The "mobile" home, or trailer, has been the abode of American white trash for many a year. Generally far from mobile, and sometimes far from a home, this modern shack permeates our culture; I have seen trailer homes in all states I have visited, and I have visited most. From the poorest excuses for human dwelling places to the most lavish double-wides, I thought I'd seen 'em all.

Then I went to Georgia.

The town of Tybee Island, GA, is a quasi-resort destination, of sorts. The island lies 17 miles east of Savannah, and is the ocean-most of the barrier islands of a region called the Coastal Empire, a marshy system of creeks and islets along the Savannah River. Lonesome Route 80 leads over islands and bridges, past "turtle crossing" and "road impassable when flooded" signs, to this often sleepy place by the sea. Known for a cool lighthouse and very good beaches -- the kind you can walk out for a mile at low tide before the Atlantic gets deep --Tybee also used to have a small amusement park and water slide attraction that have been closed down. Tybee locals are basically a blue-collar lot, with a strong presence of the summer-house-owning set all over town. In summer, it is crowded with tourists, but in winter, you can drink and shoot pool with the locals and parking is painless.

A couple good seafood joints are also popular destinations on the island. On my last trip to one of them -- I swear by the Almighty -- I saw something I'd never dreamed of to one side of the shady, wooded road. I'd seen many houses on the island raised on stilts or brick pylons to keep them above the frequent flooding, but here was a standard-issue, American dwelling trailer, held eight feet off the ground by what appeared to be 4x4's. I might have said I'd finally seen it all, except for my conviction that America will surprise me yet again, and most likely soon.

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