Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I-95 Curiosities

My "SMS Trip" has concluded, I am back home safe and sound having met with a large number of people (for me) and it all went so much better than I expected.  My thanks go out (again) to the many wonderful people I saw over the past 12 days (that would be 17 people).

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All of my trip was along or near to Interstate 95, the world's busiest highway.  I drove some 2500 miles!  I have been on nearly all of that highway, from Maine to S Florida.  Some parts of it many, many times.  Much of it is boring, I have heard I-95 characterized as very boring (but I concur with one of my oilfield co-workers who long ago called I-10 between Lake Charles and Lafayette (Louisiana) as "the world's most boringest highway").  Much of I-95 IS boring, but not "the world's most boringest highway.

In Georgia, for example, I saw this billboard, I do not know who paid for it, but this kind of sentiment is getting around...:


Here is a sign "with all five of them".  Can you figure out what all five of them are?  It's not too hard...

This next picture has a humorous history, but from long ago.  Its story is famous in our little family!  I used to drive this stretch of I-95 between South Carolina and the DC area a lot in the past.  For several of those trips I liked to drive at night (less traffic), I would take a long afternoon nap before leaving, and around sunset take off.  Well, driving long distances means stops to get gas, and driving at night means coffee and pit stops...  It was "that time" again, I needed gas anyway, so I stopped at the first gas station I saw heading north.

I paid and then asked to use their bathroom (coffee is VERY diuretic as anyone who drinks coffee and drives long distances knows).  I was directed to go to "the other building, and walk in the door "just" around its corner.  The out-building was dark, and I made my way there, turned the its corner and saw the door was open.  I also saw a chicken standing guard there (hey I grew up in the South for much of my youth so have a working knowledge of farm activities).  I slipped past the chicken, flipped the light switch (not working) to go to the metal trough (if any of you fellas have been around an old facility, you have used them).  As I was conducting my business, I glanced down to the floor just to my right and saw a soaked roll lying between me and the stall (with no door).

I felt rather lucky that I had just the smaller job..., and then I thought to myself, "Wow, all this bathroom needs is a condom machine, and it would be the PERFECT Southern Bathroom."  Yes, it had such a machine.  I went back and informed my two women of the classic old-style Southern Bathroom, which naturally they wanted to see...

Well, the same buildings are still there, but, no longer in use.  The out-building is the partially burned-down one (visible between the two support columns of the roof above the gas pumps), note the roof is partially collapsed.  So, the building is still there (sort of), but the memories remain (maybe you had to be there for this to be of interest...):

*Click* on the above image for a better view!  There is a sign that the station is "temporarily closed" (not visible in this photo).  There are LOTS of derelict properties in South Carolina, a state that suffered harshly in the recent years of the bad economy...

One of THE most famous tourist traps in the world is "Pedro's South of the Border", a Mexican-themed (though clearly not even close to looking like Mexico...).  You can see many signs (in both directions) for MANY miles (it used to be over 100 miles when I was younger) letting you know South of the Border is coming up.  It is located in Dillon, SC on the NC/SC border.  Fireworks (including explosive firecrackers illegal almost EVERYWHERE else in the USA, yes, they still sell "Black Cat" brand, all such fireworks are made in China).  The billboard ads are very cheesy:

South of the Border from about about a quarter of a mile away:

Pop Quiz!  Who is the most famous person to come from Dillon, SC?

Quick Clue!  He worked (a summer job IIRC) for the local crime bosses... *

This last picture is shows something that is much rarer than many would suspect.  If you have driven enough (or looked enough at US highway maps), you probably have a basic understanding of how the highway numbering system works.  The "US Highways" were funded long ago by both the individual states and the federal government.  They are all marked with a "shield" with the highway number, the signs are in black & white.  Our "Interstate Highways" (a big infrastructure program started under President Eisenhower) are a simpler shield design, but with blue and red coloring.  The NUMBERS of these highways are fairly logical, and one thing the road engineers did was to use a different numbering system between the two highway systems (to avoid confusion, say, when a stranger would hear "just go west on Hwy 50").  So it is RARE to see a US Highway and an Interstate Highway both have the same number in one sign!

This is the only example of such a sign that I have seen, do let me know if there are others!  The sign is near Wilmington, NC.

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* Answer for famous resident of Dillon, SC:

Ben Bernanke!  That is what I read, that Ben Bernanke grew up in that small South Carolina town that, surprise!, was corrupt.  Hmm, indeed!

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