Friday, October 14, 2011

Road Warriors

God, I love the South
 By the time we set off for home, we felt like pros. Hitching up, clearing off the tables and couch and dumping our tanks -- no biggie, at least anymore. Before we left, we also got one last visit in with Joey, this time on River Street in Savannah's tourist district (my fave!).

Right before we left
I wasn't super excited about the drive home, but at least I had South of the Border to look forward to. The last time we were there was in late 2006 on our last GA trip, so I was hoping things had cleaned up there somewhat. As a child, a SOB visit was the highlight of any I-95 trip -- everything just seemed brighter, happier and more exciting (kinda like Disney World) in that tiny stretch off the highway. I must've romanticized the crap out of it because when I returned five years ago, it was like an eerie pallor of gloom had settled over the place. The colors and decor were still as bright and in-your-face as I remembered, but they only made the contrast to the lack of visitors and activity that much more striking.

I took a pic of pretty much every sign on the way home...but I'm sparing you the rest!
I remember us sitting down to eat a quick meal of enchiladas or tostadas or something we ended up regretting later, browsing through the near-empty stores, hoping to find a cute knickknack or two to bring home but instead deciding the dust-covered items on the shelves were a little bit too sad, outdated or expensive even for my tastes. (This coming from someone who once had a spoon collection. Oh, and a sugar packet collection too- don't ask.)

So I was hoping there was a bit more spirit, life, vitality at South of the Border this time around.

Well, there's certainly a lot of statues to pose on!
 The verdict: Well, it's still a bit of a ghost town, and I still wasn't willing to fork over money for the selection of souvenirs that I swear haven't been updated since the last time. But we had a delicious meal at the Sombrero Restaurant, shockingly enough. If you read the reviews people write about SOB in general, you'd expect to see roaches crawling out of your chimichanga. That wasn't the case with us (and if there were roaches, they were safely hidden from view). So if you go there, I recommend the Sombrero Restaurant. You won't be putting your digestive system at risk!
The pilot gets a much-deserved break
I won't give up on this place no matter what, dammit!
Thoroughly sated, we took a few minutes to walk around and snap some photos.

On the overlook bridge
I'm imitating the growling bear if you can't tell
Should I regret not buying this?
We returned to our trailer, which we'd left parked in the convention center lot, seeing as there didn't seem to be any other designated trailer/truck parking. Pretty weird for a tourist destination. I guess they think that if you have a trailer, you'll be staying in their campground anyway. In any case, nobody got mad at us for leaving the car/trailer there (we were only gone for 45 minutes at the most).

In no man's land
We got back on the road pretty quickly and driver-of-the-year Steve got us into Virginia by a little after midnight. This time we boondocked at the Pilot Travel Center in Colonial Heights, VA. (From my research it appears Pilot and Flying J have merged, so we were expecting the same standard in quality.) Our stay was nice and very quiet, actually- considering we were parked right by the gas pumps, so you'd think we'd be disturbed by the constant in-and-out of travelers. But, nope. We settled in from some snacks from the travel center and went to sleep.
The view from our sleeping quarters
 The next morning came the hair-raising part. My dad had given us directions for an alternate route through 301 (the old 95, I think) so we wouldn't have to brave the Beltway again. Ah, the scenic route - now we'd finally get to see what exists BEYOND 95 (well, from what we saw of Richmond, it wasn't pretty). The only problem was that there were traffic lights pretty much every five feet. Speeding up only to have to downshift quickly for a red light equaled a jerky, unpleasant ride. So with much consternation, we decided to tough it out for the Beltway.

Ahh! Abort mission!
All was going well at first. Somehow we came upon a high-capacity commuter lane, which apparently nobody else knew about because we were sailing through there, not a care in the world. Well, there's a reason nobody else was on it. It ended up taking us through downtown D.C., which, lovely place but you couldn't pay me enough to drive in that. So THAT was fun. Beltway, you win again.

That sums up the trip, I think...aside from those few hours we had to battle the Beltway, it was a complete success. Especially 'cause we don't feel like such newbies anymore! I-95 turned us into a couple of road warriors.

Now for the ratings:
Pros: beautiful scenery, spacious and private campsite, gorgeous trails and plenty of areas to explore
Cons: no dumping station on our site (but let's be honest, that's a bit of a luxury), the 30-minute drive to Savannah was a little inconvenient

All in all, our best trip so far! And it's only gonna get better, and easier. Thanks for reading -- we appreciate it so much!


  1. glad you had a safe trip and it sure sounds like it was a success!!..abort the mission! it!!!

  2. Having never been to SOB, we weren't sure what it was. We saw all the signs when we went to Myrtle Beach a couple years ago. We equate it to Wall Drug in South Dakota. Sounds like a must see :)

  3. How great is it to find out while very young that RV'ing is what you'd like to do. Many people don't take it up until later in life, you guys get to build a lifetime of memories not only with your kids when you have them but out on the road as well.

    Have fun, you have a long wonderful ride ahead of you!


  4. thanks so much Erik! It's great to meet another part-timer like yourself! I really think RVing should be more popular with more people our age- but I don't mind that it isn't. I feel like we discovered our own little secret world! :)