I spent the last week in North Carolina visiting the family. It was great – very relaxing. There’s nothing to do there
except sit on the porch and watch nature. For a week, it’s great. Any more than that, and I start getting twitchy.
I came back yesterday, and I decided to take the long way home. Dealing with I-95 on a Friday afternoon is no one’s idea of fun, especially mine. So I took an alternate route. It takes longer (about 90 minutes) but is well worth it in terms of lowered stress and improved scenery.
I come south from NC on either I-26 or I-77, depending on time of day and weather, and then leave I-26 at Orangeburg, SC, on U.S. Route 301. It takes me out of my way, but it’s the only non-interstate major route that doesn’t run through downtown Jacksonville. That’s not my idea of fun on a Friday afternoon either. 301 runs down through rural SC, then rural Georgia, then semi-rural Florida. SC and Georgia look pretty similar. There are fields planted all along the way, but most of the towns are pretty empty. The main exception is Statesboro, GA, which is a college town (Georgia Southern U.).
Florida looks similar too, but there are more people. The towns were a little busier – of course, by that time of day, it was getting near rush hour.
One interesting thing is that I passed four prisons along the way – three state and one federal. One of the state prisons is our own Florida State Penitentiary, wherein the death row inmates are held, in Starke, FL. The prison itself is referred to as Raiford; I think it’s because the road to it used to be called Raiford Rd. I don’t think it is any more; the sign had changed when I went through town.
It’s a reminder that a lot of small towns welcome a prison being built nearby. It means jobs, and jobs that are pretty much recession-resistant. The towns with prisons looked a little healthier than those without.
It was a good drive, but I’m glad to be home.