Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, August 17, 2015

The World's Longest Yard Sale--2015

Well, we've been back now about a week from our trip to the Corridor 127 Yard Sale, aka The World's Longest Yard Sale.  It was an "all girl" trip and we took two cars so that we could fill them up with merchandise for our two shops, Coastal Charm and Juju Queen's Junk, both located at Antiques at the Loop in Mobile, Alabama.  Linda and I are used to having our husbands along to help with the heavy lifting, and we didn't have them this trip, but we managed.  Yes, we are super women!

We headed up on Wednesday morning, bright and early.  My friend, Corinne, who is an artist friend, joined us as well.  We met in Baldwin County at exit 45 along I-65 and quickly headed toward Tennessee.  I talked and talked to Corinne, and she listened and listened...seriously though, I did let her talk some.  I glanced up in my rear view mirror every minute or so to make sure Linda was still back there.  At one point, she merged off to the right and I was going straight, so I quickly took the right turn...yes, I almost missed it...too busy talking, I guess.  Thank you, Linda, for paying attention for me!

I had planned our trip, as it was my third time "doing" the yard sale.  A friend of mine and Linda's was going to be set up in Clark Range, Tennessee, so we decided to drive all the way to Clark Range, stay the first night near there, and then do the sale thing over the next few days as we headed back toward home.  I booked a cabin online in "Muddy Pond" which was approximately a ten-minute drive from the sale route.  They really should put a note on the rental description that says, "Don't arrive after dark--You will NOT be able to find it." Yes, we got lost.  The smart voice in my car told me, "You have arrived at your destination." I looked around and saw woods...  There was no cell service on any of our phones.  No lights anywhere nearby...Hmmm.  Now what?  Up the road a bit, there was a house with some lights on.  I decided to go there and ask.  I knocked on the door and there was no answer...It was around 9:00 pm, and I probably wouldn't have answered my door either...We really needed to find our cabin!  We went over a dam (I think I found the muddy pond, anyway!) and around a circular drive (dirt road!) and when I stopped because I realized I was right back where I had already been.  I looked out my side window and there was at a cemetery, like four feet from my car.  Okay, I'm normally one to hold it all together, but this was getting a little creepy...We decided to turn around and go back down the mountain.  Linda and I were both getting low on gas in our cars, so we couldn't just drive around all over the place trying to find our way. Heading back down the road we saw a man unloading his treasures from a day out shopping the yard sale.  Hallelujah!  I literally ran up to that man and almost hugged him!  Please help us find our way, Mr. Man.  He did (along with some help from a woman- of course!) and they made me understand that I just needed to trust them and turn left into the woods!  Yes, at that very place where my smart voice in the car told me we had arrived  at our destination.  My friend, Corinne, had a flashlight, so we got out of the car with the help of that light and made sure that it was in fact something that resembled a road there leading up to the cabin.  We have never been so happy to get out and find some beds to crawl in!  I went out like a light, but I think that's because I'm accustomed to living in the woods.  My friends...well, I don't think they got very much rest that first night.

The sunshine is amazing!  That next morning, things were not nearly as scary as the night before.  It was a beautiful place with a lake for fishing, or playing in the water.  There was a paddle boat parked down there if we had wanted to paddle around in the lake.  Horses and cows grazed across the lake...As we headed back down the little path, Linda pointed out a sign way up on a tree that said "rental cabin"...it was on a brown piece of wood, painted in brown, on a brown tree trunk...I think I'm going to make them a sign with reflective letters and send it to them as a gift...It will also be my gift to future pickin' girls who find themselves looking for the cabin at Muddy Pond...

It only took us about ten minutes (just like they said) to get down to the trail the next morning...Like I said, the sunshine is amazing. In the dark the night before, it took around an hour!  Anyway, as I got down into the land of cell service once again, my phone started going crazy with voice mails and facebook messages.  My husband called in at the very moment that my service came back, and he had some devastating news.  My sweet sister-in-law, Missy (brother's wife), had passed away unexpectedly.  That was some hard news to hear. She was fine a week before and was only fifty years old.  (If you would like to read more about Missy, here's a link to my post honoring her.)

After speaking to family members, it was decided that I would continue on my trip and as soon as we arrived back home in Baldwin County, I would head back up the next day with my hubby and son to Birmingham.  Missy had lots of friends, and they had all swooped in to help with everything, and my brother was waiting for his out-of-town children and their spouses to arrive over the next couple of days. I decided it would be better to give them some private time together anyway.  So, we continued on with our plans, but with my thoughts constantly on my brother and his family.

We were also battling the rainy weather that first day shopping.  Cars were getting stuck in muddy fields, so we avoided shopping some areas that seemed really bad.  Some vendors just entirely closed for the day.  

I didn't get a lot of pics that first day because my cell phone battery had died that night before and I had a heck of a time getting it to charge back up while talking to lots of people who were calling after hearing the news of the death in the family.  Also, my car doesn't charge the phone unless it's actually running, so with all the stopping and going, it just couldn't keep up.  So, I do have a few pics, but they happened toward the end of the trip.

Speaking of pics....why don't I go ahead and share what few I took?

I snapped this pic to show Linda, because I thought it looked like something she would want.  She did!  Not sure if she'll put it in the shop (Coastal Charm) or keep it at home, but you can check out her post about the yard sale trip here.

We shopped our way down through Tennessee and spent the second night in a little cabin at Raccoon Mountain.  It was much easier to find!  I didn't take a pic of this place either, but you can see it if you jump over to Linda's post.

The next morning, we headed over toward Mentone where we shopped and shopped...

In Mentone, we stopped in at the Wildflower Cafe, one of my favorite places to eat.  It's not just the food that's good, but the entire experience. Linda and Corinne loved it, too.  I think they both want to go back and take their other halves with them!  Here's a pic of the singing man that was entertaining us as we waited for our lunch...

We worked our way down toward Fort Payne that second day.  We jumped off the trail for a bit to check out an antiques mall that I found when I did a search on my phone.  It was downtown in an old factory building.  The Big Mill Co. Antiques & Artisans was full of nice things.  I will definitely stop in again when I'm in the area.  I took a couple of pics of this place, because it was just so pretty!

The nice people in the Big Mill Antiques Mall directed us to some more antiques shops and The Spot Coffee Shop (link to their facebook page here) downtown.  I snapped a pic of this mural on a building next to where we parked...

The final night was spent at the Holiday Inn Express in Fort Payne, where we almost didn't get checked in.  Apparently, my credit card company wants me to call them every time I venture off more than 100 miles from home....Once I convinced them that I was me,  they approved the charge...

We shopped the next day from Fort Payne to Gadsden, and the traffic was horrendous that Saturday morning...It took us hours to get that short distance.  We had scheduled to get back on the road by noon, and we almost made it.  We headed back home after a good lunch at Jack's, around 1:00.

As I said earlier, it was my third time doing the yard sale.  As far as the sale goes, this time was just about the same as the others...The best places to stop are those with multiple tents set up in large parking lots or fields.  It just takes way too much time if you try to stop at each individual house with a yard sale sign.  As always, I found some nice treasures.  I followed the rule that I made for myself before I left home this time...Only buy what I would want to use in my own home.  That way, if it doesn't sell and I'm stuck with the thing, it will be okay...I think I've already decided to be "stuck" with some of the things...

I hope I can do the World's Longest Yard Sale again next year.  The first year I went with my sister-in-law, second year with hubby, and this time with two girl friends...I'm thinking about taking a bus next year so that I can take lots of friends!

Watch for pics of the newest treasures as they arrive at Juju Queen's Junk.

Hope you all have a good week!


  1. Judy,
    Thanks again for inviting me to come along with you...I had a blast!!


    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it Linda. I did, too. Thanks for going with me!

  2. Judy, it sounds like so much fun! I've yet to make this journey. If you take a bus next year, save me a seat!
    Edith & Evelyn

  3. It's terrible that you got such bad news while you were gone, but I'm glad you went ahead and finished the trip. Such good memories with friends!

    1. I guess there's never a good time for bad news....
      Linda and Corinne listened to lots of stories about my dear sister-in-law as we shopped and as I tried to wrap my head around the news. I do have some good friends..

  4. Just wondering, how were the prices on stuff? Are the sellers on the route pros trying to rip off tourists or just ordinary people? Is it all antique style merch or is there stuff like baby toys and clothes? Is it worth going to, I guess is what I'm asking.

    1. There's some of everything. You do have vendors who come to the trail from out of state, and some of them are pros who travel around doing this all over the place, but most of the time, they are willing to work with you on prices. There are those who are real proud of their stuff, and even when they come down on the prices, they are still to high...you just walk away from those. You can find antique things as well as vintage, new and used toys and clothes. The best stops are the ones where large gatherings of tents are...everyone can find something in those places. You should plan to go next year!

  5. Oh Judy, I didn't realize you got the sad news on your trip~ how devastating~ I did read on Linda's blog about some of your adventures, and I'm sure you we're happy to have good friends and shopping to distract your sadness until you could join your family. I look forward to seeing what's new at JuJu Queen's Junk!

    1. Yes, it did help to have friends along to listen as I talked about my sister-in-law...I shared lots of Missy stories, pictures and memories with them.
      I'm adding new things every couple of days...I will be taking more things to the shop tomorrow. Now, if I can just remember to post pics!

  6. Oh, Pat and I have long talked about going to the yard sale. Maybe one day! Thank you for sharing your adventure. And, I'm so sorry for your loss. My thoughts to you and your family. {HUGS}

    1. Thank you, Hope....and you should really think about going next year--you have a new house to furnish with all kinds of fun finds!