South of the Border


South of the Border is an ultra-cheesy “attraction” along I-95 right on the South Carolina side of the SC/NC border. If you’ve travelled up and down I-95 over the years, you really can’t miss it or the billboards that announce that it is coming for at least a hundred miles in either direction.

The old, very non-PC, billboards have been mostly replaced by extremely boring ones. The old ones were along the lines of “Everyone’s a weeeiiiner at Pedro’s!”, with a picture of SOTB’s Pedro character and a giant hotdog. The new ones are along the lines of “Fill up your Truck at Pedro’s”. I kid you not. They are that bad. I get why they might remove the old ones, but it is a shame they couldn’t come up with decent replacements. I used to ┬átry to read as many of them as possible. This trip, I didn’t even try after a couple of real stinkers. I wonder if my old favorite, “You never sausage a place!”, is still being used?

The best thing about SOTB is that it’s location coincides with about how far I can drive from Raleigh before I need to use the bathroom. The other two things it has going for it are 1) that it is the first place you come to that has fireworks, which were always legal and SC and mainly not allowed here in NC (we’ve loosened things up a bit in more recent years here, but not by comparison) and 2) that SC has cheaper gas than NC. So when travelling back up north, it is your last chance to save a bit by stopping and filling your tank.

Mainly, it is there to serve the cheese/nostalgia factor. For me, I find it a nice photo op, but not somewhere I’d otherwise want to stop and actually go into a shop, although, as many times as I’ve been through there over the years, I’ve been in several cheesy shops.

On our trip from Raleigh to Orlando, we stopped each way for a quick pit stop. The rainy weather ones are on the way down, the late afternoon sun ones are on the way home. I just had time for some quick snapshots (I was literally shooting out the window for the rainy ones). I do think it would be fun to do a portrait session or model shoot there, though.