Maria and Derek's Travels

Monday, August 28, 2017

US Roadtrip - South Carolina

August 28, 2017

States:  3 (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
Capitals:  1 (Columbia, SC)
Distance Traveled: 445 miles today / 445 miles total
Time Traveled: 8.5 hrs today / 8.5 hrs total

Day one of the journey took us from our home in Atlanta up to Greenville, SC for our first stop to have breakfast with a fellow actuarial instructor.  The leafy avenues of Greenville and ever-growing skyline make for a very quaint and livable downtown area, full of bustling restaurants and cafes.

Our next stop took us to the capital, Columbia, a place where my only prior memory was of a sweltering heat during a summer week spent here during soccer camp.  Luckily, a breeze and cooler weather had blown in this morning, so we found the city surprisingly pleasant and enjoyed a stroll around the capitol and surrounding park.  We also took the opportunity to drive through the University of South Carolina campus - a nice collection of buildings and greenspaces just a few blocks from the capitol.

Heading away from the city, we eventually got to the North Carolina border, welcomed by the incessant billboards advertising a place called "South of the Border."  With it's Mexican theme and Pedro icon, the place is definitely strange, but it features a mini golf course, observation deck topped with a huge sombrero, six restaurants, fireworks shop, hotel, camping ground, gas stations and many strange cactus and stereotypical Mexican cartoon statues with a mustachioed man in a poncho and sombrero.  Despite the kitsch, it's actually a pretty funny place and was far bigger than I expected based on the billboards, covering 3-4 strip malls along the road.  The name is a play on the fact that it literally sits at the NC/SC border, on the South side.

For our first evening, we're staying with old friends just outside of Raleigh, so Toasty will get the night off before we have our first night in the car a few days from now.

The South Carolina State House.  Amazingly, with the camera on a tripod and a ten second timer, this only required three takes to get it right.

As with much of the area, the original state house was burned down at the end of the Civil War, so this stately building was rebuilt following that time.  In front of the capitol is a large statue of a confederate soldier, something that has come under much scrutiny recently.

Standing tall next to the capitol is the state tree - the palmetto, as featured on the state's lovely flag.  The building and surrounding park were surprisingly nice and peaceful.

Toasty in the foreground with one of the pseudo-Mexican shops and some of the ridiculous (but entertaining) signs at "South of the Border", a crazy little strip mall sitting on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Derek, Toasty and Pedro - see if you can guess which is which.

A bit cheesy, but we couldn't help but laugh at some of the huge statues and weird buildings at South of the Border.  One of those great roadtrip kind of spots that you would never make as a separate destination but turn into a great place to stop for 10 minutes to wander around.


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Taking advantage of our laptop lifestyle and wandering this world together. Maria Renee is an online health and fitness coach, and Derek is an actuarial seminar instructor. Traveling together since 2015. Also see

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