Friday, September 23, 2016

Laurel Richards Kane, 1946-2016

In January 2016, we lost Laurel R. Kane, beloved operator of the visitor's center at Afton Station. 

Visitors to Afton Station from around the world would find, and later seek out, a welcome and a smile from Laurel. Her vast knowledge of the "Mother Road," her kind nature and quick wit endeared her to those who stopped by Afton Station, making her a Route 66 celebrity. "Oh, we love our visitors," Laurel was known to say. Since opening Afton Station, Laurel reckoned she greeted over 7,000 visitors a year. 

Here is her obituary as published in the Tulsa World, from February 14, 2016. 

For more information about Afton Station, including operating hours and contact information, please visit the Afton Station website,

- The Kane Family

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter Doings

Learning a new computer.    Keeping medical appointments.   Cleaning my office.  Reorganizing after Christmas. . . On and on and on.... and yet not enough time or material to craft a very exciting blog post.  On the other hand I don't want to lose readers who may have given up on me, thinking I've disappeared into a mole hole or flown away on the wings of a giant hawk.  Nothing at all so romantic,  I'm right here where I have always been.

On Saturday I finally got away to drive up to Afton and check on the Station.   It is just fine.   Earlier in the week, Robin had opened up for a group of three men who were visiting from Texas.  They were in Oklahoma for the Chili Bowl Nationals (midget cars) so I was honored that they wanted to take one day off from the races to drive up to Afton to see the Packards.  Robin took this photo.  I'm sorry I missed them.
Last week Ron M. and I drove down to the Brady neighborhood of downtown Tulsa to see a very remarkable art installation there.  It is truly breathtaking!   Read about it here.
The Unbearable Absence of Landscapes is a statewide knitting project to unite communities and draw attention to our diminishing landscapes. In partnership with Oklahoma artist Romy Owens, the project was constructed by independent knitters, knitting circles, and outreach groups to create a single large “blanket” covering the facade of 108|Contemporary’s gallery. Inspired by our current screen-based culture and the sprawl of urbanization, the pixilated landscape represents the physical absence as well as our digital obsession and disconnect with nature. From a distance, the installation appears to be an abstracted image of a prairie landscape, in essence making the gallery a part of the skyline.
– If unraveled, the yarn would stretch over 160 miles
– Over 10,000 hours were spent knitting and seaming, and another 50 hours to install it on the building
– It covers more than 3,200 square feet of the facade

I have always had a very inclusive attitude toward art.  It doesn't have to be just paint or plaster or stone.  Anything can be art, even knitting yarn.  This is an amazing example.  

From time to time, local high school students ask to have their senior pictures taken at the Station.   Robin's granddaughter posed for some great ones this month.   She is a beautiful lady with a beautiful car.

A few more weeks and we will be opening up Afton Station on a regular basis.  Until then, remember that we are able to open for groups if you let us know in advance.   918-284-3829.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Learning to Love (or at least like) Vacation

Is there something wrong with me?  I'm not sure I like having all this free time.  I long to go back to Afton, if for no other reason just to check up on things at the Station.  I know everything is fine there because I have enough people who would tell me if there was a problem, but I still miss it.

My new computer is beautiful but frustrating.  When I stare it with defiance in my eyes, it stares back and tells me that I'm just a dolt who is either too dumb or too old to keep up with technology.  Despite it sitting there on my desk exuding the willingness to make my life easier, clearly we maintain an adversarial relationship. But I am catching on more and more now.  In a few weeks I'm sure I'll look back at these times and realize that my cyber nervousness was just a phase.  After all, yesterday I only had to call Ron M. once to hysterically report my inability to recover my files using Carbonite.
And speaking of Ron M. . . .   my praise of that wonderful man is long overdue.   In case you haven't noticed, I use him for so many things and he never complains.  Now that I'm mainly in a wheelchair, he hauls my groceries and other heavy thing, he boosts my wheelchair in and out of my car,  he listens to my countless complaints, and he is my most faithful and constant volunteer at Afton Station. All this, and in exchange I feed him an occasional meal that that's just about all.  I have become hooked on his wisdom and gentle ability to make things seem not as bad as they really are.  Thanks, Ron!

I was going to attach pictures of both Ron and my new computer, but I can't figure out how to do that. I guess I'll have to call Ron.   :-)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Holiday Musings

That I am sitting here in a thunderstorm the day after Christmas would seem odd to me except that it's actually been a pretty odd holiday season all the way around..By that I mean unlike any from my past.   There was no Christmas party this year, due to the infirmity of the hostess.  I did not decorate,  unless you count turning on the electric candles in the window which I never took down from last year.  Plug them in and poof -- decorated!

Christmas itself was nice, however.  I   "Face Timed" it with my daughter in Chicago and her boyfriend, an exercise in online holiday-ing which, for about two hours, felt like the real thing.  Getting to that point, however, nearly cost me my grasp on reality. I was so frustrated by getting the iPad to operate properly that I almost lost my ability to breathe.  I thought for while there that I'd need to breathe into a paper bag just to regain my equanimity.   With the help of Ron M., via phone, who suggested I make sure my WiFi router was turned on (it wasn't) and a few tweaks by daughter and boyfriend,  it worked like a charm.

Ron M. and I had decided the day before that he would seek out one of those pre-made holiday dinners that are offered by local grocery stores (turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, the basics) but when he started calling around to order one, he found that they were sold out long ago.   Hmm.... this caused a little problem.  I first decided to just forget about food altogether.  Ron could eat at his house and I'd throw something together here for myself.   However, my guilt took over and I told Ron not to worry, that I would craft a meal out of what I had in my (quite bare) fridge and pantry.  As a result, I believe that our Christmas dinner was a few notches below those being offered at the local homeless shelter.   At least the shelter offered meat!  Our dinner consisted of acorn squash and creamed peas and potatoes.   A veritable vegetarian feast!  In fact, it was good, although I still hope that the shelter did better.

Two days before Christmas, we decided to take a ride on Route 66 and look for some interesting and festive photo ops for this blog.  We started driving east, then west with little success.   Nevertheless, here are a few things we saw. These are not great photos, but they represent what we observed.

Three new storefronts, all made from rescued buildings.  It's always nice to note that tearing down the old and replacing it with the new isn't necessarily the best way.  In fact, it rarely is.  These restorations give 11th St. (Route 66) a new feeling, and yet they are also a breath of the past.
 Here's a mew mural on the side of an old building.  I am not sure what it advertises, if anything, but it adds color and eye appeal to the surroundings.
 Over on Southwest Blvd. (Route 66 across the river on the other side of  Tulsa) it appears that a new mural is being painted at the Route 66 Village.  It will accompany  the beautiful Frisco train, and the oil derrick. all symbols of the old Mother Road.
A couple of years ago, the Goodwill erected a new sign in the "googie" tradition, honoring Route 66.  This year, another one went up on  the other end of the property.  We couldn't be more delighted that Goodwill chose to  honor Route 66 twice in this way!
This is not a hill.  This is not a mountain.  This is the middle of Tulsa, just as a big, heavy pink and gray cloud rolls in.   The foreboding density of the cloud reminds us of the major storm that is predicted to arrive here the day after Christmas.  And speaking of storms, we do send our best regards to our neighbors to the south who experienced devastation by tornadoes on Christmas Day.  Our thoughts are with you.

P.S. Here is my daughter Sarah and her boyfriend John on Christmas morning, via Face Time.  Sorry, I couldn't resist putting this up here despite  the quality.  The reflection of my camera seems to have taken over John's face.   Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Check this Out!

It seems that I've been away from Afton Station and the blog for such a long time that I fear I might lose some of my loyal readers.   I'm still here, and after the Christmas madness passes, I intend to be back to blogging, exploring interesting Route 66 places, and relating stories about what's going on in the life of little Afton.

I had a visit at home from Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones yesterday.  He wanted to show me something.  Well, he sure did!   He has had the entire back of his head shaved and replaced his hair with a very large tattoo of Afton Station!  I don't know if I have words for this, so I'll just say thank you to Tattoo for  his loyalty to the Station, and also warn him to be sure to keep up the shaving, lest Afton Station will be spouting hair in a couple of weeks.  He now has over 150 Route 66 tattoos.  No matter how you feel about the art of  tattoos, Ron  has  to be singled out for his loyalty to the Mother Road.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Buffalo Hunt

On this beautiful sunny Sunday, our first weekend day of vacation from Afton Station, we were looking for an adventure.  Joe Meeks, our intrepid guide and absolute expert on anything to do with the geography or history of Oklahoma, had remembered that Ron M. and I had talked to him recently about a herd of bison owned by the Cherokee Nation and "hidden away" somewhere in Northeast Oklahoma, but nobody was sure of their exact location.   So, Joe did a little research and suggested that he might be able to find them, and that we should make that a purpose for a nice ride in the country.   Road trip!!

We drove through the Amish country around Choteau and on to Pryor Creek, where we found a good restaurant that has been in the town for well over a  half a century.   Good food!   On to Salina, the oldest town in Oklahoma, established by Jean Pierre Choteau in 1796 as a trading post to trade with the Osage Indians.   It is now a resort community on beautiful Lake Hudson.  On to Kenwood, a small Cherokee Indian town in the foothills of the Ozarks.  The lovely drive was made spectacular by the discovery of the  Blue Hole, a popular swimming spot which we've all wanted to see.

We could only speculate how wonderful it would feel to jump into that natural Jacuzzi which is made by a deep and wide place in the Saline Creek.   We all decided that living in that serene spot with nothing but the sound of river over rocks wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

South of Kenwoood, we took the road to Bull Hollow, where we hoped to find that Cherokee herd.  Well, we found the place and even saw a few bison at far range grazing on the lush brown grass.    With that, we had accomplished our goal, had a fine meal, and enjoyed each other's company for a few hours.

Thanks to Joe, who reminded me of the names of all those places that I'd already forgotten by the time I got home, and to Ron M. who is always fun to be with and who helps me out with this darn wheelchair which tends to make everything more difficult than it needs to be. We look forward to more of our "three Musketeers" day trips this winter.  Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Help Solve This Mystery

Who does this truck belong to?
When we arrived at Afton Station this morning, this white Chevy S10 sat in our parking area.   It has "Boots Court" magnetic signs on the front doors and Illinois license plates.  We were excited to think that maybe one of our Route 66 family might have left it there in order to take a sightseeing walk around town until we arrived, but when we left this afternoon hours later, it was still there.  It's not a problem at all, but my curiosity is killing me!  Who can it be?  The gals from the Boots?   Ron Hart?  But why the Illinois license plates?   If it's yours, feel free to keep it there as long as necessary, but please let me know who you are and if there's anything I can do to help..

Another cold, windy, dark, and damp day kept some folks away but not all.
A very nice family, including almost one-year-old Jack came for a visit.  They're living in Tulsa now, but she was born and raised in Catoosa.
Also from Tulsa is this woman who visited with her son from Portland, Oregon.  He's a "car guy" and happens to be restoring a Packard from the '50s, so  he was particularly interested in some of the minute details on our cars.
This gentleman is also a car collector, and has had many and varied makes in the past.  They also hail from Tulsa.

We cleaned up the place and got it ready for it's long rest.   We'll be closed all of December and January except for potential private openings for those who let us know in advance.  Please don't hesitate to call and make that request.