Yard Sale Day 2: It’s Your Last Chance to Impress Me, Kentucky!

Day 2: We're optimistic!

Day 2: We’re optimistic!

Day 2 of the yard sale started overcast, but not raining which was fine. Armed with hotel waffles in our bags for later-Thank you, continental breakfast-, we headed back to Lawrenceburg’s expo center to investigate a building that we had not gone in the night before. It was 7:30 a.m. and we were ready for deals. Yard sale “rules” say dawn to dusk. After waiting for a few of the vendors to roll in so we could throw dollars at them, we were off heading further north along the route.

I wish that I could say that Day 2 did not bring  a drop of rain and totally fulfilled our buying needs. I wish I could say that I spent my $300 of mad money on something amazing instead of the $36 that I spent on stuff that was just okay. I wish I could say that we hit a pocket of the coolest stuff ever and that I wasn’t disappointed by Kentucky down to my soggy bones. But I’d be lying.

The rain started almost as soon as we were on the road. The few tent cities were encountered were mud pits with floating islands of sad “We cleaned out  a corner of the basement” goods for sale. Many vendors selling clothes did not even bother to protect them from the rain. Please sell me your damp and moldy used clothing from your truck bed. For all I know, the rain was actually cleaning some of it. There was a point when, if they had been selling something that was at least dry, I might have gone for it just for the outfit change. My cowboy hat, yoga pants, BADASS CAT t-shirt and jellyfish poncho ensemble could have used something. Giant hip waders perhaps.

Lookin' good!

Lookin’ good!

Day 2 found us lost in the rain somewhere around Frankfort, Kentucky. Something about a bypass and the GPS just giving up on life.

Realization that we are lost in 3...2...1...

Realization that we are lost in 3…2…1…

Day 2 found us sucked in and tricked by flashy advertising. I mean, if you’ve got a werewolf doing your signage, that has to mean good things, right?!! It did not.

Lying, werewolf!

Lying, werewolf!

Day 2 said, “If your shopping goal is to accessorize a really shitty late 1980’s trailer park then you have hit the mother lode!” Go ahead and be offended if you live in Kentucky and/or a shitty trailer park that smells of wet cigarettes and cat piss, but that was what the majority of the stops felt like. It was even worse than our Kentucky findings last year.

This was the $1 flatbed.

This was the $1 flatbed.

There were two highlights from Day 2. One of them was not the field where I really had to pee and I could see all the dudes going behind a barn clearing for the purpose of peeing, but I did not have a penis with me so I thought it would not be kosher to cop a squat. Sexist bastards.

Highlight number one was a bunch of turkey vultures. I know that the general gut reaction is “ooohh gross,” but they really are impressive birds. Their bald heads are all about efficiency- Do you want to stick your hair or feathers inside of a dead deer? I didn’t think so– and their wingspan is enormous. We passed a large group of over a dozen of them roosting in a dead tree and on a field gate. Because this had to be more interesting than anything that anyone was selling, I pulled over for the photo op. The vultures gave me a challenge as I tried to get as close as possible and track their flights from gate to tree with my camera.

The second highlight was at Steepleview Farm in Poplar Grove, Kentucky. The vendors had some higher quality items, it had stopped raining, the set up was well organized, and the farm was bordered by a massive sunflower field. Before we even looked at the stuff, we had to walk the edge of the sunflowers up to the road where bee hives lined the border. They were beautiful, tall and full of pollinators! If I zoom in on my photos, I can see the number of bees that were flying around where I was standing.

This was probably our last good stop of the day. We should have taken advantage of the available food, but held out for some reason. Subsisting on car snacks, making desperate bathroom stops, and hoping for the next big find combined with overall dampness had us both tired and slightly delirious. When we finally hit Glencoe, our epic crossroads where we could continue the quest or jump on highway 71 North towards Ohio and home, I was screaming things like, “This is your last chance to not SUCK, Kentucky! Last chance to impress me, Kentucky!” Once back on a major highway, we even stopped at a last chance antique mall in Florence, Kentucky hoping for something cool. Technically the mall was actually on Route 127 and my mom resigned herself to never getting to eat a real meal again as we dared Kentucky to give us a worthwhile prize.

Either Kentucky wasn’t listening or it just didn’t care.

Our loot. I spent $36; MomBert spent $121.

Our loot. I spent $36; MomBert spent $121.




Yard Sale Day 1:”Kentucky rain keeps pouring down..

And up ahead’s another town

That I’ll go walking thru

With the rain in my shoes,

Searchin for (bargains!)

In the cold Kentucky rain,

In the cold Kentucky rain”

Elvis knows what up. My mom and I went to the Longest Yard Sale again this year, covering about a 75 mile section from Harrodsburg, Kentucky,  to Glencoe, Kentucky, where  it never stopped raining. Ever.

Sexy jellyfish

Sexy jellyfish

About 24 hours before we left for this adventure, I had just returned from a trip to Watkins Glen, New York. It rained the entire 7 hour drive to the Glen, at least once every day I was there, and then some more on the drive home. The weather combined with the sufficiently clean,  but slightly musty and damp hotel room, made me feel like I would never be completely dry again. At least there was wine in New York. Our yard sale route in Kentucky took us past most of the distilleries on the Bourbon Trail, but there was no stopping for hard liquor.

Friday, August 8, (Day 1 for us, Day 2 of the actual sale) saw us dropping down to Lexington, Kentucky, then speeding across the Bluegrass Parkway which proved to be a lovely 70 miles per hour and not the slow scenic drive that we had expected. All the expansive farms, fences, and horses looked just as good at 75 mph. Our destination was Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, where we would start the 127 route heading south as far as we could before returning for the night to our hotel in Lawrenceburg.

I swear the rain started as soon as our tires touched 127. Thankfully, it was not blinding, white knuckle driving rain, but just enough of a misting and dripping to soak through shoes, purses, and t-shirts sucking all energy and warmth out of me. There’s something exhausting about being slightly damp head to toe all day. Petting a basket full of puppies who may or may not have had poo on their heads did not help.

After a few minor stops, we hit our first tent city. It seemed promising since there was a moose head on a flag pole at the entrance and tons of buyers negotiating parking spots.  My mom had an umbrella for herself and we dug through the roadside emergency kit for a flimsy poncho for me. It floated around me like diaphanous jellyfish, but it was better than getting damper. I wore it well.

This has to be good. Right?

This has to be good. Right?

We learned that the off and on showers had the vendors continuously covering and uncovering their wares which hampered the shopping process somewhat. This stop was fairly heavy on antiques, but overwhelmed by “Mexican antiques.”  “Mexican antiques” are items made in Mexico and mass produced as antiqued picture frames, iron garden sculptures, giant alphabet letters, flower pots, wooden tables and herds of vibrantly colored tin goats, chickens , and peacocks. Mixed in selectively with real antiques, these items can be alluring. However several tents gave up on any pretense of antiquity and just offered massive stacks of these antiqued fakes.

Finding lunch lifted our spirits. A food truck offered pulled pork and giant pickles which were excellent until it was time to find a bathroom. I had noticed that there were random porta-johns conveniently located throughout the tent city, many set up behind every other vendor. So a bathroom stop seemed like an easy solve until we discovered that the first porta-john was padlocked. As was the next one and an entire line of them behind  a building. We finally saw a woman across the lot actually open a porta-john door. Then we watched as she fell back in horror and disgust. It turned out that the vendors, who had pulled together to rent the porta-johns for the site, had locked all, but three, using the rest as their personal bathrooms. One porta-john for every couple of vendors, three for the hundreds of people who would be passing through over a four day period. We opted to hold it.

Giant pickle

Giant pickle

Fortunately, we soon hit the edge of Harrodsburg and found a gas station where we were allowed to go potty. It may have only been moderately cleaner than the porta-john. On the plus side, apparently it’s okay to smoke inside gas stations in Kentucky especially if you’re the local sheriff.

So far our purchases had been mostly food based so when an actual antique mall showed up on the route welcoming yard salers, we went for it. Like deep ocean fish going for the angler’s luminescent,  wavy, fake bait, we went for it. When the wave of potpourri and candle scent hit me, I knew we had made a mistake. I stage whispered to Mom, “It’s a trap!! Run.” The lobby was a mass of fake flower arrangements, wooden geese in dresses, slightly misspelled wooden signs with the occasional reversed letter, and the dreaded primitive tchotchkes. Beyond the lobby, we could see a warehouse with vendor booths. Perhaps there was hope yet.

"Abandon all hope ye who enter here"

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here”

It was a horror show. Every booth featured some variation on the lobby’s motif. My sinuses rebelled against the onslaught of sprays, scented soaps, more candles, and products to make anything smell like something other than natural. There were multiple sins against antiquities, taking perfectly good solid furniture pieces and repainting scenes and random French words on what was once beautiful wood. Mom pointed out that some people would absolutely squeal with delight at the sight of this place. I reminded her that I had squealed, just not the way she meant.

This did not need to happen.

This did not need to happen.

The next antique mall on the route was a bit more eclectic although not stellar and was our point to start heading back north. This route was decidedly less populated than last year’s adventure. Big stops were few and far between, so we covered more miles quicker than we had before. We got back to Lawrenceburg with light and yard saling hours still available, so we pushed through the city, ending at their expo center  which was full of vendors and conveniently located in the same shopping strip as our dinner destination.

Our first day out, I purchased one Czechoslovakian bird at the second antique mall. Somehow it didn’t seem like a real yard sale route purchase even though we were still on 127 and the mall was offering a yard sale discount. Mom bought a handful of things including a new pair of Frye boots for $35 for my sister. I repeatedly explained to her that this was a crazy good bargain.

The day had been okay overall. The highlight was a taxidermied bear labeled as “half a bear”– it really was only half a bear- set up in a conversational pose with a taxidermied boar head. We speculated on the need for labeling and where the other half could be as we watched senior citizens line dance in the back of a Mexican restaurant.