Have you ever traveled down I-95 through the Carolinas? Any chance you heard of some guy named “Pedro”?
The year was 1962 and Court & Ginny Terhune from Ridgewood, NJ piled in their 1960 Rambler with Suzy, Corky and Doug filling up the backseat. It was summertime and the family had Florida in their sights. However, along their journey they encountered multiple billboards that commandeered the concrete horizon, and they all had to do with this guy named “Pedro”.
I would love to know if my dad knew ahead of time that we would be staying at South of the Border Motel in Dillon, SC, as this was probably a good 12+ hour drive on our first day of travel to the Sunshine State. Did travel agents back then even book hotels for one night? How would my parents even know about the place? We obviously had no internet and it’s not like we had Pedro billboards in NJ, did we?
As we cruised into North Carolina, the three of us kids were hovered over our parent’s bench front seat and it was hotter than Haiti out. Luckily for us, our Rambler was one of the first cars to have Air Conditioning, and boy we sure did use it! There was a vent that popped up from the dashboard and all five of us clamored for some of that cool refreshing air. Can you imagine making that trip today in the summer without AC? Good heavens!
Anyway, not sure who in the family spotted the first Pedro billboard, but once we did we all kept our eyes peeled down the highway for the next one, as we began to think of this Pedro guy as one of our friends. When we arrived, we thought we arrived in a real life made for TV paradise, as they had a restaurant on site that served Ice Cream, a large SWIMMING POOL with a diving board (remember those?) and when it got dark, Pedro lit some fireworks. For a five year old kid, what else could one want??
With such a simple marketing strategy, there probably isn’t a better known motel in America than South of Zee Border, so if by chance any of our readers have old pictures of the place that you could forward to us, we will be sure to publish those in the August edition of Carolina Dreamin’ ! PS Who knew in 1962 that the youngest kid in the backseat of that Rambler would in 1999 settle in North Carolina just 64 miles east of South of the Border?!
CLICK HERE to Read more about South of the Border History.