Southern Comfort

December 4th, 2009

Awkward Rule #346: Driving three thousand miles for a photo-op with a giant sombrero.

(submitted by Chelsea)


79 Responses to “Southern Comfort”

  1. john smith says:

    I’m the little kid……….how do you think I feel now!!!!!!!

  2. nckycat says:

    Is this place still open!? Just passed there yesterday and it looks like a ghost town !! Ferris Wheel had no seats and looed all rusted and broke down from the road. The whole place looked broken down and abandoned. We didn’t stop. Only saw maybe 4 cars.

  3. Fatoldguy says:

    LOL man this pic brings back memories, we used to pass that place on our way from our home in Florida to visit relatives in NJ back in the 70′s

  4. Krom D says:

    sombrero my ass. It’s the mother ship they came out of.

  5. glory says:

    The Griswalds! on their way to Wally World ;)

  6. kyle m says:

    girl on right – pants optional.

  7. Come on kids let’s take a picture in front of Ranchero Burrito.

  8. PTSD says:

    Jack and Carl pose in their hats one last time before donating them to the Goofy Hat Museum (seen in background).

  9. Fee says:

    Las Maracas. That was the restaurant under the sombrero… we used to stop there overnight on the way between NJ & St. Pete every year until Hurricane Bertha in ’96… We continued to Savannah instead & never looked back.
    And by the looks of the place every time I passed it recently, it was a good decision.

  10. Poindexter-X says:

    I love odd roadside attractions like this!!!

  11. Blondie says:

    South of the Border! There’s a wedding chapel there, too, according to the billboards. (The bb for SOTB start up near Richmond, VA)

  12. Yunakitty says:

    We went to South of the Border in 1988. Unlike most people, we actually LIVED in Florida and were traveling up to see my aunt in Baltimore. The billboards really make it seem like it’s going to be something. But when we got there, we were all so disappointed. Like, seriously, this is all there is? We walked around in confusion for a little while, walking circles around the sombrero (which I remember being different than that, it was big and yellow, cocked at an angle, and not on top of the restaurant, it was off to the side) trying to find the awesomeness that the billboards had promised. But no. Just a cafeteria style Mexican restaurant (Taco Bell was positively fancy in comparison), a small arcade with some games, and of course a tacky gift shop. At least we didn’t go out of our way for it, or pay to get in. What a giant ripoff. It became a hilarious family in joke for years afterwards though, so at least we got that out of it. (As in, “Oh, Busch Gardens is fun, but it’s no SOUTH OF THE BORDER!”) LOL.

  13. tonya says:

    Child of the seventies here! LOVED South of the Border. I should go dig out my pics….

  14. Debbie Downer says:

    Holiday Rooooaaaaaaaaaooooooaaaaaad! Its Clark Griswald!

  15. Patti says:

    Oh NO! the little guy on the left, MUST be standing on a RED ANT hill!!! Thats why he is itching his leg… I bet that hurt later.

  16. Jeff says:

    The younger brother is pissed that his shirt lacks the cool neck and sleeve blue trim that his sister’s shirts have.

  17. Alyssa says:

    SO funny! We never stopped there but when I saw the Florida Shirts and the Sombrero in the background I figured it was South Of The Border. When we drove to Florida twice in the early 90s I remember seeing the signs when going through the Carolinas. It was the best way we had to pass the time. Whoever called out “south of the border!” first when the next sign came up won that round lol. There were about a million rounds since there was a sign every minute.

  18. Snowrider says:

    Now how come we don’t have anything like this in Michigan? Like right next door to “The Mystery Spot”.

  19. Tim says:

    Wait, that’s not a sombrero! Didn’t you people see “Men In Black”? RUN!

  20. Mary says:

    Oh jeebus…again this could be my family only if my mom took the picture we would all be way off to the right or left of the shot and if my dad took it we would all be a million miles away because he was a big fan of wide shot. LMAO!

  21. mandy_Reeves says:

    YAY I was there in 2006! So wonderfully cheesy! I have a keychain of a tiny mexican with a sombrero and sarape

  22. jacque says:

    I love this picture. It speaks to me. It gave me instant flash backs to a citrus t-shirt I had. It was scratch and sniff! Top that!

    • Pugged says:

      Squee! I had a scratch and sniff shirt of Mr. Bill from SNL. He smelled like play-doh.

      I wonder what year this was taken because I’m trying to place the hairdos/don’ts. I was born in this decade and I am always trying to figure out how old I would have been. BTW those would have been my older siblings ages lol.

  23. Tiffany says:

    This made my day!

  24. kayakgirl68 says:

    I am awkwardly embarrassed to say that this is something my best friend/travel partner and I would drive out of our way to see! Yes we are awkward and a little dorky!!!

  25. Susan S. says:

    There’s no way you can travel down I-95 and NOT stop at South of the Border! Especially since there are advertising billboards posted every 1/2 mile.

  26. rex mannared says:

    It looks like Sigmund the Sea Monster is wandering into the shot on the right.

  27. Bleah! says:

    South of the Border! My all time fave tourist trap!!!

  28. Jeremy says:

    South of the Border FTW!

  29. D'OH says:

    At least they stopped. My parents only would stop to fill up the gas tank-and ONLY then. No cheesy tourist traps, no unnecessary bathroom trips (“Go whether you need to or not. We are not stopping again till we need gas!), no unscheduled sight seeing (Look kids! Oh, you missed it…You can catch it on the way back…) and NO SOUVENIRS!! (We are not wasting money on this crap only for it to break as soon as we leave!! You have enough toys at home and you’ll have your memories!). And no food until we stopped for the day, including drinks and snacks. It would only give us energy to fight or argue or make unnecessary bathroom stops..AHHHHHHHHHH…those cherished memories of the family vacations…

    • Angel Baby says:

      Are we related??

    • CarpoolMom says:

      You’re parents sound like me and my husband!

    • Tracy says:

      You weren’t missing anything at South of the Border – I remember the first time we stopped (sometime in the early to mid 80′s) and it cost a quarter to get into the stall!

      • Sidekick says:

        Karen, our family did the same trip from Michigan with 5 kids in a borrowed van! The only food we had was sandwiches, fruit and water that my mom had packed. I never figured out what the rush to get to Florida was. No Orlando for us though. Spent the week visiting my grandparents in the senior citizens trailer park.(No pool or ocean nearby) Ah, the memories.

    • RockitQueen says:

      Yes, exactly!!! Did you have the requisite station wagon, too? Remember sitting in the backwards seat in the very back, trying to avoid eye contact with the people in the car behind you?

      • fearbiter says:

        yikes yikes yikes…could there REALLY have been that many of us? I wonder how many of us made faces at each other in our youth from the back side windows?

      • laura says:

        YES! and rolling around and yelling WEEE! cause bump car seats! we got to lounge!

    • Tocsnai says:

      My thinking exactly. My parents never could find the happy medium between “forced march” and going an extra couple of hours to visit the light bulb museum.

      It even appears as if the father agreed to have someone else take the picture, which is one more measure of control he was willing to do without. Pretty exemplary.

      The kid on the left’s leg itching surely qualifies as a wonderfully awkward photographic moment, still, though.

  30. Gee says:

    I thought dad was *wearing* the giant sombrero at first…

  31. Other Dave says:

    The only way I could tell that this was taken in the 70′s/80s, is how the dad was dressed.

    Kids are still wearing those styles today lol

  32. Matt K says:

    You know, almost every family photo from the 1960s – 1980s is going to look awkward with the period clothes and hairdoos and all. But a giant sombrero pushes this photo well into awkward land.

  33. tastyfriedcats says:

    is that south of the border in the carolinas?

    • CarpoolMom says:

      I’ve seen several comments about this. What is South of the Border in the Carolinas? Is it an amusement park?

      • Carolina Girl says:

        South of the Border is a giant rest area / motel / restaurant / tourist trap on I-95 just south of the NC / SC border. It remains in all of its colorful glory today. The best part about it is the billboards that lead up to it in both directions. They make the trip interesting. There were more of them prior to Hurricane Hugo….

      • LT says:

        No. Just a cheezy tourist trap where you stop to buy stuff (souvenirs) you don’t want or need.

      • Katie says:

        It’s a scary decrepit looking amusement park.

  34. Heather says:

    Viva la South of the Border!

  35. Caitie says:

    I love South of the Border!!!! So cheezy!

  36. nmama11 says:

    this isn’t awkward to me…

  37. Sammy says:

    Will someone please wake up big brother, we’re trying to take a picture here.

  38. jnmcnally says:

    At least Dad is dressed smartly.

  39. Ashley says:

    Awkward rule #347: Cut-off jeans, pajama pants, red pants, no shorts, plaid shorts…and a few hats for good measure.

  40. Groggle says:

    South of the Border, baby! Near beautiful Dillon SC, birthplace of Ben Bernanke! I mean, you GOTTA stop!

  41. Baldguy says:

    Looks like the vacation has gone on a bit too long…

  42. Keith Cumtwa says:

    The kid on the left has to wait to go to the bathroom until after the picture. Love Dad’s pants.

  43. tgrizzle says:

    dad should have ducked a little so it looks like the sombrero is on his head!

  44. Kathy Rogers says:

    This is classic! I’m guessing 1970′s, based on Dad’s red leisure pants/tee-shirt/hat combo, and the groovy contrasting neck/sleeve ribbed ‘Florida’ tees on the kids!! Not making fun, believe me! Those are my stomping years, too, just a cut & paste job away! haha! Cherish…it will continue to mean more as each year goes by!

  45. tony14 says:

    Awkward rule #347 when you take a picture with a giant sombrero, make sure you wear a hat that isn’t a sombrero, but doesn’t match anything else.

  46. Charlene says:

    Rule #347: Stand directly in front of the giant sombrero during the commemorative photograph so nobody can actually see it.

  47. Cierra says:

    The youngest boys face is hilarious! He wants nothing to do with the fam vacation, except he has to wear the matching Florida t-shirts!

  48. Deb says:

    Nice one. Love the giant sombrero & the early 70′s vibe. I also love how none of the guys are looking @ the camera, not even dad!

  49. Lee says:

    Is this at South of the Border (a tourist trap on the N.C./S.C. border)?

    Love the matching Florida t-shirts as well.

    • chevygirl says:

      OMG i was thinking the same thing,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I swear no trip to Florida was complete in the late 70′s and early 8o’s with out stoppping there :->

      • Katie says:

        I was thinking the same thing… only I never went there in the 70s or 80s or any time thereafter…. just drove past it.

    • Alex says:

      I got food poisoning from that sombrero.

      Or rather the restaurant in it. =/
      That place is the armpit of this nation…

    • Jobita says:

      I was thinking that too! that this must be there. oh the memories. i loved seeing the billboards are you got closer

      • Amy says:

        I grew up in Georgia, but my parents both had family in North Carolina, which meant driving back and forth a few times every year. Those animated South of the Border billboards were easily the high point of all those trips. Bless their hearts.

    • Griffin says:

      I thought the same thing as well.
      Unfortunately I live ohhh… about 30 miles north of that hole. It used to be halfway decent for a tourist trap, but the last time I went by it looked like most of the shops were closed and the only people out were walking their dogs.

      • Claudiaaaa says:

        I personally always liked the feeling of uncleanliness and slime I got as we piled back in the van and drove out of S.O.B … and I really liked the 5 shacks with ‘GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS’ in neon lights that lined the street on the way out…

    • ReginaPhalange says:

      I remember my family stopping there sometime in the 80s on the drive from NY to Florida. Can’t for the life of me remember what we saw or did there.

      This pic…ringer tees, white belt holding Dad’s red polyester(?) pants up, that hat, Mom’s flared pants and the older boy in plaid Grandpa shorts. I HOPE this was taken in the 70s. :)

      And the girl seems to have suddenly decided her shorts are too short to be photographed. Shoulda thought of that when she picked her outfit for the day, no?

      The younger boy seems to have fleas.

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