Thursday, June 30, 2011
Yes, that's 106 degrees. And yes, that's what my car thermometer read on the way home from Afton today. It's really no wonder that we had a low number of visitors.
A few intrepid folks braved the heat, however. Early in the day, when it was still relatively cool, a couple from DePauw, IN arrived on their motorcycle. They were cheerful about their ongoing adventure, and I guess you could say that today in Oklahoma will give them a little preview of their ride across the desert later in the week.
Another intrepid traveler from Champaign, IL came to take some footage for a video he's making. The last time he came to Afton we weren't open, so he returned to continue his project. Note his cool Illinois license tag!
Later visitors included folks from Joplin MO, Clayville NY, and Marcy NY. The New York guys were pretty much soaked in sweat when they arrived on their motorcycles and were quite grateful for a little time in our air conditioner.
In other news, we are getting a new neighbor. The boat cover maker who has been renting the old Cox Grocery building to our north is trading buildings with the auction house who rents down the street. We think this is a good thing, since the auction house will surely bring more folks down to our end of town than the other business. Ron M. jokingly suggested that we are becoming Afton's "art district". To appreciate that comment, you must see and experience the town of Afton. Art District my foot!
In yet more news, a month or so ago I loaned my entire Afton postcard collection to a local lady who was making a slide show to be shown at the Afton High School reunion. Today she brought the finished product to me and Ron M. and I watched it on my laptop. I plan to talk to the creator of the CD about getting her permission to put it on Vimeo, for everyone's viewing pleasure. . . or at least for the pleasure of those who are interested.
Ron M. and I are both victims of the same demonic crud that has been living in my sinuses, chest and throat for several days. It was probably a good day for a low visitor count, since neither of us had a lot of energy for being gracious hosts. We survived, however, and I know that I, for one, will be just fine for the holiday weekend.
By the way, we will be open Monday afternoon, the 4th of July. A group of Norwegians will be coming through, so Marly agreed to open up at about noon until 2 p.m. or so. So, if you're in the area, please stop by. I can't be there, but I wish I could!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Two guys from Indiana arrived at around the same time, one from Bloomington and one from Greenwood. I snapped this photo as the two Hoosiers were comparing notes.The remainder of our 28 visitors came from Del Valle CA, Sulphur OK, Newport News VA, San Antonio TX, Springfield MO, Rowich TX, Providence Village TX, Denmark, Hutchinson KS, and Bernice, Afton, and Claremore, OK.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Then again, who cares? It's the people who DO drop in that really count. Today, like so many others, we were visited by an incredibly interesting group of travelers, 16 in all. Ron M. was with me again today and Betty W. spent several hours with us, too. Our friends Reuben and Colleen Tipton from Afton stopped by for a bit. The bad news is that the drought is affecting Reuben's corn crop. After planting four times as much corn this year as last, he's seeing signs that it's going to be a bad growing season. Since he grows the best corn in the world and is kind enough to supply me with a good bit of it, we need a little rain soon so that it can bounce back to life. Do a rain dance for Reuben's corn, please!
Our first visitors were this couple from Sydney, Australia. They bought a Mustang when they arrived in the U.S. and are driving it across Route 66. Very lovely people! They have a good travel blog at Los Angeles to Chicago. Here, they're signing the guest book.
Next, this grandfather and grandson from Canton, Mississippi came to visit. Grandpa transports RVs across the country from manufacturer to sales outlets, and he likes to take his grandsons with him now and then. This little grandson was a delight -- very sweet and full of smiles and, like Grandpa, is very interested in old vehicles and model cars. There was a fun moment when we discovered that the grandfather and I came from the same neighborhood in Cleveland, OH and were even born in the same hospital! I'm older than he is, however, so no chance of crossing paths. I haven't been back there for about 30 years, so he caught me up a bit on what's happening in Cleveland.
Four guys on motorcycles came in out of the heat to grab a little air conditioned air. They are a group of friends from Fort Worth, Bastrop, and Flower Mound, TX and they're doing a portion of Route 66.
Today's visitors also included folks from Bartlesville, OK and Bozeman, MT. I'm still being laid low by this rather severe head cold, but I expect to survive. I just need to stop coughing and get a little energy.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Other visitors today came from Moundville MO, Deventer Netherlands, and Bartlesville, Glenpool, Kiefer, Tulsa, and Wann, OK. The folks from Moundville left their helmets out to bake in the 100+ degree temperatures while they enjoyed a bit of air conditioning. It was mighty hot for bikers today!
I will spend this evening attempting to heal myself so I can be a better Route 66 hostess tomorrow. See you then!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I'm clearly experiencing post-vacation letdown. What do I miss the most? Well, my daughter of course, from my first vacation to Richmond. From the Amarillo Festival, I miss (0f all things) the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel. Sitting there chatting with old friends was the highlight. I wouldn't mind a couple more days at Palo Duro Canyon, either. However, I'm here now and I can't complain about switching from being the visitor to being the "visitee". If I only thought I could make my Afton Station visitors feel as welcome as I felt in Richmond, VA and Amarillo, TX, I'd know I've chosen the right path in life.
Speaking of visitors, where are they? Thus far, only the air conditioner repair man has been here. Since I didn't turn it on this morning, I didn't realize it was broken. Marly must have called him yesterday.
It still hurts a bit when people drive by and take pictures but don't come in, even though I'm often reminded by others that that it's good advertising just to have photos of the Station on various blogs and websites. I realize I can't meet every traveler, but I hope the word gets out that Route 66 is every bit as much the people as it is the sightings.
Traffic picked up around noon, and by day's end I'd visited with 15 people. They came from McAllen TX, Helrenueln Netherlands, Brevard NC, Seattle WA, Justin TX, and Tulsa and Disney, OK.
This truly enjoyable couple is from Brevard, NC and they're embarking on a full Route 66 vacation. I was glad that they weren't in so much of a hurry that they were able to stay and chat for a while. I think their faces reflect the happiness they're feeling by being on the Mother Road.
The young man from the Netherlands was traveling solo, but it was not his first Route 66 trip. The couple from Seattle, WA were heading for Springfield, MO to attend the National Studebaker Convention. Since Packards and Studes have a familial relationship, they were also very interested in our Packard collection.
Larry Davidson, whom I'd seen just last weekend in Amarillo, came for a visit today, too, in his gorgeous '50s Ford Station Wagon (I wish I could remember the exact year.) It's silver, and very long, and beautiful. He was heading for a car show in Indianapolis.
The young lady from McAllen, TX was with her aunt who lives locally. She's spending her 16th birthday today with her aunt and uncle and wanted her photo taken in each of our cars. Sounds like a creative and cute way to celebrate a Sweet Sixteen.
Allow me to gush a bit about Joe Sonderman's latest book, "Get Your Pics on Route 66: Postcards from America's Mother Road". Because I'm a Route 66 postcard collector, it simply blows me away. But I can't find anything wrong with this big, colorful, display -- 160 pages of repros of old, very old, and even some newer images of Route 66 motels, cafes, attractions, etc. You don't have to be a postcard collector or a Route 66 nut like me to appreciate this volume. I guess the best thing I can say about Joe's book is that it's exactly what I once started to put together myself, but I was too lazy to finish and Joe beat me to it. Please buy it. You'll love it, too. Get your pics on Route 66 : Anniversary Books
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Ron M. and I were impressed by the interesting and varied folks who visited today. Here are two friends from San Antonio, TX and San Ramo, CA respectively. The Texas lady is a longstanding member of the Road Map Collectors Association, and she's such an avid collector that she even had a road map tattooed to her arm! (Mike Ward, take notice. Pascha said she knows you from your contributions to the roadmaps.com site.)
Our first visitors of the day were some bikers from Stark City, MO. One of them had this gorgeous Indian motorcycle which was tricked out with lots of unique additions, including the buckskin fringe which I liked a lot.
These two pleasant guys are brothers from Baltimore, MD and Melbourne, FL. They're making their way across Route 66 with lots of laughs and smiles.
But that's not all! We also greeted Dan Oberle from Edwardsville, IL whom we first met when he sat at our table at the Amarillo Festival last weekend. It was good to see him again. Also, a couple with the last name of King, from Virginia Beach, VA stopped by on a search for information about his father who had a gas station in Afton in the thirties. Of course, this piqued my interest. Fortunately, Betty W. stopped by after church and met the folks. She wants to ask around and see what information she can get for them. Knowing Betty, she'll have a full family bio before the week is out! The Kings also gave me a photo of the gas station his father owned, and I'll post that tomorrow. It's a beauty!
A self-confessed "Packard guy" and his friend from LaGrange, IL stopped by on their motorcycles, followed by a retired teacher from Chicago. A perfectly lovely family (mom, dad, college-age son, and high school-age daughter) from Festus, MO arrived at Afton Station because their son had found us in a tour book he'd been reading on the trip. He is very interested in Route 66 and its history, and his sister is interested in collecting old postcards. It's great young folks like these that are so important to the further renaissance of Route 66!
But I'm not done yet. There were also travelers from Clarendon MN, Salina OK, Grove OK, Houston TX, and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. All of them were wonderful guests, too. We really hit a home run today for sure. Sometimes I need a day like this to remind my why I'm here and to energize me. Believe me, I'm energized!
Happy Fathers' Day to all who fit that description!!!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Other visitors were all from Oklahoma. They came from Caddo, Miami, Tulsa, Ponca City, and Stillwater. Frequent visitor Perry Knight and his companion Merilee stopped in for a while, and Perry showed us his new, impressive model airplane engine. Both of them are pilots, so this acquisition was much appreciated.
Ron M. was with me today. We were somewhat surprised by the slowness of the day after the very active previous weeks. Maybe dads are celebrating Fathers' Day weekend watching golf on TV rather than facing the heat and roaming the Mother Road.
The turtle given to me by Richard, an Afton local, was found terrorizing and intimidating the tiny frog from Puerto Rico given to me by Ron M. after his recent trip. I think the turtle had an unfair advantage, and yet froggy continues to smile. All this drama is taking place on top of the antique cash register.
See you tomorrow!
Thursday, June 16, 2011
The rest of the day, until the very end anyway, wasn't as exciting. There were only 10 visitors, mostly local. They came from Leander TX, Stockton MO, Shawnee KS, Dallas TX, and Wyandotte and Grove, OK. It seemed that a lot of men were trying to sell their cars to me today. Since we're not buying at the moment, I had to decline.
Tattoo Man (with yet another fresh tattoo), Betty (with a scrumptuous rhubarb pie), Marly, and Phil were also present for much of the day. Marly and Phil cleaned up water that the brand new air conditioner in the new showroom had poured onto the floor with abundance. A call was made to the installers, and they will be fixing it tomorrow.
My Afton Station Family -- Tattoo, Betty, and Marly and Phil in the background.
Meanwhile, around 2 p.m. we got two calls from folks who warned us that BIG storms were on the way, and they were potentially tornadic. Since Afton is just up the road from Joplin, everyone around here is super-aware of those sorts of warnings these days. So, I decided to close up and try heading for Tulsa. With Betty's help, I closed up and was on the road by 2:30, a half hour earlier than usual. As it turned out, all I encountered on the road were a couple of small downpours and lots and lots of wind. Now that I'm home, the sun is out and all is well.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The morning started out slowly, then things exploded around 1 p.m. By day's end, we had 35 visitors. They came from Noblesville IN, Mesa AZ, Brentwood MO, Oro Valley CA, Madrid Spain, Syracuse NY, Aukland New Zealand, Saginaw MI, Boston MA, Milwaukee WI, Freiburg Germany, Springfield MO, and Grove, Bartlesville, Tulsa, Sapulpa, Cleora, and Tahlequah, OK! Whew!
This quartet from Aukland, New Zealand arrived in a sporty convertible. Three gorgeous and vivacious girls and a guy who explained that traveling with them was "a tough job, but somebody had to do it!" :-)
These ladies from various OK cities are taking a little break. They've been here before, and they knew their husbands were going to spend a lot of time in the auto showrooms, so they decided to
have a seat and wait until they emerged.
I got the results from the four days I was in Amarillo, when Robin, Phil, and Marly took good care of the Station. They had visitors from the following: Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Australia, Texas, Switzerland, Brazil, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota. Additionally two groups, 19 from the NE Kansas Hot Rod Club and 70 bikers from the Mother Road Rally kept the folks jumping! Thanks to my wonderful workers!!!
I forgot to post this photo after the Amarillo Festival. It's our own Tattoo Man being presented by Brenda St. Clair with a "Toilet Tattoo", sporting a picture of himself. I'm sure it's pasted on his potty by now. Funny, funny, funny!
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Each year we have a special breakfast just for members of our Yahoo eGroup. If you're reading this, and you're a Route 66 Fan, please consider joining this group of avid and darn near militant Route 66 supporters. We're a lot of fun, too. :-) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/route66/
Amarillo's Golden Spread Chorus serenaded us prior to dinner at our big Saturday night banquet, attended by about 300 Route 66 roadies from all over the world.My friends and favorite country band, The Road Crew, won the first-ever Bobby Troup award for excellence in Route 66-related arts. Lots of photographers in front of me, but I managed to catch all four of the guys. Artist Jerry McClanahan and Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker, went all out for the banquet.
I think I'll have more to say about this event when I have time to digest it all. As always, a great time was had by all!
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
They came from Powder Springs GA, Cologne Germany, Freehold NJ, Howell NJ, Estore FL, Jackson MS, Perth Australia, New Zealand, Neosho MO, Brockton MA, Rockwell TX, Collinsville IL, and Elk City, Vinita, Yukon and Grove, OK.
Here's a BIG family from Jackson, MS. They're in the area visiting relatives and decided to see what Route 66 is all about. I think the kids loved it!
Four guys from Cologne, Germany came by on Harleys they bought when the arrived in the States and will ship back to Germany at the end of their tour. A New Zealander was in a rented Mustang convertible, and although he said that he was at the head of a group of 5 other Kiwi mustang drivers, the others never showed up, nor did they drive past. I guess he was WAY ahead! Terry Hembree, whom I know from the past, came in to let me know that he's set up a website for the Joplin tornado. I just took a look at it, and it's quite comprehensive. Check it out and www.joplinmotwister.com.
On my way home this afternoon, I drove past the Admiral Twin Drive-In site, and I'm pleased to report that land clearing and excavation is finally beginning for the new screen. I believe I recall that the owner said it should be ready for reopening in July. Remember, it burned down last summer.
I'll be missing in action here at the blog for a few days while I take off for Amarillo, TX to attend the annual International Route 66 Festival. I look forward to seeing my Route 66 friends from all over the country, and I'll return to Afton Station (and blogging) next Tuesday.
Monday, June 6, 2011
In order for the train cars to be moved from the tracks across the street to the park itself, it was necessary to lay a temporary rail line across Southwest Blvd., which is Route 66. This had to be done in an expedient and professional manner in order not to hold up traffic on this main artery for any longer than absolutely necessary.
It was my great fortune to have a friend, Susan Yates, attend the event and furnish me with photos and her narrative. Some of her thoughts are below in italics, along with a few of her photos. "I arrived at 8. This train runs on time (its own time). The first transfer—the little red caboose and the pullman car came down the track around 9. It took about half an hour to move the cars inch by inch across Southwest Boulevard and park them behind the derrick. Then there was a very long wait for the engine and coal car to be brought from its storage place at the Holly Refinery. That move across SWBlvd/66 took about 2 hours. "The engine is much heavier than the other cars and if I understand correctly the ties in the temporary spur line were depressed by the engine’s weight and one (or more?) of the smaller guide wheels wasn’t making proper contact with the track. They didn’t dare move it more until that problem was resolved. The railroad guys were very careful about this, greasing wheels and using a caterpillar front loader to push the engine from the side. The last dozen yards took more than an hour—breath holding time for most of that hour.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
The tourist season is upon us, and things are really rolling now at Afton Station. Today, we hosted 23 guests, who hailed from Crescent FL, Chateauroux France, Portland OR, Muskogee OK, Broken Arrow OK, Thornton CO, Mascoutah IL, W. Lafayette IN, Chicago IL, and Monroe WI.
Herb and Diane, from Crescent FL, packed up their lives and headed for Route 66 on their motorcycle/trailer rig which they call "Herb and Diane's Dream". Their dog rides with them in his little crate and despite the heat wave, they are indeed following their dream. They can stay on the road until September if they so desire, since they've just retired. Although their rig was chock full of their travel needs, it was all very well organized. We really enjoyed the high spirits and enthusiasm of this couple.
We also greeted a number of families with children today. That's such a good sign! Among the guests were a gentleman from Japan who recently moved to Chicago and wanted to explore the rest of the U.S. via the Mother Road. Some great grandparents came in and brought along their 4 cute great grandchildren. Two men from Portland are escorting two visitors from France along Route 66. Lots of variety today. On top of that, Robin and Phil spent the morning with us, and Betty W. came for the afternoon. It was really a great day in Afton, Oklahoma!
Ron M. stole my camera again and took a number of pictures. Here are a couple of them. Tripper is getting ready a bit early for the Fourth of July. Here he is in his Uncle Sam hat.
Meanwhile, here I am with my beloved magnet making machine. My helpers sold so many magnets while I was gone that I am struggling to make more so that the display board doesn't look so bare.