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Draplin Design Co., North America

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With our second World’s Longest Yard Sale under the belt, here’s a little guide for you to chew on.

01. THE HEAT WILL KILL YOU.
We lucked out last year. It didn’t go past 70-75 degrees the whole route. Things were different this year, that’s for sure. Those sticky-ass 90-97 degree days just wore you down. Each step was a that much more of a pain in the ass. There were times where I found myself wandering in a field between tables…completely out of it…just hot, sweating and kinda delusional. Not good. We slammed a lot of water in between stops. Sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and a bandana in the back pocket for “wiping the brow” is recommended.

02. THE SCIENCE OF COMPLETELY ARBITRARY PRICES.
Regarding the price of things, there’s no science on the World’s Longest. No guidebooks. No eBay to reference. Just half-baked, iron-willed, half ass calculations along the lines of, “I gotta get six for that.” Dickering‚€”and all mysteries therein‚€”is recommended, but be prepared to be shot down, and hard. Fuckers. The prices for old license plates two booths away from each other are worlds apart. World apart. And these yahoos will look at you like you are an imbecile for trying to chisel a buck off a five dollar item. “That’s an old piece, son.” Completely arbitrary. No science. Thick drawls and toothless certainty. Just be prepared to walk away after they shoot you down. No sense in taking it to the limit.

03. ANTIQUE DEALERS ARE NOTHING BUT TROUBLE.
Goddamn antique dealers. On those table are tablets of gold, man, so how dare you try to wheel and deal? Don’t I/we know that they got every item you are looking at for free, or off some dead guy at an estate sale, or whatever parasitic pursuit? Don’t you know what it’s worth? Well, I have no idea, and hell, they don’t either. They’ll tell you they do. Common criminals. All in good fun. Just take them with a grain of salt. They are the professionals, and you are the mark. So it goes.

04. CALL AHEAD FOR PLACES TO CRASH.
Those hotels and motels along 127 get filled up fast. We didn’t call ahead‚€”even though Dale warned us too‚€”and we had to drive up to 50 miles in either direction to find lodging. No biggie, really. Just extra miles at the end of long days. Call ahead, hell, weeks in advance and map out reservations.

05. DO A SLOW-CRAWL DRIVE-BY, THEN PARK IF THINGS LOOK GOOD.
Not much more to be said. Don’t get caught in the “taking the time to park, hike up and be greeted with table after table of complete bullshit” thing. We did that a couple times and learned real quick.

06. COLOR THEORY.
Without a doubt, the more colorful a spread, the more of a reason to floor it. Vibrant colors can mean one thing out there: “Baby clothes.” There’s nothing more vile on the World’s Longest. “Glassware” comes in a close second. The “browner” or “faded” the goods on display, the better. And the more disheveled, the better too. Organized tables means one thing: They know what they have, and you are gonna pay up the ass for it. Complete lack of poetry, but completely true.

07. DON’T BE AFRAID OF A LITTLE “PULLED PORK.”
The fare found in the fields wasn’t all that bad. Pulled pork sandwiches. Corn on the cob. Burgers, Dogs. Brats. Summer food, right? Don’t be afraid of this stuff. Cooked up my well-meaning people, at fair prices. And remember, nothing beats the taste of a fresh-sliced, garden-grown tomato.

08. HIT IT EARLY, AND HIT IT HARD.
Cooler temps, and creaky vendors. I’m a man who likes to sleep in when I’m on the road, so I had the mob grumbling the whole time. Dicks. But there is something nice about pounding around those field in the cool, morning air. Wet grass. Tired eyes. Minimal chatter.

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SPECIAL THANKS ARE IN ORDER:

-To Dale for driving the whole route. A-game, man, A-game.
-To Evan for being a hunk of shit the whole time. Unwavering.
-To Jess for keeping cool the whole time and pointing out deals..
-To Uncle Bob for coming along, and putting up with our hi-jinx.
-To Dad for coming along and teaching us a thing or two. Big animal.
-And to the champ in Northern Kentucky who cut me a nice deal on that little flat file unit, Thanks, man.

AND TO A COUPLE PIRATES OUT THERE, YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO HELL OR SOMEWHERE HOTTER:

Dear Peddlers of Racist “Artifacts” and Materials: Proud of that coveted slave collar? Proud of the Nazi pins and flags and shit? And how about those photos of lynchings? You are dinosaurs, and you are dying off quick. And for the best. Horrific items from horrific times. Nice way to make a buck. Just crawl off into the woods and wither away.

One guy, after hearing dad say, “Yeah, it looks like they are made in the USA, too,” regarding bundles of new pencils for sale, some old timer leaned over to us and said in thick, halfwitted Southern drawl, “USA? You mean, the United States of Africa? Har, hmmph, that goddamned O-bamma…”

All I could get out was, “Thank you for your vote, sir.”

Too bad it’s against the law to slug a 70-year-old in the chops. Sorry for the vitriol, readers. I usually let that shit bounce off me. For whatever reason, this time, the stuff just got under my skin. Maybe it was the heat. Or maybe it was because I believe in peace, progress and human rights for ALL. Yeah, that.

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THE WHOLE KIT AND CABOODLE OF WHAT WE SAW: Our coverage of the 2009 World’s Longest Yard Sale on a little photo site called Flickr. Pregame, earlybirdin’ and the four days of the sale. It’s all there for ya: “2009 World Longest Yard Sale.”

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OH YEAH: It’s nice to be home with Leigh, and the parents, and little Garold. Summertime, man, summertime.


There Are 4 Comments

Egads, the racists. I just can’t wrap my head around how these people even still exist, with that mindset, in this day and age. They’ve gotta be the stupidest bunch of motherfuckers on the face of this planet. I mean seriously‚€”SERIOUSLY‚€”are they serious? Do they really not believe in equality? And they’re always the kinds of people who can dish it but can’t take it.

Hey man, I sent you a letter last week-ish to what I believed was your Portland address, but it got returned. Contact me, man, if you get the chance.

Thanks dude.

Posted by: Lester on 08/10/09 at 6:16 PM

Enjoyed the ride man!

You’ve inspired Elsa and I to possibly take a try at the trail next year, wherever it may be.

Thanks for posting those treasures.
Seriously, holy hell, so good.

Posted by: Tyler on 08/10/09 at 6:33 PM

Does America know how lucky we are to have the likes of you runnin’ all over the country, hootin’ and hollerin’ and spreadin’ pride and joy all across the fruited plain?

I think not.

Thank you.

Posted by: Daniel Holter on 08/10/09 at 8:42 PM

The entire Draplin clan is an American treasure, digging up long-forgotten treasures. Jim’s basement is worthy of a documentary all by itself.

Posted by: Cameron Barrett on 08/11/09 at 6:26 AM
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