Reporting live from Junker’s Paradise. . .Bargains Galore on 64 2012

Once a year I get to go to heaven–junker’s heaven, in the form of Bargain’s Galore on 64, an 160 mile yard sale on Route 64 in Arkansas, from east of Beebe in the  southeast central part of the state to Fort Smith in the Northwest corner.  Over the years I’ve narrowed my junking territory to between Conway and Ozark, an approximately 100 mile stretch that still takes all day to traverse.  This area seems to have the most charm and the highest number of centralized “market” type areas where dealers are more likely to set up with the good vintage stuff.  Highlights include the town of Ozark which hosts a lovely flea market right on the river that attracts great dealers, the nearby wine making village of Altus which doesn’t always have the best stuff but has a nice shady little town square to peruse, the ladies of Coal Hill, Clarksville and Morrilton, the last of which always boasts a great lineup of vintage dealers in front of the train depot as well as a trove of antiques stores across the street in case you need to cool off from the sun with a little air conditioning.

The ladies of Coal Hill bear special mention because their display is always a highlight of the trip.  My friend, junking extraordinaire Steve Lance, tipped me off to their compound some years back: several outbuildings and a middle area with their wares lovingly arranged like a photo shoot right out of Country Living magazine.  Once in Coal Hill you want to follow the signs off of Privet Road and I promise you won’t regret it–my heart always starts beating a little faster when I see the sign for Coal Hill.

I got some nice deals this year but I was more selective than in years past; I got rid of a huge lot of my own stuff in a yard sale at the end of June and nothing will make you pickier about what you bring home than two days out in 105 degree heat selling your own stuff.  Highlights this year were a nice black Coach tote for $5 that I’ve since seen on e-bay selling for $55-$105–it’ll be great for my work bag in the fall–a primitive wood wall hanging, and some great feed sack dishtowels that will go well with my mother’s new kitchen.  In the past I’ve scored some really great furniture–including a tin-topped kitchen island that is perfect for this bread maker and looks practically custom made for my kitchen.

I’m already strategizing for next year, when I think I’ll drive up to Ozark the night before and start there.  I used to start in Conway, hitting some side of the road sales on the right side on the way up and the left side on the way down but those side of the road sales are yielding less and less every year as, with a handful of exceptions,  the town sales in Ozark, Coal Hill, Altus and Morrilton become the go-to spots.  Might as well start out in Ozark fresh and energized–when it’s still relatively cool.

I’m also hoping to convince my younger son to come with me again and think an overnight in a hotel with a pool would be a good incentive.  He usually comes with me; it gives us some good one on one time and besides he’s developing an eye for junking like his mama, but he couldn’t come this year and I really missed our backseat/frontseat philosophical chats.

Here’s a pictorial of the day:

Gotta pack a good lunch, including plenty of water.

This spot in Clarksville, just west of town, is always good for furniture deals.

End of day ritual: cooling off with a Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper at Sonic Happy Hour.

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