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.

IMG_3903

And “cool crap” around Center, Ohio

The sign was partially accurate.

The sign was partially accurate.

The goats were way cooler though.

IMG_3868

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.

 

Tales of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, Day 1, Year 3: Where’d Ya Get That Shirt?

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.)

SQQUUUEEEE!!! Give us your bargains and junk!

SQQUUUEEEE!!! Give us your bargains and junk!

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.

Hot Mama

Hot Mama

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.

One day only!

One day only!

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.

Just flatness.

Just flatness.

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.

Buy a house at a yard sale? Sure.

Buy a house at a yard sale? Sure.

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.

Wow!

Wow!

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.

Fan girl!

Fan girl!

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.

Eat local!

Eat local!

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.

Don't go to bed with your boots on.

Don’t go to bed with your boots on.

Day 2 will be backtracking to Sherwood and further south.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

I Should Have Bought that Chipmunk: Tales of The World’s Longest Yard Sale

Clarkrange, TN

Clarkrange, TN

It was the Woodstock of yard sales. There was live music scheduled, thousands of people all coming together for one magical purpose, a dude in a Superman cape,  and drugs…probably…I’m not really sure. I know I took a lot of Advil.

I’ve wanted to attend the World’s Longest Yard Sale (http://www.127sale.com/) for years now, but it never worked out until this year. The sale has been happening every year on the first Thursday in August since 1987 and began as a venture to bring more revenue in to the areas around Jamestown, Tennessee, the official headquarters. It now stretches over 690 miles from Michigan to Alabama.

I assume that there are people who attempt to drive the whole thing in four days, but my mother and I were working on about a 2 1/2 day schedule and mapped out a more reasonable 107 mile section of 127 from Crossville, Tennessee to that night’s hotel in Columbia, Kentucky. This route would take us through the headquarters of Jamestown, Tennessee, about 37 miles north of Crossville. In my head, I saw us hitting Jamestown about lunch time and then tackling the longer leg of our route in the afternoon. Seemed reasonable.

We never made it to Jamestown.

Thursday Day 1: MomBert and I set out mid morning for the six hour drive to Knoxville, Tennessee, about an hour from the yard sale route, where we would stay the night. This was the closest hotel I could get to route 127 without paying over $300 a night. I’ve learned that the serious yard salers book their rooms a year in advance.

Because we were traveling without my sister who is uninspired by old stuff and my nephew who is allergic to things he can’t touch, we decided to take a break at an antique mall in Princeton, West Virginia. According to the sign at the exit, the mall was 3/10 of a mile to the left. According to the GPS, it didn’t really exist. Three or four GPS commanded U-turns later, we found the mall off the highway, down in a holler looking like a very unimpressive tin warehouse. The only other customer was exiting as we arrived and the proprietor did not acknowledge our existence because he was busy watching a show about hunting birds so we had the alleged “10, 000 square feet” to ourselves.

It was a pretty typical antique mall. Lots of variety, well packed booths, and one hideous “arts and craps” corner full of fake flowers and duck dresses (for people who put clothes on their cement yard statues). And the chipmunk.

I did not have many specific goals for the sale, just the hopes of finding some oddities, buying some bargains etc… But my one not so secret hope was to find some taxidermied weirdness. I don’t know why, can’t explain it. It doesn’t make sense for someone who likes live animals as much as I do. However I am jealous every time The Bloggess ( http://thebloggess.com/ ) tweets yet another bizarre dead thing purchase (yard sales in Texas must be awesome!) and Ross the holiday armadillo is lonely. This is why the chipmunk posing amongst fake foliage on a tiny log hidden under an antique side table elicited the “ssssqqqqueeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” noise. Plus it was only $40! Here’s what I’m discovering: stuffed dead shit is expensive. A $40 chipmunk is a steal.

My mother appraised Chippy with the eye of someone who does not understand what is wrong with her daughter.

MomBert: “Its hair is coming out. I think this thing has seen better days.”

Me: “I would think that most dead things have.”

Chippy the rare balding chipmunk  stayed behind unpurchased. My psychic powers did not alert me that the only other dead stuffed stuff in my future would be half a bobcat and a squirrel eating an acorn, neither of which I could afford. Really, $145 for a squirrel, puh-lease.

I should have bought the chipmunk.

Friday Day 2: Like good, motivated sales goers we got up at 6 a.m. and were on the road by 7 a.m. We had an hour drive from Knoxville to Crossville before getting to the yard sales. About halfway to Crossville, the GPS blipped and we time travelled back an hour into Central Standard Time, making us even brighter and earlier. Damn, we’re good.

Crossville was still asleep when we hit its main street coinciding with 127. Seems like a wasted opportunity for a street fest. However we encountered our first yard sale north of the town. They were still in the process of setting up, but were ready to sell to the many people wandering around the yard. My first purchase was a collection of eight white metal stakes used to anchor floral arrangements at outdoor weddings. Right now they are holding up my tomato plants, but their future is yard art!

Around the bend from the first yard, we ran into our first tent city. It’s very much like encountering a “bear jam” at a national park. Suddenly there are dozens of parked cars along the berm of the road and everything has slowed down because there’s something good up ahead.

The tent cities were set up in parking lots and empty fields where spots were rented out to vendors. Generally, we could park at one tent city and then walk in either direction along the road to other smaller vendor set ups, trying to keep in mind just how far from the car we were. We developed two rules that morning:

1. No left turns. While people were very courteous and conscious of all their fellow drivers and pedestrians, there where points when both lanes were packed with slowing moving traffic and turning left took a significant amount of time.

2. No Frogger. At some points 127 was a two lane road, at others it was four lanes. Because, of the sale it was incredibly busy and a great opportunity to be hit by a car. The Frogger rule could be amended if we could actually see the super awesome potential purchase from the other side of the road.

My main query about the sale was also answered: “Where do y’all go to the bathroom?” While the local businesses enjoy the income, I’m sure they do not enjoy just being a restroom pit stop and some sections of the route are very rural so there are no businesses. Every tent city we stopped at had multiple port-a-johns set up. I don’t know who was in charge of that, but THANK YOU! Unfortunately, I am still unclear on what a “fried pie” is. While people were raving about them on the 127 Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/127Sale), MomBert and I were concerned that consuming something from what smelled like re-used cooking oil would send us back to the port-a-johns.

One of the best stops of the day was at the Cumberland Mountain General Store in Clarkrange, Tennessee. (http://cumberlandmountaingeneralstore.net/Home.aspx) The large vendor area around the store was shaded and there were hundreds of people set up to sell. After parking, we made food a priority and headed across the street to Ron’s Restaurant and Pizzeria.

***Sidenote: It was 2:00 when we stopped for lunch which means that we had only travelled 18 miles from Crossville to Clarkrange in about 7 hours. This is why we never made it to Jamestown.

The restaurant was packed so we shared our lunch table with a couple from North Carolina who had done the sale several times before. They told us that the Kentucky portion was disappointing (They were right) and suggested that we take one day to do one side of the road from Crossville to Jamestown then do the other side the next day. They said the town of Dunlap, Tennessee, practically shut down its main square for vendors to set up and that the husband in the couple had appeared on the HGTV yard sale special years before because they needed a big guy to carry a purchase. The Junk Gypsies and HGTV were filming again this year in Tennessee and Kentucky; “The Endless Yard Sale” is tentatively scheduled to air on September 29.

I walked away from that stop with a Czech bird that I had never seen before and two ridiculous moose creamers, a running joke from a previous antique adventure. (https://possumscatsthingsgnawingatme.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/116000-square-feet-2-days/) It also became clearer at this stop that in order to be  a vendor, you must travel with small yippy dogs. Preferably 4-5 small yippy dogs who will reside in a playpen under one of your sales tables or at the back of your booth.

In addition to their review of fried pies, people were also adding to the communal feel of the sale by posting tips and finds on the Facebook page. Three items developed an almost scavenger hunt feel: a collection of coffins- never found them; a horse on a treadmill making ice cream – Day 3; and a golden camel known as Camelot  (http://fentress.wbir.com/news/news/617152-fentress-judge-finds-camelot-us-127-yard-sale#.UfsT3H_0P2s.facebook). At about 6:30 that day, I was able to post that we had found the golden camel gracing the entrance to a tent city and causing a traffic jam around Grimsley, Tennessee. Unfortunately, this meant that we had only travelled about 6 miles from our stop at Clarkrange.

Because of the frequent stops and the time involved with browsing, we had no sense of where we were or how far we had gone. I can only name locations now after looking them up and piecing together clues with my iphone photos that state locations. This is why we found ourselves driving the last 80 miles to our hotel on increasingly darkening and winding country roads. At one point in the evening, we crossed the dam at Lake Cumberland which was a great view but would have been even better if our hotel and a restaurant had been on the other side.

Our dinner was a half an apple each, crackers, and granola bars because neither of us wanted to get back in the car. One of my heels was raw courtesy of a day of walking before the yard sale trip, I had a tension headache from heat and driving white knuckled for two hours, there was a raised rash all over my inner calves and I had “baboon butt.” My men’s linen cargo shorts with the awesomely deep pockets never quite wicked away any sweat and did not hang on my bum the same way that lady shorts might have. Therefore the inner thigh chub at the back of my thighs right under my butt looked like someone had held a flat iron down the inside of my thigh. I would include a photo, but it would involve me bending over and it was all happening really close to the good China. Additionally, my bag of clothes I wore that day smelled like what I would assume someone’s gym clothes would smell like after two back to back aerobics classes. I can’t confirm that because I do not take back to back aerobics classes because I’m not completely insane, but they smelled awful!

Saturday Day 3: Our original plan had us taking a major highway and heading straight home. MomBert suggested that we continue a short stretch of 127 up towards Lexington, Kentucky before catching a highway. After a good night’s sleep, my other ailments were solved with more Advil and some very snug yoga pants so I was game.

As predicted by our North Carolina tablemates, the Kentucky stretch was a little disappointing. There were longer even more rural stretches between stops and we lost the mix of antique and personal yard sale. It became more and more infrequent yard sales only.

However we did find the horse on a treadmill making ice cream! Honestly, when I saw someone post that sentence on Facebook, I pictured a carousel horse sitting on a treadmill from someone’s basement with ice cream nearby. Around Dunnville, Kentucky, what I assume was an Amish farm/flea market area had built a tent city. The set up was a farm horse on a “holy shit” 45 degree angle, inclined treadmill, walking continuously as a pole attached to the treadmill churned homemade ice cream. I could not decide if it was a terribly cruel Sisyphean task- I mean, horses don’t even like ice cream- or the most ingenious Amish contraption ever. During our stop, they did bring over another horse and gave them both a break before harnessing the new horse to the treadmill. This made me feel marginally better and I further calmed myself by eating an Amish blueberry handpie.

By this time, MomBert and I were pretty wiped out. Our last stop was a tent city at Junction City, Kentucky, where the most interesting thing turned out to be a guy wandering around in a Superman t-shirt and full cape. Don’t know why. He was just buying stuff while sporting a cape. From there we allowed the GPS to continually misdirect us until we finally got to a major highway going the correct direction and headed home.

We got home sometime around 7 p.m., cuddled MomBert’s cat, surveyed her flowers, ate nachos and salsa, and unwrapped our treasures. I like trying to learn about my tchotchkes. I want to know origins, what their markings mean, whether I’ve found a financial treasure etc…. So far the most I’ve determined is that the $24 McCoy owl wall pocket I bought is going for $100 on eBay and auction sites so that’s kind of cool. My $10 Czech bird is checking in at about $60 and is a rare model.

I would absolutely go again for the thrill of the hunt and the possibility that something incredible was just around the corner at the next tent city. All told,  I think MomBert spent about $50 on treasures and I spent $75. We walked into this with about $300 in cash each and the attitude that if something was awesome enough and big enough, we would rent a trailer to get it home because you just never know.