Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ay-yi-yi! The billboards of South of the Border, South Carolina

In South Carolina, just across the North Carolina state line is the best old-fashioned tacky tourist trap on the eastern seaboard, South of the Border. I'll talk more about them in the next post, but one of their great features are the seemingly hundreds of billboards you pass for miles and miles along Interstate 95, proclaiming the greatness of Pedro, their politically incorrect mascot, and the marvels they have to offer: fireworks, grits, camping, you name it. How can you not stop here after your desires and curiosity have been whipped up into such a frenzy, especially if you're a bored kid in a car on the way to Grandma's in Florida? The legendary Wall Drug in South Dakota used this same billboard technique to great effect all along I-90. These places hearken back to a simpler, less sophisticated time, when billboards were beacons that would lead the way to awesome places and things. "¡Yo quiero South of the Border"!


Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap said...

On our first road trip south my sister and I fell for those billboards and ended up staying at SOTB for a night. It was a wacky place, but fun! I remember reading somewhere that the billboards had changed in recent years b/c folks thought they were demeaning to Hispanic folks...I'll have to find my photos of the ones we saw and see if they're offensive!

Rick Kilby said...

Hooray for tourist traps! And to think i've never been!

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Betty: I bought a little booklet about the billboards there. They used to use a lot of "Award Weening" "Beeg Deal" "A Leetle Longer" type of language. I guess not so much any more.

Rick: You must go. You MUST!!!