Driving around the Carolinas - blog by Gurdur

 




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Driving around the Carolinas
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Posted 07-Feb-2013 at 11:55 PM (23:55) by Gurdur
Updated 08-Feb-2013 at 12:06 AM (00:06) by Gurdur

After the excellent #scio13 conference (on science-communication) in Raleigh, North Carolina, and after two extra days there, I drove down from Raleigh to Pageland in neighbouring northern South Carolina. Driving through the emptier part of southwestern North Carolina was interesting; what struck me was the geographical isolation and often comparative poverty I saw, shacks and isolated buildings surrounded by pine forest. The soil seemed to me to vary between a very sandy soil to a red-clay-sand soil. In much of the areas the soil seemed to be poor and infertile to me, but I am no soil expert. I was asked if it felt like driving into a ´nightmare, I guess a nightmare along the lines of Southern USA Gothic or Deliverence-style, but for me it did not feel like any nightmare, it just felt like many other remote areas I have known, travelled through and lived in. It was reminiscent of the geographical isolation I have known elsewhere, where you wonder how tough it would be often to live without immediate neighbours. Sure, the tall-pine forests made it a little gloomy, but since I'm a gloomy character myself, it doesn't worry me in the slightest. On the other hand, the roadsigns were mostly sparse, small and difficult to read.

I passed one graveyard along the way, but unfortunately I was not able to stop and photograph it. It was without any gravestones, instead with small markers and holders for flowers. From a brief glance, many of the flowers on the graves were fresh, so I take it it was a fairly new cemetary. While it may seem strange or morbid that I pay such attention to graveyards, but in my experience they are always interesting in and of themselves, and they also provide a deep look into how their communities are, with attitudes, beliefs and general living levels and ways. Crossing the state line from North Carolina into South Carolina proved to be a big if subtle difference; I was struck at how more prosperous it seemed generally in Pageland, South Carolina, the town I was headed for, just across the state lines, than in the adjourning area of North Carolina. My impressions are only very fleeting, and I don't know the areas at all, but such were my glimpses.

Arriving in Pageland, South Carolina, proved to be interesting in another way; I was told by my hosts that the townspeople very often use electric golf-carts to get around the town and to gp shopping in the immediate area. That makes perfect sense; the carts are cheaper than cars, and if you can accomplish what you want to with an electric golf-cart rather than a full-fledged car, then why not? I am visiting friends and their friends here in Pageland, people I know through one bulletin-board I run and the people they know, and since I'm staying for a couple of days with a very kind, nice family, Ron and Cheryl, and I've been very kindly offered genuine local moonshine liquor here, life's a breeze. I'm meeting up with Ron, Cheryl and their grand-daughter Hannah, and with Dee here. The temperature here can be very cold of a morning, this being the end of winter, but that's far easier to deal with than a humid, hot summer, and I've been told summers can be very oppressive here owing to that crushing heat combined with high humidity.

Photos:

A vacant garage (gas-station) at a deserted, lonely Y-intersection on the road in North Carolina




Another look at the deserted, unoccupied garage (gas-station)




The empty gas (petrol, benzine) and oil tanks of that unoccupied garage/gas-station in southern North Carolina




At my hosts here in Pageland, South Carolina, Ron and Cheryl; Cheryl and Hannah with their electric golf-cart, the usual transportation in this town




Cheryl and Dee together, they've known each other for decades




Ron and Cheryl together:




Dee apparently giving Tarantino impressions in deepest darkest Deliverance-country


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