Sunday, October 31, 2010


I put out a basket of candy at Afton Station today, but we were too lazy to bother with costumes. The Twizzlers turned out to be the most popular choice. I like the Mounds bars, but I'm not allowed to eat chocolate any more, so it's Twizzlers for me, too.
The day began with a pretty sunrise. Ron M. came with me to the Station today. He's still willing to hang out with us, despite the fact that he was in a movie yesterday. His stardom hasn't affected him too much. . . yet! In fact, the movie star even unclogged my toilet today, proving he's still a man of the people. Watch out for a movie called "The Lamp" which apparently will be out in the spring. Look for Ron in the dining room scene.

I'm babbling because I don't have that much to tell you today. There were only 7 visitors, most local. They came from Monett MO, and Monkey Island, Wagoner, and Vinita OK. Robin stopped in to show us her video of last night's visit to the famous Route 66 Spooklight, over near Joplin, MO. She and Phil and Marly and Sue drove over there and sat in the car until almost 4 a.m. Tomorrow I'll try to post their video here. Until then, you'll just have to wait in great anticipation. I've never seen the Spooklight myself, so I'm sorry I wasn't able to go with them. You can read about the Spooklight here. The Spooklight - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here's Robin showing the folks from Monett, MO her video of the Spooklight on her laptop.The clouds were strange today, very pretty and very unusual. All in all, it was a lovely day. I won't be back at Afton Station until Thursday, but Robin has decided she'd like to work on Tuesday, so we'll be open on Election Day after all. I hope some of you can drive up and pay a visit. Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Beter Late Than Never. . .

. . .and today, I honestly thought it was going to be never. What? No visitors on a beautiful, crisp, sunny Saturday at Afton Station? Good grief! I sat there all morning, accompanied by Tattoo Man part of the time, and occasionally hanging out with Marly, Phil, and Robin who were working on the new showroom in the back, and not a single visitor darkened the door of the Station -- until 25 minutes before closing time! I thought we'd been abandoned, or that perhaps the whole town of Afton had been quarantined (not such a bad idea). But then, at about 2:35, the cars and motorcycles started to roll in. Three couples (from Tulsa OK, Maysville OK, and Bellton MO) and two guys from Miami OK on motorcycles literally made my day! We ended the day with eight visitors, but yesterday Robin greeted 17 folks (from England, Fort Worth TX, Michigan, Iowa, and Fairland, Miami, Tulsa, and Vinita OK) so I'm still convinced tourist season on this part of Route 66 isn't over just yet. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

For a while today I thought maybe the most exciting thing that was going to happen was this gigantic "Oversize Load" that passed Afton Station this afternoon. It was one of the longest single loads we've ever seen, and traffic was stopped for quite a while as they were contemplating the strategy of going over the little Horse Creek Bridge.

It's kind of a sorry commentary when a loaded truck is the highlight of the day. Thank goodness for all those last minute visitors. My day ended happily.

I stopped in Vinita this morning on the way to Afton and drove around for a bit. I love this house which is very much in need of some love, but still shows signs of it's unique architectural past.
In downtown Vinita, this small addition to the vintage Vinita Hotel next door reflects the days when city high-rises were a little more than just a pile of faceless brick or steel.

See you back here tomorrow after what I hope will be a crazy, busy day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Afton Station Monster Mash

By way of wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween from the gang at Afton Station, here's a little video Ron M. put together. You'll recognize the following people, if you can stop laughing long enough to see them: Ron M., Betty W., Tattoo Man, Betty B., and yours truly. We may not be beautiful, but oh, we can dance!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No Photos

I mean, I didn't take any pictures today. In fact, this was one of those weird days where nothing really went as usual at Afton Station. Despite the fact that there were only 5 visitors, and only one of them was an actual traveler, the day seemed busy, although kind of disorganized.

The actual traveler was from Judsonia, Arkansas and is riding his motorcycle across Route 66 hoping to get as far west as he can by the weekend. Another really interesting visitor was in the area from Ballinger, Texas. When I saw his enormous ring as he was signing the guest book, I asked if it was from the Super Bowl. He said no, that it was from 1966, when Texas Western U. won the NCAA basketball championship. I said, "Oh, I remember that game well. You won over the school I was attending at the time, the Univ. of Kentucky. It was one of the worst days of my life!" He was astounded by the coincidence, but we got a good laugh about that.

Another visitor was my insurance agent, who happens to live in the area of Afton, and another was from a fellow from Missouri selling some really nice Route 66 merchandise. He supplies a popular Route 66 map I've been wanting to stock, so it was a good visit.

David, Marly, and Kenny worked on the new showroom (yes, finally back to work on that), and Betty came to visit toward the end of the day.

And thus my excuse for not snapping a single picture. Busy day, productive day, happy day. . . but I'm still not sure what I DID all day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey, Ron!

Ok, Mr. Ron M. -- when did you steal my camera and take this picture? And what is it? And where is it? LOL! Ron M. knows he has my permission to use my camera any time he wants while we're at Afton Station, and he has a habit of roaming around looking for interesting things to shoot. But this one, which I just found on my SD card, beats them all. So come on, Ron. . . where did you find this lovely scene in beautiful downtown Afton? Confess!

The rest of our day at Afton Station, although slow, was by no means in the toilet. This friendly and extremely Route 66-savvy couple from Fairfield, OH spent quite a good bit of time with us as we discussed all aspects of the Mother Road, particularly all the neat people they've met along the way. We agreed that they are a perfect example of how others should hit the road -- having obtained the right guide books and actually studying them in advance. As a result of their preparation, they have met all the iconic people along the route, and have managed to find every obscure alignment in each state they've visited. Nice going, guys!
Although there were only 8 visitors today, we never felt bored. We liked the folks from Champaign IL, Cleora OK, Tulsa OK, and St. Louis, MO.

David and Marly pulled the old red Packard out of a storage building and started to make some repairs to it in preparation for selling it to a lady who visited Afton Station this summer and expressed an interest in it at that time. We know it's going to a good home with a collector who has a true love for Packards.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artists, Writers, Restorers, Travelers

What is it that the politicos say? "In the spirit of full disclosure. . ." (although I'm not so sure that everything is really fully disclosed by them). Nevertheless, in that same spirit of full disclosure, I'm about to confess something.

I am tired.

No, I'm not tired of my wonderful Afton Station visitors. I'm not tired of Afton itself. I'm not even tired of my long Route 66 drive between Tulsa and Afton. My tired is a physical weariness, as if my inner clock is all messed up. Going to bed around 8 p.m. and getting up around 3 a.m. just isn't working for me any more. There are things I'd like to do in the evening but I can't stay awake. And rising at 3 a.m. had lots of charm in the summer when it gave me plenty of time to shower, answer 25 emails, eat breakfast and still get out of the house and on the road in time to see the sunrise. Not so in the winter, when the sun doesn't rise until 7:30 or after. I'm living (and driving) in the morning darkness, and who needs that?

I need to alter my biological clock so that I don't feel "blah" all day. For all these reasons, I'm very much looking forward to Election Day, my first full day off from both Afton Station and dialysis in over a year, and I can't decide what to do with this prize. After I go to vote, should I drive up to the Tall Grass Prairie and just sit and meditate all day? Should I take a drive on Route 66 west of Tulsa, something I haven't done for a while? Should I stay home and finish a project I've been putting off for about 6 months? Should I begin my Christmas shopping? I just can't decide. I'm open to suggestions.

It's 1 p.m. and we've had a few guests. Tattoo Man is here with me, and so far eight other folks have dropped in. Two couples from the Volkswagen Club of Tulsa came in their '71 VW bus owned by one of them. Between the two couples, they have quite a fleet of vintage VWs. They were accompanied by Mimi, this very cute terrier.
Last summer we were visited by a guy from Vincennes, Indiana who was bicycling across the U.S. He's writing a book about his adventures, and stopped back today (via car, not bike this time) to say he appreciated the email I sent to him after his last visit. That sort of thing makes me very happy.

Just after a couple from Shoreview, Minnesota left, coincidentally, another Minnesotan walked in, a young woman from Minneapolis traveling by herself.

In the afternoon, we visited with a couple from Independence, MO traveling part of Route 66 in this beautifully restored '49 Chevy (with an Olds engine). They are doing bits of the Mother Road each year, and revealed that they restored this car expressly for their very special trips.
An artist from Baltimore, Maryland stopped in to take some photos as she's nearing the end of two months on the road photographing various entities as part of a project she's working on. She has crossed the country with her little teardrop trailer, which she indicated is very cozy and a great place to get a good night's sleep. I looked at some of her work, and it's wonderful. Check it out.
Two gentlemen from Munich, Germany are spending a couple of months in the area on business and decided to check out Afton Station and Route 66 before they head back home. And, at the end of the day, a couple from Joplin, MO who were just out for a day of relaxing touring stopped in shortly before we closed. Betty W., who arrived after church, helped me close up after another very satisfying day

Saturday, October 23, 2010

T'was a Dark and Stormy Day

It wasn't the best day for travel, and yet it didn't stop the 16 folks who dropped in to Afton Station today. I hope that our friendliness and warmth took a bit of an edge off of the drizzle, heavy air, and extreme cloud cover they were experience out there on Route 66.

Ron M. and I were able to sit outside for a while this morning (under the portico) until visitors began to arrive. They came from St. Joseph MO, Hereford TX, Grove OK, Newport OR, Vinita OK, Perrysburg OH, and Toledo OH. This young lady got a lesson in making pressed pennies while her family and friends from Vinita and Oregon looked on.

Betty W. stopped by for a while, too. Yesterday I ran across this car at the park near my home in Tulsa, and since Betty is a huge fan VW convertibles and an even bigger fan of the color pink, I'm posting this pic in order to watch her drool. I also got my first appointment for a group visit to Afton Station in 2011! The leader of the motorcycle group called today to nail down a date in JUNE for their visit because they enjoyed it so much last year. That made my day!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From the Land Down Under

Love those Aussies! On a day when, admittedly, our visitor roster is slowing considerably, I found it rather amazing that we had TWO groups of Australians come to visit, both from Queensland, and one group arriving less than 5 minutes after the first group left. I hope that eventually, down Route 66, they'll all meet up somewhere.

First came this couple:
Followed closely by this group of three ladies.
They're all traveling west on Route 66, and all will be staying in Tulsa tonight, so maybe they'll cross paths. As with all of our Australian friends, both sets of visitors were knowledgable about Route 66, were having the time of their lives, and were the kind of upbeat folks that make Afton Station a happy place to be.

Our other visitors today came from Harrisburg PA, Terre Haute IN, and Oklahoma City, Lone Grove, and Monkey Island, OK. A very lovely bunch, I must say.

It was a quiet day in the town of Afton today, with not much going on. Tattoo Man came to help out for a while, and Marly dropped in, too. Betty W. came toward the end of the day and helped close up.

I've decided to close the Station on Election Day so that I can vote in Tulsa in the morning and not have to rush up to Afton immediately thereafter. I'm actually kind of excited about having a full day to do something fun and different. It will be the first time for that in about a year. So, if anyone was planning to come to Afton on Nov. 2, I sincerely apologize for my absence. If you were planning to come that day, let me know and maybe we can make alternate arrangements.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Welcome Mat

Our Welcome Mat is out. . .
. . . so it would be nice if folks would come and step on it! Today was quite disappointing, and I'm willing to admit it. When Ron M. and I arrived at Afton Station this morning, I was excited to see that people were already waiting for us to open! That's always a good sign of a potentially busy day. The husband and wife from Omaha, Nebraska were extremely nice and very interested in the Station. They bought some items, and the husband even went out to his car to fetch his laptop so he could show us pics of his recently (and beautifully) restored vintage Chevy (a '55, I believe). But, like all good guests, eventually they had to leave and move on down Route 66.

Sadly, those were the last visitors we saw until about 5 minutes before it was time to leave. Thank goodness, Betty W. came and spent some time with us in the morning, and Betty B. came for the afternoon, so we were not bored by any means. Nevertheless, the lack of visitors on this chilly, rainy day is a harbinger of the coming slow season, and I don't want that to come! Face it, Laurel, winter is going to come whether you like it or not.

Just before it was time to close up, I had a pleasant and unexpected visit from Terry Hembree from Grove. Until he became ill several years ago, he had a small private Mickey Mantle museum in Grove which I visited occasionally. He has moved the museum to his home and now takes appointments to see it. He was coming to tell me of Mickey Mantle's birthday celebration being held by him tomorrow and Saturday in Spavinaw, OK, where Mickey was born. Contrary to what most people think, Mickey was born there and not in Commerce, OK (on Route 66), where he lived for a time as a boy. Terry feels that Spavinaw doesn't get enough credit for being the place of his birth, so he decided to throw this festival in Spavinaw this year. If anyone wants to go, let me know and I'll give more information.

Since Terry knows I'm a big Yankee and Mickey Mantle fan, he left me with this cool little souvenir. Sweet!
I have to make some decisions soon as to when I'll reduce Afton Station's hours for the winter season. I wouldn't think of closing altogether, but I'm thinking of switching to "weekends only" after about the 2nd weekend in November. Anyone have any ideas about this?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In Defense of My Iced Mocha Latte

In rereading some of my old blog posts, I've noticed the overuse of words such as beautiful, wonderful, and amazing. Despite this, make no mistake about it -- I'm not always Little Mary Sunshine. Far from it. I have my bad days, and when I do, it can be quite obvious to those around me. But I also have certain ways to sublimate my occasional dark moods. Today, I used the old, time-honored self-sabotage method. I drank a Sonic Iced Mocha Latte, also known as poison to a person with non-functional kidneys. First of all, it's fluid. . . extra fluid . . . above and beyond the thimbleful of water I'm permitted each day. And then, it contained chocolate, which is full of forbidden phosphorus. And, I didn't even realize when I ordered it that it also comes with whipped cream, the consumption of which is a near-death experience for the renally challenged.

Oh, I'm allowed to cheat every now and then, but this is most certainly my big "Cheat of the Month". I'm SO, SO, SO sick of eggs, white toast, and meat, meat, meat (gotta keep up my protein and albumin) that I could just scream. A girl's got to fall off the wagon every now and then, and a rotten mood seems like a good excuse.

There are other things that make me want to scream too, and I was thinking about them on the way to Afton Station this morning, which is probably why I wheeled into Sonic and decided to do myself in via pure deliciousness. Want to hear some of my gripes? Once I get them out, I'll get back to my day at the Station.

1) FLIES! Flies love mocha lattes and those who drink them. I'm a nature lover, but all flies must die!

2) POUTING: If you have a gripe, just get it out on the table, please! Why do you pout? Are you afraid I might have a valid argument and you'll be proven wrong or silly or weak? Hey, that happens to everyone, you know. Pouting, as opposed to confrontation, IS weakness!

3) INTOLERANCE: The run-up to the upcoming election is an intolerance festival. The attack ads are enough to make me want to drink a half dozen mocha lattes in rapid succession. Can't we learn to rejoice in our differences? In my case, my friends who are "different" from me are some of the nicest, kindest people I know. Those whose uneducated, perceived anti-everything agendas are the personification of intolerance. They get neither my respect nor my vote. BTW, again this time, I plan to vote for intelligence, not dogma or put-downs.

4) SUPER EGO: Got any friends who yammer constantly about themselves and their accomplishments and have never once inquired about your life or interests? 'Nuf said.

5) LACK OF RESPECT FOR AGE: No, not just for old people, but for old things. Nobody admires the new and modern as much as I do, but not at the price we pay when we disrespect the old. Old buildings are my main interest. I'd like to see as many of them as possible stick around for a while. The juxtaposition of the new and the old is a beautiful thing. So stop ripping down our old heritage, 'ya hear?!

Oh, you came here to hear about Afton Station, didn't you? Oops, I seem to have run off the tracks. Must be the caffeine. Sorry, back to the subject at hand. It's still morning here in Afton, and no guests yet. Tattoo Man is due soon, fresh from yesterday's Admiral Twin Drive-In fundraising event. can't wait to hear how that went. So far, there's little activity in Afton save for the guy across the street continuing to take away trailerloads of debris from the collapsed building. He's quite the work horse!

I'm home now, having had a very good day at the Station. Tattoo Man was there, and Betty W. came after church and stayed all afternoon. There were also 22 visitors from the following places: Miami OK, Langley OK, Lake Geneva WI, Fontana CA, Hamilton Ontario Canada, Springdale AR, Bixby OK, and Muskogee OK.

The vintage Chevy station wagon on the trailer below is being hauled back to Wisconsin by a couple who, passing through Vinita, saw it and bought it on the spot. They were on their way home from a Route 66 trip out west, saw it on the side of the road, and couldn't resist buying it! I happen to know the guy who was selling it, and I'm so glad the deal was made.
The gentleman from Muskogee has been here before, and this time he brought his friend who is visiting from California. She was delightful, and loved, loved, loved the cars! Two guys from Canada were on motorcycles and, with only 10 days to travel, made it as far as Santa Fe and were on their way home. I found this to be a very fulfilling day, and I'm even still alive after that morning latte!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Still Life With Boob Tube

Another addition to the landscape of beautiful downtown Afton.

This awesome vintage TV has appeared across the street in front of the Palmer Hotel. If I hadn't surmised that it probably belongs to the lady who owns the hotel, it would be mine right now! Although, it looks rather good right where it is. There's no telling what one might find on the streets of Afton.

This Saturday morning at Afton Station was rather slow. No, VERY slow. Here's Ron M., combatting the boredom.

Soon, however, this absolutely delightful couple, Christopher and Olivia from St. Louis, pulled up in their snappy T-Bird convertible. Olivia is a regular reader of my blog and it was fun meeting them. Olivia is one of the most enthusiastic Route 66 supporter that we've met, and our visit with them was energizing.

Soon after Ron M. and I decided to sit outdoors and enjoy the lovely autumn day, others began to arrive. Although we didn't break any attendance records, we did have good visits from folks from Nashville TN, Del City OK, Iowa City IA, Galena KS, and Joplin, MO. Can't complain!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meet My Maker

My magnet maker, I mean. I was so bored during a lull this morning at Afton Station that I took a picture of my magnet making machine. It seems that every single day I have to make some new magnets. They sell like hotcakes! As a result, I've become intimately involved with my magnet machine, and I freely confess my love for it. :-) The orange thing resting on it is my fly swatter, which is another object of my affection. Both items were used repeatedly all summer, and I feel somewhat torn between them.

The boredom ended as guests began to arrive. Here's a very sweet little girl who was visiting with her parents from Bartlesville, OK. The family is exploring Oklahoma Route 66 on this trip, and have done other segments in past years.
Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones greeted guests with me today, and David, Marly, and Kenny were present all day as well, working on David's big motorhome and creating general mayhem.

There were 15 visitors in all, and they hailed from Sand Springs OK, Salinas CA, Fairland OK, Tulsa OK, Blairsville GA, Pickrell NE, and Oklahoma City, OK.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seeing the U.S.A. . . .

. . . in their Chevrolets!

And boy oh boy, there were a lot of 'em! The Vintage Chevrolet group arrived at Afton Station yesterday around 4 p.m., fresh from a visit to the alpaca farm down the road. Forty-eight Chevys containing 82 adventurous folks, made an impressive parade down Route 66 as they rolled into Afton. And soon there were more Chevrolets around the Station than you could shake a stick shift at! Ron M., Marly, and I really enjoyed this talkative and enthusiastic group. They're spending 5 days in the area exploring Grand Lake and all of it's charms. We were told that they represented 8 states, and the cars were an eclectic mix of ages, models, and conditions, although all of them were beautiful and, obviously, driveable.

There was even a very beautiful Chevrolet fire truck. I wish I'd asked the age of this beauty, but I had my hands full inside the Station most of the time.

But Chevy people weren't the only visitors today. We also met and greeted travelers from Troy MI, Oklahoma City OK, Pottsdam Germany, Owasso OK, Fredricksburg Denmark, Somerville NJ, Grapevine TX, and Sarcoxie MO. Jack Owens, from Sarcoxie, is a regular reader of my blog, so I decided he needed to see himself here. Hi, Jack! Michael Wheat and his wife from Pryor OK also stopped by to see the Chevys. The last time he visited, we were hosting the Micro cars. Always good to see him.

Jack Owens

Monday, October 11, 2010


A large vintage Chevy group will be visiting Afton Station late in the day tomorrow, so it's doubtful that I'll be blogging until Wednesday. Meanwhile, here's a little poem I wrote yesterday while watching the building demolition. It needs a lot of work, but then so does Afton.

Sunday Morning Backhoe Dirge

It's much too glorious a morning
For a dirge.
A hymn to timeless beauty
Seems more appropriate.
And yet it is a dirge I hear,
The horrid rumble of rocks
Falling and scraping against pavement
Pushed by John Deere's yellow monster
Creating a cacaphony
Above which melodious strains
Are neither heard nor felt.

Timeless beauty
Has it's time, I guess,
When carefully piled stone
Once lovingly stacked by caring masons
A hundred years ago
Is pummeled and disgraced and devoured
By the great yellow machine.

On an otherwise silent Sunday morning
In the most silent town on earth
(Save for whistles of occasional trains)
Sunday silence is violated
By a building's death.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old and New

How's this for an anachronism? This is the W. L. Trott House in Vinita, a couple of blocks off Route 66. I went looking for it this morning on the way to Afton after reading about it in an interesting article on regional history in a local newspaper. When I stopped for a photo, I was taken by the juxtaposition of the 1894 home and the late model Harley. The house is for sale. I wonder if the bike goes with it???
I was wandering back roads early this morning, and when I saw that the sunrise was going to be pink, I knew I needed a picture. Yes, another one. This was taken somewhere in Craig County, but I'm not sure where.

It's 10 a.m. and no visitors yet to Afton Station, which gives me some time to make magnets, work on the Sunday crossword, and watch the activity across the street, where a front loader/backhoe has been clearing some of the rubble from the collapsed building. It's slow going, and very very noisy. It also looks awfully dangerous when he crashes into those stone walls, but hey, what do I know? I took a chair outside and sat and watched for quite a while as the big John Deere decimated over 100 years of lovingly stacked rock which once held actual humanity, but now is dust and rot and probably some sweet memories. I don't know why I get emotional about this stuff. I need some visitors to get my mind off of it.
My wish came true! It's now 1:30 and there have been plenty of visitors, interesting ones, too. Friend and veteran road wanderer Jane Dippel stopped in on her way to another Route 66 adventure, this time all the way to California. Blog reader Michael Hathaway (Hi, Michael!) from Oklahoma City and his girlfriend came by in his cool '66 VW (original paint!) with friends from the Tulsa VW Club.

Michael is second from right.

From Groveport, Ohio came Harley riders Tony and Teresa Cote, who were advised to stop at Afton Station by their friend Mike Wallace (also from Ohio) who has visited here a couple of times in the past and apparently felt we were interesting enough to recommend a visit. Thanks, Mike! Tony and Teresa were on their way back to Ohio from the big H.O.G. rally that took place last month.
And there were more visitors later, too. Folks from Perry OK, Puyallup WA, and Albany OR rounded out another beautiful day on Route 66.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

And the beat goes on. . .

What started out to be a slow day at Afton Station picked up considerably in the afternoon, and we finished with 38 visitors. Tattoo Man and Betty W. were there in the morning, and Ron rode up with me and was there all day. Not even a small nod to an autumn slowdown today! Full speed ahead!

The town of Afton is looking as lovely as ever. No, this is not a picture of the ruins of Ancient Rome. It's the lot next to Afton Station. What you see are piles of the rocks that have been extracted from the demolished building across the street and piled on pallets so they can be put up for sale. Anyone need some rock. . . a LOT of rock???

Our visitors came from Oklahoma City OK, Beatrice NE, Red Rock TX, Sapulpa OK, Kansas City MO, Peabody KS, Coalgate OK, Kiowa KS, Foyil OK, Naperville IL, Culver City CA, Simi Valley CA, and Cleora OK.

Here's Winston, who hails from Oklahoma City. He and his people visited today and Winston enjoyed a couple of doggie biscuits, followed by a short nap on our rug.

Four veteran "car guys" came visiting from Kiowa, Kansas in this sharp '56 Ford Victoria. It looked good for photos in front of the Station.

There were quite a few visitors on motorcycles today, and I don't blame them for being out there on another perfect day. Hard to believe this is Oklahoma, with a long string of gorgeous weather, with no rain in the forecast until Monday, which means that for the first time in years, the Tulsa State Fair had perfect weather for it's whole 10-day stand. Tomorrow is the big Route 66 Marathon, which runs through a little of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, to accomodate the 25+ mile marathon restrictions, they have to begin in Commerce, OK instead of pushing it back to Afton, as was first planned. But since there are about 2000 people signed up for the race, I'm hoping that some may drive down to Afton on their way home after they finish. Just hoping. . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere

That's where my Afton Station guests came from today -- everywhere! There was only one semi-local visitor, from Tulsa, and otherwise our 18 visitors came from Sturgeon Bay WI, Milford OH, Sandown NH, Huntsburg OH, Williston ND, Blissfield MI, Seaside OR, Battle Creek MI, and Neosho MO. Although somewhat surprising at this time of year, nearly all of them were traveling most or all of Route 66. It's so heartening to know that the "tourist season" isn't over, and although it's winding down just a little, there are still folks out there enjoying the Mother Road during one of the nicest times of year, weather wise.

Ron M. was with me today, and Marly, Kenny, and Robin were around for the morning, too. Betty B. came to do inventory of her hand made items, and brought me a rack of lamb and some frog legs! I feel so lucky to have friends who share cool foods with me. One of these days I must have a party and share my wealth. My freezer is full of lamb, duck, goose, and frog legs, and I also have a large can of escargot awaiting me. I feel a feast coming on!

Ron took a few photos today after I realized I was having so much fun talking to visitors that it never occurred to me to take any pictures of them. Here is an old school desk that used to be in Sarah's bedroom when she was little. Ron found it in a dusty corner of one of the storage buildings and suggested I bring it out and use it in the museum. Good idea! It looks great!
Ron must have wandered across the street to the train tracks when I wasn't looking, because he snapped this picture of one of the many BNSF trains that rumble through Afton all day. I love their colorful engines.

P.S. Yesterday, Robin opened the Station and had visitors from Canada, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, and Spain. The beat goes on. . .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Every now and then. . .

. . . a quiet day is a good thing. Although there were only 8 visitors today, I didn't mind because it gave me time to hang out with some of my favorite people. Betty W. was there for most of the morning, Marly was there at opening and closing, and a very special guest, my friend Bruce Smith from Tulsa, drove up to Afton Station this afternoon for a visit, too. He enjoyed the gorgeous day driving his sporty Mercedes convertible. During the time he was there, we had no visitors at all, so we got to spend some time catching up on one another's lives. Here's Bruce in front of our 1929 Packard convertible like the one his grandmother once owned.

The other visitors today came from Rockford IL, Salem IN, Libertyville IL, and Vinita, OK. And speaking of Vinita, I snapped this photo on my way to Afton this morning. It's the site of the former Harvey House (see yesterday's post). It's the parking lot behind the Vinita City Hall, and it's certainly not as picturesque as the old Harvey House building!Finally, just in case you're not completely bored by them by now, here's another of my sunrise scenes. The sun was BIG as it rose this morning, nearly blinding me as I drove into it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Harvey House, Vinita

I don't know how this got past me previously, but I just found out that Vinita had a Harvey House! Harvey Houses were attractive restaurants, known for their excellent service and food, that catered to railroad passengers in a number of cities along rail lines of America and are considered America's first chain restaurants. There's a wonderful article about the Vinita Harvey House this week in a local newspaper called The Grand Laker. Apparently it wasn't one of the larger Harvey Houses, but it did exist as a restaurant next to the railroad tracks from 1907 until it closed in 1926, the birth year of Route 66. During the early part of the 20th century, about 20 passenger trains came through Vinita each day, but that tapered off as auto travel became more efficient and popular. In 1983, the building was torn down. The article is quite lengthy , but eventually I will try to make it a bit more concise and publish it here because it's filled with interesting information.

By the way, the Vinita Harvey House was at the corner of Wilson St. and Illinois St., which was Route 66. The piece of land now holds the Vinita City Hall.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy People, Happy Day!

As the days get shorter and cooler, I find myself dreading the upcoming weeks of winter with few, if any, visitors to Afton Station. That time has not yet begun, and yet I'm already feeling nostalgic for the super-busy days of July, August, and September. I'm reminded, not pleasantly, of the days 7 or 8 years ago when we were barely open, unrestored, with no signage or other outward clues that we were a budding museum. I'd sit at the window day after day and watch the big 18-wheelers roll by, grateful to have one or two curious visitors a week. I counted the trucks -- oh yes, I really did. I took notes of where they came from -- Greenwood Wisconsin, Lubbock Texas, Knoxville Tennessee -- and wondered where they were heading. It was something to do. My dream was almost, but not quite, ready to begin.

Once we got the old building painted and put up some banners announcing that we were "in business", people started arriving to fulfill my dream of becoming an amateur Route 66 ambassador. As my guest book started to fill with signatures, I turned into a megalomaniac, wanting more, more, MORE.... not power or money, but people! And now, years later, I still don't want it to let up, even for a few winter months. However, I will probably let my dream hibernate again this winter, going to Afton just on weekends (and whenever else I feel like it) in December and January. Meanwhile, I find myself insanely jealous of people such as Gary Turner who live right next door to their businesses and can visit with travelers year round without the crazy little 160-mile round trip I have to make. But, it is what it is, I guess.

This was another stellar day at Afton Station. I was alone there, with only a short visit from Betty W. But the visitors started coming in early and left late. What a cool bunch of travelers came today! The stars must be in a special alignment, because it's been a whole weekend of interesting visitors with much chatting and laughing.

Here's an absolutely delightful couple from Montgomery, TX who were heading for Joliet, IL., to a wedding, I believe. They decided to take Route 66. Smart people!

Still in love after 40 years!

Two couples from Washington State (Tacoma and Gig Harbor) stopped by on their Route 66 tour, and one of them had this very beautiful restored vintage truck which he's driving across the country. Parked there, it even made Afton look good!

I loved these three interpid bicyclers. They're from Sierra Vista, AZ and they're pedaling their way across most of Route 66. They told of headwinds yesterday slowing them down, but any problems they may have had weren't showing in their jolly outlooks. Clearly, they're having a ball! I'm glad they're decked out in neon outfits, because sometimes I worry about the safety of our cycling Route 66 visitors. There were also visitors from Long Beach CA, Cypress CA, Philadelphia PA, Miami OK, Bartlesville OK, and Mineapolis, MN. The Bartlesville father and son were taking advantage of a most perfect motorcycling day. The three from Minneapolis were a mother and grown daughter and son. The kids were accompanying their mother on her relocation from Minneapolis to Globe, Arizona.

I got some information today about a Harvey House that used to exist in Vinita. I didn't know about it previously, but I plan to do some research tonight and will likely post a little about it tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shriners, plus. . .

What a day at Afton Station today! This is the scene that met us when Ron M. and I pulled into the Station at 9:25 this morning.

Forty-six men from Topeka, KS, members of the Arab Shrine there, came for a visit in a big tour bus. I knew they were coming, but not what time. It was great. We opened quickly and everyone was happy. These guys really knew their old cars and had lots of questions and comments. From Afton Station, they were proceeding to Darryl Starbird's Museum, Har-Ber Village, and a night on the town in Grove.

I wasn't sure if we'd have a big day, but we did. October is traditionally (if you can call four years "tradition") a very busy month at Afton Station. Looks like this one will be the same, although it will have to go a long way to beat last month, which was far, far bigger than any other September since I've been keeping records.

This cute young couple was the last in the door today. They're traveling a portion of Route 66 on this trip. They come from Newport News, VA, and were my favorite type of visitor -- enthusiastic, happy, friendly, and knowledgable about Route 66.

And, in between, we visited with 21 other great travelers: three women traveling the Route from the Rochester MN area, who are medical workers at the Mayo Clinic, a family from Portland, OR, who were visiting their kids in Vinita, OK, two women from Springfield, MO, who turned out to be postcard collectors just like me (hooray!), two fellows from Chester and Sterling, OK, enjoying a perfect motorcycle day, and more people from Joplin, MO, Saginaw, MI, Fayetteville, AR, and Claremore, OK. Tattoo Man and his wife Roz surprised us by dropping in on their way home from a trip to Iowa.

No, they haven't done any more with the collapsed building across the street, and no they haven't done anything about the mess they dug up in our side "yard". And yes, the water is still leaking there and "Lake Afton" is starting to reappear. Sigh. . .