Edited for 2021:
Yep, still raining here in Indiana. I'm over it. What am I doing today? I started planning for a trip to participate in the 127 sale, also known as the World's Longest Yard Sale. For the uninitiated, the 127 sale is 690 miles of yard sales, antique dealers, junk dealers, fantastic food vendors, amazing scenery and just all around fun. The sale extends through six states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. The map below is from www.127sale.com.
There are two main web sites for information about this sale:
Both are great resources for information about the sale. The dates for the 2021 sale are Thursday, August 5 through Sunday August 8. Mark your calendars!
My task this morning? Booking hotel rooms. Hotel rooms along the sale book up very quickly. The sale is a few months away. I always book my rooms at least this far in advance. Parts of the sale run through larger cities (i.e. Chattanooga, TN) and hotel rooms are not necessarily scarce, but the majority of the sale runs through small towns with limited accommodations available. There are campgrounds, bed & breakfast inns, and family-owned rentals. I stick to the major hotel chains because I accumulate points when I travel and this affords me the opportunity to use the points at the chain hotels.
I am located in Northern Indiana. I have tackled this sale from multiple points. The first couple of years (when it ended in Erlanger, KY—before expanding to Ohio and Michigan), I would start in Erlanger and drive south, ending in Chattanooga or somewhere in Tennessee. The problem with that scenario turned out to be the long drive home when you are exhausted. After the first couple of years, I started driving down to Gadsden, Alabama. I typically arrive on the Wednesday afternoon, the day before the sale officially begins. To our delight, we have found many vendors are open on Wednesday, so we start shopping the minute we arrive.
Our itinerary typically looks like the following:
Wednesday night: Hotel booked in Gadsden Alabama.
Thursday: Start shopping bright and early! It is a little over 100 miles to Chattanooga.
Thursday night: Hotel booked in Chattanooga (near Lookout Mountain).
Friday: I don't know if there are a lot of sales in Chattanooga, but we always head to Signal Mountain just north of Chattanooga to start the day. We shop the 78 miles to Crossville, TN.
Friday night: Hotel booked in Crossville, TN (Crossville is a major hub of the sale—hotel rooms here are typically really expensive!).
Saturday: Drive and shop 145 miles to Danville, KY. This is a long day and we typically arrive in Danville around 7 or 8 pm in the evening.
Saturday night: Hotel booked in Danville, KY.
Sunday: We start heading north. Sunday is a lazy day on the sale. Many vendors are not open, but the ones that are open are practically giving their items away. Lots of bargains to be found! We drive as far north as we can on 127 through Ohio before we cut over to Indiana and head home.
Alternatively, we have also had itineraries that look like this:
Drive to Ohio, book two nights in Van Wert, Ohio (Thursday and Friday nights). One day we go north and one day we go south and then head home. This itinerary works if we don't have the time to go all the way to Alabama and spend multiple days shopping the sale.
This is how I have done it. I am not saying this is THE way to do it. It works for me. Talk to anyone that has done the 127 sale and they will tell you what has worked for them. Find what works for you within your budget, your allotted vacation time and your desire to see the country!