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The Highway 127 Yard Sale
The Longest Yard Sale in America!

Day 2 - by Carol Coloyan

Day 2 and we already feel like 127 Yard Sale veterans! But we need to make better time today. It's the last day of the Sale and we have a lot of shopping and driving to do! We agree on two rules for the rest of the day: (1) no backtracking, and (2) make a quick sweep at all of the stops.

Since we're pressed for time, we decide that we need to have a quick breakfast and then be on our way. We're already at the hotel, so we decide to have the buffet breakfast. Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Frankfort is convenient and fairly reasonable at $5.95 per person. The buffet includes coffee, milk, fresh fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, granola bars, bacon and sausage, potatoes, scrambled eggs, donuts and cereal. Fresh squeezed orange juice is $1.85 per person. The buffet also includes eggs, pancakes and waffles made to order. We decide on omelets. My travel companion orders a cheese and mushroom omelet. (We're assured by the waitress that the mushrooms are fresh.) I order a vegetable omelet without cheese. That shouldn't be too hard, right? We are horrified to find more canned mushrooms! Not only that, but my omelet has cheese on it! There seems to be some confusion as to what the word "fresh" means in the South. In our dictionary, it means "not from a can." In the South it appears to mean "hasn't been sitting out of the can too long." We have decided that we must commit a specific key question to memory from now on. It is: "Are the mushrooms canned?" Maybe that will eliminate some of the confusion!

We're on our way, and our first stop today is along the side of the road in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Although there are lots of other venders, Ron Davidson's merchandise looks particularly interesting. He has political buttons, Carnival glass, vintage ads and vintage toys. The most unusual item he has for sale is a Jack Daniels feedbag, which he thinks must be at least 25 years old.

Ron has a long history in the yard sale business. Since age 7, he has been buying and reselling merchandise. However, this is only his third year doing the 127 Sale. Ron's a busy guy! He's also an active seller on www.ebay.com. If you'd like to see what else he has for sale, you can find him on eBay under user name ukee@webtv.net.

Ron is also in the process of setting up a web site called www.127yardsale.com. Sellers can specify what they have to sell and buyers can specify what they're looking for. Antique stores and accommodations will also be featured. The site looks promising, so be sure to check back on its progress.

Our next stop is in Junction City, Kentucky. Here we find Mae Rivers, a small quiet woman, sitting in front of her RV with all of her wares. Mae has been doing the 127 Yard Sale for the past five years, and she does other yard sales throughout the year. Her specialty is dolls and glassware, and the glassware is her best seller, especially the Star of David and Woodford patterns. She has a variety of punchbowls displayed. Mae proclaims that business had been a little slow due to the rain, but she is hopeful that things will pick up. After we leave Mae, we walk around to see what some of the other venders have for sale. We find fishing equipment, homemade crafts, country western CDs, bandannas, and wheels. The most interesting thing we find at this stop is the frogs. We stop to admire them. They are awfully cute and very colorful, but how can we get one home? We decide to move on.

Next we meet Dolores Stargle, who has lived in Liberty, Kentucky all of her life. She is seated on a chair in front of her neat, white house located directly on the 127. She has been doing the 127 Yard Sale for the last five years. She also does garage sales periodically during the year. She started on


Thursday and has been doing well during the sale. The most unusual things that she sells are driftwood and rocks (yes, rocks!). She seems to do a good business in both. Small rocks are priced at 10 for $1.00, and bigger rocks are $1.00 each. Dolores sells the wood for $1 to $12 depending on the size and style. (Her sons collect the wood for her when they are out fishing.) My travel companion and I try to brainstorm ideas for the use of rocks and wood. All we could come up with are garden decorations and craft projects. Dolores is also selling a cover for a tractor of forklift for $50, something I guess you would need if you have a tractor or a forklift!

By the side of the road in Dunnville, Kentucky, we meet Mary Patterson. Mary is a talkative lady who has nine children and 19 grandchildren. Today she is here in a parking lot by the side of the road with two of her sons selling toys. This is only Mary's second year at the 127 Yard Sale, but she's doing a brisk business. She has sold $150 in toys on the first day and $60 in toys on the second day. Mary's secret is in making the toys look new. Not only does she clean the toys up a bit, but she seals many of them in plastic. Mary buys a lot of the toys in Indiana and brings them back to Kentucky to sell. She started the 127 Yard Sale with four truckloads of toys. She expects to go home today with only one truckload. Mary also sells toys over the Internet at www.ebay.com. Her user name is younamev@gte.net. She is planning on selling several old Mattel dolls from the 1970's on eBay soon, including a Mrs. Beasley doll and a Dancerina doll. After we leave Mary, we looked around at what else is for sale. We find a pile of cue sticks and cue stick boxes (pool, anyone?), custom birdhouses, old school desks, and fast food toys.

Speaking of fast food, there are plenty of fast food restaurants along the way. But we wanted some good, southern comfort food. We found it at Loy's Midtown Restaurant in Jamestown, Kentucky, which advertises "the country's finest hometown cooking." We make ourselves at home at a table in the small, one room restaurant. There is virtually no atmosphere unless you count the fish mounted on the wall, but this is a good local restaurant where many of the diners know each other. We are given a menu, but the buffet features many of their specialty items, so we decide to try it. We aren't disappointed as we feast on fried chicken, turkey, corn bread, stuffing, green beans, corn, and yams. Loy's also has a salad bar with fresh greens, peppers, tomatoes and coleslaw. For dessert, there is a choice of chocolate cake or peach cobbler. We are full, but decide on just a taste of the cobbler, which is absolutely delicious! However, we both decide that we need a Dairy Queen fix! With full bellies, we are on the road again.

We decide to drive on until we reached Tennessee. We stop in Jamestown again, but this time it's Jamestown, Tennessee. Here we meet Rick and Lisa Beaty, a friendly couple with tables and tables loaded with beautiful glassware. The Beatys have been doing the 127 Yard Sale for the past five years, but they also like to buy and sell their glassware at auctions, flea markets and yard sales. Both Lisa and Rick work full time jobs, so they do this for entertainment, and also so that Lisa can furnish their home with the pieces that she loves. I have to have the small, Limoges shoe, which Lisa (being the honest businesswoman that she is) makes sure to tell me is a reproduction. I love it anyway but am appreciative that she is so honest. Since my daughter collects salt and pepper shakers, I am happy to find a pair of pig salt and pepper shakers too. It is now late on the last day of the 127 Yard Sale, so there will be no more stops. My travel companion and I total up the cost of all of items that we have purchased. During the two days that we have traveled the 127, I made the following purchases: 127 Yard Sale T-shirt ($10), 1991 complete set of 3D holograms and baseball cards (including Sammy Sosa's rookie card) and some old travel post cards ($20), a blue velvet dress ($1), a flowered dress ($3), two pairs of like-new black velvet shoes ($2 each), a makeup bag with cats on it ($.50), an Archie Comics book ($.25), a pair of Ralph Lauren Polo jeans ($2), and the reproduction Limoges shoe and pig salt and pepper shakers ($12). I spent a grand total of $52.75.

We also came up with the following list for those of you interested in exploring the 127 Yard Sale next year.

Our 10 tips for making your trip to
the 127 Yard Sale a success

1. Do your homework ahead of time. Look at maps and decide how far you can drive each day.

2. Stick to the bigger cities when picking a place to stay. (You may want to consider staying at a major hotel chain.)

3.Bring a cooler with drinks. Also plan on bringing snacks, Kleenex, wetnaps, antibacterial hand gel, sunblock, a hat, and lots of $1.00 bills.

4. Wear loose, comfortable clothes and closed toed shoes. (It can be dusty.)

5. Bring a backpack.You can put your purchases in it and it keeps your hands free.

6. Make sure that your car is in good working order. Be sure that you have a spare tire, and that you know how to put it on.

7. Don't travel at night. There are few street lights, and the road is not well lit in many places.

8. Keep your gas tank on the full side. Gas stations are few and far between in some areas along 127.

9. Be careful parking. In many areas you'll need to be park on the shoulder, which can be quite steep. If you're not careful, you could get stuck.

And the most important rule of all...

10. Safety first! Do not run across the road without looking both ways. (I know, we all learned this as kids, but sometimes a good yard sale makes us forget). Also, don't slam on your brakes when you see a good sale.

After almost 11 hours on the road, we are starving and exhausted. We decide to pull over a few miles north of the Alabama border in Kimball, Tennessee. We want to stay away from fast food, but in this town there seems to be no other choice. We decided the lesser of the evils and probably the most palatable is Pizza Hut. Wrong! Although I think that the salad bar is good (it has the usual salad bar fixings), my travel companion doesn't agree. She also thinks that the pizza is the worst one that she has ever eaten. (Ever!) It arrives doughy and undercooked with too little cheese and a foul tasting sauce. As we pick at the pizza, there is one bright spot - at least the mushrooms are fresh! One benefit to eating at the Pizza Hut in Kimball, Tennessee was that the waitress tipped us off to a good place to stay in town at a reasonable price. The Shoney's Inn Kimball is clean, and relatively new (less than a year old). At check in, they inform us of a special of $45 per night for a room with two queen sized beds. This 75 room hotel also has smoking and non-smoking rooms, although if you pick a smoking or non- smoking room, you may not be able to pick the floor that your room is on. We want a non-smoking room on the second floor, which doesn't exist since all non-smoking rooms are on the first floor. So, do we risk lung cancer or break-ins? We vote for break-ins. If you'd like more information on Shoney's Inn, log onto www.shoneysinn.com.

Day 3 - Time to Go Home

For breakfast on Monday morning, before our plane ride home, we decide on the Waffle House in Kimball. It's quiet on a Monday morning, but the waitresses are cheerful and nice. One comforting aspect of the Waffle House is that wherever you are in the restaurant, you can see the grill. It's also fun to hear them call your order out to the cook. We choose pecan waffles, orange juice and hashbrowns. My travel companion orders her hashbrowns scattered (on the grill), smothered (with onions), covered (with cheese), and chunked (with hickory smoked ham). I order my hashbrowns scattered and smothered. Our waffles are delicious but the hashbrowns arrive undercooked. What is it with undercooked food in this town? My companion's hashbrowns also arrive with the cheese on top in the shape of a square. We know that it's not freshly grated cheese, but it would be nice to at least imagine that it is!

We continue our drive towards Birmingham Airport where we'll be dropping off our rental car and catching our flight home. We're sick of fast food and chain restaurants(although we're still looking for a Dairy Queen). We spot the Huddle House in Guntersville, Alabama. Although we find out that it's a chain restaurant in the South, we like it because the clientele seems to be mostly the local folks. We love overhearing bits of conversation, such as, "Aren't you Mary's husband?" and "You been fishin' lately?" We order a hamburger, a BBQ pork sandwich and French fries, and end up splitting everything. Afterward, we're comfortably full, but we do take notice of the desserts - pies and a delicious looking strawberry shortcake. We're still holding out for a Dairy Queen though. If you'd like more information on Huddle House, log onto their web site at www.huddlehouse.com. It's time to head to the Birmingham airport now.

We never did find a Dairy Queen so we settle for TCBY. A hot fudge sundae, and a hot fudge and caramel parfait help us forget about our quest for Dairy Queen. We're still jonesing for a completely cooked meal with fresh mushrooms, though. Eureka! We finally got a thoroughly cooked pizza with fresh mushrooms! Unfortunately, we have to go to the California Pizza Kitchen at the Charlotte Airport to get it. But that's okay. At least we found it before the trip was completely over.

So, that dear readers, is the end of our trip to the 127 Yard Sale. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. And we hope to see you there next year! We'll be the two blondes in search of the nearest Dairy Queen and the fresh (not canned) mushrooms.

Love & Bargains,

Anna & Carol

Anna Collins is a freelance writer and author of the best-seller, "Women are From Bras, Men are From Penus."
e-mail: annacollins@bellsouth.net

Carol Coloyan is a freelance writer and the mother of Petey and Rachel. e-mail: carolc@1airfare.com

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