127 Rummage Sale: 649 Miles of Junk
For quite awhile I have been thinking about doing something challenging as a road trip: to rummage the entire route of the world's longest yard sale, the 127.
I had been on the route a few years ago when I was visiting Louisville, KY. My family left on Sunday and we went east to Lexington and shopped a bit of the route. This is what gave me the bug to try to do the whole thing.
I left on Monday at 11:30 a.m. While I will spend most of the trip listening to music, today I am able to listen to the rain delayed NASCAR race from Pocono, Pennsylvania. That was the good news, the bad news was the signal would run out just sort of the conclusion.
My route took me on WI 43 South to WI 14 East to IL 23 South to IL 17 East to IL 47 South to IL 24 East to IN 231 South. The goal was to spend as little time as possible on any Federal highways.
This night I ate supper at the Good Table Family Restaurant in Kentland, IN, and slept at a Comfort Suites in Lafayette, IN, near the campus of Purdue University.
Total miles today: 360.
Day Two: Tuesday, August 2, 2016
I left Lafayette at 8:30 a.m. on IN 231S.
My first stop was Cataract Falls State Park.
Today's lunch was at Stoll's Lakeview Restaurant, north of Loogootee, IN, located on a beautiful lake. This is a home cookin' kind of place but was makes it more special is the home cookin' is done by the Amish. They serve an Amish Buffet and service is provided by women in full Amish gear. The irony at today's lunch was the local Red Hatters were present so we had a Red Hat vs. Amish Prayer Cap battle.
After lunch I headed up IN 150 E. By accident I went 450 N but the good luck is I found Friendship United Methodist Church and this cool statute in the Hickory Ridge Cemetery next door.
I turned around and went 450S to 550E to 56W to 145S to 66E and the bridge over the Ohio River into Kentucky. Then I was on KY69S, the Kentucky scenic byway to KY59E to KY79S to KY185S.
I did not keep good notes for this experience but I know I was in St. Mary's Cemetery--somewhere.
This night I stayed at the Bowling Green Super 8 and ate next door at a Jerry's Diner.
Total miles today: 330
Total miles on the trip: 690
Day Three: Wednesday, August 3, 2016
After Jerry's Diner for breakfast, I left at 8:00 a.m. taking 231S to 31S to Nashville. My goal was to see the American Pickers location at the Marathon Motors Village.
Not sure what I expected here but I have to admit to being a little disappointed. I have been to Iowa to the American Pickers' headquarters in LeClaire and found that had some charm. This location was small, crowded and lack charm. Been there, saw it, never have to go back. (Cabinet cards, which sell anywhere for $1 - $2 are in a bin here and priced $8 each--that might give you an idea of why I was a little disillusioned.)
So now I had to drive back to 231 S so I could take that into Alabama on AL 431 S. My goal was the official southern starting point of the 127: Gadsden, Alabama.
Once there, I drove around looking for hotels, restaurants and trying to find the start of the 127 which at this point on the route map I had was listed as AL Hwy 176. I finally went north of the city about 9 miles and found where Hwy. 176 actually starts. I then backtracked on the local county trunk 211 which proved to be full of rummage sale potentials for tomorrow.
Back in Gadsden I decided to sleep at the Garden Inn which turned out to be a cool place to stop. The other advantage, as it was rather late at night by this time, was that there was a Mexican restaurant just down the hill from the motel.
Total miles today: 360
Total miles on the trip: 1,050
Day Four: Thursday, August 4, 2016
After breakfast in the hotel, I was on the road at 7:30 a.m.--it is already 80 degrees. I decide that my official first miles on the 127 are going to start at Gardner and 12th where this sign was posted for all to see:
This also appeared to be where the county trunk 211 intersected with the city so it worked for me.
All of today's travels will be on Lookout Mountain Parkway--windy roads, great scenery and cool small towns. I have to say as a warning that if you are not a fan of challenging roads this trip is not for you. It is hard to watch for rummage, look at scenery, drive a two lane highway full of distracted drivers at too fast a speed and handle all the elevation changes and curves. On the other hand, I had a blast. It was like American Pickers meet Mario Andretti.
The first thing I found was Noccalula Falls State Park which is Alabama's official starting point for the 127.
Yup--there is rummage.
I took AL 211 N eight miles up the road before I made my first purchase. As Frank and Mike like to say on American Pickers, "The ice is broken."
9:00 a.m. (8 miles)
$11--3 Plates, frame, cabinet card, metal piece
Here is my Junkers' Creed for the entire trip.
Typical rummage along the road on the entire route.
10:45 a.m. (12 miles)
$4--trivet, tin box, small metal piece
At 11:00 a.m. I turned onto AL 176 N.
11:00 a.m. (mile 20)
11:30 a.m. (mile 27)
$25--child mannequin, lamp base and a piece of plastic trim
The guy who sold me this said, "So, you are buying Michael Jackson's boyfriend." I assume that was some kind of Alabama racism.
Traffic can be tricky but I was surprised at how few spots were really congested on the route. Occassionally, especially near the small towns, traffic could get like this and the only thing you could do is listen to the music, try to spot good junk and not run over any fellow rummagers.
(As a side note, I had to slam on my brakes for traffic occassionally but I really had to lay on the brakes to avoid hitting someone's black labador, a deer and a emaciated fox that all ran across the road in front of the van at various points on the trip).
I drove N on Cr-89 and at mile 41 outside of Dogtown found this cool abandoned building.
1:45 p.m. (mile 47)
$19--3 lion faces and a clock
2:00 p.m. (mile 51)
Desoto Falls in Desoto (AL) State Park
3 p.m. (mile 71)--entered Georgia.
3:00 p.m. (mile 71)
I bought a $2 spoon at the border so I had a GE purchase on the trip (no picture--its a spoon). Very little of the rummage is actually in the state of Georgia.
I drove all the way through Georgia to Tennessee and Chattanooga where I lost the trail of the rummage sale. I drove north to find Hwy. 127 and then backtracked into the city to sleep at a Holiday Inn Express. I ate dinner at J. Gumbo which features NOLA food and music.
Total miles: 155
Total miles this trip: 1,205
Total rummage purchases: $62
Day Five: Friday, August 5, 2016
After breakfast at the hotel I am up and at it at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern--so it does not appear I am sleeping in!)
I started the day by backtracking to the start of 127N so I can official begin the day on the official route.
Today is another day of twisty roads with rapid elevation changes. At one point the rising right hand turn I was making gave me no choice but to gun the van around the blind turn with me screaming like a school girl.
10:45 a.m. (mile 9)
$11--pitch fork, tray, guitar
$21--surveyor's box with equipment and a stove plate
I was walking through this flea market wearing my "IRELAND" t-shirt with one small Celtic symbol on the front. A young man said to me, "Hey, I like your shirt,". After thanking him, he asked me, "What does it say?". I said, "Ireland." He said, "What's that?" Hmmmm...
1:00 p.m. (mile 15)
$40--deer skull, plaster rabbit, wood box, frames (4) and old pictures (3)
I stopped at a lunch wagon called the Urban Diner and the guy inside yelled out from the grill, "Hey, Ireland--what do you want?" I am not sure if I should change my shirt or not.
1:45 p.m. (mile 22)
$20--wood folding chairs (2), lamp part, wood trims (4)
2:00 p.m. (mile 30)
Diverted to a barn sale whose signs promised much but the sale delivered very little. Some small girls tried to get me to give them money to see "The World's Smallest Pig" but I declined.
3:00 p.m. (mile 38--Dunlap, TN)
$0--a tried to buy to small glass vials from a guy but he insisted I take them for free!
4:00 p.m. (mile 45)
$40--Bach, Beethoven, and three drugs supply advertising constructions (hand, foot and head)
4:45 p.m. (mile 88)
$25--a 5 ft. cedar board and a bag of wood trim pieces
5:00 p.m. (mile 95)
I decided to call it an early night. The heat must be getting to me. I chose to stay at a Baymont Inn south of Jamestown--the historical first city to do the 127 and leave that for tomorrow. I ate a steak at the Las Vegas Steakhouse.
Total miles: 95
Total miles for the trip: 1,300
Total purchases: $157 plus two freebies
Total purchases for the trip: $219
Day Six: Saturday, August 6, 2016
I was up and on the road by 7:00 a.m. I have not mentioned this before but during the 127 I am surprised to find most of the booths are still covered until after 8:00 a.m. I am use to the flea market timing from home where booths open at dawn and everyone is packing up very early in the afternoon.
9:00 a.m. (mile 40)
$35--a photo album with cabinet cards and tin types, drawer pulls (3) and a wood box
9:30 a.m. (mile 55)
Here is where I enter Kentucky on the 127.
10:30 a.m. (mile 65)
$5--cigar box, padlock, scraper and a stove plate
11:00 a.m. (mile 80)
$9--book, brass bowl and clam
Noon (mile 95)
$3--sleeping doll and a wood screen
1:30 (mile 110)
Fate is kind of funny on a trip like this. Because the goal is to make the entire route I have to be very picky about where I stop. For whatever reason I saw a lot of cars at this place so I stopped at what turned out to be a Mennonite farm (now occupied by modernized Mennonites and Amish). Denice and I just had our driveway done and we were looking for wagon wheels to use in a mosaic along side the drive.
$130--two Mennonite wood buggy wheels for the garden
3:00 (mile 150)
4:30 (mile 210)
$4--Pillsbury Dough Boy
4:45 p.m. (mile 215)
South of Owenton, KY, I found a cemetery that I could not pass up.
6:30 p.m. (mile 265)
Here I crossed into Ohio at the Cincinnati River where their two professional sports stadiums are located. I did not see any signage to help and made the decision to go right instead of left and lost the 127, I jumped on 75N.
7:00 p.m. (mile 285)
I checked into a Quality Inn in West Chester, OH, for the night. Supper was at a restaurant that advertised itself as the home of the Big Boy but I was underwhelmed by this modern version of the classic burger.
Total miles today = 285
Total miles for the trip = 1585
Total purchases today = $187
Total purchases for the trip = $406
Sunday, August 7, 2016
I was up and on the road by 6:15 a.m. (Central) time today. I made the decision to finish the route and get home today. I backtracked on 275S to find the 127.
8:00 a.m. (mile 50)
$7--box, Better Homes and Gardens magazines (3), tiny Dutch shoes, bottle and a tin
8:30 a.m. (mile 55)
$10--4 books, a mannequin hand, frozen Charlotte like doll, frames (2), and a bag of metal junk
9:30 a.m. (mile 85)
I don't care what your agenda is for the day--if you see a sign that says "Annie Oakley Gravesite" you need to turn. This is Brook Cemetery south of North Star, Ohio.
$5--butterfly wings (5), trivet, metal tag and a wood box I could not open but it has something inside!!!!!
At mile 125 the 127 was detoured onto another road by road construction. Amazingly, the detour route had some rummage sales on it before we were diverted back to the 127.
Noon (mile 165)
$49--books (2), motorcycle headlamps (2), boxes (2)
1:00 p.m. (mile 205)
Here is where I crossed into Michigan with the intention of getting to Hudson (which at the time I thought was the "official" end of the trip, buy something and get out of Dodge. At this point in the trip, rummage sales are sparse and there are no flea markets along side the road. In the defense of some of these communities, throughout the whole 600+ miles of the 127 I did see signs indicating that the focus was going to be Friday and Saturday. I did not end up buying anything in Michigan to my disappointment.
1:15 p.m. (mile 215)
I reached Hudson, Michigan.
Here is where I turned to home.
7:30 p.m. (mile 505)
Total miles today = 505
Total miles for the trip = 2,090
Total purchases today = $71
Total purchases for the trip = $477