Tag Archives: South Carolina

An I-95 Landmark: South Of The Border

The 104-foot tall “Pedro” welcomes visitors to South of the Border, a tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border. Pedro contains 4 miles of wiring, weighs 77 tons and is said to be the largest neon sign east of the Mississippi.

Anyone who has traveled I-95 up or down the east coast has seen them.  Endless billboards, counting down the miles to Pedro’s Place – South Of The Border at the NC/SC line.  Sayings that these days might trouble the Easily Offended, but meant and usually taken in good fun.

YOU NEVER SAUSAGE A PLACE!

(YOU’RE ALWAYS A WEINER AT PEDRO’S!)

South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border

Growing up in western Pennsylvania, my family vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina, where my dad was from.  On the one occasion I can remember when we went to the Outer Banks, we drove across North Carolina to the coast.  I don’t remember how we got back, but we never went that far south.

South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border
South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border
South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border. The Sombrero Observation Tower is over 200 feet high and its glass elevator gives riders a full view of South of the Border’s grounds as it glides to the top.

Kathy’s family, on the other hand, made an annual summer vacation trek to Florida from Ohio.  Back in the 60s, there was no I-77, or at least it didn’t go as far as it does now, so the preferred route was the PA Turnpike to somewhere in eastern PA, probably Breezewood, then over to I-95 to Florida.

So imagine, riding down I-95, July in North Carolina, 3 kids in the back seat of a Volkswagen Somethingorother with no air conditioning, Day 2 of a 3-day adventure, tired, hungry and bored.  Those signs looked like an oasis to a person dying of thirst in the desert.  The closer they got, coming from either direction, the higher the hopes.  Seeing the signs for miles and miles, until as the border approached, the Sombrero-topped observation tower and the 100+ foot tall Pedro statue loomed on the horizon.  Three kids silently willing dad to take the exit.  But he drives on by, hopes dashed for another year.

South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border
South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border

So on our trip out to Bolivia, NC this past week, Kathy realized a lifelong dream – I took her to South Of The Border! 🙂  And it was about what we expected.  We had an average lunch served by an enthusiastic but largely ineffective waitress, prepared by what I imagined to be a single moody cook, preparing each meal in the order in which it was received.  The interior of The Sombrero Room Restaurant, while clean and cozy, looked like it might have been salvaged from a former Chi-Chi’s.  We didn’t go into any of the shops, but they looked to be filled with the kinds of things we call “mommy-can-I-gets,” to tempt gullible kids (and their parents) into leaving some of their money behind for Pedro’s safekeeping.

South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border. The Sombrero Observation Tower is over 200 feet high and its glass elevator gives riders a full view of South of the Border’s grounds as it glides to the top.
South of the Border tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border

The place evidently attracts a crowd during peak tourism season – it’s been in business and growing steadily for 70 years.  There is something for everyone – a gas station, truck stop, motel, two restaurants, a convenience store (actually two), a campground and more shops than I can count.  Not to mention the observation tower and 100 foot Pedro!  But on this grey chilly Thursday in March there appeared to be more employees than guests.  It’s certainly attractive – clean and colorful and large enough to make it impossible to miss and almost as impossible to ignore.  I’m sure many strong-willed dads continue to resist the pull of the place, but many more likely succumb to the wishes and requests of their passengers.

The 104-foot tall “Pedro” welcomes visitors to South of the Border, a tourist attraction along I-95 at the SC-NC border. Pedro contains 4 miles of wiring, weights 77 tons and is said to be the largest neon sign east of the Mississippi.

Take A Bow

“Take A Bow”

I’ve always had a thing for boat bows, especially reflections of bows in the water.  Shelter Cove Marina is of course full of boat bows.  Other boat parts, too!  Here are a few from our evening there that I found notable.

“Open Wide” (When I saw this I imagined the big boat with an open mouth getting ready to swallow the little boat. Weird.)
Evening light at Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening light at Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening light at Shelter Cove Marina, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

What Time Is It? How About Island Time?

Moonrise the night before the “official” full moon.

As if we haven’t been traveling enough, Kathy & I decided to head for Hilton Head Island, SC to (hopefully) escape some of the election shenanigans.  Here at the beach we don’t care about a whole lot other than having enough to eat and drink.  Oh, and maybe taking a few pictures. 😉

Sunset colors looking toward Tybee Island, Georgia from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise colors looking toward Tybee Island, Georgia from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We arrived Friday afternoon to crystal clear skies, awoke to same on Saturday morning but unfortunately are dealing with gale-force winds and a dense cloud layer Saturday evening.  So, no “full” moon for us.  Fortunately I caught the moon in it’s “pre-full” stage on Friday.  And to my way of thinking, since the full moon occurred this morning at 10:30, my “almost-full” moon is “as full” as the moon coming up this evening.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

Moonrise the night before the “official” full moon.

Goin’ Fishing

Solitude – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

It may be a dicey time to try and get out to other parts of the country, but Kathy & I are fixin’ to get back on the road again.  We’ll be headed to Ohio and beyond for a few days.  So I’m going to end the post-a-day I’ve been doing and concentrate on taking photos and spending time with family and friends.  You may see an occasional postcard from time to time.

“Throw this one back “(as soon as I get a photo). Baby hammerhead shark

One thing I did do, for anyone who is interested, is post a gallery of photos from our recent trip to the beach: 2020-06 Hilton Head

Casting Call – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Sahara Dust Cloud Was A Bust

On the beach – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The ominous sounding Sahara Dust Cloud passed through Charlotte over the last few days, including (I guess) today.  Yesterday afternoon was really hazy and smoky-looking, but it didn’t present the vibrant sunset that had been predicted.  Supposedly the sunset on Friday was pretty colorful, but that might or might not have been a result of the dust.  I was inside a restaurant having dinner anyway, so I can’t say.  Things look pretty clear outside now, dust-wise, although it is pretty cloudy.  The afternoon will show if there is any remaining dust in the air, and an air quality alert is in effect until midnight.

Happy Sunday!

Dinner Out With Friends

On the beach – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We survived our first mask outing last evening, not that we expected anything different.  We went to a local seafood place with some friends/neighbors and had a nice time.  It was only our second meal out from home, and it was nice to “test the waters” some more.  One thing’s for sure – it really clarifies the difference between cooking and eating at home and restaurant food, especially in terms of price and portion sizes.  It’s a reminder to keep the restaurant outings to a minimum!

I have four of these little vignettes that I’m planning to post through Tuesday – still drift fences (sorry) but a slightly different view – then I plan to end the post-a-day routine.  It’s been fun but it’s time for a break, so I’ll get back to my not-quite-daily occasional posts. 😉

Time To Join The Crowd

Drift fence shadows on the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Read on another blog earlier today:

“Wearing a mask is NOT a political statement. It’s an I.Q. Test.” 

Needless to say, that’s a little harsh.  Until now I’ve resisted the mask thing, but now our Guv’nor says we’re going to have to wear them for a while.  Despite my resistance I do believe in the science.  I’m just…stubborn.  Fortunately we don’t go too many places where it’s an issue, so it won’t have a huge effect.  Interesting how it’s easier to accept something when you’ve been told you need to do it, instead of just having it “recommended.”

Photo is another one of  those irresistible drift fences on the beach.  Sigh…. 😉