tips for doing the 127 yard sale + signs from the road!

since my first trip i have loved all the different signs along 127. handwritten, painted, business signs, all of it…i think it brings the whole thing together- humor, unique, handmade, rustic and one-of-a-kind.  at the bottom there is a collection of some of my favorites.

many people tell me that they want to do 127 (or there are other sales in the area that have been popping up on other roads).  If you do decide to go check out the 127 yard sale site forum…there’s good advice, and here’s mine!

1. what to bring: check the forum for what to bring along with my post from last week.  i would add a few other things: wipes for the portos, hand sanitizer, reusable bags, hot sauce (not the best selection out there), and cardboard boxes– this was a big one as no one has them and it is great to put breakables and stack the boxes (we got some from the liquor stores). also cash- vendors may be taking more credit cards (i didn’t encounter that), but cash is always better- always carry lots of small bills.

2. doing 127 if you live far away: i have heard of people flying out, i did my first year but with car rental, hotel and you are going to ship stuff back…honestly, suck it up and do the drive.  if you don’t like it you don’t have to go back but if you do and you end up getting a lot of items, you will just be kicking yourself that you didn’t drive. see the country, make an adventure out of it and plan on 10 days – 2 weeks.  if you can can fill the car with 3 dedicated pickers who know what to expect (and don’t mind the heat). drive out together, share the room expense and gas and rent a uhaul in Louisville.

3. before you leave:  if you want to spend the night anywhere near 127, book your rooms by may, not joking. at 11pm in crossville i saw 10 cars turn away in exhaustion trying to get a room for the night (and our hotel was 10 min from 127). don’t just decide you are going to go the month before- plan ahead.  plan what part of the route you can accomplish each day (don’t drive in the dark) and like i said before, make a list of what you are looking for.  do some research, look at prices, get a pinterest board together and think broad. you may not get that awesome table linen in orange, but maybe you scored on an  orange cooking pot for the kitchen or orange fruit bowl.

4. what to expect: those of you who are used to The Rose Bowl, don’t expect that. The Rose Bowl is a curated event filled with vendors that curate their booths…lots of the “picking” has been done for you already. That doesn’t happen on 127. you are going to have to look for it and be open to finding something that you were not even preparing to want (like a gigantic brass scale that we purchased on day 3). Things are not going to be beautifully laid out and cleaned for you to purchase (unless you visit Buck Creek Antiques)…many things along 127 might need a little tlc or cleaning.

on day 4, while showering the alabama heat off me far away from 127 in little rock, i thought about the trip and how it is kind of like gambling. everywhere you stop you never know if you will see an item for a better price somewhere else- or even again! on the first stop i bought that great set of vintage luggage and ignored the other single one a booth away because i thought 1) i wasn’t going to find another one and 2) maybe i bought it for too much and i have 3 more days to go!  turns out i was wrong, i saw another similar one the next day and anytime i saw luggage it wasn’t close to the price of the original set (not to mention alabama had hardly anything so i saved $ for nothing).  You have to go with your gut, like gustavo did when he bought a commemorative bourbon bottle and the “display” one that a store would use to sell the retail pieces. a few hours later he saw a vendor selling just the commemorative bottle alone for close to the price he bought the other 2.  that saying, be okay with the losses and gains- it is part of the trip and part of the fun!

that’s it for 127 for this year, below are some signs from the hwy

i will post about my trips to New Mexico and Arizona in the coming weeks!

xo- d

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  1. delilah!
    i love all those signs! what a great collection of wackiness. i also love what you said about the gamble. i guess potential 127ers have to think of the whole thing as an experience not just about finding that one thing for the perfect price. 🙂 -n

  2. you’re right nicole. it is about having a “loose” plan so you are open to new things but you dont go nuts at the first stop.
    however, i regret not going crazy on our first stop in ky as it was actually a really good stop (in hindsight)!

  3. i love all those signs! it reminds me when i went on a very cheap european tour as a teenager, one guy on the bus kept stealing toliet/restroom signs. by the end of the tour we had a bathroom sign in pretty much every language in the back of the bus. i just felt sort of sorry for those tourists who needed to go but couldn’t find the sign. such a wonderful post! i love roadtrips!

    1. love that story susan- do you have any of those signs?? oh geez those tourists- LOL
      roadtrips really are great, i am pretty sad about this being our last day and i am not feeling that well…mostly been working in the hotel room but there is always next year!
      thanks for commenting!

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