September 12, 2009

Random gas stops turns into trespassing in “South of the Border”

Random gas stops turns into trespassing in “South of the Border” and a picnic not in Mexico but in South Carolina. After heading up to NYC and back down to Miami so many times, up and down the East coast I can barely remember anything more. Like so many other times when driving and seeing endless nothing for hours you finally get a glance at something! Well this is one of those times when I noticed something cool or odd about an abandoned hotel/motel while driving 80 mph on I-95 North. Seeing out of the corner of my eye was an abandoned playground’s old see-saw and a stubby rusted slide alongside a set of chain-linked swings secluded and with no seats. A long stare later and I return my eyes to the empty road off into the distance; I see an exit.

With or without a map, any road will get you there, to this place where I am now with Erin and the dog, Preeta. We are driving over a curb and up a road where someone had driven before us through the locked gate and left only pieces of its remains. Posted next to where it used to stand is a hand written sign: No Trespassing, No Stopping, No Idling, No Camping, No Parking…

Once again we are on the other side of the No To Entry, No To Trespassing, No To Parking. We are in the middle of this small village with a few lost stores, a hotel, a restaurant, and an old liquor store. Slowly we are entering a road between the gas station and a motel.

Tall grass lines a dirt road that leads us to a grass driveway and takes us straight to the base of an “erector set” type of a playground. Surrounding it is this deserted, semi-grand 100 room, two story family hotel /motel. It was called “The Family Inn of America” which now lies dormant, broken and shattered leaving behind only this huge playground and an oversized pool now green and half filled. Nearby, almost every single guest room window has been blown out. We start to take it all in and walk around. Our foot steps echo against the walls and in the distance I can hear the familiar sound of semi-trucks rumble past. We are alone, we are hungry, and we are going to run around like to two kids… climbing, swinging and yelling as we slide down the slide, we are kids again and our picnic can wait.

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