[photo post] Providence Farm

One of my stops on my birthday roadtrip was Greenville, SC, to see my boy Jon and his wife Kaylee. Jon’s story is an inspirational one to say the least, and I’d be lying if I said his story hasn’t pushed me to write my own the way I have. When Jon and I became friends, he was a skinny wiener. Before long, that skinny winer turned into a fit freak. The fit freak turned into a muscle head. The muscle head turned into a personal trainer and fitness model. The personal trainer and fitness model then started his own meal prep business called ELEV8 Nutrition. ELEV8 Nutrition took off and eventually put Jon where he is now — owning his own farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of downtown Greenville — Farm Fresh Fast.

It’s sustainable. It’s literally fresh from the farm. Yet it’s fast food. With a drive-thru, even. I spent an entire day of my trip with Jon that included opening the restaurant, having amazing turkey bacon and fried duck eggs for breakfast, helping set up a catering event, attending a restaurant equipment auction, checking out one of the farms that provide his restaurant with pork and poultry, then helping put a few finishing touches on his most-recent venture, Seedlings – the first-ever farm-to-table kid’s restaurant located in downtown Greenville’s Children’s Museum.

I just happened to have my camera with me at the farm so we’ve dubbed it Media Day for Farm Fresh Fast.

If you want to see more pigs and chickens, check ’em out in high-res on my Flickr account. Otherwise, here are these:

Get social with FFF, Seedlings and Providence Farm

[photo post] South of the Border

Before I went on my recent birthday road trip, I scoured sites like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura looking for oddball stuff to do that wasn’t too far out of the way from my intended route. I found lots of great strangeness in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, but when I spotted South of the Border in Hamer, SC, I knew it was going to be a stop — it was required.

To make things better, it wasn’t out of the way at all — it’s right off the interstate. You actually have to drive through it. And you’re actually going to want to.

Tacky, kitschy, loud. Honestly, kind of racist. South of the Border is a tourist trap with a few restaurants, shops, an alligator petting zoo, an amusement park, a truck stop, hotels and a few other strange things. I showed up just after sunrise so only one restaurant was open and I didn’t eat there. Each of the stores seemed like the same store just on opposite sides of the road, the petting zoo was closed and the amusement park looked like it hadn’t been operational in a decade.

But it was still amazing.

Enormous statues litter the quarter mile of Mexican culture stereotypes. Cows, chickens, alligators, cheeseburgers and … Pedro. Pedro is everywhere. When you show up, you drive between Pedro’s legs. Two Pedros flank the entrance to the gator petting zoo. Pedro is on every t-shirt, magnet and souvenir cup. Reportedly, every employee goes by the name Pedro while they’re on the clock despite the fact that all the employees I saw were black women.

Anyway, South of the Border is real and I’m happy it is. If you find yourself crossing the Carolinas border via Interstate 95, do yourself a favor and be drawn in by the 30 or so billboards with Pedro’s mustached mug painted on them.

I also spotted what appeared to be an abandoned restaurant nearby with some great graffiti and grime scattered about and had to take a few photos because that’s just what I do.

As always, here’s a few photos. If you want to see more pictures of the high-quality variety, you can find them on my Flickr account.

Get social with South of the Border:

[Photo Post] — Rehearsal At Fluor Field

One of my best friends got married last weekend. Erin and I made the trek to Greenville, SC, to dress hella fly, have a few drinks and get my bro married to a very brave woman. I took my camera, which I almost always do, with the 24mm attached but I didn’t take many photos. Mostly because I was a groomsman and holding a camera during the wedding would’ve been uncomfortable, distracting and just plain weird. I left the photo-taking to those who were hired to do it and the attendees with iPhones.

I did, however, take a few shots during the rehearsal dinner. We gathered at Fluor Field to root on the home team the Greenville Drive, eat hotdogs and brisket, drink beer and celebrate Jon and Kaylee’s final unmarried evening. Below are a few of the photos that made the cut.

As always, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll likely see these soon if you haven’t already. You can also find these in all their high-res glory on my Flickr account.

Jon’s been a married man for five days now. I have to think it’s been the happiest five days of his life and I wish him and his gorgeous bride a lifetime of the same happiness.