The 100 Mile Yard Sale & Galesburg, Illinois
I’ll admit that I have dumpster-dived a time or two. My sister and I are pickers and the more hole-in-the-wall the building, the better. We are more apt to find good treasures and cool junk in that kind of place. So when my sister discovered a 100 mile long yard sale started not far from her house in the Chicago suburbs, we planned our weekend!
Every year, More On 34 stretches over 100 miles, across five counties and 18 towns roughly between Aurora and Galesburg. US route 34 actually goes into Chicago turning into Ogden Ave, so it’s very accessible. Anywhere along the route is fair game for sales on Father’s Day weekend in June each year. We hit county fairgrounds, a variety of town squares, churches and parking lots, as well as plenty of yards, roadside stands and barns along the way.
We left early on Friday to get to the end of the route for us - in the town of Galesburg - so we could work our way back towards home. We stayed right in town so we could walk the historic district and to dinner, but I’ll be honest, the location was the only thing the Baymont had going for it. Central Park in the heart of the town is picturesque and so is the historic downtown. We shopped along the Seminary Street Historic District and particularly enjoyed the Galesburg Antiques Mall - it’s right in the heart of town, so you don’t want to miss it.
We ate dinner just down the brick-paved street at Landmark Cafe & Creperie. We had a fabulous meal and dessert in this quaint establishment and loved the ambience of the lush, plant-filled patio. If we had had more time in town we could have enjoyed several of the other restaurants, taken in the Galesburg Railroad Museum, toured the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site (this is the hometown of the author/poet) or enjoyed Lake Storey Rec Area. But we had a full day ahead of us picking antiques and finding deals.
We got an early start on Saturday morning and followed US-34 west to the town of Monmouth, IL and made stops along the way. Most sales start at 8 am and run until 5 pm and we shopped that entire time with a break for lunch. There were so many small town diners, church pancake breakfasts, supper fundraisers by local fire departments, and homemade baked goods by women’s clubs and 4-H groups along the route that we had plenty of yummy home cooked goodness to choose from.
We stuffed my brother-in-law's pick-up truck to the brim and overflowing and didn’t think we could fit anything more until I discovered something that I just had to have at what would be our last stop. We had driven for a while in the late afternoon through plenty of corn and soybean fields and came across a farm that had a small barn sale sign at the road. We drove the gravel drive to the barn and poked around. There wasn’t much left for us late in the day, except for the one thing that I was meant to own.
An old dust-covered tandem bike was sitting at the back of the barn and when I inquired about it, the farmer was almost apologetic about its condition. He told me they had bought it in 1968 from Montgomery Wards and his kids and grandkids had ridden it but then it fell out of favor and hadn’t been used in a long time. I told him that I would be happy to take care of it. My sister couldn’t believe I actually wanted to try to fit one more thing in the truck but I told her I’d strap it on top if I had to. We got that orange tandem bike home, cleaned it up, and it became the main mode of transportation for my young daughter and I throughout our small beach town.
This bike's story doesn't end there. As my small business grew and I needed to come up with a name and logo, my son told me the only thing I should call it is Tandem For Two, complete with an orange tandem bike for the logo. He was right. That tandem bike, that went from a Midwest farm to a small beach town, sums up all that we love about where we live and the adventures we take and the places we discover along the way.