Sunday, September 02, 2012

Road Trip, Day 2

South of the Border, Dillon, South Carolina
The day started at 7:30am in Fernandina Florida at the Days Inn, that was once a Best Western. We paid a lot more for one night than what we were accustomed to for that hotel, but it'd been five years since the last time we'd stayed there. A lot can happen in five years. As we left we filled the Prius with gas. A rough calculation at the pump showed that we were at least getting 50MPG, which correlated with the 52MPG the Prius trip odometer was showing.

We wanted to eat a local breakfast, so we stopped at Mama J's on 200 for our meal. Turned out Mama J's was a buffet style breakfast, and you had to pay before they sat you down. When the register called out $20.86 for two, my wife took but the merest moment before she said, rather loudly, that that wasn't what she was expecting. We immediately left and five minutes further down the road ate our breakfast at a local McDonalds.

We hit the road and stayed at a pretty constant 65-70 all the way through Georgia, South Carolina, and eventually through a good portion of North Carolina. Mileage continues to be a quite pleasing 52MPG in the 2012 Prius.

I could have stopped along the way to photograph the low country running up the east coast, but I wanted to get up and out of the southeast, especially North Carolina, before the start of the week. We'd already dodged the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. The last thing I wanted was to get anywhere near the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. I don't care what your party affiliation is, there is no such thing as a "good" political convention. We got as far as Rocky Mount, North Carolina before we stopped for the evening.  That puts us way to the east of Charlotte and staged for the next leg of our trip, up through the Maryland eastern shore area where I will slow down and begin to smell the roses, or at least to photograph more of the area we drive through. I've noticed that now that we're this far north that the day is about 30 minutes shorter. The days will get even shorter the further north we drive, which will curb how far and how fast we go each successive day.

South Carolina is one of my least favorite states of the union, and I have no desire to stop there unless it's for gas or to pee (New Jersey is my least favorite). But as I was cresting a hill headed north on I-95 I was visually assaulted by South of the Border, in Dillon, South Carolina, right at the South Carolina/North Carolina border on I-95. We've passed that spot more than once headed up to Colonial Williamsburge and other points further north, but never stopped. This time, with just the two of us, my wife prodded me into stopping and gathering a few snaps of the place.
South of the Border, complete with large mutant Florida flamingos nesting in the greenery.
It seems this place goes on forever once you exit I-95 and start driving around. I'm sure this redneck southern idea of Hispanic culture is meant as just good clean fun, but you have to wonder what real Hispanics think of this place. I thought Orlando's International Drive was the unrivaled center of tasteless American culture, but I believe this little spot in South Carlina is doing it's dead level best to beat us.
I have no words that can do proper justice to the awesome cultural presence of this particular cog in America's engine of business. Its size is indicative of the mobs of eager patrons who must come here to partake of its unique atmosphere. Or so I would have thought. Today must have been an off day, as we hardly saw anyone. I stayed no more than 30 minutes to experience this unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I felt guilty wasting that much time.

Technical

After nearly four years I think I'm beginning to get the hang of using JPEGs out of the camera again. I'm paying better attention to the histograms and learning to not let the E-PL2 display lie to me. That display makes my JPEGs look marvelous. Too bad they don't look nearly as good on the Mac or the Dell. I spent a little more time this evening in post, using Olympus Viewer 2 to resize the images before uploading them. But nothing else was done to the images.

I had to turn down the color from vivid to natural to cut down on the color intensity, and I should have probably cut it further to muted. I risk being called a hipster saying this, but I preferred using the E-PL2 with the 17mm and 25mm primes as well as the E-P2 with the 45mm rather than the kit zoom.

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