Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Garden Club Junk Jaunt or Women Gone Wild!

Last winter a group of garden club women drove to Minneapolis for a February Madness at a big greenhouse. We had a good time but the most fun was hitting every thrift store and Goodwill on the way home. We drove in a snowstorm so that also slowed us down and we were trying to unload a pickup in the dark and snow at 8 PM Sat night to divvy up our treasures.

We have reminisced about that trip and decided to do a Junk Jaunt closer to home for those brave enough to join in. Kim came over one morning and, over coffee and muffins, we plotted a route using the site You can punch in a zipcode and kind of store you are looking for, thrift, consignment, antique, etc. and it will pop up the ones in a 60 mile or more radius. Kim and I had a pretty ambitious schedule but we also decided nothing was written in stone and we could add or delete as needed.

The date was set for Friday, Feb 21 and Sat, 22, overnighting in Carroll. Thursday morning it started snowing, I had to take another sick cat to the vet and the roads were terrible. On the way home I was convinced that we would never get to go. But Mother Nature is fickle and easily changes her mind, by afternoon the snow was nearly melted with water standing all over the place.

Eleven hardy souls met at Laura's house bright and early Friday morning, pumped to have been given a reprieve from the nasty weather of the previous day! Our first stop was Odebolt ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ where we arrived before the proprietor. We were milling around like a bunch of sheep without their shepherd, “Where do we go? What do we do now?” Luckily another woman with a shop in front of the store came out and took charge and herded us through her salon into the back. The young woman with husband in tow arrived with hot chocolate and coffee and several goodies, we felt like royalty. We left an hour later with promises to be back.

Next stop was Ida Grove where we found a huge store packed to the gills with garage sale finds, it made my head spin. There was much laughing, ‘helping’ others find something they can't live without, and, in the end, parting with some money. There was another thrift store a block away and our three vehicles began to fill with packages and this is only the second stop, "Girls, we need to pace ourselves!"

It was close to noon when we left for Denison, way behind the schedule we didn’t have but I was beginning to think we would never hit all the places we had on our map before most closed. After stopping at HyVee for lunch, it was quick and a wide variety for everyone to choose, we went back to our shopping marathon.

Laura kept smoozing the salesmen to get better prices, shameful!!

Sue was way too excited to find some fake grass, I told her that someday we will have real grass, I promise.

The Junkery, it sounded like our kind of store but it wasn’t. It was an antique store with antique prices, a beautiful store but not exactly what we were looking for. Everything was displayed beautifully and the store went on and on, up a story and down two. Lots of fun to look but not a lot of buying.

Two different shop owners told us about a store in Breda that we would love so we made the executive decision to make the 8 mile detour on the way to Carroll. The name of the store is 5 Sisters and it looked like a junk jaunter’s delight. Looks are deceiving, the store is evil and must be destroyed!! (What movie did that phrase come from?) We were happily shopping our way through the huge place when the young man behind the counter changed the price on something Laura had picked up and set there while she shopped some more. He denied it but I had seen the original price so in solidarity with one of our own, most of us put down our purchases and walked out, Sara and I refused to buy the 5 cards between us that we had carried around. But then there were no envelopes in sight so that might have had something to do with it.

We got to our overnight stop of Carroll and found two thrift stores in the same block, more shopping, more laughs, we were never bored. We learned of another store, the Lincoln Highway trading company and it was very diverse, good prices and they liked to deal always a plus while junking. A great way to end the marathon shopping trip. It was 5 PM and we had hit every store on the list, made a detour, even finding more stores, something I never thought would happen in one day. It was time to eat and drink so off to Santa Maria Winery. It’s a good thing we were that early because we found out that a group our size usually needs reservations. But we're special, we know that. Our waitress was so much fun, served us with much enthusiasm and even posed with us in this picture.

I won't go into detail about the 36 wine glasses gracing the table, suffice to say, a good time was had by all.

Getting out of the winery proved to be harder than anything, they were busy and just couldn’t seem to find the time to give us our bills so we finally stormed the cashier and forced them to deal with us, after all, we had a pool and hot tub to relax in back at the motel. A few brave souls put on our suits, the hot tub was heavenly, the pool was nice, the hot tub was heavenly again before going back to the room to shower and don pajamas for the party in the motel lobby. More wine, more food, burp, they have a computer for the guests so Kim found 5 Sisters on Facebook and left a scathing comment, which they deleted sometime before morning, guess we showed them.

Barb showed her expertise at opening the ultra delicious wine her grandson made, “How often do you do this??”  This particular kind was named ‘Panty Dropper’ but I fooled them, I didn’t wear any.

Everyone was peppering me with what time in the morning we needed to be ready to go and my reply was, “Just try to be conscious by 8, we’ll go from there.” This isn’t a bus trip where you have to have your luggage outside the door at 7 AM and ready to go. The beds were heavenly, the three of us in our room all like to read before we go to bed so we were very compatible, I slept like the dead till 4:10, then dozed off and on until a more reasonable time. There was a great breakfast, waffles, bagels, toast, cereal and milk, muffins, orange juice and lots of coffee. Someone even bought some creamer, perfect! There were those people who shuddered when we arrived in mass, and then there was the woman having breakfast in the motel with her family who thought we were having too much fun and wanted to join the group, we told her to load up if she could find a spare seat.  

The drivers of the group tried to rearrange our loads, we were dangerously full and still had half a day shopping to go. We arrived at the Manning New Hope at 9:30 and found the store did not open till 10. But there was a woman already there and when she saw 11 woman with cash hanging out of pockets and purses, made the executive decision to open early. Besides, she said it prevented her from doing the cleaning she usually did that time of day. It was a great store, I promptly found an Eddie Bauer barn coat, regularly $2.50, 1/2 of 1/2! Sara took that challenge and found her own bargain coat for the same price. Laura, as usual, beat us all, but then she did bring the pickup, more rearranging, removing legs from a table.
Our next stop was the highly touted Chuck’s Bargain Barn near Audubon, Kim and Jeff found it while on a road trip last summer. What a fun place! 10,000 square feet of very well organized, priced to sell, willing to deal, actually it’s a requirement, varied merchandise. My bargain was a brand new saddle pad for $15!! Unheard of!! I also got my cat fix for the day with Wilson, the boss. He’s plying his charms on Kim.

Wilson is at least 25# of snuggle, I hauled him all over the heated building until I thought my arms would fall off. He kept giving me kitty kisses to show his gratitude, even bestowing one on a little girl who admired him. But when I stepped out of the heated building into the attached unheated building, Wilson made it plain that was not in his best interest so I took him back. He was ready to get down and go eat some cat food, he was feeling a little weak from hunger. Here are the girls all lined up to pay for their purchases.  

And then there is Laura again, with her best buddy Rick, we didn't get the other guy's name but he was a sweetie too. He even carried Kim's purchases to her van and stopped by our vehicle to make sure we had a good time, we assured him we will be back!

They told us for a good meal, to make a short detour to Hamlin, and go to Darrell's, they were right. We had deep fried green beans, deep fried dill pickles and deep fried corn balls, all delicious with a side of ranch dressing. But then we all know if you breaded the tongue in your shoe, deep fried it and served it with a side of ranch dressing, it was be yummy. No wine today, we had to drive.

Last stop, Manning, Village Bargain Shop where I got the buy of the day!! A glider rocker for $6.50!!! Eat your heart out!! I couldn’t buy it until I could see if it would fit in Laura’s pickup and it did! We weren’t the only shoppers, but as usual we were lined up to pay, all in row. There was another woman in line between the last of our group and me. As she paid for her purchases, the cashier said, “Well you ladies have a GREAT DAY!” Then she said, “Oh, you aren’t with that group.” And the woman then had the nerve to say, “No, Thank God!” So I piped up, “I resemble that remark!” But she found no humor in it and stomped out of the store, maybe she was cranky because she didn’t get the glider first.
We were loaded, counted heads so we didn’t leave anyone behind, since we kept switching seats, it was a wonder that never happened, and hit the road for home. It was a lovely drive, I think we got to Laura’s about 4. Surprisingly the unloading didn’t take that long, but then we didn’t arrive at 8 PM in a snow storm like last year. But we had STUFF!!

We had a BLAST!! This was the 1st Annual, we will definitely do it again next year but there is no place like home. Everyone was glad to see me, Mollie was beside herself, whining, wetting the ground, trying so hard not to jump on me, Bruce was the same way, minus the whining and wetting. Zoe tore around the house, bouncing off the walls and furniture, before collapsing into her favorite position.

"I'm cute, ain't I cute??"

 Clyde was bobbing and weaving, his palsy exaggerated by all the excitement of getting a new chair to sleep in. It’s great to be missed.
I was stowing my treasures and chattering away a mile a minute to Bruce about the trip when Kim called. Chuck, the owner of Chuck’s Bargain Barn who was not able to be there today, called her to make sure we had a good shopping experience at his store!! He wanted to know if there was anything he could improve upon! What a guy, quite the difference from the day before. So if you are ever around Audubon, go have a good time and say “Hi,” to Wilson for me.


  1. sounds like you had a ball, Julie....what fun!! I can actually hear the comments you made to some of those rude people, how dare they!! tee hee.........I thought you were writing about an outside glider/rocker and was amazed when I saw the picture of the chair in the back of the pickup - what a deal, indeed!! that, plus the Eddie Bauer coat!! next time, someone should bring a small trailer - or maybe you've already thought of that!! thanks for sharing, it brought back good memories of meeting up with your friends last year..Love ya, CG

    1. I wish you had been along, C.G., you would have loved it! Yes, we jokingly (?) talked about next time we needed a trailer!! That would have just encouraged us. One of the junkers found a great pair of rubber boots, remember yours? We are already talking about the next trip, maybe you can come along???

  2. what a hoot reading all about this, I felt like I was right there too (and exhausted at the end of it all). I too am jealous.... $6.50 for glider! Holy crap! What a great idea, you all maybe the next new reality show on TLC! =)

  3. this was hilarious! What fun it sounded glad the weather cooperated for you. You surely WILL make it an annual event; how can you not??