Saturday, February 28, 2009


On this past Wednesday, the temperature here soared to 81 degrees. Yippee, spring is here! Wait....hold on just a minute! Don't get so excited, girl! Today, on our ride up to Afton Station, the car thermometer was reading 27, and it didn't get much higher than that all day. And then... it snowed! It snowed most of the day up there but didn't stick. It was so gray and cold and WINDY and just plain awful that I didn't anticipate many visitors today, so I felt lucky to have had seven. We had guests from Springfield, MO (pictured below), Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The Springfield folks are on their way to Arizona for a vacation, and they didn't anticipate driving through snow today. And I didn't anticipate writing this blog with fingers that are still numb from the cold. Ron M. was with me today, and a mutual friend of ours sent along a boquet of daffodils from her yard to brighten up Afton Station, as well as some yummy sweet nutty yeast bread for our lunch. Nice of her.

David and his family popped in briefly and his son Patrick took a spin on the smashed penny machine.
And now, I've been invited out to dinner with friends, so that's all, Folks!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Kansas in February

Well, it's not as corny as Kansas in August, but Sarah and I had a great little one-day road trip up to Kansas yesterday. We stopped for breakfast at Karen's Kountry Kitchen in Collinsville OK, and after enjoying a really great meal, we started thinking about the three "K"s in the name, and wondered if maybe we'd patronized a place that had connections to an organization of which we very strongly disapprove. Probably not. No white hoods there, just some perfectly nice personnel. We hoped they were simply being "cute" when naming the place.

From there, we continued further north and over the border into Kansas. The first town in Kansas, and our original destination, is Coffeyville. Coffeyville is a charming little town which has done a nice job of preserving many of their historic buildings. However, it seems that there are quite a few more empty storefronts than there were during my last visit about two years ago. I know that in July of 2007 Coffeyville had a major flood, but I don't know if that has anything to do with the empty stores, or even if the flood reached downtown.

I wanted to show Sarah the Dalton Defenders Museum, a small museum devoted to telling the story of the notorious Dalton Gang of bank robbers. Read about it here. It's mighty interesting reading. Dalton Defenders Museum, Coffeyville, Kansas Unfortunately, the museum was closed, so after a look around town, we left Coffeyville and headed toward Independence. Here's the gang, having seen better days. :-)Independence, KS is one of my favorite small towns anywhere! At one time, I actually got real estate brochures and considered moving into one of the big Victorian homes there. The prices were right, but I'm glad I changed my mind, since I wouldn't have had a single friend in the town. When I visited before, Independence had a great little old-fashioned department store downtown that was still open for business, and that was one of the things that charmed me. Alas, on this visit we found the building unoccupied. Another WalMart-inspired casualty, no doubt. Independence still has a great city park and a neat little zoo.

Four or five miles outside of Independence one comes upon The Little House On The Prairie site. On the spot where the Ingalls family once lived -- and the site about which Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote -- a small outpost of buildings representing how the family lived has been built. Actually, the buildings (a post office, a school, and a log house like that of the Ingalls family) are actually buildings of the period that have been moved to the site, although none were originally there. Despite not caring much for "fake" antique villages, I love this place because 1) I've never been there when there has been another living human on the site and 2) the prairie land around the site is vast and flat and windy, just as I'm sure it was during the time people were first settling there. Once again, we were the only visitors to the site. I wanted to show it to Sarah and have her take some photos there. Between the two of us (me, a not-very-good photograper and her, learning to use a new camera) we managed to take a few decent shots. Having a rather foreboding sky helped.
We also briefly visited the towns of Caney KS, Nowata OK, and made a fast pass through Bartlesville. We also drove through the tiny, tiny town of Liberty KS, a town that intrigues me so much that I once wrote a short story about it. We arrived home to find that Sarah's flight had been cancelled, so I got to enjoy my daughter's company for one more evening. I took her to the airport VERY early this morning.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I just knew that if I blogged long enough, eventually I'd end up with a "Miscellaneous" entry. Well, here it is! I've been really busy with my daughter Sarah, who is visiting from Chicago. Sarah has a new Nikon that she's been experimenting with, and here are a couple of the shots she took with an interesting new lens. This is my little bungalow, kind of weirdly distorted. I like it! (Note the brown lawn.... Bermuda grass.... ugh).

On Tuesday, we drove up to Afton Station, where Sarah took scads of pictures, mostly of the cars. Here's just one.

Meanwhile, I realized I never reported on activity at Afton Station last Sunday. I had my first five visitors within the first half hour after opening. They were from Pleasanton CA, Webb City MO, and Pryor OK. After that, there was a long dry spell until Betty came in and stayed with me for an hour or so. She brought me a wonderful birthday present -- a pound of Amish butter and a pound of fantastic locally-made sausage.

Later, I had a visit from a fellow from Grove who stops in often to chat. For the remainder of the day, I just watched the slow emptying of one of the storefronts of the building across the street, which had been rented out as a potential flea market that never materialized. It's hard to believe that so much... excuse me... junk could be stored in one little space. I also had a nice long phone conversation with my friend Mike from AZ, who was calling to offer an answer (which was correct) to my answering machine quiz.

Today, Sarah and I plan to take a ride up to Coffeyville, Kansas. Why? Because it's there! Looks like rain, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Contest Results, etc.

My daughter Sarah is here for a visit and I'm terribly short on blogging time, since obviously I want to spend as much time as possible with her. She's asleep now, however, so I've crept into my office to offer assurance that I'm still alive, and to give you the answering machine contest results.

The first three correct answers I received were from Emily Priddy, Lynn (Lulu) Bagdon, and Ron Warnick. I received another correct answer via a phone call from Mike Ward, so I'm giving him a prize too, since we were able to have a nice long chat which I enjoyed greatly. Oh, and Denny Gibson gets a prize as well, since he was also correct and I'm still laughing about his NPR comment. The person that Ron M. was able to mimic so accurately was that of Michael Walllis. I realize that the contest was a bit unfair, since some of you have never had the pleasure of hearing his very distinctive voice. Besides being the author of Route 66: The Mother Road (the volume which is responsible for starting the resurgence of popularity of Route 66), Michael is known for his deep booming voice which can be heard at lectures all over the country and as the voice of the Sheriff in the movie Cars. Anyhoooo.... the prizes, meager as they are, will be sent out to the above five folks, provided I can find five prizes. I think I have all of your addresses, but I'll let you know if I don't.

Trevor.... good guess, but it wasn't former President Nixon. That should be obvious, since the message contained no lies.
Ron W. ... Ron M. was terribly insulted by your laxative comment!
Emily ... quit ragging on my antique answering machine!
(I love you guys!)

When the daughter awakens, we're off on a little road trip which will include a short visit to Afton Station, so I can't think of a better way to spend the day which, by the way, also happens to be my birthday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A slow day for us, a little contest for you

Before leaving for Afton Station this morning, I took a quick pass through downtown Tulsa. It's just a few blocks from my house, and it was a lovely morning with the rising sun bathing the buildings in a beautiful light. After my little photo tour, I picked up Ron and off we went to Afton. One would think that on a pretty day like today we'd have a lot of visitors like we did last weekend, but today just proved that there are no rules, only exceptions, when it comes to the touring public. We only had four visitors, and all of them were relatively local. In fact, one very young couple live just down the street from Afton Station, in the old Rest Haven Motel building, which is now private housing.

Because of the dearth of visitors today, we had plenty of time to kill. Tommy from Bassett's Grocery across the street has posted "CLOSING" signs and announcing all items in the store are now on sale. Nevertheless, the store wasn't open today. Just another layer of sadness. And the lady who has been storing a ton of flea market stuff in one of Tommy's other storefronts spent the day moving it all out of there.

I took the opportunity to begin working on a big sign to put outside the Station -- one that won't blow down like the other one does on a windy day. I got one side finished, but I'm not a bit pleased with it. It's definitely not some of my better work. Ron affixed it to a stanchion and we put it out in it's one-sided state. I'll take a picture of it tomorrow and put it on the blog. It stresses that we're a FREE auto museum. We think that the fact that it's free will draw in more people in our current economic climate.

After that was done, we got a little silly, and this is the point at which a contest was born. Ron happens to be able to very accurately vocally impersonate someone that many people who read this blog know and love. So, I asked him to use that voice to record a message on my answering machine at the Station. Now, if anyone wishes to call Afton Station, listen to the message, and then come back here to the blog and tell me who you believe Ron is impersonating, I'll give that person a Route 66-related prize if they're correct. Believe me, the prizes aren't much, but the first three people to put the correct answer (as a Comment to this post) will get one. If you don't have free long distance, don't even bother. The prizes aren't worth it (LOL!). This is all strictly for fun, of course. The phone number for Afton Station is 918-257-4044. Some of you may find the voice very obscure. Others will know it immediately. Have fun!
P.S. - I probably won't be blogging much in the next few days. I'm going to Afton, then to an Oscar party tomorrow night, then my daughter arrives for a visit next week. I'm excited about that!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A flower by any other name...

I've finally gone completely off the deep end, and completely off-topic in this blog about Route 66 and Afton Station. But now that daffodils/narcissus/jonquils are blooming here in Oklahoma, I've been in a couple of discussions about which of those names are correct. This morning, I was determined to find out the answer, and I did. Well, here it is, although I think I'm even more confused now. LOL! However, I've been arguing for the name "daffodil" all along, so now I think I have some vindication that I was correct. This is according to The American Daffodil Society:

What is the difference between daffodils and narcissus?

None. The two words are synonyms. Narcissus is the Latin or botanical name for all daffodils, just as ilex is for hollies. Daffodil is the common name for all members of the genus Narcissus, and its use is recommended by the ADS at all times other than in scientific writing.

What is a jonquil?

In some parts of the country any yellow daffodil is called a jonquil, usually incorrectly. As a rule, but not always, jonquil species and hybrids are characterized by several yellow flowers, strong scent, and rounded foliage. The hybrids are confined to Division 7 and the term "jonquil" should be applied only to daffodils in Division 7 or species in Division 13 known to belong to the jonquil group.

Here's a jonquil from Division 7, just for comparison. See the rounded leaves and more than one bloom per stalk. That's what causes it to be called a jonquil, although it's still a daffodil. :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

I just got home from seeing Slumdog Millionaire. That makes TWO movies I've seen that are up for Oscars this year, which is pretty amazing, since I usually don't see any of them until after they come out on video. Both Slumdog and Milk, which I saw a few weeks ago, were quite remarkable. I'd hate to have to make a choice between those two! Slumdog had a unique theme, was cinematically perfect, and had a remarkable cast, considering that the children and some of the adults were just folks off the streets of Mumbai and not professionals. But the acting of Sean Penn in Milk, as well as the incredibly moving story, make it right up there with Slumdog in my opinion. I'd like to see Frost/Nixon between now and this weekend, but I doubt I'll make time for that. I'm not as eager to see the other two, The Reader and Benjamin Button, but maybe some day.

In further media news (totally non-Afton Station related!), I had my DVR installed yesterday. Now I feel just a little less backward in the matter of "newfangled technology" . It only took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to work it, and now I can skip commercials, fast forward, do slo-mo, and save TV shows that come on after my very early bedtime. So far, I love it!

That is all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A little more about Bassett's

Ghost sign on the side of Bassett's Grocery

I'm a little bit obsessed about finding a way to keep Bassett's Grocery alive. I appreciate Ron Warnick featuring it on his blog today,, because he gets many times more hits than I get here.

It just seems that Bassett's could be a very viable business if a few things were to happen. For one, it would need to be advertised as a Route 66 attraction. It's one of the oldest -- if not THE oldest -- continuously operating groceries on all of Route 66. It's never really taken advantage of the tourist trade. There's never even been a Route 66 shield on the exterior, and those of us with business on the Route know that tourists, particularly foreign tourists, are very much attracted to that shield. Word of mouth and inclusion in Route 66 guidebooks would also help. Secondly, here are a couple of things I didn't mention in yesterday's post. The store comes with a viable and active video/DVD rental business. It also has a full butcher shop in the back. From listening to the wishes and wants of tourists who come to Afton Station, we know that one thing many of them are seeking is a place to sit down and have a sandwich, or even stand up and have one! Tommy never made sandwiches at Bassett's, although he did sell fresh sliced deli meat and bread. But I think a couple of tables and a small sandwich-making operation would be a big attraction. Look how well Wrink's Market (Lebanon, MO) and Eisler Bros. (Riverton, KS) do by just offering sandwiches.

Well, that's enough from me on this subject. I just really want to see something happen over there. The town of Afton needs it!

Ad from an early '50s newspaper

Sunday, February 15, 2009

R.I.P. Bassett's Grocery

I'm so sad. I knew it was coming, but I didn't think it would happen this soon. Shortly after we arrived at Afton Station this morning, Tommy Bassett came over to announce that he's officially closing his little grocery store next week. His grandfather founded Bassett's Grocery in 1922 and his father ran it until Tommy took it over many years ago. Now, Tommy is getting older and ready to retire, and business has fallen off lately with big, relatively new WalMart Supercenters in the towns both east and west of Afton.

It's hard to describe how sad this makes me. I've even surprised myself by this reaction. I don't want to be the only business in town! I mourn for what was once a vital, thriving community and now is sinking into ghost town status. I mourn for the beautiful historic building that houses Bassett's (built in 1911 for the Pierce Harvey Buggy Co.). I fear it will fall into the "wrong" hands and be razed, the fate of so many other buildings in town. I mourn for the few folks who still live here who can't make the trip to a distant town to buy groceries. I mourn for Route 66 travelers who, a few years from now, will never know the quaint charms of a small town grocery.

Bassett's is up for sale or lease -- the whole building and contents of the grocery store. The rather large building includes space for two other storefronts and apartments above. Tommy also said he'd lease all the grocery equipment and fixtures to anyone who is interested in running it as a grocery store again. I'm hopeful, but not particularly optimistic, that some energetic preservation-minded person will take a chance on this piece of Route 66 history. I don't wanna be the only gal in town!!!

Despite all of this, it was an exceptionally good day at Afton Station. Ron M. was with me, and Betty stopped in for a while. We had 17 visitors, coming from Minnesota, Arkansas, and Missouri, and from Claremore, Stillwater, Tahlequah, and Vinita Oklahoma. As usual, they all had their stories to tell, but for once I'm not really in the mood to tell them.

To close on a more upbeat note...
I love flowers that bloom year round! Here are my pansies, planted last fall and looking even better than they did before winter came. Look closely and you can see that my daffodils are about to flower, too. Hurry up, Spring!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rootie Tattootie..... and more

It's a cold and quiet day, so far, at Afton Station today. Although I arrived 45 minutes early, Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones was already here and had opened up the place. It was good to see him after his 5-week recuperation from surgery. He was sporting the tattoo he got yesterday -- his 75th Route 66 tattoo. This one is an image of "Rootie", the character that artist and author Jerry McClanahan uses with his signature. Jerry is the author of the definitive Route 66 guidebook. This one is on Tattoo Man's shoulder.
I'm writing this at noon. Ron Jones has just left, and there have only been two visitors so far, a very nice couple from Sioux City, IA who are traveling from Springfield, MO to as far as they can get on Route 66 in 10 days. I put out some candy in honor of Valentine's Day, but I suspect I'll be taking it home with me after the weekend if business doesn't pick up a bit.

Since it's bird-count weekend, I was going to try to photograph the little wrens that build nests IN the ceiling of our portico at Afton Station, but I guess they're too cold to come out today. I can't believe how they squeeze through the tiny crack where the molding joins the ceiling, carrying their nest-building materials with them. Here's a picture where you can see some straw and grass hanging out. Today, I can hear them chirping up there, but they're not coming out for photo ops.
Two more guests have just come in, a couple working their way back to Kansas City from Tulsa. They said they've managed to get their 10-year-old granddaughter interested in taking a Route 66 trip with them. Always good to hear!

On my way here this morning I stopped to take a picture of an old, abandoned roadhouse in Chelsea called Cowboys. Although apparently it hasn't been closed long enough for their signs to be considered actual "ghost signs", I think they're candidates for that in the future. Every time I drive past Cowboys, I can imagine the crazy good times that were probably once had there.
Just before closing, two guys from Tulsa came in with two small children. While the guys checked out the cars, the little ones were happy to hang with the toy gas pump we have there for kids, as well as the pressed penny machine. One of the guys, in his 20s I'd say, is a big Route 66 fan and knows a lot about every aspect of it. I get very excited when a younger person shows that kind of enthusiasm. Most of my guests are a bit on the old side, so it's great to know that there are a few of the younger generation ready to carry the Mother Road torch.

And finally, as I was turning off the "Open" signs, a car full of 4 family members rolled in --Mom, Dad, Grandma, Son. They were from Decatur, Illinois and had a few days to roam the area.

I'm home now.... a bit tired but quite pleased with another busy winter day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Just a quick note today. On my way down 11th St. (Route 66) in Tulsa, I stopped to snap a picture of Tulsa Fixture Company's front window. I don't think their window decoration is meant to be whimsical. I just think they store the mannequins that way. Definitely a head-turner.
For those planning a Route 66 trip in the future, I'm posting a Tulsa World article by my friend Marian Clark in which she recommends certain Tulsa Route 66 restaurants. Marian is the author of "The Route 66 Cookbook" and is considered the foremost authority on Route 66 dining along the entire Route. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


You all know I'm in love with my adopted state of Oklahoma, but like any other place, it does have a few drawbacks. In the case of Oklahoma, the biggest shortcoming for me is it's lack of "real" bagels. I'm of the absolute opinion that a good bagel can't be found outside of New York City. Believe me, I've done the research. Since my daughter from Chicago is coming here for a visit in about a week and a half, and I'd like to be able to offer her a bagel-and-lox feast, I took the situation in hand and ordered a dozen bagels from a place in NYC called H and H. Today, they arrived! Eight plain and four onion! The odor alone is making me salivate. I believe I'll have one for dinner tonight before I put the rest in the freezer. And yes, I'm excited about this enough that I'm writing a blog entry about it. I apologize!

On a far more serious note, our state was hit by a number of devastating tornadoes last night. The last I heard, there were 8 deaths, countless injuries, and many homes and businesses completely destroyed. I've checked with those I know who live in the area of the tornadoes (one of whom is a regular reader of this blog) and have been assured that they're all ok. I'm very thankful for that. Here in Tulsa, we had a lot of rain, a bit of wind, but not much else. We were the lucky ones.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This must be Oklahoma

We're under a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Tornadoes in February? Yep, this must be Oklahoma. It should be a long night tonight.
This is a generic picture. It was not taken here, so no worries. However, a tornado did touch down this afternoon in Edmond, near Oklahoma City. This isn't supposed to start until April. We're still in Ice Storm season. :-(

Jan and Vital / Henry and Joseph

I drove up to Afton this morning with the idea of spending about an hour finishing the reorganization job I started on Sunday. However, I hadn't been there for 10 minutes before a car pulled in and it was clear that I was about to have visitors. In walked Jan and Vital, two smiling guys from Belgium who are near the beginning of a two-week drive across Route 66. Frankly, I was astounded. European visitors in the winter! Unheard of! When I asked why they chose February for their adventure, they said it was because nobody else does it. Sounds reasonable to me. I did warn them that a number of places would be closed during this season, but they remained undaunted. A nicer and more upbeat pair of visitors would be hard to find. Both spoke excellent English and remarked that they were impressed by the courtesy and cautiousness of American drivers. They stayed for about an hour, bought quite a few books, pins, and key tags, then went on their way. I'm SO glad I was there to greet them!Speaking of guys on a mission..... On my way home I stopped in Chelsea to photograph this building. There's not much I like better than a ghost sign that advertises something that no longer exists. The Kaiser-Frazers that were apparently sold from this building were the brainchild of a pair of guys, Henry J. Kaiser and Joe Frazer way back in 1945 when they teamed up to produce an automobile that would be affordable for postwar America. The partnership lasted into the late '50s, after which there were many changes to the company and by the '60s Kaiser was basically producing only a line of Jeeps. Check it out at:

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I noticed from notes left by Marly that we had two more visitors yesterday after I left, meaning 15 in all. That's got to be a new record for a winter day. We also had 6 visitors last week when I wasn't there. February has actually been pretty good.

I wasted a little time driving around Claremore this morning after treating myself to a mushroom omelet at Eggbert's. It's not the greatest food in the world, but the way to win my heart is for a waitperson to know me after only two visits, to know that I want the fruit cup instead of the potatoes (which are a no-no for kidney patients), and to remember that the fruit cup should contain no melon (another no-no). That happens at Eggbert's, so I like it and recommend it.

My hunger satisfied, I drove around Claremore a bit, since it was still early. Here's the Belvidere Mansion, two blocks off Route 66. It's said to be haunted, and is now home to a Luncheon/Tea Room. I've never been inside, but I love haunted places. Must go some time!

Unlike yesterday, absolutely nothing happened at Afton all morning. I took advantage of the opportunity to clean off the top of the filing cabinet which has become the catch-all for everything that defies sorting, filing, or tossing out. When I finished, the filing cabinet top returned to what it's supposed to be -- a tiny library of roadie books for the public to use. Everything else is sorted and will be put in folders in the cabinet itself. Aah, much better. This week I'll be buying hanging file folders.

Betty came by and stayed until 1:30. Still no visitors. Shortly after she left, people started arriving. One family from the countryside outside of Afton arrived with their dog Blue and a bale of hay. Blue and the hay remained with the truck while the family of three toured the Station. Another father and young son arrived via motorcycle at about the same time. Later, a gentleman and his pup named Dammit dropped in. Dammit entertained me with "dead dog" and "sit-stay" tricks while his owner examined the old cars.
It's supposed to rain - hard - for the next few days. Since the recent drought is causing a plethora of grass fires, we're all happy about the approaching storms. And it appears that Marly and Luis have the roofs of both bathrooms ready for the downpour. We shall see.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Motorcycles, Abstinence, and a King Midget

It was a kind of crazy day at Afton Station today. Once again, my theory of having very few visitors in the winter was shot to hell. There were 13 today, and that doesn't count several who just stopped and looked in the window but chose not to come in.

It was a joy to find Marly and Luis working hard on reroofing the two bathroom wings, which both leaked. They removed the orange "tiles", saved them, and re-waterproofed and insulated each roof. They worked all day, but probably won't put the tiles back on until tomorrow. This needed to be done before the big rains which are predicted for tomorrow and Monday roll in.

We barely had time to begin the day when six people on three motorcycles roared in. They were from Grove and were taking advantage of the 70-degree (albeit cloudy) day. They were nice folks, but they weren't the only bikers to show up. The next group of three motorcycles chose not to come in. They parked in our driveway for a while and had a cigarette, then just as we thought they might be coming in, they cruised on down the road. Oh well.

A gentleman arrived and sold me a 12th grade girl for ten bucks. Well, not exactly. Nothing that kinky. He was merely a preacher from Afton who was selling "sponsorships" on behalf of a church coalition that's sponsoring an "abstinence" seminar for seniors at Afton High School a few days prior to the upcoming prom. Since I wanted to be a good Afton citizen, I bought a $10 sponsorship. I didn't bother to tell him that there wasn't a snowball's chance that pushing abstinence to 17-year-olds was going to work. In fact, I think it's been proven to be almost totally ineffective. But, it's a nice thought, I guess. Anyway, I got this flower.

A fellow dropped in pulling a car trailer on which sat a 1958 King Midget. I'd never heard of the tiny car, but it was very cute. This guy had driven from Texas to Springfield, MO to pick it up. It turns out that his first car was a King Midget, and he just couldn't resist buying this one on Ebay for nostalgic reasons and to add to his collection of 20-some vintage vehicles. Note the hood ornament, which is a crown. Crown > King. Get it? You learn something new every day, and you can learn about the King Midget here:


We had several other visitors to round out what turned out to be a busy and varied day. The time flew by, and I can only hope that tomorrow will be the same.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday This and That

Disclaimer: Nothing here has anything to do with Afton Station, and only one thing has to do with Route 66. So, sign off now if you're a purist. :-)

This morning, I ran errands. I haven't been to a big chain store in years, but I decided Target was my best bet for replacing a broken blender. I really do try to support the "little guy" and local places, but for a small appliance, I really wanted a variety to choose from, and Target seemed like it would be the place for that. It was. I ended up with a new blender and also two pillows (on sale for $4 each) for the guest room bed. I didn't stay long, but I did poke around long enough to know that nearly everything I looked at was made somewhere other than the U.S. I knew that before I went in of course, but I just wanted to verify the fact. I do hope that our econony will eventually improve to the point where more folks will be able to afford American-made products, thus bringing a rise in employment for our citizens.

On the way home, I made a detour down to 6th St. in downtown Tulsa. Last night's news announced that the area on and around 6th St. (known as Tulsa's Pearl District) is up for a "major overhaul" and "upgrade". Now, the Pearl District is, admittedly, a run down former small manufacturing, small retail, and warehouse area which has absolutely fallen on hard times. But when I first moved to Tulsa a few years ago, I fell in love with 6th St. in a way that only a weird person who enjoys urban ruins could. I'm sure I'm one of the few people around town who occasionally drives down 6th St. just to soak in the ambience. I can't help it, but I'm a little sad about this proposed gentrification. I took a couple of (bad) pictures of 6th St. as it is now. Plans for the overhaul can be seen at:

On the way home, I stopped at the site of the Meadow Gold sign reconstruction. (This is the part about Route 66.) The underpinnings are all in place, ready for the actual neon letters to go up. The base is finished and cleaned up. I understand it will be ready for a dedication ceremony in a matter of weeks.

This afternoon Ron and I went to see the movie "Milk". Besides championing a cause of which I'm entirely and steadfastly supportive, the film itself was incredible. It made me an emotional wreck, a condition from which I'm just now recovering. Sean Penn, an actor I've frankly never paid much attention to in the past, delivered a portrayal which, as far as I'm concerned, damn well better get him an Oscar. I can't think of a thing wrong with his interpretation of the role of Harvey Milk. I remarked to Ron that when the fight for equal rights for gays was taking place in the larger cities in the U.S., I was almost completely insulated from it, living in a suburb and raising my small child. I'm sorry about that. I would have been out there on the front lines, I think. I highly recommend this movie to everyone, regardless of how you feel about the issue of gay rights.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yesterday's Adventure

The reason I spent 9 hours in the car yesterday and drove almost 300 miles has absolutely nothing to do with the above cartoon. It may, however, explain the dead chickens in the road on my drive to Afton over the weekend. But mostly, it's just a cool cartoon.

Yesterday, I picked up Ron at 9 and we headed off. There were only two definite goals in mind -- dropping off some Afton Station brochures at the Grand Lake Association in Grove and paying a short visit to Betty in Miami. However, I had planned out a full itinerary which included some interesting places I found last week and wanted to show Ron. We drove between Pryor and Adair and made a few little side trips. Our curiosity led us to follow the signs to a place called Dry Gulch. It was closed for the winter, and we later found out that it's only open at Christmas and for special groups and "retreats". From looking it up on the internet last night, I found that it's a religion-based "theme park" looking roughly like an old Western town. Dry Gulch U.S.A. - The Old West Lives Again
We also took a little side road to see the site of those big summer concerts -- Rocklahoma and Country Fever. Basically, it was just a big field and a huge stage. Rocklahoma
Another jog took us to a large factory we could see in the distance. Turned out to be a division of a very large international cement company.

From there we went to Salina on Lake Hudson, then on to Spavinaw on the other end of the lake. Spavinaw is the birthplace of Mickey Mantle (not to be confused with Commerce, which was his boyhood home). In Spavinaw, there was a large painting of Mickey along the side of the road, a plaque dedicating the road as the Mickey Mantle Highway, and a tiny (dollhouse size) replica of his birthplace.

Spavinaw is also the site of Spavinaw Dam, the reservoir which supplies water to the City of Tulsa. It was a gloomy day, and the dam isn't very exciting to look at, but here's the best shot we could get of it.

Off we went, passing through Jay, to Grove. In Grove, we had a very pleasant visit with the ladies at the Grand Lake Association, which is akin to a Chamber of Commerce for the whole Grand Lake region. They have a beautiful building and several walls of brochures for travelers. When I admired their array of brochures, they said I could have as many as I wanted (in multiples) of any that interested me, so I ended up with two boxes and one bag of literature to supply my brochure racks at Afton Station for a long time to come.

On through Wyandotte to Miami, where we had a quick lunch at Waylan's KuKu Burger (a good Route 66 iconic burger joint) and then to Betty's house for a short visit. Betty seems to be getting better and better whenever I see her. I'm so glad!

Getting bored yet? It's almost over. After Miami, we took another swing through Welch, still trying to find a house Betty has told me about and which I've mentioned here before. I'm still not sure if we found it, but when we do, you'll be the first to know. It's the house where Johnny Cash wrote some of his songs.

It was a long trip back to Tulsa after Welch, but it was a pretty road and the sun had finally decided to emerge. We got home at 6, with my car running on fumes. I sometimes wonder why I get such a huge kick out of being behind the wheel of my car. The longer the trip, the happier I am. I don't even have to go anywhere special, as long as I'm movin' on down the road. Today was one of those days, and I thank Ron for putting up with me -- although I think he had a good time, too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A long and (sometimes) winding road

Just home from 9 hours in the car, and loved every minute of it. I'll talk about it here tomorrow. It was a fun day and we explored some new territory. But now I'm kind of beat and will defer blogging until tomorrow.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super (Bowl) Day at Afton Station

I'm back from Afton and am watching the start of the Super Bowl. I'm not a football fan, so I'll do other things during the actual game, but I do love to check out the new, expensive ads. And I HAVE to see Bruce!!!!

Although I had a good day at Afton Station with seven visitors, I don't really have much to say, nor do I have photos to document anything. The most interesting couple to arrive today were clearly having a knock-down-drag-out fight before coming in. They were from Kansas City, near the end of a long trip from California. He came in first and made a comment, something about his wife yelling at him in the car. He signed the guest book and then went in the back to see the cars. She waited until he had been inside for about 10 minutes before she came in. She walked right to the Guest Book and crossed out her husband's first name and put hers in instead. Very strange. When he came out from the showroom, they didn't speak at all. Both bought several items (each with their separate cash), and left. Must have been some battle! LOL! He's planning a trip across Route 66 on his Harley this summer ... solo. That's probably for the best.

Otherwise, we had another couple (who DID seem to like one another), and coincidentally they were traveling in the opposite direction from the first couple, having left Kansas City on their way to California. They didn't even realize they were on Route 66, but when I told them of it's charms, they bought a guidebook and decided to follow it as much as they could. Score!

The final visitors were a family of three who lived locally and were out for a Sunday drive.

The best part of the day happened when Betty arrived. It was so good to see her out and about. She's looking much better and feeling a bit better, too. It's encouraging to see her doing some driving her car with only one available eye. That really made my day!

And that's about it for today...

They just finished the National Anthem. All that pomp and patriotism can still bring a little tear to my eye.