October 25th – Here Comes The Cold

It seems to me that we just did laundry, but the basket was overflowing and the drawers rather empty this morning.  After getting Janet on her way that meant a trip to the local laundromat for me.  I ended up with 3 full washer loads so it was obviously time.

I found the crowd at the laundromat very interesting.  With two exceptions, all the other patrons were male forty years and older.  Not what I would have expected.

Two of the guys were local stock car drivers.  It was interesting to listen to their tales of their exploits and troubles on the local track.  I also found it interesting that one of the two men was African-American.  Not the typical profile of a southern stock car racer.

Well Janet was pretty cold all day and after looking at the forecast I determined that we needed to get a campground where we could plug in and run our space heater all night.  The forecast was a low of 33 degrees.  I was worried about us being cold and the water pipes possibly freezing which would be a big mess and expensive to fix.  The only place close to where we wanted to be was a KOA in Wytheville.

The KOA campgrounds are always nice, but typically the most expensive in the area.  I think part of that is they try to have a lot of activities to keep campers amused.  This KOA had a bowling alley and amusement center.

Of course I had to check it our.  They had a lot of games to play.

Included in the fun were a couple of batting cages.  I was smart enough to know that I would likely hit nothing and be terribly sore the next day so I passed.

I did try out a couple of games and got reminded that I don’t have the eye/hand coordination to be a fighter pilot or race car driver!

Hopefully the puppies and us stay warm tonight!

October 24th – Not Much Happening

Because of where we are in southwest Virginia, there is not much to do once I hit the antique stores.  I did Google that today and found that the stores were no longer in business.  That took some time and wasted some gas.

I checked out the town of Marion and determined that our best bet for “camping” would be the parking lot of the local Wal Mart.  When we are all done I’m going to have to go back and see how many times that became our location for a night.  Though I’m getting used to staying overnight there it is still a little weird.

One good thing about staying at the Wal Mart is there is a Sonic Drive-In right across the street.  It will be nice for a change for neither of us to have to cook dinner.  We both enjoyed our meal out on the town.

October 23rd – Good Pickin

I was looking forward to today as there were several antique malls in Wytheville, VA that I wanted to visit.  What made that even better is they are located next to one another.  Bonus!

Yesterday when I was driving I noticed that this area of Virginia is where a lot of Christmas trees are located.  I was amazed at how uniform the larger trees were.  They were like little soldiers lined up for inspection.  Really beautiful trees.  This picture shows some new growth.

Also, all along the roadway were the remnants of large pumpkin patches.  It was sad to see all the orphans that were left behind.  Maybe one that I saw will be where Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin this year!

You are probably getting tired of all the antique store pictures.  I have to say I am still enjoying walking through them.  It brings back memories from my past.  I’m also intrigued by what people have kept over the years and what some vendor thinks you should pay for it now.

I still learn something new most trips into the stores.  This vendor had lots of knives for sale.  I found out that those are highly collectible too.

This gas pump was in excellent condition and not for sale.  My guess is this would cost between $2,000 – 3,000.

Janet told me this was the pattern of the dishes her family used when she was growing up.  Things from her childhood are antiques now too!

This vendor had everything Coca Cola. I’ve seen a lot of Coke stuff in the stores, but nothing close to what this vendor had all in one place.  My picture doesn’t cover half of the booth.

Coloring with that old 50’s cowboy Hop-A-Long Cassidy would be very expensive today.  The price was $175.

My guess is that young people today would have no idea of who Lil’ Abner was or how big that comic strip was once upon a time.  Heck, unless they watch the TV-land channel they might not know Charlies’ Angels either.

One of my favorite TV shows as a kid.  Might have been partly because the lead actor was Hugh O’Brien.  This little gun and holster set will set you back $175.  Memories don’t come cheap!

Speaking of memories not being cheap, this Roy Rogers lunchbox is the most expensive one of those items I’ve have seen on this trip.  For something that is likely 60 years old or more it was in terrific shape, but only the most serious collector would spend $250.

This is the kind of vendor booth I like looking through.  They had a lot of things to look through – pop bottles, coins, records, yardsticks, license plates, and so much more.

A trend that started some time back was people framing old album covers as wall decorations.  I found this Beatles Sargent Pepper’s for sale at $25.   No record – just the cover.

Once upon a time I got to ride in the real Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile.  It was fun for a few minutes.  Not sure if a kid would want to ride around in one all the time.

Janet again found us a nice place to camp.  Traffic on the highway seems pretty light so I don’t expect much noise tonight.



October 22nd – Wild Horses

I was a little concerned about today as we were in a zone of no cell service.  I rely on that for my Google Map directions and to communicate with Janet during the day.  It’s my safety blanket that she is ok and I get to the right spot to meet here.  We did have wi-fi at Sarge’s campground so we start the directions while we were still there so once I dropped Janet back on the trail I could find my way to our spot.

With the lack of cell signal I decided it was too risky to do any exploring so I went straight to our meeting spot in the Grayson Highlands State Park.  With the fall colors in full bloom it was a beautiful place to be.  Also it is a very popular outdoor location which afforded me a lot of people watching time. One of the reasons that people come here to hike is a herd of wild horses.

I had to park a little ways from the trail head parking area to find a flat spot to park the RV.  Without a cell signal there was no way to alert Janet to the change, but luckily she found us.

The park had campgrounds with water and electricity so we made the decision to stay here for the night.  On our way to the campsite I saw one of the wild horses – a very pretty paint.  A stroke of good luck was when we found we do have good signal at the campground.  That will let Janet send me the needed directions for tomorrow.  I plan on doing a little exploring in the town of Marion if everything goes as planned.

October 21st – Abingdon, VI

Another glorious morning!  We had a very quiet trail head last night.  I slept 8 straight hours.  Man did that feel good.  After about a half hour I crossed over into Virginia on my drive this morning.

My plan for the day was to check out Abingdon.  I had done some research and there were a number of antique stores there.  I love towns like Abingdon.  The streets are wide, parallel parking, and almost all the antique stores are on the same block.  It made for a quicker trip this morning.

Before I checked out the antique stores I visited a candy store.  Besides candy they also sold some gellato.   They had a lot of the old style candy that you seem to only find in a place like this.  I found a cute Pez dispenser for Violet.

As usual, I enjoyed my walks through the stores.  In one a vendor was selling real Confederate money.  I study that for a long time, but the pricing was too much for me, though I’m sure it was reasonably priced.

We have been streaming a lot of our shows while we’ve been on this trip.  Maytag is an advertiser that I see frequently when watching those shows.  I guess they are right when they mention Maytag dependability.

I couldn’t believe how realistic the artist made this piece.

This is the best one of these type coolers that I have ever seen.  It would be perfect at the front of a family style restaurant.  Only $2,750!

I had to smile when I saw this old transistor radio.  I remember how incredible we thought it was when you could actually walk around and listen to the radio.  I also remember that they had a lot of static.

Collecting soda bottles is a big hobby.  Even vendors that have a booth full of furniture will typically have a few soda bottles for sale as well.

One collecting hobby I really don’t understand is match books.  They do record a time in history.  It would take a while to go through this tub to find something in particular you were seeking.

I guess pop bottle caps are similar to collecting the bottles, but I would think those would be much harder to find since people typically just through those away.

I thought $395 was a little much for this thermometer even though it was in excellent condition.

When I was leaving Abingdon to head to Damascus to meet up with Janet, I came across a seller of classic cars.  Of course I had to stop.  Unfortunately the place was closed, so I put a few nose prints on the windows as I was ogling the cars.  They all looked to be in pristine condition.

Our plan was to spend the night at a trail head near Damascus, but when we got there we saw a sign that said it was closed from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.  So we headed up the road hoping to find another spot that would work.  We came across a hand painted sign reading “Sarge’s Pay Lake and Campground”.  Why not take a shot we thought.  It turned out to be a great idea.  The owner just retired after 19 years in the Army and he is an avid fisherman.  His dream was to have his own fishing lake and campground.  I would say that it would be more accurately  described as a pond.  It might be 1 acre in size.  There were a lot of trout in the “lake”.  The supposed RV sites are really flat spaces with a picnic table.  They do have 110 volt plug-ins, but no water or sewage.  In their favor is free wi-fi that actually works.  For the mere price of $20 we have a place to spend the night that we are sharing with a Boy Scout troop.

October 20th – Sunny Day

We woke up to a sunny day.  Temperatures are on their way back up – thankfully!  We took our time getting ready for the day.  It was nice to not have to rush around.

After letting Janet off I drove directly to where we were to meet for the day.  We are truly up in the mountains some distance from any town of any size so there was nothing for me to explore.  I did see a flock of turkeys, a rabbit, a squirrel, and a deer on my drive.

Again Janet picked a great spot for us to meet.  We decided it was so good – quiet and level – that we would spend the night there as well.  It is a popular place for people to come for a hike, so I saw people coming and going through out the day.

Tomorrow we leave Tennessee and jump across the border back into Virginia.  I feel like we are on the home stretch now.


October 19th – A Great Find

We woke up this morning to bright sunshine, brisk breeze, and cold.  I felt sorry for Janet having to brave the cold and wind at the start of her hike.  She fortified herself with a couple cups of coffee so she started out warm.

I spent the day in Elizabethton, TN.  What made it good for me is that there were eight antique stores all within two blocks of each other in the downtown area.  None of the shops were anything special so it was something of a disappointment.  I didn’t see one beer tray all day!  I did come across a few things though.  I guess fishing poles and reels must be a thing as I saw a couple of displays.

People must collect the old straight-edge razors.  I’m sure glad I don’t have to try and shave with one of those.  I would probably go around each day with a piece of toilet paper stuck somewhere to stop the bleeding.

I’m not sure why the old Dick and Jane books were so popular once upon a time.  I checked out this book and the dialog went along the line of “Look Jane Look” or “Come Dick Come”.

I found the answer to my question yesterday as to where people find the old large outdoor Christmas bulbs – at another antique store.

One store I was in today had a neat old train that ran on a track above the 1st floor.

I did come across something for sale that I had never seen before, actual copies of Harper’s Weekly.  It was the national magazine during the 1860’s and 1870’s.  It was important in chronicling the Civil War.  Being a Civil War junkie I have always been interested to reading one to learn what they were reporting during that time and how accurate they were to actual events.  The seller had some 50 different editions for sale which was fun for me to look through.  I decided that I wanted to have one for myself so I picked one that talked about Sherman’s March to the Sea and Grant’s siege of Petersburg.  I think it is really neat to have a piece of history that’s 150 years old

Well we are definitely in the South.  What gave it away.  The selection of Sweet Tea at McDonald’s.  Something else that made this a good day was that the McDonald’s I visited also sold the sweet tea in a gallon jug.  I have never seen that before and was so happy to buy one for myself.

Janet found us a cheap campground, in Hampton, TN, to spend the night tonight.  It was only $30 with full hookups.  It was time to empty the waste tank.  Not only is it cheap, but with 5 LT, we have the strongest cell signal on our whole trip.  We spent the evening catching up on our favorite TV shows.

October 18th – Temptation On The Road

There is not much to report on today.  I spend all morning doing some chores that needed done.  You can’t play all the time!  I made a drive into Johnson City where I found a Wal Mart with a big parking lot.  I spent some time updating this blog.  When that was done I purchased a few things in the store and then headed to Walgreens to pick up a prescription.  With that completed I drove to where I was to meet Janet at the end of her hike.

I had a beautiful drive through the mountains with a lot on interesting old barns and houses to check out as I drove by.  Along a lonely stretch of road I came upon an abandoned barn which had two soft drink signs attached to the side – Teem & Dr. Pepper.  I know from all of my recent wanderings through antique stores that the signs together would easily sell for $500.  There were no houses around in any direction.  This was an isolated part of the road.  With the tools in my toolbox I have no doubt I could have quickly removed the signs from the barn, but I didn’t.  The old conscience would never let me feel good about it.  Hillary can tell you the two things that we wouldn’t stand for was lying and stealing when she was growing up.  I would have been a real hypocrite if I had taken the signs.  No one would probably have ever known, but I would have.  $500 could have bought be a lot of beer trays.

Janet picked a wonderful place for us to meet and spend the night.  I arrived about an hour before she did, so that gave me a chance to get the RV positioned for the night and watch the hikers that walked by.  Janet had a strenuous day so I grilled her a big steak to give her some needed protein.  Cell service was very weak so we spent a relaxing evening reading.

Off to bed.  It is not supposed to get quite as cold tonight.  I hope that holds true.

October 17th – Did Winter arrive already?

My goodness it was cold this morning.  Temperature was in the 30’s when we woke up.  Thankfully Janet had packed two down comforters for this trip and they kept us very warm all night.  We slept between the two.

Janet got up much earlier than I and started the generator so she could make coffee and run our little space heater.  That thing does a decent job of warming up the inside of the RV.

We spent most of the day just relaxing.  After all of her hiking, Janet needed a day of rest.  I think we all did.  I got a little restless as the day went along so I looked up antique stores (what else) in Kingsport and found that there was an antique store district downtown.  Janet graciously agreed to let me go explore.

Downtown Kingsport was kind of a walk back in time to the 50’s & 60’s.  Parking was in the middle of the street.  I didn’t see one vacate storefront anywhere and all the buildings and signs looked new. I saw something I hadn’t seen in years.  It was a men’s store selling suits, shirts, and ties.  You just don’t see those types of businesses anymore.

My first stop was to P & J Antiques.  I have to say this was by far the best antique store I have ever been in. All the antiques and collectibles were first rate – no junk.  All the booths were well organized.  I heard a conversation with a customer and the owner who said she had traveled from Charlotte, NC because she had heard about the reputation of the store.

This was the largest offering of nesting dolls I have seen in our travels.

Old beer cans must be a thing as I’ve seen some in most of the stores I have visited.  It’s odd to see the old cans that had no flip top tab to open. Does Carling Black Label beer still exist??

I think I mentioned in another post that I loved the Hardy Boys mysteries growing up.  I spent a lot of allowance and lawn mowing money on them. I seem to always be drawn to them when I see them in a store.  Usually they sell for around $6.00 a book.  I saw a large collection and checked them out.  Typically books have a sticker on the front cover or written in pencil inside the cover with the price.  Well when checking out the books I saw one with a $1.50 sticker.  I thought what the heck I’ll buy it just to see why I liked the books so much until I realized that this was the sticker with the original price.  Instead was written $6.00.  Darn it!

I thought this tractor seat idea was kind of cool.  Wouldn’t work in our house, but I could see it if you went with a farmhouse theme.  Price was $225.

This booth was all about Christmas.  I looked to see if, per chance, they had anymore of the Santa figures that Janet has had for years.  No luck.  I’m seeing that the old large multi-colored Christmas lights must be coming back in vogue as I’ve seen several strands of those for sale.  I wonder if you can still buy that type of bulb.

My sister-in-law, Jo Beth, was into rooster decor for awhile.  I think she would have loved this booth..

Old gas pumps are quite the rage with car collectors.  Even one like this one, which isn’t one of the really old style pumps, sells for well over $1,000.

Right across the street was another shop called Haggler’s Antiques.  What a great name for an antique store!  This one had some good things, but was nothing close to the first store I visited.  It didn’t take very long for me to walk through the store.

Do you see how corroded the bottle caps are in this 6-pack.  It’s amazing to find such old bottles still filled up like this.

I had to smile when I saw this sign.  My father used Wildroot when I was growing up so he used it one me whenever my hair had to be combed neatly.  It was greasy white stuff that surely kept your hair in place and with all that oil it was shiny too.  As the sign says, “makes your hair obey all day”. I think this product must be extinct now.

Being a child of the 60’s and a avid fan of the Beatles I would have bought this if it had been reasonable – priced $450.  It is the original theater lobby cards for the Beatles first movie – A Hard Days Night. The little boxes at the bottom were the autographs of each of the Beatles.

Because I dallied so long in the antique stores it was getting pretty late when we headed towards the trail head we planned to spend the night.  On the menu was steaks on the grill.  By the time we arrived there it was pitched black which eliminated the steak dinner.  It also made it difficult to find a mostly level place to park.  I bet we tried at least 10 places before finding something suitable.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the thirties overnight.  We will try and stay warm under our down comforters.


October 16th – Fan Boy?

When we went to bed last night both of us were complaining about how hot is was late at night.  Well that wasn’t a problem this morning.  During the night a cold front came in and it rained hard most of the night.  It was in the 30’s when we woke up which made it hard to get out of bed!

We had a pleasant drive to the overlook where Janet started her hike.  I had about 6 hours to kill before she finished so I headed to the town of Salem which had several antique malls.

I started at Charlotte’s Web which was the largest one in town.  I have seen these salt and pepper shakers in most of the stores I have been in on this trip.  Social norms have really changed in the past 50 years.  I don’t think they would be acceptable any longer.

Nor could a dairy get away with calling their chocolate milk “Sambos”.

I’ve noticed that a lot of vendors are mixing old items with new things you can buy every day at places like Hobby Lobby.  I have even seen Hobby Lobby tags on signs.  Are they really fooling people that the items are “antiques”?

One vendor had a selection of real concert posters from the sixties that I thought were very cool.  This one went for $75.  They had one from the Doors that was $150.

I like shops like this that have booths with a wide assortment of stuff.  For me that makes it more like a treasure hunt.

I then headed off to the Salem Antique Market.  This one was full of booths that features things from the 50’s and 60’s.

I almost bought this Popeye bank for Violet.  You rarely find these old metal banks in such great condition.  There was a slot to put in money but no easy way to get them out, so lucky for Hillary I left Popeye for someone else to enjoy.

For some reason I have really warms feelings for the old cake carrying cases.  I don’t have any use for one, but several times I thought about buying one.  I guess it’s because growing up there were a lot of get-to-gathers with extended family plus an annual family reunion where someone brought a cake in one of these cases.  It would be nice to have those again and need a cake case.

The only thing I bought here was a cold Grape Nehi.  They had a working old Coke cooler filled with almost extinct soft drink brands.  That opened up a conversation with the ladies at the counter.  They were talking about a yard sale the past weekend that raised $975.  I commented on how great that was which led one of the ladies to tell me all about her 17 year old son who is going to a local trade school to be a car mechanic.  The yard sale was to help raise $1,000 each for nice kids who wanted to go to Indianapolis for a trade school competition.  Her son and 3 classmates, two of which are girls, won first place last year in tearing down and put back together a 350 CI motor.  Without the use of air tools they did it in an incredible 13 minutes.  I find that truly remarkable.  The lady was so proud of her son.  I enjoyed our 15 minute conversation.

I had time to make one more stop before going to get Janet so the ladies recommended Buy The Season store.  That turned out to be pretty much a bust for me. The store was almost exclusively furniture and home decor items.  It wasn’t a total waste of time though.  Not long ago Violet watched the Wizard of OZ with her parents and really loved the movie so much that she is going to be Dorothy for Halloween.  When I found this marked 40% off I just had to get it for her.

So it was off to pick up Janet and head to a place we both wanted to visit .. Black Dog Salvage.  The people that run it have a TV show that highlights their business of reclaiming architectural salvage and selling it or re-purposing it to something else.  The people are really nice and they come up with some unusual things.  On the way there Janet cautioned me to not be a Fan Boy.  I think it is interesting to meet famous people which she doesn’t understand.

We had to park the old RV away from the store and walk there.  We went into the outside storage area that is used a lot in the filming.

We made our way around to the front of the store where the iconic rocket is located.

There were a lot of tourists like us in the store.  There at the front counter was Grayson the young women who is part of the salvage crew. I pointed her out to Janet who called me Fan Boy.  The place is full of interesting things which would be cool to integrate into a home you were building if you were rich.

While we were walking around Mike Whiteside, one of the two owners came up and asked if he could help use.  He tried to sell us a glass chandelier of grapes that was in one of their shows.  Truly a warm and friendly guy.  Janet made him laugh.  He was much bigger than he appears on the show.  I understand better how he is able to do the heavy work they show him doing.  I do have to admit being a little star struck.  I meant to find out if they had any reclaimed American Chestnut planks that I could turn into our kitchen table.  By the time I remembered it Mike was long gone.  Well I did get the t-shirt I wanted.

Not knowing is we would make it back to Roanoke I asked Janet to let me stop at the Roanoke Antique Mall on the way out of town.

I am amazed of what I find sometimes so far away from home.  I came across a Royals Cookbook from 1969 the first year the team was in existence.  Seems like an odd promotional material to me.

The book contained the favorite recipe of players, front office personnel, scouts, and ticket sellers.

I’ll probably kick myself later, but I didn’t spend the $8 to buy the book.  I spent too much time walking the orderly aisles.

I remember really loving Huckleberry Hound cartoons when I was a kid.  I wonder if he still exists today?

I wonder what “Scientifically Processed” meant and was someone thought that would be something important to a person buying potato chips.

When I was a kid, my mother got me interesting in collecting stamps and gave me her childhood collection to get started.  There was a post office 50 yards from my Grandmother’s apartment and every weekend we went to visited I rummaged through their trash cans getting stamps off undelivered mail.  I remembered being called a “trash hound” for that.  Not sure that was a term of endearment?  Anyway, I would have killed to get sheets of stamps like these when I was a kid.  It was something special if you could just get the four stamps from the corner with the sequence number.

Another childhood memory is the Saturday afternoon TV with the Lone Ranger reruns.  I couldn’t believe what incredible condition this 60 year old metal toy was in.  It looked like it had never been played with.  Unfortunately the key that winds it up and makes the Lone Ranger’s horse rear up was missing.

I have my answer to the question I had the other day.  There are people who collect Mr. Peanut stuff.  Here’s a book to tell you all about those things and how much they are worth.

Janet decided she wants to finish her hiking at a special place.  Roanoke is near it so we headed down to Tennessee so she will now hike North to finish up her AT adventure.  Because I spent so much time looking in the last antique mall it we were late getting started with a 3 hour trip to our next trail head.  We decided we would just stop for the night at a roadside rest stop.  We’ve done that several times.  We found a problem to that plan as Tennessee only allows 2 hour parking.  We ended up driving to Kingsport, TN where we found (are you ready for it?) a Wal Mart we could part in the lot for the night.  So that’s today’s adventure.