Day 5: Newberry, SC to Calhoun, GA

Today was a little cooler (highs in the low 80s) but still lots of sun. It wasn’t as produtive photo-wise as the past few days since I had a lot of miles between stuff particularly in the morning. Speaking of miles, a milestone for Sparkle today as she turned over 200,000 miles. I’ve only had her half that (bought her in 2006? with 108,000 for $8000 – such a deal!). What journeys we have shared together — all over the country, in all sorts of weather. I’ve only replaced the brakes, shocks, battery, tires — general maintenance really. I’m very much into those 3,000 mile oil changes and have been putting in the high mileage oil since I bought her. She runs like a brand new van and I love her to death. I wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to buy another Astro Van though I understand they aren’t making them anymore?

The kids got by with abandoned lots and quasi farmland today. I’d like to find them some grass sometime soon. They haven’t been on green grass in what feels like half a year.

On with the show! If I can complain for just a minute, something dramatic is going on with the Coca-Cola company. It seems ever since I got here in SC, you can’t find a 20 oz. bottle anywhere. They say they are phasing out cans and replacing them with a 16 oz bottle (99 cent size) and have added this 24 oz bottle ($1.49 size) to replace the 20 oz. This seems absurd to me and I’m hoping it’s just a regional thing. The 24 oz is really silly big and the 16 oz is silly small. I did find a 20 oz. today (not shown in the photo) and was disappointed by its lack of fizziness — probably a month old or more. Ick.

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This little building was in Greenwood, SC (I think).  At first glance, I thought it might be a former Pure Oil gas station with the double chimneys on the sides — but then I realized the brickwork and size were wrong.  This one also has cute little vent-like windows up next to the chimney.  This building is set back pretty far from the  road so it’s still possible it might have been a gas station office.

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This guy had me fooled.  As you are coming down a super wide road down a hill into Greenville, you see him early on up on the roof.  I found myself wondering what kind of nut would be up on a ladder like that til I got almost there and realized the joke was on me.  At Trader’s Gun Shop. 

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Here are a couple mind-boggling restaurants – also in Greenville, SC.  The Acropolis is composed of these five hexagonal (or thereabouts) structures.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I don’t know if this was inspired by any Greek building or if there was another restaurant here before.

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Just next door is this about-to-open fast food place.  Now, maybe it’s the skeptic in me — but in this economy, does it seem like a good idea to pour money into such a venture?  What kind of food would they be serving:  crepes, waffles, and ????  I don’t see a flood of people dying to check it out when there are an abundance of options nearby.  I wish them well!  And had it been open, I would’ve gone in for a look-see.

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In Northeastern GA, somewhere southeast of Helen, was this nifty sign promising everything.  But they were closed — probably just for the season as the place looked pretty cheerful otherwise.  I would’ve gotten some peanuts in the shell so the dogs could have fun making a complete mess of the van.  That’s one of their favorite treats & thrills is ripping off the shells to get the goodies inside.  Possibly even more fun than marrow bones.  It takes months to get rid of all the debris but I don’t mind it as it’s a reminder of the ridiculousness of the event.

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I love the lightbulbs and wonder if they are/were animated to convey the illusion of flames at night:

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Somewhere southwest of Helen, GA (I was in the sticks a lot today so determing exact towns was difficult), were the remains of a gas station.  A pity that this plastic Shell sign was broken.  I would’ve shot from the other intact side but the sun was right there.  The station itself was not as romantic — with mostly junk in front and inside. 

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I had to check out this place since I’ve read so much about it.  It was closed (seasonal also I assume) so I had the place to myself.  Poole’s BBQ is in East Ellijay, GA — which is pretty much nowhere NW GA.  The gimmick is that you can buy a pig for $6 or so, personalize it with your name and have it added to the hill.  There’s also the pig car  which I was surprised didn’t have a coiled tail. 

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Finally, a little roadside story.  Sometimes when I fail to find an address for something before a trip, particularly if it’s in a smallish town, I’ll bring along a photo to show/ask the locals for directions.   That seems to be a much better method than just describing something.  In this case, I was looking for Yaggie Cleaners sign in Spartanburg.  No listing at google (other than an address which from the map appeared to be in a residential neighborhood).  In the heart of town, I asked an older fellow if he lived in town and had seen the sign.  He wasn’t sure – sent me to his buddies in a restaurant nearby who’ve lived in town forever.  Perfect.  They sent me down East Main Street and agreed it was “before the Bank of America”.  Easy enough.  I drove a few miles — scrutinizing peripherally, passed the BofA & still no sign of a sign.  Another mile or so, I saw a cleaners and thought I might ask them about the sign.  Well, they were it — the sign had been there, removed last May.  They had changed names & another cleaners (Fowler Brothers) bought the sign.  There was talk of changing the Yaggie part of the sign but that’s where the story ends for now.  I’ll have to give Fowler Brothers a call when I get home — unless somebody here feels like doing a little research for me.

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12 thoughts on “Day 5: Newberry, SC to Calhoun, GA

  1. I’m coming through your neck of the woods! See map at Flickr set (updated nightly to show where we are) and back before Day 1 here at this blog. All the way down to Key West & back.

  2. I got a giggle out of the 16 ounce soda being too small.

    I remember being a wee lad and thinking 20 ounces was a lot, way more than a 16 ounce soda.
    I do think my 12 ounces of Boylans or Johnny Ryans(Niagara Falls) is too small. but i am such a snob when it comes to pure cane sugar in my soda.

    -mike

  3. I’d be as big as a house if I drank the non-Diet stuff. I was almost getting used to those giant 24 oz bottles when I left SC. I don’t know if Coke it’s just doing an experiment in that state or they just have rebellious bottlers there.

    • Most of the street vendors in DC sell the 24 ounce bottles (for $2, I think). I personally view the 16oz bottles as the soft drink makers’ version of doing what the ice cream makers are doing – smaller packaging, but prices the same.

      But the interesting thing – the old glass bottles were 16oz. When I was growing up (70s), we always split those between two people. And don’t get ME started on Coke & Pepsi’s commercials showing those bottles – as if you can find them anywhere these days.

      Thankfully, about a year ago, I cut out soft drinks entirely from my diet. Saves a whole heck of a lot of money.

  4. I haven’t seen the 24 oz, but have noticed a lot of the 16 oz. I thought it was one of those make it smaller and pretend like you’re getting a bargain things. A lot of the 20 oz seem to be about $1.40 around here, and the 16 oz is .99. Who knows! I agree though, 20 oz is a perfect size.

    • I was greatly relieved to find the 20-ouncers in GA & all is well in FL, too. I hope they’re not going to be messing with sizes back home! I’m sure there are some can drinkers in SC that are freaking out right now.

  5. Just so you know, I’m from Greenville and that funny looking Greek restaurant used to be a Swanson’s Ice Cream place or something to that effect. And yes, Belgian delights will be serving food like that. And panini’s too. =)

    • Thanks for the info. That building seems unusual for a Swanson’s (Swenson’s?) ice cream. I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe it was something else unique originally. Who knew that paninis were a Belgian delicacy!

  6. Regarding the Acropolis Greek Restaurant, the building was originally a restaurant called The Gazebo. Each of the pointy sections was supposed to be its own gazebo-like structure. That closed and the location became a Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor. My wife thought that it was appropriate because the sections looked like upside-down ice cream cones. The Acropolis has great Greek-Italian food, and we eat there regularly.

    Belgian Delights just opened, and seems to be doing well. I ate there for the first time yesterday, and the food was fantastic.

    • Thanks for solving the mystery. So what kind of food do they have at Belgian Delites — crepes & fondue? Chocolates & beer? Or do they have burgers & burritos like other places as well?

      • Belgian Delights does have waffles and crepes. I had a fantastic salmon-shrimp lunch crepe with tomato soup when I was there. They also have kabob sandwiches, basically a meat kabob on a sub roll. Seems a bit odd for Belgian cuisine, but it looks good.

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