World’s Longest Yard Sale Already In High Gear In Sequatchie

Thursday, August 02, 2012 - by Judy Frank

They’re back!

The world’s longest yard sale hasn’t even officially begun but already there’s a black Nissan Pathfinder – sporting Florida license plates and large signs declaring that the women in the vehicle are “Fleadom Bound!” – smack dab in the middle of Dunlap.

“I talked to my husband last night and he asked how far we were traveling a day,” one of the women joked during a stop. “I told him about 100 miles, and he laughed. But when you consider that sometimes we spend three or four hours in one place, that’s pretty good!”

The Pathfinder isn’t alone, of course.

In Sequatchie County, dealers hawking everything from old license plates to used clothing to antique crockery have had their tables set up along the town’s main thoroughfare since late last week.

Also on hand, of course, are the casual shoppers – many of whom have traveled hundreds of miles – who wander from dealer to dealer, looking for that special treasure they cannot describe but swear they’ll recognize the moment they see it.

But you won’t find veteran shoppers such as Cindy and Debbie – the women in the Pathfinder – who have been making this journey the first week of August for years among the crowds checking out dealers’ predictablr wares in downtown Dunlap.

Instead, they’re on the lookout for signs announcing sales off the beaten path that lead to non-professional sellers: ordinary families with hand-me-downs they no longer want who have transformed their yards and porches and garages into sales areas for the duration.

On Signal Mountain, where the Sequatchie/Hamilton County line is located, the bulletin board at Pruett’s Grocery Store sports such sellers’ announcements.

“NEIGHBORHOOD YARD SALE!” one declares in 48-point type. “July 28 – Aug. 5, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. School House Road, behind Lone Oak Community Center.” Down in the valley, in Dunlap, there are dozens of signs promising bargains galore to yard sale-goers. One, a hand-printed poster attached to a street sign at the intersection of Rankin and Cherry, has attracked the attention of the women in the Pathfinder.

“Big multi-family yard sale,” it promises above large arrows pointing would-be shoppers in the direction of 790 Mountainview Road.”

A couple of blocks later there’s another sign. “This way,” it says, pointing right.

The trail continues for a couple of miles, eventually passing the scenic Dunlap Coke Oven Museum and a shady pocket park across the street where Cindy and Debbie stop to eat the Crunchwraps they picked up at Taco Bell and snap photos.

Then the indefatigible shoppers climb back in the Pathfinder and continue their quest.
Six yard sale signs later – "Yup, this is the way!" – they find themselves in front of a two-story log cabin hidden away in the middle of a woods that the owners of the house swear,  appearances to the contrary, is inside Dunlap city limits.

“Oh my gosh,” one of the shoppers gasps as she catches sight of the antique furniture on the front porch. “Look at that gorgeous mirror! How much is it?”

“$100,” the yard sale proprietor replies, and the happy, good-natured negotiations begin.
Over the 25 years since the yard sale was started as a way of luring travelers off interstates onto more rural highways, the I-27 yard sale has become world renowned, not always for the reasons its original planners intended.

Particularly annoying, critics say, are the horrendous traffic jams it creates which, in a small town like Dunlap, can transform residents’ intended quick Saturday afternoon trip to the grocery store into a frustrating two or three hours on roads packed with loaded-down pickup trucks and vans that move at a snail’s pace – when they move at all.

Over the years, however, residents of affected communities have learned to take the inconveniences in stride.

“We’ve gotten used to it,” the woman behind the counter in the local Adventist Church thrift shop said placidly. “Most folks around here know to go ahead and stock up on the groceries and medicine and other things they need, and then stay home during the sale itself.”


8600 Block East Brainerd Road Lane Closure

The westbound (inbound) lane of the 8600 block of East Brainerd Road will be closed for a water line repair project beginning Friday at 7 p.m.  The lane will be reopened on Saturday by 6 a.m.    Westbound traffic will be detoured north on Morris Hill Road to west on Igou Gap Road, then south on Grays Road to Jenkins Road, and then back to East Brainerd Road. ... (click for more)

Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County: U.S. 27 (SR-29) reconstruction project from Manufacturers Road (Olgiati Bridge over the Tennessee River) to U.S. 127 (SR-8, Signal Mountain Road/Boulevard):  Weather permitting, the contractor may have lane closures throughout the project area on weeknights to perform road work.  They will also be working ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)