Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Junkin', May 2014, Part Two

Here is the plan for a second round of junkin' this month.  Leave on Wednesday the 28th of May to head for the Old National Highway, now Highway 40, that stretches from Baltimore west to St. Louis.  The idea is to junk a national rummage sale and then be back in Chicago on Sunday the 1st of June to pick Denice up at O'Hare Airport from her trip to Italy.

Then I checked the weather.  Thunderstorms were going to occur all day Wednesday and Thursday right through the corridor so I made a decision and stayed home to clean my basement (more on that subject in an upcoming post).

Thursday, May 29th

Today I left the house at 2:00 p.m. to head south for the rummage sale.  Normally on adventures like this I like to drive the blue highways but today it is all about getting there for tomorrow.  So I took the highways south until I reached Litchfield, IL, where because I was tired and checked into a Holiday Inn Express.  One of my goals is not to eat in any chains so I drove out of the hotel in search of a local establishment.  I drove just two blocks and found myself on Route 66.  Right on that street was The Ariston Cafe--an original restaurant where all the furniture and counters in the place are from the 1960s--where I had all you can eat fried chicken.

Total miles for the day: 329
Total purchases:  $0

Friday, May 30th

Today I was up at 6:30 a.m. and breakfasted at the hotel in order to be ready to get to Highway 40 and start junkin'.  Here is where it all falls apart today.  If you go to the website for this national sale, the impression is given that the national rummage sale is on Highway 40 and that it starts on Wednesday.  Not in Illinois.  In fact, I drive from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Illinois border without seeing any evidence of any rummage sales.  (However, driving the National Highway was entertaining.)

At this sign, I looked down and found a rusty piece of metal that I thought was pretty cool.

Cumberland County Covered Bridge

When I reached Terre Haute, Indiana, five hours later, the time changed and I lost an hour.  The good news is that I found my first rummage sale where for $1 I bought a bracket, a faucet handle and a pulley.

Oddly, this little purchase complete recharges me for junkin' and suddenly, it is GAME ON!!!!!

The rest of the afternoon I purchased

4 lamp bases, $5
Wood block stamp, $2
Mirror (for the frame), $5
2 candle holders, $2
Costume jewelry, .50c
Box shaped like a book, $3

While I will say that the state of Indiana is more in the spirit of the national sale, I am not really happy.  I need to decide what to do about this so I decide at this point to drive through Indianapolis and all the way to Dublin which is supposedly the birth place of the Highway 40 rummage sale.  Along the way, I see little to make me happy about the state of this sale.  One thing I did note for tomorrow as I blew past the few sales I saw--it looked like most of the folks are going to stay open until the sun goes down.

Eventually I reach Richmond, Indiana, on the Ohio border, where I check into a Best Western.  I am tired, crabby and not in a good mood to go searching for local color.  I settle for a steak at a Texas Roadhouse and head to bed, hoping for better things tomorrow.

Total miles for the day: 329
Total purchases:  $18.50

Saturday, May 31st

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. this morning and had breakfast in the hotel lobby.  When I returned to my room, my day took a radical change.

I began to pass a kidney stone.


I am a pro at kidney stones.  I have passed them multiple times, usually under morphine.  Once I spent three days in a hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, and Denice had to come fetch me.  Obviously, this is not going to happen this time because she is in Italy.

The first symptom is blood in my urine.  After sitting for two hours on the toilet in various levels of pain, after vacating things from my body out of both ends, I had to make a decision to either suffer, call 911 or man up and drive to the hospital.  I was already packed anyway so I got out of the hotel.

To my great surprise, I felt less in pain when I got in the seat of the van.  So, I decided to drive home--if I was going to be in a hospital it might as well be in Milwaukee.  I hit Highway 70 north and was not 2 miles down the highway when the bouncing of the van had me in the worst pain of all.  So I turned around and head back down the highway.  One of the nice things about a GPS is you can just ask it to find the closest hospital and it picked Reid Hospital in Richmond.  That was the good news.  The bad news was it was up the highway where I had been heading.  So, I had to turn around again.  Eventually, I made it to the exit for the hospital only to find the traffic backed up because of a bicycle race.

By this time, I am in big trouble.  The pain is incredible and I am desperate.  So I dive down a service access road to the hospital and wind my way around to the emergency entrance.  I seriously considered just pulling up to the door and asking for help but the parking lot was empty so I parked and walked in.

Ironically, the guy in front of me is checking in with a kidney stone.  When the counter person hears what I have today, he yells to the ER nurse, "We got another one!"  My pain is so bad it is hard to get out my wallet, answer the questions sensibly, and stand up without being all twisted like a pretzel.  You know those pain charts they have where you normal face is "0" and the scrunched up face is "10?"  My face was set to "11."  The nurse finally said, "We better find you a chair."

Here is the weird part.  Once in the chair, the nurse put the blood pressure cuff on my arm.  As soon as she pumped up the pressure, my pain stopped.  Completely.  Like a switch was flipped.

Now I know there is no scientific reason why this happened, just telling the facts.  I did get an ER room, gowned up, a visit from the doctor, and a shot.  The shot was in my thigh and it was to relax my ureter.  That led to the joke, "I always have r-e-s-p-e-c-t for ureter."  Then, after a trip to the men's room, I was the proud father of a baby boy stone.

Pain free, assured the drugs would not affect my driving and happy as a clam, I am released from the ER at Reid at 11:00 a.m.


Now I have a decision to make.  It is 11:00 a.m. and I could go home or continue to junk.

I junk.

As I return to Highway 40, one thing is evident.  The good news is that Saturday is the day if you are going to rummage.  The bad news is that Highway 40 is just a glorified rummage sale.  When I did the 127, I junked the Kentucky corridor and it was amazing.  Every large clear space was used to house vintage dealers and you could junk a lot for quite awhile before moving down the highway.  The Highway 40 is not the 127.  Instead, it is driving from one house to another so there is a lot of getting in and getting out of the van.  After awhile, I decided to skip quite a few of the houses (clothes) and visit the more rural barn and farm establishments. Ironically, I did eventually reach Dublin (the heart of the sale) but blew right through town.  By this time I had learned that stopping at any of the "antique"stores was not going to get me anywhere--stuff was priced like antiques and the stores were too large to wander through on a day where it was all about being on the highway.  The other weird thing was I got to Dublin about 3:00 p.m. and the residents of the town were shutting down their stalls.  Weird.

And then, I found a farm having a sale that held the one of the coolest barn cars ever:  a Challenger painted in John Deere colors.

Here is my take for the day:

6 wings, $3.25
Box shaped like a coffin, $1.50
Sconce, $1
Amish figurine, .75c
7 cherubs, $4
2 music box carousels, $5
decorative wall hanging, .10c
Cup of nails with numbers on them, $2
Jar of barn nails, .50c
2 metal crosses, $8
Chinese emperor statute, $5
Box of stuff (metal piece, round metal medallions, frame, pulleys and metal numbers), $2
A metal crank, a doorknob, and three round metal shapes, $1
3 tiny printers blocks, $3

At 5:30 p.m., I reached Greenfield, Indiana.  I have traveled 58 miles in 6 1/2 hours on Highway 40 today after passing a kidney stone and I am pooped.  Did I have fun?  Yes.  Would I do the Highway 40 again--No!  While I had a blast driving the National Highway (and might do that again), I could have spent more money and bought more things by spending a few hours at a good flea market like Elkhorn or Cedarburg.

I decide at this time I am awake and well enough to just go home and sleep in my own bed tonight.  I gas up, get some road food, and hit the highway.  Driving west means I gain an hour back but it will be about five hours to get home.  And that is exactly what I did.

Total miles for the day: 365
Total purchases:  $37.10

Total miles for the trip:  1,086
Total purchases:  $55.60

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