Monday, August 11, 2008


I'm not too fond of pointers.... and I'm not talking about hunting dogs or helpful hints.  Here's the thing.   There's a lot of traffic that passes Afton Station every day.  Despite Route 66 having been decommissioned as a federal highway and bypassed long ago by the evil Interstate, it's still fairly heavily used by locals, long-haul truckers, short-haul truckers and, of course, Route 66 tourists.  Now, if travelers are in a hurry, or aren't interested in old gas stations or antique cars, then I have no problem with them just driving right past the Station.  I don't even have a problem with people who slow down and snap a few pictures and then, for whatever reason, hasten on down the road.  It's just the pointers that make me a little crazy.  They'll slow down, look, point, slow down a little more, look a little more, point a little more, then step on the gas and roar past. 

I guess I take it way too personally.  Folks have a right to react to Afton Station any way they wish.  It just makes me sad when I almost got to meet and greet people who apparently weren't as excited about meeting me.  I always blame it on the travelers not using guidebooks.  "If they only had a copy of the EZ66 Guide (or any guide...fill in the blank) they would have read about how incredibly interesting we are here in our little old filling station", I grumble.   

Sometimes we attempt to lure folks into the Station in some very obvious ways.  We're not as good at it as Harley and Annabelle in Erick, but we're getting pretty adept at putting on our own little show.  On nice days, we sometimes sit outside on the apron in front of the Station and wave people in, sideshow-barker style.  If Ron's there, he will even don his oversized red,white, and blue Uncle Sam hat and get right out there on the side of the road.  It works like a charm, although I'm sure that more than half the people who pass by think we're a couple of wackos with a lot of time on our hands.  That's ok.  All I want to do is meet people. 

We've discussed the matter of signage a lot lately.  I have two big OPEN flags  that fly from the columns, aneon OPEN sign in the window, and a sandwich-board type sign that reads MUSEUM OPEN (with a Route 66 shield).  I'm beginning to think that I've forgotten one thing... the magic word --   FREE! The next sign is going to indicate that there's no charge for what we're offering -- information, ice water, popcorn, and a lot of cool stuff to look at.   Perhaps that's the answer.


Anonymous said...

As a sometimes pointer (and occasional setter and retriever), I can understand your feelings, but I can also understand the pointer's point of view.

There's times when part of you wants to stop and smell the Packards, but then you're thinking you spent way too much time having fun at the last stop, or need to make it to another place before they close or you run outta daylight. Having a family that takes a substantial amount of time for loading and unloading in & out of the vehicle doesn't help either. So, through the Salute of Pointing you at least acknowledge the Greatness of the Roadside Attraction before you move on.

Example: Last month, we had a longer-than-expected time in Cuba, between the murals and the cafe and the grocery. And whaddaya know as soon as you roll west out of town there a giant piece of furniture commanding your respect - but there's still the Mule, and Wrinks, and all those other places on down the road. So we stopped, quickly took pictures, and apologized to the owner - who said he fully understood, and just asked that we stop by next time (whenever that might be).

So don't be too hard on the pointers - at least they're pointing, and may be customers next time.

P.S. Good job on the blog. Really enjoy visiting & reading. Take care & best to everyone.

Richard C. Moeur

Anonymous said...

Very good points, Richard!   I think I need to reign in my frustrations, because I'm guilty of being a pointer myself at times.  I guess it's just human nature to want every single person to stop so that I can meet them.  Yesterday morning, a group of at least 30 Danish motorcyclists roared right past without even a glance, and it almost ruined my day.   Since the previous day had been exceptionally rainy, I told myself that they were probably just behind schedule.  That kept me from overzealous pouting.