Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 1, Year 5: We hit a nerve…or two.

This year’s longest yard sale starts tomorrow at the butt crack of dawn. I won’t be there but I wish you treasure hunters well.

MomBert and I had our big junk adventure this June in Nashville. I read a random article (this is not the original random article) about the Top 10 flea markets in the U.S., she said that it said to budget two days, and we went! Elkhorn, Wisconsin was the next closest choice.

The Nashville Flea was good, but it wasn’t “budget two days good.” One vendor told us that the REALLY big show -the “you can’t get off the highway exit for an hour” show-wasn’t until October, a detail our original article did not mention. Regardless, it was a solid flea market with multiple covered open buildings, tents, and multiple air conditioned buildings. Plus they had food trucks that went beyond “fair food.” We went for the panini truck; kind of wished I had gone with the Asian noodle truck. We  were there by 8 am and left around 2 pm, having done a couple of laps.

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This person’s shop is called Dead People’s Things. Truth in advertising, love it!

Other highlights were stopping at the American Pickers’ store in Marathon Village. It was a tiny space, but good for t-shirts and a bumper sticker for the cat carrier. It was cool to see items like Gypsy Grandma and the Wolf Boy that I recognized from episodes, but most of the antiques that were for sale were way out of my budget.

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We also kept up with eating local by hitting the Loveless Cafe twice. Worth it! I think dinner there may have even been better than breakfast. Catfish, greens, fried-green tomatoes…yummmmm. Of course, the biscuits were amazing and their peach jam tasted like my aunt’s homemade peach pie.

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Even though we left Nashville a day earlier than planned, we used that time to casually meander back to Ohio and hit EVERY antique mall we saw a sign for on the way.

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Our Nashville treasures. Ross looks stunning. I’m now up to three tiny velvet sombreros.

Despite a daily tension headache from negotiating Nashville’s highways (Siri and I will never be the same), we were in much better shape than we were during last year’s yard sale.

Last year was the longest yard sale‘s 30th Anniversary so we kinda hadda go!!! Whoooo!

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Miles is psyched!

However, I spent last summer doing physical therapy because my left arm was shooting electrical bolts and keeping up a fairly constant state of pain mixed with weird numbness and an inability to sleep in any of my favorite positions. It turned out that I was not developing superhero powers, but have bulging discs hitting nerves. Driving or sitting in a car for more than 15 minutes exacerbated the pain as did carrying any type of purse or bag. Yea! Let’s go yard saling. Seriously, I was the driving force on this mission because I’m an idiot who wanted an adventure. Meanwhile MomBert’s sciatic nerve was on fire so sitting in a car plus walking excessively had her aching. We were a hot mess.

Due to our aches, pains, and lack of planning, we decided to keep it simple and stay in state just making a day of it. An hour’s drive west on 70 got to Route 127 and the sale route north.

We originally did the Ohio portion in 2015, coming south from Addison, Michigan and ending around Cincinnati. The same spots like the Darke County Steam Threshers Woods were still hosting tent cities .

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Our day started rainy and dark but soon brightened up without getting blistering hot. We stopped at Niekamp Farm Market which we had missed on our original Ohio trip. Plenty of vendors and a  market to snack in!

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It was windy.

We visited my favorite giant chicken in Franklin, Ohio.

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But were slowing down by the time we hit the Lakeshore park in Celina. I highly recommend this stop for the number and quality of vendors, plus the lake is pretty. However we were both in pain, and had yet to eat lunch even though it was edging on 2 pm.

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My theory was if I could just lay on  a hard, flat surface and do some stretches, I would maybe stop being electrified.

We took 127 on into Celina and stopped at Bistro Brew Nation for a much needed rest and lunch. Another highly recommend. The walls were covered with local art, none of the chairs and tables matched, and the pizza selections were delicious.

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Back on the road, we ran in to this handsome devil again around Hopewell. Hellooooo, sailor! Two years later, and he was on the same table in practically the same spot. I regret leaving him behind once again.

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Someone buy him, please!

Buy 4:30 pm, we had made it to the Van Wert Fairgrounds and we were freezing! I have been constantly rained on during the sale, and sweated balls during the sale, but I have never been so cold that I was looking for a table selling sweaters. Fucking Ohio.

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Freezing and little to show for it.

Van Wert was the end of our day. It was cold, vendors were closing, and we had a two hour drive to triangulate our way home. It was a good time.

I raise my fanny pack to you, yard salers! May your bargains be many, and your porta potty trips few.

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Days 3-5, Year 4: The Hobbits head into Mordor, or whatever hot place they had to go to melt that stupid ring

Thursday, August 4, 2016, saw us in the car by 8 a.m., climbing the treacherous (at least to me) switchbacks of 127 up Signal Mountain. I can’t imagine that road as my daily commute, but people do it. We arrived at our first tent city in Fairmount on the mountain by 9 a.m. We’ve never started the sale on the very first day! A momentous occasion.

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Day 3: We’re on a mountain!

There we ran into a vendor traveling in a VW bus and creating her own very cool ” I picked 127″ t-shirts. I went with her racerback for yoga usage.

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We don’t know those women who are also wearing our cool t-shirts.

That day I was also testing my own fashion theory: the fishing/hunting vest. In Ohio the previous year, I had seen two women sporting multi pocketed vests. It seemed like a genius move! They removed the back strain of a purse -a problem for me-and the uber dorkiness of the fanny pack which was what I was wearing to combat back ache. I cruised thrift stores and eBay until I found a vest suitable for experimentation. It had Velcro pockets, snapped pockets, zippered pockets, secret pockets, and pockets within pockets! Unfortunately, the fabric wasn’t very breathable and eventually felt like it weighed 50 pounds. If you find Walter Sobchak attractive then I was smokin’ hot. ( I was also sweating balls hot) The Dude abides.

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Nihilists!

There were plenty of big stops on the mountain, but our increasingly sweaty travels were interrupted by rainstorms. Rainstorms that added to the heat, humidity, and muck.

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Lone Oak Community Center hooked us up with lunch, air conditioning, and an indoor toilet!

Stops with shade were a relief, but then we’d find ourselves hightailing it to the car when clouds and lightning rolled in. aug4thurs_day1sale1

It was the end of a long day as Siri directed us up gravelly switchbacks over what felt the millionth mountain of the trip. Oddly enough, there aren’t a lot of chain hotels in rural Tennessee. The easiest place I could find for us to end the first day of the sale was a state park lodge at Fall Creek Falls. From the outside the place was a cement block, but it was cheap and convenient.

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We opened our door into the cement block and stepped into the lake. The lodge was built along the curve of the lake and each room opened onto a balcony overlooking the water. Who needs modern decor when you’ve got scenery?

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We did a slow drive on a loop through the park, checking out the waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and encountering the local deer and turkey.FallsCreek

Dinner was a just okay buffet, but we sat on the balcony later watching a lightning storm in the clouds over the lake.

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Ick. Gross. So awful!

Friday morning brought sunbeams, no more vest- goodbye, Walter- and a quicker less mountainous route back to 127 and the McDonald’s in Pikeville.

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UUUUUGGGHHH. So ugly! My eyes!

Side note: The summer of 2016 was when McDonald’s started their all day breakfast menu. Items varied restaurant to restaurant, but we were in the South, so that meant biscuits all day, every day. Heat be damned, second breakfasts happened. A lot. 

 

Our first stop in Pikeville had a weird deja vu feel. We realized we’d been there the previous day in rain we could barely see through. Eye roll and moving on.

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This truck of goats were left at the window for an uncomfortably long time. Just watching me eat my biscuit.

Our goal for the day was to make it to Crossville and few points beyond like Clark Range, revisiting points of interest from our very first year. The weather was a repeat of heat and rain.

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G.I. Joe appears to be getting a handy…or something. Only $100

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Much better picture of a hummingbird moth with the pink flowers.

By the time we made it to the mass of vendors at Clark Range, I had to close my eyes and be still for 10 minutes to convince my head and stomach that we could make this work, damnit! Aside from my sweet pickin’ t shirt, Clark Range offered another great purchase. A husband and wife team were crafting chainsaw sculptures. Their creations were spread in a wide circle around the base of a tree where the husband was doing more carvings. I bought a handsome gray squirrel. Ahhhh art.

Our hotel that night in Knoxville was a chain so while there was modern decor and several junior high football players there for a tournament, there were no amazing landscapes or Bambis wandering about. We ate dinner at Blaze Pizza (fancy pizza in like 5 minutes) and tried not to hate how we smelled.

Knoxville was supposed to be the last stop on the road to home, but I made a proposal. Year 1, we naively thought we would eat up the miles and be lunching in Jamestown, the heart and headquarters of the sale. We didn’t make it there until evening when the sale had shut down. In Knoxville, I proposed that we take a route diagonally across country to Jamestown the next morning just so we could say we’d made it there. And maybe buy a t-shirt.

Saturday morning, after battling pre-teen footballers for breakfast, we made it to yard sale ground zero in a little under two hours. The poor representative at the Fentress County Chamber of Commerce was trapped by our enthusiasm for the sale, and our desire to change in to our brand new shirts in her air conditioned bathroom.

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OMG!!! We’re here!

She gave us suggestions for a few local stops. A biscuit and a few stops later, we were yardsaled out somewhere around the Maple Hill RV Campground and truly ready for home and cats.

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MomBert’s stash.

 

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My goods.

I spent $130 on yard sale items. MomBert can’t remember what her total was. Overall, the weather of year four made the a rough endeavor.

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Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 2 continued, Year 4: The Hobbit Life After Lunch

Stuffed on southern cooking and hoping for no more Fat Man’s Squeeze situations, we headed further over the mountain to go into the mountain! Silly hobbits.

It’s always 60 degrees in the Ruby Falls caves which was a relief from the weather outside. We queued up and joined a group to be sucked two stories down into a tourist friendly cave.

Rule one of the tour: TOUCH NOTHING! Some of the formations are still “living” and forming. Human hands and skin oils mess with them. There was one formation that we were all allowed to touch just to get it out of our systems, and we touched the Hell out of it!

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Yea, we’re gonna touch this formation! Touch it!

The tour was a casual 1 mile round trip to the falls with goofily named, unnaturally lit rock formations along the way and moments of intimacy when another tour group had to squeeze by on the way back to the elevators.

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Bacon. 

Not thinking about the amount of rock overhead was easy until the guide started spouting facts and history. In 1828, Leo Lambert and excavators discovered a passage and decided to crawl through it for 17 hours, ultimately making it back to the falls. Their tiny, initial passage was preserved in the wall.

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MomBert has the Cave Crazies! Too much rock overhead!

Ruby Falls is 145 feet high. It’s the largest underground waterfall in the U.S. and, as the guide helpfully pointed out, we were about 1200 feet underground. Roughly the Empire State Building. Over time the pool that the Falls hit has shifted and spread. In 1988, we might have been able to walk behind the water but not anymore.

I find it odd that it’s not enough to see a really beautiful, fascinating bit of nature; there also has to be a light show.

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We retraced our path, retouched the touchable formation, and shot up three stories to pop out conveniently on the upper level at the gift shop. Before hitting the gift shot, we climbed stairs up two more levels to check out another hot, windy view of Chattanooga. It was only 2:30 and we had run through our planned activities.

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A Internet search took us to the Knitting Mill Antique mall. It was the perfect find! a massive old factory building, but unfortunately all the signage said “Going Out of Business.” We cruised the booths and enjoyed the junk. It was too early for more than a snack, but a loud food discussion turned me into an eavesdropper. Two older women were heatedly debating barbecue joints while rearranging their merchandise. It was Purple Daisy versus Nooga-Q and they were literally arguing and assessing every menu item from meats to cornbread and homemade chips. I rarely do this, but I blatantly played tourist and inserted myself into the conversation, asking for specifics and making sure I had the correct restaurant names. Hey, a hobbit’s gotta eat dinner.

Meanwhile we found an adorable, retro-decorated gelato and coffee spot, Milk & Honey , a few blocks away and re-energized. A few local shops later, and we were ready to eat local again.

Nooga-Q was the winner since the Purple Daisy seemed like more of an eat outside situation-not in that heat. Nooga-Q was a tin building in the middle of a strip mall parking lot. Our waitress seemed surprised that we were staying, most of their business was drive thru. We were the lone customers for a little while, but the wall of articles and local awards was reassuring. Tender brisket, fried okra, coleslaw for days, our meal was delicious. It would be the best thing we ate for the next two days.

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To be continued: yard sales on mountains

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Days 1& 2, Year 4: The Hobbit Life

The first week of August means that it’s yard sale  time again. It also means that I have pushed all reasonable limits in writing about LAST year’s adventures in junk.

Last year, I finally read the fine print- it only took four years- and discovered that the contiguous route 127 path of the yard sale ends in Chattanooga, Tennessee,  around Signal Mountain. The Georgia to Alabama portion follows the Lookout Mountain Parkway in a series of twists and turns that require having directions in hand. I remember finding this to be incredibly disappointing for some reason. My epic yard sale really did not stretch all along 127. My “I heart 127” t-shirt might not mean anything across the Georgia border.

This discovery may have helped solidify my plan to visit Chattanooga, play tourists for a day, and then hit the sale. I had vague memories of our family tagging along with my grandparents to Chattanooga in 1988. Gpa and Gma were attending their annual WWII POW reunion there with Gpa’s war buddies. That sentence does not sound like an awesome idea for dragging three grandchildren and their mother along for “vacation,” but that was what happened. I specifically remembered the fairy tale caverns and their day-glo dioramas which I recognized again years later when Neil Gaiman set a scene on Lookout Mountain in his novel American Gods.

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1988: As family photographer, there is no photographic evidence that I was there. No selfies in ’88. 2016: You’ll see that I’ve taken almost the same pictures.

 

MomBert was up for it, and we were off to touch the tail end of 127;  making our total mileage, according to my math and the efforts of Mapquest and Google Maps, 562 of the 690 mile sale. **This mileage does not count back tracking, traveling to starting points and then back home, looking for our hotels, or getting lost.

Setting out on Tuesday, August 2, for the 8-hour drive to Chattanooga from Marietta, it was a bit foggy  and rainy, but we took the four fawns playing tag in MomBert’s yard as a good sign. I swear this video is not shot entirely through the window screen.

We got as far as Ravenswood, West Virginia, (that’s only an hour) when we saw a sign for Tudor’s Biscuit World and several antique stores. ***Seeing signs for Biscuit World requires singing the name out loudly and joyfully. Signs for Biscuitville do not get the same volume.

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And so second breakfasts and a real focus on food began. #ShireLife

We also believe in 11-sies.

Aside from amazing biscuits and some less amazing antiques, the drive down was uneventful but tiring. We had to strategize for the next day. We wanted to go up Lookout Mountain and do the two most touristy activities available: Rock City and Ruby Falls. We would be facing temperatures in the upper 90’s and humidity to match it. We opted for Rock City in the morning and the underground cool temps of Ruby Falls in the afternoon.

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Why the Hell do people live on mountains? Sure, nature is beautiful, and the views are great; but getting up and down the mountain on roads that were not built for the width of today’s vehicles is hair raising! Plus the edges of road where all I can see is sky, make me start panicking. So very, very, very slowly we made it to Rock City on Lookout Mountain by 9 a.m. on August 3.

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Garnet  and Frieda Carter founded the community on top of the mountain, calling it Fairyland. Frieda’s love of folklore and fairy tales influenced street names and displays throughout the area. She was the one busy gardening and landscaping around the boulders while her husband planned neighborhoods and mini golf courses. Frieda was definitely on to something. The initial path into the gardens of Rock City instantly dropped us in between giant lichen covered boulders and towering trees. Tiny streams and drips of water were everywhere, and the air was soothingly cool. Settings like this immediately put my mind on the path to place like Narnia and Middle Earth. I don’t need dragons or giant spiders, but some woodland magic will suffice.

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Hobbit life! #straightouttatheshire

Frieda had mad gardening skills, but may have sometimes leaned into the cheesier moments as illustrated by the gnome scenes in Gnome Valley and the later stop of the Fairyland Caverns.

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The Goblin Pass confirms Middle Earth status!

The fallow deer who used to roam Gnome Valley (I’m pretty sure they were there in ’88.) were also imported for their fairy tale-like appearance. They have since been upgraded to a bigger and better area of the gardens.

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The paths of the garden wind from one tranquil point to another until the swaying bridge over a huge crevice looking out across the valley. The guy behind us who was doing running commentary about jiggling the bridge was not funny.

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The bridge leads to a better and much more stable view of Chattanooga. Allegedly you can see seven states from this point. IDK. However there is a fancy little restaurant by this overlook, and it would have been a beautiful spot to eat and gaze off into the distance.

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Beneath the lookout is a waterfall, yet another amazing physical feature. The jiggly bridge guy’s wife took our picture. I’m so glad she used my body to block the beautiful natural element we were posing in front of.

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Outside the shade of the boulders and trees, the heat was already building up so the last stop on the path Fairyland Caverns was an underground relief. Again the Carter taste-level went for folklore and full-on cheese plate. Each diorama was handcrafted by a local artist and black-lit by crazy elves; they really do capture the magic and weird, dark twists that make up fairy tales.

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The gift shop contained the expected trinkets and t-shirts, as well as, a more practical product: birdhouses that mimicked the “See Rock City” barns that Carter used to advertise the gardens. This was my souvenir of choice and my squirrels and birds love the shelter.

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We missed second breakfast that day so we were definitely ready for 11-sies across the mountain at the Cafe on the Corner. There was pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, and a peach and berry cobbler they had just made. I love it when eating local works out.

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To be continued: more tourists, more mountain, more food….

Another DIWhy are we doing this….

It’s no wonder that I have two year old sewing projects. It takes me forever to do anything! Hence writing this in June 2016 about a project that started roughly in December 2014.

Once upon a time, I decided that it was time to upgrade my $5 yardsale worktable that I had used for years as my computer and project central location to something more stylish, more me. I wanted something gigantic, industrial, with a butcher block top, and rusted, paint spattered metal. I wanted it to have a history as a former whatever in some factory somewhere. It would also have a foot rest and possibly some cat storage. (People keep sending me the ridiculously expensive, but alluring CATable. Every crazy cat person needs this table.)

What I learned in my quest to antique stores and flea markets was that often these industrial giants were too big for my space, too tall to comfortably sit at, and too expensive to buy. Desirable qualities never quite matched the price point which was over $1000 in some cases.

My ever vigilantly helpful mother was on the lookout for me as well and this was how we got Texas cedar involved. The local flea market is a questionable place. It smells awful and is populated mostly by crap that appears to have been looted from 1980’s trailers. On the edges are a few vendors with interesting junk. MomBert found a guy selling planks that he had planed from a cedar tree in Texas. They were beautiful, full of purple stripes and knots, and smelled glorious. So in December of 2014, we spent my Christmas money, merrily picking out six worthy planks. We had no idea what we would do with them, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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We’ve got wood! Hee hee hee..

A connection was made shortly after. My dad had a good friend who did woodworking. As in he rebuilt things in his old farm house, made fantastic giant pieces of furniture etc… This sounded like the guy! Unfortunately, the friend did not have heat in his workshop so no crafting could happen until spring. In the meantime the woodworking friend questioned the viability of our purchased planks. First, he felt that six was not enough, and secondly, they were too thin. Fortunately, Texas cedar guy returned in the spring with another load of cedar planed thicker from a dead tree in a cemetery (there’s my story!), and was willing to trade the middleman MomBert for the previously purchased planks while also selling her a few more.

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And more wood….

Once the weather warmed up, the industrious woodworking friend was on it! By June of 2015, I had a gorgeous tabletop living in my garage while I sanded and varnished it. It was so big or my garage is so small that I had to stop using some of the doors in and out and parking became a game of Jenga. Once the staining was done, I tricked a friend in to helping me carry the tabletop in to the house where it took up residence under a sheet, leaning against a chair. The legs would come….eventually.

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Who needs space for a car, silly!

One of my wish list items for the August 2015 longest yard sale was a base for my table top. Specifically, old sewing machine legs. Day two of the yardsale hit the jackpot and I found a pile of legs to choose from. In retrospect, we probably should have gotten two sets because of the size and stability of the tabletop, but unlike all males around us, MomBert and I are not retired engineers.(Woodworking friend and BF, both retired engineers)  Returning home from the sale, MomBert and I started sketching out a master plan of how to attach the legs to the table top. The boyfriend would need detailed info if he were to be properly tricked in to building a table base.

After some consultations, the retired engineer boyfriend was ready to build a base by October of 2015. In his head this project would take only a  few hours- silly women. In reality, it was a long ass day.

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No one was physically injure.

The base traveled precariously to my house where it was married to the table top via wood screws.

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And… Voila! One million years later, I have a new and beautiful table that I can write a post about.

 

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 3, Year 3: Shit, I’m Tired.

Last night I was up too late mapping this year’s yard sale adventure and trying to determine if there was a major difference in Holiday Inn Expresses that were about 15 minutes apart, but roughly an hour from where we would end our last day on the sale. I was too tired to see the future. However I did remember that I never finished Year 3’s final installment. I left off in January. I’m slow.

We left our intrepid yard salers at a two-story Comfort Inn sans elevator in Greenville, Ohio. As a hoard of senior citizens partied in the hallways-mostly safely on the first floor-at least one of our yard salers was eagerly anticipating using the waffle machine that she had scoped out in the breakfast nook!

***I don’t want to own a waffle machine because, goodness knows, that’s all a fat girl needs. However I get psyched when  I get to use one at a hotel!

I was happy with my breakfast situation, but MomBert’s choices were mushy, tasteless, and sad. The breakfast nook was a swarm of partied out seniors who never went to bed the night before and had grabbed all the good stuff.

MomBert looked at her crappy piece of toast and reminisced about how when she traveled with my aunt and uncle, they would often make a McDonald’s stop for breakfast. A sausage patty and biscuit would be so much better than this.

HELLO?!

This was a magic moment when I discovered something new about someone I’ve known my whole life. I’m picky about fast food so I could understand her assumption that I would want nothing to do with McDonald’s breakfast. But McDonald’s breakfast is literally the only thing I will eat from the place-aside from French fries! Hallelujah! I will feed my waffle to a squirrel later!

Tasty, surprisingly flaky biscuits in hand, we backtracked 6 miles to York Woods where we had passed an encampment of vendors too late the evening before.

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Sell us your junk!!!!

It was like finding a band of gypsies. Gypsies who were still half asleep and just starting their morning fires for making coffee. At 8 a.m., we were ready to start buying, but they were too sleepy to care much.

We rousted a few and then headed on down the road in search of treasures like FART:The Game. I guarantee that if we added my sister to the team, we would dominate this game or shit our pants trying.

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No matter what I do, WordPress will only load this image sideways and apparently no longer offers the rotate tool???!!! Hateful.

We were hitting an area of more tiny towns like Castine, Ohio where the streets were lined and the available bathrooms were few. Maybe we just need to hitch a port-a-john to the car.

We also noticed that we were being “followed” by this white cat statue which kept appearing at various stops. This one had eyelashes attached. I vowed to buy the next one we came across – it was a slow purchase day– which meant we never saw another one.

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By noon, we had crossed Interstate 70 and hit Eaton, Ohio. Our streak of “eating local” ended at an Arby’s. It was hot, we were tired, the finds were few.

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Screw this noise, I’m done.

We set an end game to make it to the Cincinnati outer belt of 275 and head home from there on highways. It took another hour or so to wind our way through the denser urban neighborhoods on the route.We checked out a few packed parking lots, but ultimately went on our way empty handed.

Hitting 275 marked an end to this year’s adventure until the first exit….which had an antique mall. I swerved across lanes of traffic to get to exit 41 and the Ohio Valley Antique Mall. We budgeted an hour to walk their air conditioned aisles, purchase cookies, and use clean bathrooms while eyeballing the antiques.

We were somewhere on the road in Warren County by 6: 30 p.m. and home eating Tommy’s Pizza by 9 p.m.

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Eat local!

The cats were ecstatic to see their grammie! And critical of my absence.

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In the end MomBert spent $191, mostly on frames and things made of iron.

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I spent $219.50. My purchases at the antique mall pushed me over. They were not yard sale prices! This was probably one of our priciest years.

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The next morning, Miles and MomBert started mapping out a plan of how to turn my sewing machine legs in to desk legs. The engineer boyfriend can be tricked in to building things if you give him drawings, photos, and measurements. A project to be continued…

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Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 2, Year 3: I Don’t Like It.

Day 2, we returned to Sherwood, Ohio exactly where we had left off the evening before. (Yes, I know that I left off this train of thought months ago with Day 1. I don’t know. I’m easily distracted? I had a legit plan.)

MomBert scored some old frames and a cast iron toy stove off some vendors in a packed lot. That’s how you consolidate your junk, people! Line your tiny town streets, but utilize those empty lots!

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9 a.m., Day 2 somewhere in a parking lot.

Day 2 brought more of the same as Day 1: long, straight, flat stretches of roads, and individual sales.

We did hit a great pocket of vendors and junk where I bought some sewing machine legs for $40. Some research, based on their unique patterns,  showed that they were from the Free Sewing Machine Company. These would eventually become the legs of my new desk which is a whole other story.

Sewing machine legs and MomBert's "throwing star." She's a ninja.

Sewing machine legs and MomBert’s “throwing star.” She’s a ninja.

On down the road in Cecil, Ohio, after surveying another interesting collection of junk and what-nots in a defunct gas station parking lot, we determined that it was lunch time and that we should eat at the restaurant adjacent to the parking lot instead of trying to subsist on car snacks again.

We were so proud of our “eating local” streak. The Vagabond Village was a typical wood-paneled example of a rural area truck stop. Lots of space, plenty of Formica, and you shouldn’t  piss off whoever’s grandma was waiting on you. Lunch was better than car snacks, but I sensed that it was a spot where the greasy diner breakfast would be magnificent.

We were wild and both got hamburgers. MomBert though wanted to make some substitutions, not a good plan. The side of the day that specifically went with the Hawaiian burger was coconut pineapple bites. I think we both envisioned a side dish from school cafeteria days: basically a bowl of pineapple chunks with coconut mixed in. She did not want the Hawaiian burger, but she did want something that would not be fried and add to stomach upset. Pineapple with coconut seemed to make sense.

Explaining this to our waitress was an exercise in circular discussions with several trips to the kitchen to check on whether or not this was okay. However at no point was a description of the coconut bites given nor did MomBert point out that she wanted a non-fried side. After much exasperation- we pissed off the grandma– negotiations were completed and MomBert would get what she asked for.

But as The Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want…”

But this was not what she needs.

But this was not what she needs.

The perfect face of :”I don’t like it.”

Only small, picky children and the severely disappointed can respond to food this way. Someone in the kitchen had gotten creative to entice the local palettes with the exotic taste of Hawaii in Ohio: deep fried, coconut covered pineapple. Oh, it was sad. They didn’t even come with a special dipping sauce.

I advised MomBert to “be cool, man”. She had fought our server over getting this specific side dish and here it was. We just needed to get out full and alive.

I helped her eat some of the bites and we attempted to hide others under used napkins. The burgers were ok, and we managed to escape without grandmotherly retribution.

The rest of the day was flat and uneventful. We saw wind turbines around Haviland, Ohio.

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And “cool crap” around Center, Ohio

The sign was partially accurate.

The sign was partially accurate.

The goats were way cooler though.

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We discovered what G.I.Joe did with his retirement. He’s a lobster man.

Having the right sweater is half the battle

Having the right sweater is half the battle.

We were rejuvenated by Celina, Ohio  late in the day as hunger and exhaustion was creeping back in. There was a large set up on the shore of Grand Lake-St Mary’s State Park. I found some Czech birds, they had a bathroom, the lake was pretty. All was well.

Yard saling is all about the sex appeal.

Yard saling is all about the sex appeal.

Our last stop around 6 p.m. was closing up shop, but their giant chicken was going no where.

Smells like chicken.

Smells like chicken.

We ended the day in Greenville, Ohio, noting a couple of spots that we would back track to in the morning. We debated a side trip to Annie Oakley’s grave site, but were too tired to truly consider going off the trail. For some reason, I had no idea that Oakley was from Ohio even though I remember reading children’s books about her, and that we were in her general area in Darke County. Another adventure for another day.

The last adventure for this day was dinner. We headed for Mexican at El Camino Real which was recommended by Yelp and  the questionable clerk at our 2-story Comfort Inn with no elevator. Don’t worry, they’re thinking about adding one.

Dinner made up for the pineapple bite fiasco of lunch. It was a giant Mexican restaurant that might have once been some kind of buffet with the expected 5 million meal options on the expansive laminated menu.

We were happy. The MomBert was happy. She even convinced them to make coffee for her. It took forever, but coffee was brewed.

Mexican restaurants don't serve coffee?

Mexican restaurants don’t serve coffee?

Day 3 would bring a breakfast discovery and backtracking.