. . . and, the best part of it all, attended the wedding of lifelong friend Dana and her beloved Shakir!
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Our visitors, 10 in all, came from Salina KS, Thompson's Station TN, Augusta KS, Prior OK, Inola OK, Lima OH, and Olathe KS.
These two former college friends were very excited about the cars. They're from Olathe, KS and Lima, OH and are taking a partial Route 66 vacation.
That's all for today. I'm looking out the window at very cloudy skies and extremely high winds. My TV weatherman Dan says we may be in for some "severe" weather late tonight. We shall see.
ADDITION: Just received Jim Hinckley's new book "Ghost Towns of Route 66 in the mail a half hour ago. It is WONDERFUL, and the chapter about Afton (which, to be honest, is the only one I've read so far) is great and totally accurate, with about 6 great images of Afton, too.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Let me explain.
This being the last day of school, the kids from the elementary grades in Afton all marched down to the new Shaved Ice stand, class by class, to get some celebratory slush. The younger kids came first, then the older ones. This march lasted all day. And since kids will be kids, they were getting their Route 66 kicks by giving the universal sign for "honk your horn" to each and every big rig that went past. So, there was constant, unrelenting truck honking all day. To be honest, I kind of liked it. Finally there was a little youthful activity in nearly-deserted Afton!
The little ones sat on the wall and slurped their slushees.
The big kids coaxed horn honks from every truck (and most cars, too) for hours as they waited for their shaved ice. This is just one class.
Meanwhile, inside Afton Station, quite a bit of chaos was breaking loose as well. We had 22 visitors. David brought 5 ladies from the Grove Newcomers Club and gave them a great tour. Here he is with several of them.
Here are two sisters and one sister-in-law who are taking a fun "sister trip" on Route 66. They're from Somis CA, Dayton OH, and Decatur IL.
Other visitors came from Leesville LA, Coolville, OH (very cool town name!), Grove OK, Langley OK, and we finished up with four motorcycle riders from Woodstock, GA. I was busy all day with barely a moment down time. Just the way I like it!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Following closely behind was this couple from Denton, TX. They too are taking their time and seeing and doing everything along Route 66. They've enjoyed meeting a lot of the people along the road, and intend to continue slowly enough to make sure they don't miss a thing. I can't tell you how much I like people like these folks. Enthusiasm is contagious, and sometimes I need people like this to make my day.
It wasn't a very busy day today, but we didn't need busy. It was great nonetheless. Later in the day we were visited by a couple from Austin, TX and after that by a couple from Duncan, OK. His father owned the movie theater in Afton many years ago! Naturally, I asked him if he had any photos, and his wife said she'd see what she could find. I've been looking for a photo of the Ritz Theater for a long time. Maybe we'll meet with some success soon.
Betty W. dropped in after church, and Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker also drove down from Baxter Springs, KS to spend part of the afternoon. And of course Ron M. was with me all day. He's such a help at the Station and is great with the visitors, too.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
That was the parade of 15 visitors who marched into Afton Station this cloudy, chilly Saturday. There were also surprise visits from Betty W., Tattoo Man (who brought visiting California friends to see the Station), and Reuben and Colleen Tipton (who came to tell me of a great vintage car video and also told me that they planted many acres of corn on their farm outside Afton, so it looks like we'll be getting more of their unreal, magnificent corn this summer!!)
Betty W. brought me beautiful roses from her own garden. Nothing like the perfume coming from fresh cut roses to obliterate the "gas station" smell of ancient leaking oil, I always say!
The young couple from Sapulpa live just a few houses down from the now closed Frankoma Pottery factory and showroom. How sad that the iconic business is permanently closed and will be selling off everything next week.
This gentleman, Dr. Howell, is a historian working for the newspaper that covers the Vinita-Grove-Afton area. I've read many of his wonderfully-researched articles in the past few years. He is also the former Tulsa Superintendent of Schools. He was spending Saturday researching Afton and had previously never visited the Station. So good to meet him, and I look forward to seeing him again and hearing his stories of the "old days" in this area.
Ron M. wandered outside and found this little doggie who had been left to wait in the Jeep while his people, the Sapulpa couple, were inside. On such a cool windy day, I'm sure he was as happy as could be to just hang out in the car for a while.
Friday, May 13, 2011
We had 12 visitors today, and eight of them were German tourists on Harleys who drove right past Afton Station and down to the convenience store to get gas. Ron M. went outside and waved to them, indicating they missed the best (and virtually ONLY) good Route 66 attraction in the town. So, they walked back a block and came for a visit. Not all of them, but eight of the probably 12 in the group. Thanks, Ron M.!
The lovely gentleman from Miller, MO who donated the antique cash register to us stopped in for a visit and told me about an interesting vintage motorhome parked near where he lives. I just might need to make a little trip up there one of these days! Another man, who said he was from New Jersey but wasn't very forthcoming with other info, stopped by and perused the cars.
Our final visitors were a couple from Shelbyville, KY who are doing Route 66 the right way. They have their guidebooks, their motorhome, and a huge load of enthusiasm for everything they've seen or plan to see as they make their way to Santa Monica. They were fun to talk to and brightened the day for us. The husband makes miniature models of gas stations, and I hope I planted the idea in his mind that I'd love to have one of Afton Station!! Other bright spots of the day were visits from Betty W., and several hours with Phil, who hung out with us for much of the morning. Phil has also donated a framed enlargement of an amusing photo of an early car (circa 1910) that has been in a wreck. I'm sure it wasn't amusing for the guy who lost his beautiful "flivver", but ... well, you have to see it to understand.
Blogger, which is my blog host (I think that's the term) was down for most of yesterday and this morning, so this blog post is pretty late. Bet you didn't even notice! LOL!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Following that, a trucker from Gary, IN came in looking for a match to light a cigar. I guess I should keep some handy for such occasions. The best I could do was a couple pulled out of one of the vintage matchbooks in my collection, but that was fine with him. We aim to please! He also took a quick look at the car museum.
Speaking of the new showroom, I can't wait to motivate someone (ahem, David) to create for me a means to begin hanging things on the walls. It looks very empty in its current state, and I've accumulated plenty with which to decorate it.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Lately, I've missed out on several great Route 66 gatherings, most of which take place on weekends when I don't like to leave Afton Station, even though I have capable, trustworthy, and usually-available help. I believe in the philosophy that an owner/manager should be on site every moment, if possible. There are a few exceptions to this, such as a couple of short trips I'll be taking soon, but for the most part, I won't go anywhere during our "open" hours.
I missed two great events this past week. One was the Blue Tie Affair and the Blue Whale on Route 66 in Catoosa, held to raise funds for restoration of our beloved Whale. It was an evening, al fresco dinner party and from what I've heard it was extraordinarily fun. In that case, I didn't go because I was afraid it would be a long night, and I had to get up the next morning around 4 a.m. for dialysis. (I'm not as young as I used to be!) Then, this past weekend, Pontiac IL held a tribute to Bob Waldmire during the Red Carpet Corridor event, and among other things, attendees were each allowed to paint a bit of a large mural as a tribute to Bob. That, too, sounded like a lot of fun, and it would have been nice to visit with some of my Route 66 friends from around the country. Alas, when I made my choice to commit myself to Afton Station, I knew I'd be limited in my ability to travel. I'm not complaining. Sometimes I'm just wistful.
Yesterday I was interviewed by a writer and researcher from Albuquerque, NM named David Dunaway. David King Dunaway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia He's doing some oral history research and was interested in me as an example of someone who hasn't had a business on Route 66 for a very long time (although 10 years seems like a long time to me, it's peanuts compared to folks like Angel Delgadillo and others). He's a fantastic interviewer and the hour went very quickly. I took one of his books that I own and he autographed it for me. The interview took place at the McBirney Mansion in Tulsa, a huge mansion left over from Tulsa's "Oil Boom" days, and which is now used as a very elegant hotel/ bed and breakfast. The only problem was lack of air conditioning on a very warm afternoon. All in all, it was a good experience. McBirney Mansion - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Short and sweet tonight, but I got home late and I'm rushing. More tomorrow.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Cynthia, a repeat visitor from Tennessee, was here to buy one of the old Packards from David. The last time she was here, she fell in love with one of the Packards that had not been restored and which we hadn't necessarily intended to include in our collection. Today, she came to town to close the deal. Another young man was also looking to buy an old Packard, but we've now run out of any to sell!
It was a varied day, and that's always fun. Add a heap of perfect weather and it couldn't have been better!
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I don't know why David removed the hood from the front of the motorcoach.
This sign tells a bit about the motorcoach.
This is one of the turn signals on the motorcoach. Don't you love it??
We did have some visitors today, too. This couple, from San Antonio, TX is doing Route 66 from west to east in a nice motorhome. They seem to be having a wonderful time and were fun to talk to.
More travelers stopped in from Shipshewana IN, DesMoines IA, and Commerce OK. The friend with whom I had the meeting is from Hagerstown, MD. Also, a couple from Afton stopped in briefly.
Not much else happened today. There was a brief downpour midday, but mostly the day was sunny and warm. Could spring finally be here????
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
By noon, which is when I'm writing this, I've had exactly NO visitors. Robin will be working here this afternoon since I have to leave early to pick up Ron M. from the airport. He's been on a two-week tropical vacation. He chose a perfect time to go. Here, it's still cold -- in the low 40s this morning, but up to 70 by the time he steps off the plane.
All the flies except one seem to have expired since Sunday. The one remaining critter is driving me crazy, but I have to admire the little guy's spunk and agility when I go after him with the fly swatter. Maybe he deserves to live.
I'm home now. I had four gentlemen from France come in just as I was turning over the baton to Robin. They spoke zero English, but we were doing ok with my minimal French. Earlier, I'd had one other visitor from Tulsa, OK. That makes only 5 visitors today, unless Robin had a few more after I left.
I took the interstate back to Tulsa in order to get to the airport on time. I rarely post photos of the "Evil I", but it was such a lovely day with nice cloud formations and no traffic. . .
How cool is this? Visitor from the fall of 2008, filmmaker Eyal from Israel, sent me this photo of their car driving in Tel Aviv. Please note the Afton Packard sticker in the window! Nice international publicity!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Tattoo Man had his picture put on some bottles of Jones Soda. He brought me one yesterday.
My visitor total for April was considerably higher than last April's, and yet my sales total was way down. I guess the economy is finally taking its toll. That's ok, as long as people keep traveling. That's what I'm here for.
At the very end of the day, three of the coolest guys came in. They introduced themselves as three doctors -- a pediatrician, a proctologist, and a gynecologist -- but later confessed that they were pulling my leg. Only one was a doctor, the pediatrician, from Tulsa. The other two were boat dealers from Longmont, CO! They had me fooled for quite a while, but at least I didn't try asking them for medical advice! Anyway, they were a bright spot in my otherwise boring day on Route 66. They loved the cars and especially the Packard Motorcoach, which is already gathering raves from visitors.