Year 3 of the World’s Longest Yard Sale started at it’s northern most point roughly 5 miles north of Addison, Michigan. It took us three hours that morning to drive to this point. After passing a number of rural antique stores in tiny towns, sitting for what seemed like forever at a train crossing for the World’s Longest, Slowest Train , and driving backwards through a carwash because I REALLY had to pee and there was a semi in my way and some assmunch decided to take his toddler for a walk across the correct entrance to the gas station, the suggestion that a better plan might have been staying overnight and starting fresh that morning sounded pretty good.
Despite frequent urination and wondering why no tiny towns had a McDonald’s to pee in, we made it! We expected a monument, balloons, at the very least a plaque or a billboard: “WELCOME TO THE NORTHERN MOST POINT OF THE WORLD’S LONGEST YARD SALE!” Just something to take our picture in front of. (Strangers we talked to later that night at dinner expressed the same disappointment.) Instead we faced a weirdly triangular intersection where we had to turn left to start our southern journey, and had to be satisfied with quickly pulling over by a road sign.
According to Mapquest, after I convinced it that I really wanted my route to be 127 the whole way, we’ve covered 488.12 miles of the 690 miles that make up the 127 corridor sale from Addison, Michigan to Crossville, Tennessee. You can see why we might have expected balloons and plaques up North. We’ve missed a few pockets inside the 275 loop around Cincinnati and some spots when we had to drive at night in Kentucky, but I’m cool with ignoring that. This year’s experience taught us that there was very little we needed along the route in urban Cincinnati and we can, with great certainty, tell you that the Kentucky portion was disappointing. (That’s me being nice about it.)
The bargains started rolling at our first stop. MomBert decided that she needed a brick in her life. Just one brick that said “CLAYCRAFT” from a pile of many. (It turns out that the Claycraft brick factory was in Columbus, Ohio.) The brick fascination ties in to the individually labeled bricks like Athens Block or the brick with stars on it seen in Nelsonville and Athens, Ohio (Bobcats, baby!). Southern Ohio hosted several brick factories once upon a time and they manufactured interestingly individual bricks per area.
As the “cute guy”-jeeeeezz, Mom- in the background said, “You can’t put a price on just one brick.” Several antique and salvage stores would disagree with him, but our first item was a freebie. At least he didn’t ask for her to trade her shirt.
This year we went extra dorky and got semi-official t-shirts in advance to wear the first day. There may have even been a fanny pack involved. **********Side note: We’ve never actually started on the first day of the sale, but this year we were able to go Thursday through Saturday. ************The t-shirts paid for themselves in talking points. Everywhere we stopped, everyone wanted to be our new best friends, asking about the shirts, complimenting the shirts, or for example, later at dinner stopping us at the door to ask what we bought on the route. If they hadn’t smelled so bad by the end of the day, I would have said wear them again. But the yard sale is a rough and sweaty place.
It’s also a very rural place which is all well and good until you have to pee- see above. The Michigan through Ohio portion was flat. No curves in the road because there was no geographical feature to curve around. Just tiny towns, occasional farms and miles of soybeans and corn. We probably covered so much distance because I could drive at 60 mph with few concerns other than slowing for traffic at sales. We noticed a cultural difference in this portion of the sale. My beloved tent cities were few. Everybody had to have their own sale at their house. Unless we could see the most amazing thing ever, we were looking for multi-family/ multi-vendor set ups. We like our junk consolidated in one stop.
Shortly after our stop near Addison, we hit the outskirts of Hudson, Michigan, where the realtor was taking advantage of the yard sale weekend to try to unload a historic mansion. Just from the outside, it’s the kind of epic, old house that makes MomBert gasp and exclaim, “Look at that!” The price seemed reasonable.
We didn’t have to be satisfied with just gawking from the roadside. Once we walked around the side to the carriage house where part of the yard sale was set up, signs directed us to more items INSIDE THE HOUSE! We were only allowed on the first floor, but were encouraged to make offers on anything we found. (We are kicking ourselves that we didn’t find anything.) I’ve toured any number of old castles, mansions, and churches so I’ve seen gawdy and over the top. The cherub faced moldings around the dining room ceiling simply made us stop and stare. As of today, it still appears to be on the market if you need a move in ready mansion or if you want to eyeball more photos.
Hudson also made us break one of our rules. Everyone wants you to follow their sign off the route, only for a few miles or as one sign side “200 yards into the woods” (NO!) to their HUGE sale. You’ve got to wonder how people are defining “huge.” If it’s not visibly on route 127, we don’t go. We’ve been tricked before, lesson learned. However I somehow ended up following the Glass Junkie on Facebook, probably through the 127 sale page, and I knew she was set up in Hudson so naturally, we followed her sign.
I like yard art and have glued some plates and what not together myself, so I was fully prepared to fan girl all over her. Unfortunately for me, her neighbor was manning the sale while the Junkie was elsewhere. I bought a short purple flower creation called Plum Beauty.
The rest of our day was uneventful: deciding whether or not to stop at different sales, subsisting on car snacks since there were few places to buy food, sweating, and walking . We would have kept on, but roughly around 5 p.m., everyone started closing up shop. The unwritten rule of the yard sale-actually I think it is written somewhere– is that the sale goes from dawn to dusk. Lazy bastards. Yet another cultural difference from other portions of the sales route.
We made the turn to exit the route and head for the hotel at Sherwood, Ohio. Eighteen miles away, Defiance, Ohio, was the best option I had been able to find. Not having eaten a “real meal” all day I blearily proclaimed that I hoped Defiance had something awful like an Olive Garden. It had plenty of chain options, but to our credit we ended up eating at a local spot called Kissner’s whose local history- bootlegging amongst other things- was printed on the menu. I knew it would be edible, when we walked in and saw that every table was filled with senior citizens: “Mom, old people love this place!” We had dessert at Eric’s Irresistible Ice Cream. No Jeni’s, but pretty good in comparison to car snacks.
We defunkified at the hotel and I found that my $20 boots fit well enough. A hot look with yoga capris. These will get flipped; I already have the silver leather paint and dye.
Day 2 will be backtracking to Sherwood and further south.