Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the road less traveled by is paved in thrift stores

Our road trip to Chicago started out as any other. Though this was an entirely new destination to which neither of us had driven, I had reminded Robin that we weren't successful the last time we tried taking a "scenic" route, hoping as we were to find all sorts of wonderful junking opportunities along our path to New York City. Nope, not a thing of interest last time we tried, and we have goals. Getting to Chicago. In one piece. With enough time to wrap up any loose ends before the show. And we don't have any time to do research. Let's take the interstates.

So Robin agreed to take what Jeeves the British accented GPS told us to do. The shortest route. If we were lucky, we might have time left over to goof around once we got to Chicago.

We made good time the first day of our road trip, so much so that by late afternoon we decided to give one of our friends a ring to do a little internet searching for thrift stores in towns near where we wanted to spend the night. There looked to be tons in a town whose name I now forget, so we took the exit and started our search.

Meh, a couple of neckties at the only Goodwill we could find. I figured so much, I thought to myself quietly. And we were both getting hot and tired. Let's get back on the highway, check into our motel, and get sumptin to eat.

Food options were running through my mind while Ophelia, our recently transvoiced GPS, kept recalculating different ways for us to get back on our path to Chicago. I tried to tell you I wanted directions to Wright Patterson Air Force Base but you wouldn't listen, Ophelia. So pardon me if I put you on mute while I help Robin look for signs.

And there it was, stuck in the corner of strip mall, a shining beacon in the night, a serendipitous encounter that was meant to be. Behold, a Goodwill Outlet (cue choir of heavenly sounding angels). Up til a few months ago, neither Robin nor I would have known what the addition of that one word - outlet - meant. What some might view as dregs, unsold product from regular Goodwills, were now sold at the outlet by the pound or for a pittance. At this Goodwill Outlet, clothes were $1.39, books were 50 cents, and everything else sold on a pricing scale that encouraged a very weighty purchase, starting at around $1.39 for poundages under 20 pounds, and going as low as 59 cents a pound for weights over fifty pounds. Look hard enough and there will always be vintage gold. The Dana Buchman silk velvet ensemble that'll wash up nicely and be reworked into hats, the vintage mirror that we hung on our ladder shelf in the booth so folks could see how wonderful they looked in our hats and scarves, the lace curtains that I needed for our foyer window, hardback books with interesting cover art that I'm know I will need somehow, sometime. Pretty glassware that we would have purchased had we the room.

We spent a couple of hours there and came out with a few bags of goodies before moving on to our motel for the night. But we both knew we were on to something. That night I googled Goodwill Outlet Indianapolis and furiously scribbled down addresses.

Ophelia was in prime form the next day, programmed as she was to take us to three Goodwill Outlets before soldiering us on to Chicago. The stores, the goods, and the shoppers inside them were all different, all interesting in their own way. All full of inexpensive temptations. Junk to some, but to us, treasures awaiting their day to be transformed. We filled every nook and cranny in the van, hoping to do well at Bucktown so our purchases wouldn't look so space defyingly daunting to our patient and loving husbands.

After our time in Chicago and NYC, the threat of a visit from Hurricane Earl caused me to rethink the final leg of my journey home. A different way to avoid bug out traffic, which I was hesitant to take because I had never taken that route before. But unlike the start of this trip, I figured I may as well be game, because you never know what the road less traveled by has to offer. And as you might surmise by now, that road less traveled by? Paved in thrift stores. This time, full of neckties and sweaters. Score! :)


masko said...

What a fun time you two had together...again! Enjoyed just reading this while picturing you guy's faces. Thanks for sharing!

cheyne923 said...

Sorry that Jeeves couldn't find you gold in the first leg of the trip--he wanted you to get to Chicago! My Jeeves wants to meet Baxter next year!

kalyxcorn said...

hee - how is jeeves doing now, by the way? hope his tummy is much much better! :)

masko - we totally need to road trip sometime!! :)

Alicia said...

We were stationed at Wright-Patt during the mid 90's, and had great results antiquing there, along with trips to western PA and Richmond, IN. You know, one person's junk is another person's goldmine!
Great finds!