Friday, November 27, 2009

South of the Border

#24 in an occasional series of repressed 70's memories that turn out to be true.

His name is Pedro.  He lives nowhere near Mexico (say it in Spanish) but on 301S on the border between the Carolinas.  The "South" you are entering is South Cuh-lyina, a different country indeed.

In its day, it was the Tijuana of the east coast, where beer and explosives could be found after enduring the drive through the dry northern counties where cigarettes are farmed.

It took some digging to find the official website.  They need some SEO help from the Googles.
But you better believe Google can see Pedro from space.  He is 97 feet tall:

SOB has dining, shopping, overnight accommodations, attractions, all in quotation marks.
But don't think Pedro is lost in his kitschy past.  SOB also has a blog, and sometimes it gets updated!  It's name is blog.  Enjoy.

I am going to open the comments section up to the Readership to share their SOB memories.  I expect some of you have driven right through it on your holiday travel this week.  Pop a Blenheim for me and unwrap a Moon Pie.  You are going to have to wait for Memphis stories to be posted later.  I have a hand cramp.

Share your Pedro stories, and enjoy paging through these archives.

Stuckey's... just cuz


  1. By this time tomorrow I will have driven past Pedro twice in the past ten days - so I apologize, because I should stop tomorrow and send you a card - but I shan't! Sadly Pedro-ville has lost much of its luster in the past 20 years. It now perches between 301 and I-95 like for shopworn trinket of a bygone age. It's run down at the heels and any other cliche of which you can think. Only the wonderful billboards are left - and there are still at least 40 of them - 20 in each direction making terrible - but oh so lovely - plays on words. They make the trip so entertaining!

    My only memory of South of the Border is a trip in the late '70s when about 12 of us left Washington, DC, in a Winnebago - no, I am not making this up! - for a trip to Florida over "spring break". On the way down we ignored the pleas of one person to stop, so on the return trip north we pulled in there for gasoline at about midnight on a Friday, we all piled out and bought trinkets (yes, and used "the head"). Except for seeing more 18-wheelers in one spot than one can imagine, it was a totally unremarkable visit.

    I think one must be under ten years of age to fully appreciate South of the Border!

  2. On June 25, 1959, my brand new husband and I spent the last night of our wedding trip with Pedro. I remember one of the best steaks I ever had, the slot machines in Pedro's "Hideaway", and an upscale gift shop featuring Mexican art instead of the junk they feature now. I still grieve over a blue art glass bull that I didn't buy, but in those days, one did not spend $ 100.00 on a whim.

  3. My parents stopped a few years ago and decided they wanted ice cream cones. But they didn't know how big the various cones were. So my father stood in line and when it was his turn, he asked how big the large is. The woman said, "Two fi." He couldn't believe that they would put two feet of soft-serve ice cream on a cone, especially in the South Carolina heat. So he asked again and again the woman said, "Two fi." Increduluous, he spread his arms apart, measuring out two feet and asked, "Two feet?" When he tells the story, he says that all he could imagine was ice cream dripping everywhere before he had a chance to lick it. The woman looked at him like he was crazy and said slowly and clearly, "Two fifty." She thought he had asked how much was a large cone. So he bought two of them.

    It's still my family's favorite South of the Border story.

  4. Pedro weel be updating the blog a bit more now with pictures of the multi-million dollar renovation project. The rooms are being remodeled, the buildings and the statues have all been repainted, and there will be much more to come!!

  5. When I was little, we lived in Virginia and my Aunt lived in South Carolina. I don't know where we would have been traveling to, but we stopped by South of the Border on several trips and it was always exciting for my brother and me. We always bought Mexican jumping beans!


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