In my last post about the Antiques Roadshow I talked about how I asked my friend Pinky to come with me and write about the adventure. The reason I thought of Pinky first was because last month we went on a five day road trip because she wanted to hit up flea markets and thrift stores before ending up in Scottsboro, Alabama the home of the Unclaimed Baggage Center. She loves that kinda stuff and I love road trips so I was totally down as long as I got to finally visit South of the Border and hit a few other weird spots along the way because while Pinky’s passion is digging through old junk for treasures, mine is insane Americana and roadside attractions!
Our first stop was Pittsburgh because it’s about 6 hours from NYC and we knew we could get there between the time Pinky got off work and the time where we fell asleep at the wheel. I drove us directly to Primanti Bros sandwiches for a terrifying 2am sandwich with french fries and coleslaw IN the sandwich. The next morning we got up and headed to Braddock, PA just outside of Pittsburgh to visit one of my child hood best friends at the farm he manages. We hit a few thrift stores in the area and then booked it to a weird casino in southern Indiana.
The next morning after a mediocre casino breakfast buffet we drove to the Creation Museum. It’s Ken Ham’s massive museum dedicated to using pseudoscience to attempt to disprove the theory of evolution. It’s not really effective to a rational adult but it probably is to the scores of little kids who are being indoctrinated in insanity every day. I mean they have dinosaurs and a petting zoo. Don’t worry, I took a ton of digital photos and will do a whole post about it soon. I assure you I will come back to this madness.
After the museum we drove quickly south in time to hit Louisville for some thrifting and dinner at “Game” a restaurant that serves kangaroo and other unusual meats. My kangaroo burger was pretty good but the elk slider was fucking incredible. It beat out the wild boar one by a mile. Sadly we didn’t have time to stick around Louisville and we kept driving until we reached Bowling Green, KY.
Bowling Green is home of the Corvette Museum which is impressively big and full of some pretty cool cars, but our agenda was not to see sports cars… we were there for the sinkhole! In February a giant hole opened up under the Corvette Museum taking a bunch of cars down into an underground cave below. The sinkhole became part of the museum but they are working to repair it so I wanted to see it before they filled in the hole for good. It was well worth the discounted admission (thanks AAA!) to see the massive hole, although it didn’t photograph particularly well. The cars were cool too.
From there we headed directly to Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville where we ordered quickly but waited over an hour for our chicken and unbelievably it was worth it. Pinky lived in Nashville for a year and talked a big game about the chicken but it was some of the best non Popeyes fried chicken I have ever had in my life. I wish I got medium instead of mild but stories about burning assholes scared me away. I would have probably ordered another whole meal but we had to make it to Scottsboro!
About an hour before closing we finally made it to the turnaround part of our journey: The Unclaimed Baggage Center. Pinky had wanted to go to the Center for years. They buy tons of lost luggage from airports and sell everything at the massive store. Considering we had driven for days to get there it was pretty disappointing honestly. It was pretty much just an expensive thrift store. There was no digging or crazy deals to be had. It would probably be super useful if you lived in the area to get barely used stuff at a discount but no treasures would be found sadly. The town of Scottsboro had some other promising thrift stores and rival unclaimed baggage stores but we unfortunately got there too late to hit any other spots before closing. Clearly a return trip is in order.
From there we headed north, stopping in Atlanta for a disgustingly good Elvis themed peanut butter, bacon and banana burger and then ran across the street to the bar where Steph from the Coathangers works. She owed me a copy of their newish record and I also am mildly in love with everyone in their band so it seemed like only thing to do while in their hometown. For some reason I didn’t take any photos while in Atlanta but I swear it happened. After hitting five states in one day we ended up in the middle of nowhere South Carolina because we needed to get some sleep. My primary goal of the trip was coming up and I had to be well rested.
Somehow I have never been to South of the Border. Despite living on the east coast and traveling by car all over it, I never took I-95 from North to South Carolina. One of the largest roadside attractions in the country, South of the Border is a massive, completely offensive complex of gift shops and terrible food. There is a mediocre amusement park, mini golf course and even a reptile zoo. It was god damn incredible. Most of the photos in the gallery are of South of the Border because it’s god damn photogenic. Aside from the racist logo and terrible food I could probably just live there. It’s magical.
From there it was just a few thrift stores and flea markets and a quick stop for dinner in my old hometown of Richmond, VA before we hit my parents place in DC. They were asleep when we got there but I got to play with my parents dog which was incredibly important and then after a few hours sleep finally ran the final leg up to NYC pretty much without stopping. The end.
Now finally, click here to see the 35mm snapshots I took on our random road trip!