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On the hunt for hidden treasures
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Forsyth County News
It was hot Saturday morning when we set out for the Dixie Highway Yard Sale, a 90-mile stretch of scattered treasures and gently-used garbage along the historic highway in northwest Georgia. The temperature gauge on my dashboard rose every time we got out to take a gander at used television sets and unopened boxes of baseball cards. Yard sale vendors popped up along the highway in sporadic clusters.
When we started out about 10 a.m., it was just shy of 90 degrees. But by the time we were done with the whole affair, we were sweating in places we never knew existed.
We'd pass up some sweet-looking stacks of records and tangled hunks of electronics in favor of the air-conditioned glory inside my car.
Even when we knew we were ignoring a good deal, we'd watch it zoom by at 45 mph. And I'd say, "there goes an authentic Elvis Presley rhinestone suit."
And my buddy, Chris, would tell me to keep driving.
He was on the verge of a heat stroke and nothing could lure him away from the steady blast of AC.
I announced clear skies as a plus earlier that morning as we scanned the map of I-75 that would take us north of Marietta on up toward the Tennessee state line.
After we got up to Ringgold, we planned to hop on over to the Dixie Highway and head back south and check out the deals along the way.
We each had $75, and we shook hands, saying we'd spend everything in our pockets before the end of the day, no matter what kind of trash we threw into the trunk.
Every vendor's presentation was important, since we had to spot displays from the car. And each handled that differently.
Some folks would place merchandise nice and neat and stick a price tag on everything, but they were the ones who peddled over-priced stuff.
They over thought it, and forgot it was a yard sale.
Then some folks just spread a tarp over the gravel in their driveway and tossed their stuff onto it, leaving it to the consumer to do all the work.
And sometimes you just had to dig through that pile of junk to find the treasure. It was redneck archaeology… but instead of fossils you found Grand Funk Railroad.
Smart folks steered clear of the vinyl, cassette tapes and compact discs baking in the sun.
And even worse, the VCRs and stereos whose circuit boards had melted into the asphalt beneath them.
We'd barely spent any money by mid-afternoon, and we didn't care we were so sunburned and ill tempered.
All we had to show for was a "Backyard Wrestling" video, a couple "Wizard of Oz" black and white prints for my mom and a Metallica cassette tape that grinded to a halt when I tried to play it.
The heat sped us through 90 miles of frugal retail, and there was no other way to sift through all that garbage in so short a time. The race against sun poisoning fueled our minds, and we boomed south in a desperate search for the finish line.
It seemed bittersweet to see our meager bounty, hardly anything to warrant a full day of running the gauntlet of hard bargains.
I could only assume some enterprising soul had sniped it all before we had a chance.
But that's the risk we took setting out for that corner of Georgia and grabbing whatever we could find along the way. We never met our $75 quota, but it was worth it to see 90 miles of recycled treasure and trash.