|Welcome to Vermont!|
Summer is once again upon us. If we're lucky, we will be venturing out of our homes, and sometimes our comfort zones, to see the world around us. We will carefully photograph what makes each place unique and worth visiting. We will eat the local foods, hear the local dialects, and try to grab a fleeting impression of what it would be like to live a different life in a different place. We'll peruse our photos next winter, not wanting to forget even one moment of our fabulous travels.
But we may find that the thing we remember the most surprises us! One of the very best parts of travel when you are a kid ( and come on - for us too) is the glorious, kitschy, over-the-top, stupendous ridiculous waster-of-money - THE TOURIST TRAP! Is there anything more American?
legendary pirate of Fernandina Beach
When I was little, our family vacation, more often than not, was a three day car trip to Florida. In the days before seat belts, Dad would strap the suitcases on top of the car, and lay our sleeping bags out in "the way-back" of the station wagon. During the day Mom had a bag up front filled with little treasures that she would dole out when we became fidgety - those tile puzzles that you slide around to make a picture; that magnetic bald guy whose beard you would drag on with a metallic pen; new crayons, COLORFORMS! We'd play endless games of "I packed my suitcase and in it I put...", but our favorite thing by far, was watching for signs for "South of the Border!"
|Wikipedia image of Pedro|
Those of you who didn't live in the east have missed being part of the greatest marketing campaign to date! When you drive I-95 from New York to Florida, you will pass a roadside attraction (actually more of a glorified truck stop) in Dillon South Carolina called "South of the Border." But that is really the anti-climax. Starting 200 miles before that you will begin to pass billboards telling you to come and see Pedro. There are currently no less than 120 billboards running through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In the past, there were 250 signs between Philadelphia and Daytona. Each one was unique making terrible puns about Pedro, ("pedro says, 'Our honeymoon suite is heir conditioned!') and touting all the wonderfulness he had to offer! http://www.thesouthoftheborder.com/
What kid could resist begging their father for 200 miles to puhleeszzze stop! We never really got Dad to buy into it. The closest we got was a bathroom stop, and a box of Stuckey coconut patties bought at the roadside giftshop in front of the fence. But we could see people leaving with bags of fireworks (legal there), wearing sombreros, and we could see the large statue of Pedro peaking over the fence at us. Oh how we dreamed of what must be back there as we tucked into those sleeping bags, and were rocked to sleep by the motion of the car, the quiet voices of my parents up front, and the comforting clicking of the blinkers.
|Hot Dog Johnny|
I caught the moose above on the border of Vermont last summer. The pirate lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, near my parents. I never pass up "Hot Dog Johnny's" near the Delaware Water Gap, and Lucy the Elephant is classified as historic at the Jersey Shore.
|Lucy The Elephant|
What ridiculously tacky pit-stop resides where you live? Show us in our Flickr pool today - the tackier the better! Give us a slice of Americana to set the mood for our summer travels! Oh, and here's Pedro's forecast for your vacation :
"Chili today, Hot Tamale!"