restaurants, amusement rides, and a 200-foot observation tower with a sombrero shaped observation deck.  It is also home to "Reptile Lagoon", the largest indoor reptile exhibit in the US.

The entire motif of South of the Border can be described as intentionally Campy.

South of the Border was developed by Alan Schafer in 1950.  He had founded South of the Border Depot, a beer stand, at the location in 1949 adjacent to Robeson County which was, at one time, one of many "dry" North Carolina counties.  The business was steadily expanded with Mexican trinkets and numerous kitsch items imported from Mexico.  The site itself also began to expand to include a cocktail lounge, gas station and souvenir shop and, in 1954, a motel. 

In 1962, South of the Border further expanded into fireworks sales, potentially capitalizing on the fact fireworks were illegal in North Carolina.   In 1964 it was announced that the route for I-95 would pass right by South of the Border, and the facility would be next to two exits and within view of the highway.  By the mid-1960s, South of the Border had expanded to include a barber shop, drug store, a variety store, a post office an outdoor go-kart track complete with other outdoor recreational facilities and the 104 feet tall image of the mascot, Pedro.

Over the years, the billboards with messages some considered racist and offensive changed to become tamer but still funny. Schafer continued to deny his attraction was racist.  In fact, he was known for hiring African Americans, and even helping them to vote, and standing up to the Ku Klux Klan.

About 300 people, mostly local employees, work at South of the Border. At one time, with 700 working there, it was the largest employer in Dillon County, South Carolina.

Then we were in

Debbie spotted a field of "yellow" and wondered what it was.  After checking on the Internet, we discovered we were looking at a mature tobacco field.

Just after exiting for our campground, we found ourselves abreast of another tobacco crop.

While checking in to our campground, we were told that this evenigng there was a taco and ice cream dinner …

for the "exorbitant" cost of just $3.00 per person! 

We later enjoyed a great meal … one Debbie didn't have to cook, making it even more pleasureable for her. 

The best news of the day, however, came from Ken's wife, Cheryl.  Back in the hospital since shortly after we left on Tuesday morning, he has made a remarkable turn around and his pain significantly reduced.  We even facetimed him this evening and he looked 100% better, was sitting up, animated, and his former talkative self!  He and Cheryl are now looking forward to his discharge and flight home to Cape Cod in the near future.

 

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