Thursday, April 17, 2014

I never had the pleasure

Among all the places I've lived in my long life, I've never had the pleasure of residing in a very small town and making it my own.  Having Afton Station in tiny Afton on Route 66 is probably as close as I'll ever come to experiencing what it's like to know everybody in town and every move that my fellow citizens make.   Although, as a relative newcomer to Afton, I'll never be a part of the closeness of Afton citizens, I do get to observe it close up.  Today was a perfect example of that, when two brothers who were born and raised in Afton  came in for a visit from their respective homes in Bixby and Grove, OK.  Although they've never been that far away, this was their first visit to the Station.  They were senior citizens, so they had a treasure trove of great stories about the "old days" of Afton, and I was absolutely mesmerized by listening to them.  It got even better when Betty stopped by while they were there and joined in the reminiscing.  The older brother left Afton years ago when he opened a theater in Branson, MO where he and his siblings were "The Gospel Singing Collins Family" from 1978 to 1985.  Their father owned the other D-X station in Afton down by the Horse Creek Bridge.   The family lived on a farm about 5 miles out of town, and the gentleman told us about some of their boyhood stunts on the streets of the town.   I enjoyed every minute of this exchange and wished I was able to record it for posterity.

Another interesting visitor today was a fellow from Wheeling, West Virginia who is bicycling across the country. . . so far, 14,000 miles in 1 1/2 years . . . as his retirement "relaxation".    Wow!  His wife is following along in a motor home in which they sleep each night.   This is quite a feat, and is responsible for his strong physique.  He was a very nice guy with more stories for us to enjoy.  You can read the very interesting blog about his trip and see a map of it at
Ron M. was with me today, and our other visitors came from Spokane WA, Palm Springs CA, Evast MI, and Tulsa OK.

I made a treat for Ron, Betty, and me... a silly project that turned out pretty good.  I dyed some Easter eggs after they were shelled, then made them into deviled eggs.  They actually looked better in person than in this photo.
And Betty brought me these beautiful Easter flowers!
One more.   Here's today's sunrise over beautiful (?) Interstate 44, before picking up Ron and leaving for Afton this morning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


On my day off from Afton Station, I took a walk (ok, a drive) through the park near my neighborhood and was blown away, as I am every year, by the colorful displays of tulips planted there.  Since so many folks are suffering from unseasonable and unwelcome snow today, I thought I'd post this just to show that spring really IS here and your tulips should be popping their heads up through the snow any time now.  

So far, I haven't been hit with the the huge urge to go back to Afton Station on Tuesdays.  I'm still experimenting with taking a day off, and so far I'm enjoying it and getting a lot done around the house that wouldn't otherwise get done until December when I close the Station's doors for the winter.  (I'm also binge-watching Breaking Bad, which I've wanted to see for a long time.)  You never know, however.  I keep thinking about people who may be traveling through Afton today and are met with a CLOSED sign on the door, and I feel terrible about missing them.  In my heart, I much prefer to be open 7 days a week, so we shall see....

Sunday, April 13, 2014


This clever writing on our autograph wall, right next to the faucet, seems appropriate for this post since I've writing it in the midst of a pretty heavy thunderstorm.  The sky is black, I can hear and feel small  hail against my windows, and it's pouring.  Just got home from Afton in time to miss it while in the car.  We need a lot of rain, but this might be overkill.  I do enjoy thunderstorms,  however.  

Today was very much different from yesterday at Afton Station.  I guess Route 66 travelers are hunkering down in anticipation of the long line of storms.   We had only 10 visitors and none were from overseas.  They came to us from Houston TX, Derby KS, Bad Axe MI, Maryville TN, Hume MO, and good ol' Afton, OK.
The handsome gentleman in this picture was born and raised in Afton.  Coincidentally Betty, who was visiting with us today, had just mentioned his parents and the house they used to live in right here in town.  And then, voila!  He walked through the door!  Betty hadn't seen him for years.  He now lives in Derby, KS as does his friend who was accompanying him.  
When we hosted the 2004 Tulsa International Route 66  Festival, we gathered a number of pieces of the iconic Cyrus Avery Bridge in Tulsa (we didn't tear the bridge apart -- work was being done on it and we picked up the scraps) and sold them to make money for the Festival.  I now have custody of all the remaining rocks, along with their authentication papers, which I'm now selling for $3 each, benefit of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.   Stop in if you want one, a nice addition to  your Route 66 collection.

Well, how about that!  The storm went by so quickly that it has already mostly moved on in the time it took me to write this short post.   The TV/radio meteorologists, whom a local newspaper columnist recently called "the Doomsday Crew" have managed to rile up the populace for what turns out to be not much.  TV stations are on full-time weather reports even though there's not much happening any more.   Just another day in Oklahoma.....

Saturday, April 12, 2014

66 on 66

A picture is still worth a thousand words (I hope) because I have a lot of great pictures from today but I'm tired to the point of not wanting to type too much.  I'll do the best I can, but I guess I haven't "toughened up" enough this early in the season to cope with the crowds that came in today.

We had 66 visitors, and they came from Cairns Australia, Wellington New Zealand, Aspelare Belgium, Safpsborg Norway, Madison WI, Birmingham AL, Big Cabin OK, West Fargo ND, Wichita KS, Kansas City MO, Claremore OK, Vinita OK, and Tulsa OK.

A group of 29 from Gilligan's Tours arrived, all but two of whom were from New Zealand.  Their arrival turned Afton into a busy little town for a while!
They mingled with other visitors, including folks from Australia and a family from Madison, Wisconsin as they examined the exhibits and made plenty of purchases.  The Images books were a hot item today.
The family of five from Madison designed wonderful t-shirts for their trip.
Here they are, a colorful group to say the least.   I love seeing family enthusiasm like these folks have for their trip.
Here's Harley, a cute pup who came to visit with his friend from West Fargo, North Dakota.  His friend is celebrating his 40th birthday by taking a long-awaited Route 66 jaunt.

Here are two sweet little girls who came with their parents to take a look at Afton Station on their way to a livestock show at which the older girl is showing her two goats, Penny and Jasmine.  They're from Claremore, OK.
This couple drove over to Afton after spending the night in Eureka Springs, Arkansas at the supposedly haunted Crescent Hotel there.   The lady took a sheet from their bed, put it over her head, and roamed the halls of the hotel.   I love it!!!!   These folks are into having a good time, and I sure enjoyed visiting with them!
Tattoo Man stopped in and showed off his newly restored and painted car to some of our visitors.   Ron M. was with me again today, thank goodness, because there's no way I could have handled the crowds on a day like this.   Sixty-six visitors this early in the season.  Lookin' good!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pretty Cars, Pretty People

Route 66 should be proud of itself for attracting the kinds of people it attracts, especially those who visit Afton Station.   Although yesterday's visitor roster included only one couple (from Slovakia!), today we had a house full of beautiful people, both friends and travelers.

It started with two gorgeous restored cars pulling in, containing four gorgeous people   The two couples from the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri were touring Route 66 on their way to a car show in Oklahoma City.
 1931 Ford
 1940 Pontiac
And here are the folks who came in them.   Lovely couples with all kinds of enthusiasm for vintage cars and Route 66.   We sent them off with a map of the cool things to see in Tulsa and directions for getting to Jerry McClanahan's art gallery, as they're anxious to meet him.  Before they left, the Pontiac gentleman left this on our signing wall. Love it!

These two gentlemen from Oslo, Norway cruised in with their newly acquired '50 Ford.  They purchased it upon arrival in Massachusetts and are driving it across Route 66, after which they'll ship it home from L.A.  The owner (right) dresses in '50s garb (slicked back hair, sideburns, etc.) so he's really living the dream.

This very attractive young couple is having the full Mother Road experience.  He is from the Netherlands and she is from Antwerp, Belgium but is now living with him in the Netherlands.  He was very helpful telling us about various finger signs that are accepted (or NOT) in various European countries.  I never knew that one could totally insult someone in certain countries by making finger gestures that are perfectly acceptable here.  For instance, a V for victory in the U.S. turned backwards, is about the worst gesture you can make in some other countries.  So beware, travelers to foreign lands!
From London, England came this family of five -- mom, dad, daughter, son-in-law, and grandaughter.  They, too are adventuring on Route 66.

Other travelers came from Buncombe IL, Jonesboro IL, Pensacola FL, and Claremore, OK.

We also had friends drop in today -- Historians Frederea and Loretta, Videographer P.J., Scott from Afton, Crazy Legs Walker, and Betty, who finally was able to stay for several hours.  Ron M. was, of course, with me and is responsible for all the outdoor photos.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Another Tidbit About Yesterday

The French couple who visited with us yesterday spoke no English during their visit and I was straining my brain to understand their rapid-fire talk despite 6 years of French language in high school and college. I suddenly had the inspiration to break into the French National Anthem, which I still remember totally after having to memorize it in high school.  Well, let me tell you -- if you ever want to make immediate friends with a Frenchman, try that!   They were singing along with me and their smiles were of the ear-to-ear variety.   Just a fun tidbit from life on the wonderful Route 66.

Allons enfants de la patrie, 
Le jour de gloire est arrivé 
Contre nous de la tyrannie 
L'étendard sanglant est levé 
Entendez vous dans les campagnes, 
Mugir ces féroces soldats? 
Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras 
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes!

Aux armes, citoyens! 
Formez vos bataillons! 
Marchons! Marchons! 
Qu'un sang impur 
Abreuve nos sillons!

Sunday, April 6, 2014


Late Getting Home + Balky Computer = Short Blog Post Tonight

When there's more time tomorrow, I'll follow up with details.   Our guests today were most interesting and delightful, but the happy descriptions will have to wait a few hours.

Our 13 visitors came from Pourrieres France, Brisbane and Melbourne Australia, London England, Joplin MO, Tontitown AR, Oakdale CT, and Afton OK.
These brave souls from France were touring Route 66 with almost no English.  Ron M. and I did our best to dredge up our limited French without much success, and yet the visitors were so wonderful and fun and enthusiastic that we somehow managed to do just fine.   A unique couple that deserves more than this short description.
Four friends from Australia, also happily touring the Mother Road.  More about them and others when I get back to this post.  It was another very good day!