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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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We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming. . .

To bring you the update on Bargainsgaloreon64, one of the highlights of Wordamour’s junking year.  So if you’re expecting to read about writing, you might want to skip this post (though who knows, the photos might inspire you to do a little scribbling).  Because what follows is a report on the garage sales and flea markets that line the Arkansas roadsides and town squares on highway 64 every mid-August, from Beebe to Fort Smith, which is approximately 200 miles.  

Alas there were no caskets this year–must’ve gotten sold.

Read on for a taste of the Arkansas roadside, with an especially charming photo at the end.  How’s that for a hook?

So it was hot this year.  It’s always hot. But not usually 105 degrees hot. Nonetheless, Wordamour and her younger son, whom we might as well dub Wordamour Jr. since everyone is always commenting on their physical and personal likenesses, were determined to brave the elements, armed with a cooler full of bottled water and the occasional shaved ice and Sonic Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper.

Wordamour Jr. usually starts out rather non-plussed about these jaunts. After all, it’s deathly hot and he’d just as soon be at home playing Super Mario Bros. with his brother (aka Wordamour’s Husband Jr.) in an air-conditioned house.  But once the loot starts rolling in, he gets into the swing of things. A sampling of his haul:  3 Naruto Manga Magazines with 3 rare Yugioh cards inside, a 22 kt gold Pokemon card, and two Calvin and Hobbes books.

The highlights, as usual, were the retired schoolteachers who do a Country Living style set up at Coal Hill (Wordamour will be eternally grateful to friend and junker extraordinaire, Steve Lance, for the tip).

Take a look:

And the flea market on the river in Ozark:
PhotobucketPhotobucket“A Krystle Carrington doll New In Box. Who knew? Snap this one up, folks.

Good to know, in case we have a future-farmer emergency.

Or a future writer emergency.
PhotobucketThe obligatory “fan” shot.”

My haul was pretty terrific, including a vintage white, tin-topped kitchen island for $50 that looks like it was custom made for the kitchen in my hundred year old house.

But the highlight of the day occured when I snapped the shot below.

Look closely to see how this resourceful kitty beat the heat.Photobucket

Happy Hunting.  Bye y’all,

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A Damn Near Perfect Few Days, Part 2


Bargains Galore, Continued. .

So, I wrote about my junking adventures on Facebook.  My friend Steve, antiques dealer and  junker extraordinaire, wrote back that I had missed the best part, from Lamar/Clarksville to Ozark.

I thought about this.  I stewed.  I thought some more.  Then, sold my soul for a free day and completely rearranged my schedule so that I could take off for Shangrilas Friday morning. Steve described it as Christmas three times over.  I’d call it heaven.  Same thing,  to some.   There was some major junking to be had; besides the sales every fifty or so feet on either side of the road (hit or miss, but fortunately you can usually tell without getting out of the car) there were three town-square markets and a pocket of paradise put together by a retired teacher in Coal Hill (Country Living, are you reading this?).  BJ Thomas serenaded me at one point; at another I pulled into the driveway of a grand old gothic mansion in Clarksville (columns everywhere, two story wrap around porch) to the Gunsmoke theme or was it Bonanza? (it was Western themes day on the local NPR station).

Oh, and did I mention the Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic?  I drink these all the time, but somehow it tasted even more perfect during the hunt.  I swear it’s the crushed ice from Sonic. They have a patent on it, you know.

I got some cool stuff, but that’s not really the point.  Highlights, though, included a Holly Hobbie in near perfect condition for $2.  Just for me.  Totally frivolous and I don’t care. Anyone who is anywhere close to my age and gender will understand the significance of this.  In the mid-to- late seventies, just about every girl in America had a Holly Hobbie rag doll like this one:

 Work with me here, it was the bicentennial, Little House on the Prairie was riding high in the Nielsens, all that.  Americana was big.  Anyway, my nine-year-old self had one, of course, but today  I have no idea what became of her. 

Recently they “redesigned” Holly for the 21st century.  
Of course, she pales in comparison.  No matter.  I have the real Holly back now.

Something else to ponder:  Twice along this route, I saw single, brand-new tricked out caskets being sold on the side of the road.  Shiny new caskets tend to stand out among the requisite junk.  Anyway, here’s what I want to know:  how do you end up with an extra casket just lying around?

It’s easier, albeit just slightly, to explain why someone might want to buy a casket from the amongst the faded, flourescent Little Tikes toys in front of a baking hot trailer on the side of the road.  Conversation piece and all that.  Heck, in her (much) later years Katherine Anne Porter , one of my favorite authors, liked to keep one in her living room to shock visitors. Check out her biography, there’s a picture of her standing in it.

But how do you end up with an extra. . .casket to sell?  Ordered one too many?  Last minute miracle?  Suggestions are welcome; I’ve been around it and around it and I just can’t come up with a plausible explanation.

Then there was the white bureau, around Clarksville, labeled:

“White Chester Drawers $10.”

If spelling was that much of an issue (obviously it wasn’t) $10 on the (white) bureau itself would have been clear enough to me.

When I got home,  everyone was looking spiffy with their back-to-school haircuts.   Friday’s groceries had already been  purchased and put away; pizza was in the oven, a nice glass of Yellow Tail white sat on the counter with my name on it and family movie night was on tap.

October Sky.  One of my all-time favorites.

I’m not sure it can get better than this. Really. 

 Bye y’all.


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