Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Wisconsin folks had driven Route 66 from OKC to Afton, and they remarked that there weren't any decent mom 'n pop motels along that segment. I was able to recommend several, but of course by then it was too late. They ended up staying last night at the Holiday Inn in Vinita, just minutes away from the wonderful Chelsea Motor Inn, one of the best mom 'n pops around. If they'd only known. (I noticed when I looked at the guest book that David had hosted people from Wisconsin yesterday, too.) We've had a lot of Wisconsin visitors lately.
A mother and little boy (first grade) from Tacoma, WA were next to come through the door. They were on a "pressed penny scavenger hunt", and were following the list on http://www.pennycollector.com/ to find them across the country. What a great geography lesson for little ones!
A lovely couple from Stittville, NY arrived, interested in finding out more about the grocery store for sale across the street. As we were talking about it (and I was doing my customary sales pitch!), who should walk in but Tommy, the owner. This is great, I thought. I was already imagining that building becoming a gigantic flea market, which is what the NY folks had in mind, and which would surely bring tourists to Afton. However, for some reason Tommy showed no particular interest in pitching it to the couple. I didn't feel it was my place to jump into the conversation at that point, but I sure didn't get why Tommy, who supposedly is eager to sell, wasn't showing any enthusiasm with these people who seemed to be serious buyers. After everyone had left, it occurred to me that perhaps Tommy isn't quite ready to see his 87-year-old family business slip from his hands.
Betty came and brought another Afton School Annual, this one from 1948. Although there were no pictures of businesses to add to my collection, there were text ads, some of them very interesting. For example, there was an ad for the Ritz Theater, "Home of Better Pictures", the first evidence I've run across that Afton really DID have a movie theater once. Some of the other businesses had some amusing slogans:
City Barber Shop: "Not the best, but good enough". Hey, at least they're honest.
Matlock Insurance: "We pay you for ashes and sell dirt cheap". Huh?
Palmer Hotel: "Where all the big bugs hang out". More honesty? Ewww...
Farmer's State Bank: "Assets over $1,000,000". That was probably a lot... then!
One more thing.... On the Activities page, it was noted that, for Senior Activities Day, the class visited a rubber plant. Boy, those kids knew how to party!
I bought a boat -- a 1957 Herter Flying Fish -- several years ago, and like so many of our Afton Station "projects", it still hasn't been fully restored. We painted it it's original colors, pink and black, but never got around to polishing the metal trim pieces, so it sits in a corner in our workroom, usually covered by "stuff". I've been dying to be able to take a picture of it, and today I took some time to do that, but as you can see, it's still peeking out from behind the more recent resto projects. Here are the pics anyway. Note the awesome tailfins, which will look even better when the taillights, resembling '57 Chevy taillights, are installed. One day I hope to show you the whole, unobstructed thing.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Then I passed the old Warehouse Market Building, and I wasn't sure if I posted a picture of it yet. It's a very wonderful example of Tulsa's art deco heritage. Built in 1929, it was first a farmer's market (pretty fancy farmer's market, eh?), and now is home to Lyons Indian Store, a quite fabulous store featuring Native American art and other local artistry.
In closing, here are a couple of yearbook photos from Afton which I scanned last week. A slide show is forthcoming, but for now, just see a couple of the filling stations that competed with the Eagle Service Station (now Afton Station) back in the early '60s.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The snow has stopped, but if the deep slush on the roads freezes overnight, I'm betting on another day of no Afton Station. I probably won't even be able to get out of my driveway. However, I'm still hopeful.
Friday, March 27, 2009
At this writing, I'm not sure if I'll be going to Afton Station tomorrow. The weather predictions are pretty dire -- snow, ice, a plague of locusts..... well, snow and ice anyway. I'll wait 'til morning to decide.
Here's a little poem that might appeal to some of my older roadie readers. It certainly brings back memories for me.
No Matter How Far You Drive
by Louis Jenkins
I sat between Mamma and Daddy.
My sister sat on Mamma's lap.
Daddy drove. Fields, telephone poles....
I watched the sun go down.
"Never look straight at the sun,
it could ruin your eyes."
No matter how far you drive
you can't get to the sun.
I touched the pearly knob
of the gearshift lever
and felt the vibration in my fingers.
It made Daddy nervous.
"Never mess around with that.
You could ruin the car,
cause an accident."
It was dark, the sun gone to China.
Out there in the dark,
fourteen lights. I counted. Fourteen.
Rabbits ran in front of the car
from one black ditch to the other.
I didn't know where we were.
I could see the red light on the dashboard
and the light of Daddy's Lucky Strike
that broke into a million sparks behind us
when he threw it out the window.
"No Matter How Far You Drive" by Louis Jenkins, from All Tangled Up with the Living. © Nineties Press, 1991.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
We also had eight other visitors today, two from Vinita OK, three from Royal Center IN, and another couple from Manhattan KS, so it turned into a nice day. Betty brought another yearbook with some more great photos for me to scan. Ron and I drove home in quite the rainstorm. If what the weather pundits are saying comes to pass, Saturday could be a bad day for getting up to Afton. Snow! And quite a bit, for Oklahoma. We shall see if they're right, and how it impacts my travel.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Here are two I've already scanned....McBride's Pony Rides at Buffalo Ranch. Buffalo Ranch was the famous "tourist trap" icon in Afton. Pony rides were just one of the attractions there, geared to appeal to kids. There were also Indian dancers, peacocks, and of course Betty's world famous Buffalo Burgers and Limeades.
Here's the Jon-Daw Beauty Shop. I just like this picture a lot. The hairdos of the beauticians definitely date the photo.
I was going to go to Afton Station today, but due to the dire predictions of the local weather gurus, I decided not to go. What's the weather like here now? Sunny and beautiful of course. Go figure! Anyway, I'll be going up there on Thursday instead (and Sat. and Sun. too, as usual).
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This is the J. M. Davis gun museum right on 66. Never been in there. I'm not into guns.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Here they are, listening patiently while I delivered the very short introduction I give to visiting groups.
And here are their beautiful cars.
Friday, March 20, 2009
And, here's the Chrysler Nassau concept. All of these cars can be seen at their manufacturer's websites.
I'll be in Afton tomorrow, and we're expecting a visit from a pretty large cruising club, so you might have to sit through some more car pictures tomorrow. They'll undoubtedly be much different from these, however. :-)
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Here's Betty herself... when she owned and operated Dairy Ranch. She was a cutie... and she still is! And here's Afton Station in '65, when it was called Eagle Service Station. That's Mr. Marion Lee Baker, the owner, and his son. And look! They had a phone booth! The day ended with a visit from Jordan, Joey, and Maggie, three really sweet 7th graders (on spring break) from Afton Middle School. They stayed for a long time, and I had forgotten how bright and polite some middle schoolers can be. I gave them each two quarters and a penny so they could use the penny squashing machine, and you would have thought I'd given them hundred dollar bills. I hope they come back often.
I woke up this morning sort of dreading the new season, and having to drive up to Afton four days a week. I left this afternoon very pleased and enthusiastic about the uptick in numbers of travelers. It's going to be a good year.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I stopped for breakfast at Clanton's in Vinita this morning on the way to Afton Station and was surprised when Tattoo Man Ron Jones tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could join me. Of course! I guess we had a simultaneous hankering for Clanton's awesome breakfast.
The morning at Afton Station sure wasn't as satisfying as breakfast. On the contrary, Tattoo and I sat around all morning with the only guests being one young Afton couple who wandered in and stayed for a very brief time. The town was dead (but then, what else is new?). The grocery store is closed, but there's a new sign in the window upping the discounts from 10% to 20% in Tommy's attempt to get it cleared out. I looked in the window. There's not much left in there. Tattoo eventually got bored and went home around noon.
I closed out the February books. That took about 10 minutes. LOL! We only had 94 visitors for the month, averaging about 6.26 visitors for each of the 15 days we were open. Worse yet, we only averaged sales of about $9.25 per each of those days. Good thing we're not depending on Afton Station for our income! That doesn't even cover the phone bill, much less the astronomical winter heating bill, the electric bill, the cost of fuel for my 180-mile round trip, etc., etc.
Later in the afternoon, business started to pick up, and I ended up greeting a total of 13 visitors today. I was encouraged by the relative youth of most of the travelers today. Route 66 can use all the young faces it can get, since most travelers seem to be on the older side. But today, we had a young family of four from Austin TX, three relatively young fellows from Des Moines IA who were delivering some furniture to their mother in a nearby town, another young couple from Jay OK, an older car guy from Broken Arrow OK who went nuts over the cars (I like that!), and one other guy who just stopped by to remind me that his car club is stopping by next Saturday. Sounds like there are going to be a lot of cars, so I'm psyched about that.
On the way home, I had decided to stop at Clanton's and snap a picture for this blog, but I was stopped in my tracks by bulldozers and hardworking guys right in front, looking like they were tearing up the place. Turns out they are just excavating to put in some sewer pipe (much needed in Vinita, where the streets flood at the first drop of precipitation), but at first glance it looked like one of my favorite restaurants was succumbing to the bulldozer.
All in all, it was a pretty good day at the Station, and having 13 visitors in March ain't bad!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I bought two briskets this year, even though there will only be three of us at dinner. For one thing, they shrink miserably. Secondly, leftovers are awesome! I try to buy lean briskets, but not TOO lean. That's probably the hardest part of the whole procedure. This year I was lucky. One is very lean and one has a little too much fat, but it's not at critical mass. The fat is needed for flavor. I bought pre-corned briskets this year, which eliminates the several-days-long step of brining the meat. The ones I bought this year came with little packets of spices. I use about half of them, since I like to add my own garlic and bay leaves. The other spices in the packs are mustard seed, thyme and peppercorns.
The ingredients I use are: garlic (a lot!), salt and pepper, more bay leaves, baby carrots, little red potatoes, and of course, cabbage.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Correll Museum (19934 E. Pine St., Catoosa -- a few feet off Route 66) is the private collection of Mr. D. W. Correll (now deceased), which is currently tended by a curator who was absent when I was there, and by Chuck Tapley, who gives tours to those of us who are lucky enough to show up on the doorstep. Chuck was gracious, friendly, chatty, and very well-informed.
In some respects, the Correll Museum is similar to Afton Station, in that it's the private collection of one person (although it's now owned by the City of Catoosa) and it's free (donations happily accepted). In the main building, which is the only one I visited, there's a very nice collection of about a dozen automobiles ranging from an early electric car to a 1949 Dodge. Naturally, my interest was piqued mostly by a lovely old Packard Twin Six. Along with the cars in this building, there are also buggies and other unusual transportation forms, a small collection of antique cookware, and lots and lots of old tools. In the other two buildings (which I skipped on this visit) are a rock collection and a bottle collection.
Tulsa World: Hunter safety instructor removed after ordering 'liberals' from class
Monday, March 9, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I took the above shots in Foyil on my way to Afton this morning. I love the "Foyil COUNTRY Cafe" sign. The place hasn't served food for several years and the sign is slowly fading away. Next door, the Top Hat Dairy Bar does quite well. Known for their milkshakes and burgers, it's a popular stop for Route 66 travelers, particularly motorcycle tours.
P.S. -- I forgot to mention that I had a great phone interview with a young lady from Connecticut who is working on a paper about Route 66 for her senior project. The interview lasted for about a half hour and she asked some extremely intelligent questions about the history of Route 66. I felt like I was taking a test!