Thursday, September 30, 2010
The other visitors to Afton Station today came from Crosbyton TX, Chippewa Falls WI, Contoocook NH, and some local folks from Afton. The two gentlemen from Wisconsin were seeking antique cars to purchase to start a vintage car museum near their home. Unfortunately, at this time none of ours are for sale, but it was enjoyable talking to the fellows.
Afton is at it again. With no prior notice, the backhoe pulled up this morning and started to tear up the land between the Station and Locust St., which is the side road next to the Station. It's the locale of what we call Lake Afton, the "perpetual puddle" I've mentioned before. We've become somewhat fond of the puddle, since it's become a bathing spot for many local birds. Even during the summer drought, there has always been a pool there for them to splash in. Even so, we recognize that it needs to be repaired.
After the guys had dug for a while, Ron M. went out to take this photo, and the workers told him that they couldn't find an underground leak, so they were going to close up the hole and leave. We now have an ill-graded mess next to the Station, with hills and valleys of mud preventing entrance to our portico from that side. I'll give the Town of Afton the benefit of the doubt and hope that they'll return to smooth things out, but I'm not holding my breath.
It was a fairly quiet day, but I had the company of Ron M. and Tattoo Man, and that's always a good thing. And thanks to Robin, we now have shiny floors. It's amazing what a good waxing will do. While Robin worked on the floors yesterday, she also visited with 18 visitors, from Seattle WA, Switzerland, Indianapolis IN, Washington DC, Kentucky, Dallas TX, and Grove, Commerce, and Wyandotte OK.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
For those who scoffed the other day (and you know who you are!) while watching me attempt to make an origami bear out of a dollar bill -- voila! Ok, so it only took me two days to make it, but it's done. Ha ha. (If anyone wants to give me a $1000 bill, I'll make an origami model of the whole town of Afton. . . but I get to keep the bill!) You are all invited to come in and view the bear in person any time you want.
Wow, the morning at Afton Station was far too quiet for my tastes. It was a beautiful, cool day but there weren't even any birds singing. The guys across the street continue to dutifully pick through the rubble, and a new outcropping of flies seem to have invaded Afton Station. (GenX, I guess, the children of the Baby Boomer flies of early in the season). It's noon, and I've only seen four visitors so far. They were all men, and they were all much more interested in the cars than in the Route 66 collection. They came from Grove, OK and Rogers, AR.
The day ended with a mere 8 visitors altogether. Afternoon visitors were from Poteau, OK and two more from Grove. I was getting quite lonely and bored until Betty W. came in around 1 p.m. and kept me company for the remainder of the day. I enjoy quiet time, but not THAT much quiet time!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Other visitors came from Utica MI, Kearney MO, Tulsa OK, Twin Lakes MI, Sand Springs OK, McHenry IL, Andover MN, Oslo Norway, and Flagstaff AZ. The Norwegian couple has a wonderful vacation planned for the next 6 weeks -- Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco, and then the National Parks. They have both lived in the U.S. briefly in the past and spoke perfect English.
Ron M. was with me today. Betty W. stopped by to give me a local newspaper and some photos of her beloved Dairy Ranch to be made into magnets. Betty B. stopped by unexpectedly with a very welcome gift -- cheese jalapeno bread! Yum! Tattoo Man also stopped by on his way home from the Route 66 Festival in Springfield, IL, and David also came to bring back one of the cars that had been in a parade in Grove yesterday.
My daily viewer log shows that there has been a sudden drop in number of people reading this blog. Was it something I said? Am I getting boring? If anyone has any suggestions or comments, please please don't hesitate to add a comment or email me.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
You might want to hike up those pants, man!
At the rate that the project is progressing, I think everything should be hauled away by early in the next decade. They're some hard workers, though!
Most of our 24 visitors were somewhat local today, with the most distant coming from Austin, TX. We also met travelers from St. Joseph MO, Grandview MO, Arma KS, and the following Oklahoma cities -- Glenpool, Monkey Island, Claremore, Catoosa, Miami, Fairland, and Sapulpa. It was such a beautiful day that I think I expected a bigger crowd, but almost half of the visitors arrived within a half hour of when we had planned to close. As a result, we didn't get closed up and on the road until 45 minutes late.
Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker, Robin and Phil, and Betty W. also paid visits.
With not too much to do, Ron M. snapped a number of random photos today. Here are two of them.
A closeup of our little "diner clock"
Here's a closeup of a very attractive Harley trike that came to visit today, ridden by a couple from Arma, KS.
Back with more tomorrow!
Friday, September 24, 2010
I also greeted guests from Houston TX, Disney OK, Lehigh KS, Monongah WV, Kansas City MO, Willow Springs NC, Wasougal WA, and Vinita OK. Marly stayed to help me close at 5 p.m. when my friend arrived from Tulsa. It was a long day, but a very nice one, culminating with amazing German food at a favorite Grove restaurant that is (sadly) closing for good next week.
Here's a telephoto shot of one of the guys on the collapsed roof across the street. Somebody's going to get hurt over there. Marly and I spent the last hour or two at the Station watching the activity, as they are removing all the rock, most of the wood, and anything else that's recyclable.
It's impossible for me to photograph the full harvest moon. Although the moon was HUGE in the sky yesterday morning, it turned out to be not much more than a pinhead in this shot. I guess shooting the sun is easier because it provides its own light. Not so with the moon.
That's all for this boring post. Maybe I shouldn't try to write at 4 a.m. LOL!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The lady who owns the old Palmer Hotel building started emptying out one of her numerous storefronts where she stores "stuff" and, with the help of a couple of friends, put it all out on the sidewalk. For several reasons, I did not choose to go over there and ask, but Tuesday seems like a strange day to begin a garage sale, and since it's supposed to rain tomorrow I doubt she'll want to keep it all out there overnight. It's a mystery, but it was also something to watch all day. That, and watching the guys picking through the rubble of the other demolished building all day, was enough to keep us interested. It's so seldom that anything happens around here.
Our guests were almost all Route 66 vacationers traveling the whole Route. They came from Prinsenbeek, Netherlands, Apple Valley CA, Gresham OR, Sacramento CA, Tulsa OK, and Grove OK. Two interesting couples from Germany took us back to the '50s in their dress and attitude. I haven't seen sideburns this big since I was in high school! They definitely had the look just right, with wallets on heavy chains, rings on every finger, and motorcycle boots. Lenny and Squiggy with German accents! The ladies were more conventionally dressed. They were all heading for California on their first visit to the U.S.
One of the German guys had a really well executed tattoo of Johnny Cash!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Ron took this photo of the interior of Bassett's Grocery. I haven't asked him from which window he took the picture, but it puts a new perspective on the ruins of the once vital grocery store.
I'll be back on Tuesday with more fun and games!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I opened Afton Station at 8:30 and had eight visitors by 9:30 -- four from Australia, two from Wisconsin, and two from Kentucky.
I'm very nervous about the guys scavenging stuff (beams, rocks, wood) from the semi-collapsed building across the street. They're not even wearing hardhats and it looks like the rest of it could cave in at any moment.
I'm home now, and what a day it turned out to be! I was by myself all day, except for a while when Betty W. and her sister Marlene stopped by and brought me something great, but more about that later.
A very nice young fellow named Derek, an employee of the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami arrived around 10:00 to set up for a Poker Run that was scheduled to come by today. The trouble was that nobody had told me that they were stopping at Afton Station (or perhaps I just never got the message). No problem, though. I always welcome this sort of thing, so I set him up with a card table and then we waited. By the end of the day, only 9 people showed up for the Run. Derek said that since it was the Buffalo Run's first attempt at this sort of event, perhaps the word hadn't gotten out. Clearly, the next time they need to get out more advance publicity. At any rate, I got to spend some time with Derek and the few people who did stop in to participate in the Run, so it was all good.
On the other hand, just about everybody else came to Afton Station today. By the end of the day I had greeted 55 people. The Tulsa Gold Wing Club arrived around noon, with their usual beautiful, luxurious motorcycles and smiles on many faces. They're a very friendly and generous group. With them was Eric Jones, a fellow Route 66 enthusiast. I believe it's his third visit to Afton Station.
Other visitors came from Sturgeon Bay WI, Green Bay WI, Western Australia, Richmond KY, Choteau OK, Tulsa OK, Lakeville MA, Phollipia WV, Claremore OK, Washington TX, London England, Vallejo CA, Kansas City MO, Overland Park KSs, and South Shields, England.
Betty and Marlene had spent the morning scrounging for bricks over in Vinita. As you may recall, after the tearing up of the main intersection there, lots of the bricks that used to be the roadbed for the original Route 66 were set aside for collectors or anyone who might want them. Betty and Marlene found two beauties, and they were kind enough to donate them to Afton Station.
This brick came from the old Buffington Hotel that stood on the corner of Route 66. They identified it by the one side that is painted purple, since toward the end of the hotel's life, it had indeed been painted purple!
Finally, here's a beautifully painted 'Vette that stopped in this afternoon. They were a bit late to qualify for the Poker Run, but they were having a great time on a beautiful day nevertheless.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Slowly but surely over the course of the morning, every single volunteer who has ever worked at Afton Station showed up -- an unprecedented 9 of us in all -- myself, Ron M., Tattoo, Betty W., Betty B., Marly, Robin, Phil, and last but not least, Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker. It was a good day for it, since we were celebrating the mutual birthdays of Betty W. and Tattoo, both of whom were born on Sept 17th. Tattoo brought a pink cake for Betty, which we all enjoyed.
Betty brought me two ducks and a goose which her son had bagged on a hunting trip. Wow, quite a treat! They're in my freezer now while I search from my long-neglected goose and duck recipes. A feast will be in the future!
Betty B. brought the three "Tow Mater" shirts she made for Crazy Legs, at his request. She did a beautiful job, and now Dean will be able to wear a "Route 66 Ambassador" shirt every single day.
And then the motorcycles began to arrive. And arrive.... and arrive.... and arrive. Get ready for a long list (and there were quite a few more that I was too frazzled to record). They came from Barleston, England, Osceola IN, Indie France, Orlando FL, Weymouth MA, Sand Springs OK, Huntington IN, Peoria IL, Columbus OH, Mequen WI, Lincoln Park MI, Sanford FL, Naples FL, St. Paul MN, Lake Minnetonka MN, Tacoma WA, somewhere in Michigan, Pittsburgh PA, Ontario Canada, Paris France, Washington DC, Williamsburg OH, Glenview IL, Kansas City KS, Minneapolis MN, Parkland FL, Wheeling IL, Fairport MN, Milwaukee WI, Newberry FL, and Ellaville, GA. To those I missed, I do apologize. You were just coming in the door so fast!
And on top of all of that, this was the day they decided to demolish the building across the street. With motorcycles all over the road, and many fascinated observers, the buildig went down. It was quite exciting to watch the demo, albeit very sad. I just hate to see any buildings go. They got this far before they quit for the day. By the time I return to Afton on Saturday, I have a feeling the whole structure will be history.
I will have lots more pictures of everything tomorrow. Marly took a lot, and left his sim card with me. I'll get them on line tomorrow. I've done enough typing for the evening.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Today's drive down Route 66 to Afton Station was just like that, for the entire drive was done in total darkness broken by constant, unrelenting bolts of real lightning illuminating the sky every few seconds with massive cracks and booms, and then total darkness again. It was quite spectacular, albeit a little frightening. Nevertheless, after a stop at Clanton's for breakfast, I arrived at Afton at 9 a.m. moments before the sun burst forth. Such funny, funny weather -- it never ceases to amaze me.
It was a bit chaotic at Afton Station today, and it turned out to be a very LONG day. Marly is home from his fishing trip and was there most of the day. Betty Baumann also came along around noon, and stayed for the rest of the day as well. We closed almost two hours late today... but more on that later.
Guests came from Portland OR, Joplin MO, Sydney Australia, London U.K., Santa Rosa CA, Clearview OK, Yukon OK, Wilmington DE, Grove OK, Lancaster PA, Los Angeles CA, and Choteau OK, as well as our final visitors from the Czech Republic.
Zdenek, who heads up the Route 66 Association in the Czech Republic, brought another group of 18 with him today. In April, he was here with a slightly larger group. He acts as a tour guide and has done a great deal to promote Route 66 in his country. This group arrived on motorcycles, in cars, and in Zdenek's Route 66-adorned van. I was not expecting them until Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker called late in the day to say they had just left Galena, KS and were on their way to Afton. They didn't arrive until almost 4:30, but Marly, Betty, and I stayed until they got there.
Although almost no English is spoken by the group (and I sure as heck don't know any Czech!) it was a quiet visit until the group discovered the squashed penny machine, which was quite a hit. Here are some of the group attacking the machine.
I managed to get a shot of several of the Czech visitors as they were about to leave. Zdenek is in the middle with the light colored shorts.
I'm sure I've forgotten some interesting details about today, but I'm tired and rushing. I'll be back on Thursday, when a huge number of Harleys are scheduled to arrive. Should be fun!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Early McCormick-Deering ad for the model we had at the Station today.
We also had two separate groups of visitors from Melbourne, Australia. These three "mates" were incredibly friendly and so enthusiastic that they were just fun to have around. And shortly after they departed for their full Route 66 adventure, another couple from Melbourne arrived. They were equally pleasant and inquisitive guests. (I've made a decision. I'm moving to Australia and becoming a tractor collector! LOL!)These two great guests were waiting for us when Ron M. and I arrived at Afton Station this morning. They are friends from Lebanon, NH and Ray, MI and I had been told in advance that they were coming for a visit on their way west on 66. They were extremely interested in the cars and went away impressed by some of those in our collection. Another personable pair.
A couple from the Netherlands, on their second Route 66 holiday, were most interested in the cars, since the husband was an automobile mechanic through his entire working life. He has an extremely large collection of vintage motorcycles, so we sent them off to Vintage Iron, the fine motorcycle museum in Miami which they'd missed on their first time through the town. They left happy.
Along with all these fine guests, we were equally excited by visits from folks from Ludington MI, Overland Park KS, and Claremore, Vinita, Pryor, and McAlester, OK. It was a fine, energizing day. . . and no traffic jams on the way home!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Afton Station was fairly laid back for a Saturday. Ron M. is back from his vacation and was with me today. Tattoo Man also helped out for several hours. It was a beautiful day, the first time since the beginning of the summer heat wave that we've been able to sit outside. Nice! We ended up having 21 visitors, but a good many of them arrived near the end of the day. They came from Shelton WA, Columbus OH, Hilliard OH, Miami OK, Grove OK, Fayetteville AR, Salina OK, Newark OH, and Madison MO.
Here's Ron M., chatting with the folks from Ohio as they peruse the goodies for sale.
The one visitor that I was expecting and anticipating never showed up. Jamie Mixson, who is riding his bicycle across the country, was definitely supposed to arrive today, and I was looking forward to it since he's from my own home town near Cleveland, Ohio. I communicated with him just this morning and he indicated he'd be there, so I do hope nothing happened to cause him to have to abort the trip or be unduly delayed. The "Ride, Jamie, Ride" project must go on!
Late... tired.... hungry..... signing off now. Back tomorrow!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
But the reality of the fragility of this town, which was established in 1886, was pounded home to me today as I drove here and glanced to the left as I approached Afton Station. The building directly across the alley from Bassett's is going down. I knew it had to go, and I'm not sure if the high winds last night finally did it in or if someone was doing demolition when I wasn't here yesterday, but it's definitely on it's way to oblivion. It was near death before, but now the front wall is crumbling onto the street and sidewalk. And although this particular building isn't as historic, nor in as good shape as it's neighbors, I fear that it's demolition is a harbinger of things to come. With enough cash and/or love, this block could be reworked into something great. Otherwise, I fear I'll soon be looking out the window of the Station at a large vacant lot, or a gigantic pile of rubble.
Oh, how I wish I could buy these buildings myself, but it isn't in the cards. I do have the phone numbers of their owners however, and will gladly give them to anyone who might want to talk to them about keeping Afton alive. I'm sure most of us have said, at one time or another, "If I won the lottery, I would (fill in the blank)". My answer is SO easy. I would buy that destitute and loved row of structures and allow them to remain a part of the history of Route 66. Anyone won the lottery lately?
Robin indicated that yesterday was very slow, with only 6 visitors. That undoubtedly had to do with all the rain. Once again, it's either feast or famine in Oklahoma, as weeks of drought have given way to flooding. . . all in 24 hours. Today, it's only 10 a.m. as I write this, and I've already been visited by two people in an RV from Georgetown, OH and four tourists from Eisbierg, Denmark, all dodging what's left of the raindrops.
River Pilot (love his name!), a group leader from Eagle Riders, came in to discuss future tours and to get information for the Route 66 GPS software he's creating. Then, two ladies from Hamburg, Germany sought shelter from the rain. Now I'm having some "quiet time", gazing at the huge smudges left on the front windows by someone who must have been really greased up with sunblock when he leaned against the windows to peer in last night.
Not a space man walking on the moon, but instead River Pilot sporting his biking garb.
Mid-afternoon brought a carload of five visitors from Aukland, New Zealand and a vanload of more domestic types, from Ada and Spavinaw, OK, along with Leah, a very contented Spavinaw poodle. Altogether, I saw 18 happy visitors, and on the way home, the sun finally came out!
Cute Leah from Spavinaw
Coming and Going. I took this pic this morning. Cloudy, drizzly day, an empty Route 66, the wail of a train whistle.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I'll be back at Afton Station tomorrow and will, as usual, report on activity there. It's supposed to be a day of constant rain, so it may be slow. Nothing wrong with a slow day every now and then.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
The Ottawa County Sheriff led the parade into town with flashing lights and sirens, followed by Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker in his truck, their "unofficial" guide. Rodger was on his beautiful Honda bike adorned with the message this group was hoping to impart. The group stayed for a while, milled around and chatted both inside and out, bought some merchandise, and formed a prodigious line at the restroom. Look closely and you'll see Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones disrobing to display his tattooed back, with a small camera-wielding contingent taking advantage of the opportunity to photograph the phenomenon.
Many of the visiting rigs were very specially decorated. Here's a beautiful example.