When I’m not trudging the streets impersonating one of the extras in The Walking Dead, a few weekend hours are often spent swatting a small white ball (maddeningly all too often) around a local golf course.
On Saturday, I headed to Edgewater, a fine course not too far west of Lancaster, South Carolina. As area drivers know, there’s usually no easy way to get anywhere; notably no grids of straight North-South roads you might find in the Midwest.
I headed down I-77 toward Hwy. 9, a roughly 40 mile route with theoretically the fewest stops and the least amount of traffic. That’s pretty much how it worked out. It was a relatively delightful cruise.
Until I got to Hwy. 9. If you ever want to see a roadway where litterbugs reign supreme, this 17 mile stretch of road east toward Lancaster is for you. I mean, it is absolutely appalling and stunning in the sheer magnitude of the debris field. Mile after mile of junk and plastic and bottles and polystyrene and fast food wrappers. To name a few. You name it, it can be found here. There aren’t enough trash bags or work crews to contain this mess. Ironically, you can see a big billboard along southbound I-77 somewhere between miles 88 – 85 that admonishes travelers: “Don’t trash our state.” What they really need is the same billboard every half mile on every road statewide to drive the point home. Or is it that they can’t read?
I often unmercifully grind on slovenly South Cackalackians and this sad stretch of road did nothing to change my opinion. It made me pine for my little path in Southpark. I wish I’d had the discipline to stop for a photo – I rue now that I didn’t – since I was already running late to make my tee time.
Beyond solidifying my belief about the scope and breath of the litter problem in South Carolina (and the U.S. in general) it simply overwhelmed my sense of how I can truly help. I can’t park my car and walk the length of Hwy. 9; or the length of Rte. 521 back to Charlotte or any of the other roads and streets I come across, regardless of city or state. There weren’t enough trash bags or stowage space in my Camry to handle even a quarter mile of this blight.
The best I can do is to return to my one true path. That’s the only one I can do anything about.