Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marly's Birthday!

We celebrated Marly's birthday today during a lull in the action. Here he is with the world's most bland cake (just the way he likes it!), being watched by Ron M. and Marly's lady, Sue. We had threatened Marly with a rhubarb pie, but decided to be kind to him now that he's getting so old. Ha ha. . .

Seventeen visitors stopped in today. Although most came from Oklahoma or neighboring states, these three folks won the long distance award, as they had traveled from Hillsboro, New Mexico. Yes, the two ladies are twins.
This couple warranted a picture here because their last name is Packard. To the best of my knowledge, we've only had one other Packard family visit us. These Packards were from Bartlesville, OK.Our other visitors came from Bentonville AR, Overland Park KS, Bella Vista AR, and Perry, Sperry, Bartlesville, Wyandotte, and Seneca, Oklahoma.

And now for a few random photos from the day. . .

Here is Ron Jones' latest tattoo -- the Hi-Way Cafe in Vinita, OK.

Here's Robin, explaining to us how one of her customers yesterday thought a do-rag was supposed to be worn. Was he Amish, perhaps?

Our new plastic animal friends are two pink flamingos given to us by Bob Swengrosh. One is now in the window and the other is resting comfortably atop one of our display racks. We've gone googie!Finally, Ron M. caught this little guy taking refuge in the shade of our air conditioner compressor. I just hope he's hoppy. (sorry!)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Something Different

Now I realize how much I really needed a day off. The trip to Arcadia and Oklahoma City today was just what the doctor ordered. I feel refreshed!

Ron M. and I met filmmakers/photographers/friends Rick and Richard in the parking lot of Pop's in Arcadia and piled into their car for a driving tour of Oklahoma City. Since both guys are long-standing members of the OKC Historical Society and have done extensive filming in the city, they were perfect tour guides. We concentrated on downtown OKC, including the neighborhoods of Bricktown, Automobile Alley, Deep Deuce, and Heritage Hills. I was stopped in my tracks when we came upon the former Packard dealership building, now restored and appearing to house an art gallery.
We then drove out to Lake Overholser to take a ride over the newly reopened Lake Overholser Bridge (on Route 66) and to view the dam.

After several hours of touring, we stopped at Ann's Chicken Fry, the famous OKC Route 66 eatery. It changed my opinion forever on the matter of chicken fried steak. This was scrumptious!Once our stomachs were ridiculously over-filled with unhealthy but lip smackin' good food, we moved on to Arcadia to attend the first book signing of Jim Ross, Shellee Graham, and Jerry McClanahan's outstanding new volume "Route 66 Sightings". Jerry -- Jim -- Shellee

Pop's was packed with people, and many were purchasing the book. Jim was also selling the new revision of his wonderful "Oklahoma Route 66" guidebook. We saw several friends there, although we were only able to stay for about an hour before saying good bye and thank you to Rick and Richard and heading back to Tulsa. What a super day! Tomorrow, back to Afton Station to celebrate Marly's birthday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lots of Special Guests

This was a day of special, anticipated guests. In fact, we only had two drop-ins, a couple of guys from Brisbane, Australia who were traveling a portion of Route 66.

Our friend and frequent visitor Bob Swengrosh from Lake of the Ozarks, MO drove down to Afton with one of the Route 66 icons I've been wanting to meet in person for a long, long time -- Gary Turner of the well-known Gay Parita Station in Paris Springs, MO. Although I've spoken to Gary several times in the past and was even in the same room with him once, this was our first face-to-face meeting. Gary constantly sends travelers to my Station and I do the same for his. Gary is known as one of the premier Route 66 ambassadors, and his stories are known all over the world. Here are Gary (left) and Bob.
Besides Gary, Bob also brought me another present -- this whimsical pair of pink flamingos! They will soon find a place at Afton Station. Sticking their heads out of one of the cars, perhaps?
My computer friend Susan Yates, another person I've communicated with quite a bit without having met face-to-face even though she lives not far from me in Tulsa, came for a visit this afternoon and brought along Debbie and Matt Churchill from Gloucester, England. This is the second time Debbie and Matt have visited Susan and made Route 66 trips with her, but the last time Afton Station wasn't open. We remedied that today with a nice long visit. What charming folks! Susan brought me gifts, too -- some lovely coasters she made herself out of Route 66 fabric and a jar of yummy Halloween trail mix (which Ron M. and I partially polished off in the car on the way home from Afton!). Thank you! Here are Debbie (left) and Susan after examining the Packard motorbus.

And here is Matt, getting up close and personal with the '58 Packard Hawk.
Ron M. was with me today and very helpful, as usual. Betty, Tattoo Man, and Marly also stopped by for a while, and it seemed like a very full day despite the low number of visitors.

Oh yes, another gift! On Tuesday, Candy Fuser from Afton, dropped in with a piece of memorabilia -- this auto brush advertising the long gone Painter Phillips 66 Station which is now empty and decaying. I do hope that station can be revived and restored some day! Meanwhile, I'm so grateful to have this momento.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pontiacs and Packards

Oh, how I wish I had about 4 more hours in each day! I never feel like I have time to do everything I want. I already have a list of nine things that I must get done tomorrow afternoon, after dialysis, just to catch up. In December, I plan to take a few days off from Afton Station and really catch up.

Meanwhile, it was good day at the Station today, with an average number of visitors (10) but some interesting ones. These fellows, from Phoenix, AZ and Gibsonburg, OH rolled in in their 1937 Pontiac, taking it across the country for the second time in three years. Beautiful car, but. . .
. . . they had a really creepy passenger in the back seat!

This gentleman from Pleasant Ridge, MI impressed us with his Route 66 knowledge after several trips. He's a graphic designer who has created some works with a Route 66 theme. ( He had just visited with "McJerry" McClanahan at his studio and had bought a copy of the book just published this week by McJerry, Jim Ross, and Shellee Graham. Coincidentally, I received my copy yesterday as well. The book is BEAUTIFUL! Afton Station got a very nice write-up, too. I'll talk more about the book later in the week. I do have copies available for sale at the Station. Think Christmas presents!

One of the Packards that has been in David's garage at home for so long that I'd forgotten we had it came back to roost in the new showroom today. It's this beauty of a 1937 Super 8. It's massive in size and completely original. David intends to keep it original unrestored. I concur.

Ron M. accompanied me to the Station today. Tattoo Man came in to show us an article about his tattoos in his hometown newspaper, and Betty stopped by briefly, too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thanks for Hitting Me!

I'm excited about the 100,000th hit on my "Ramblings. . ." blog! Thanks so much to all who support this crazy effort. It feels good to know that there are a few people out there who like to read what I write. (Or, maybe there's just one person who comes back over 100 times a day?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Today Wasn't Yesterday!

It's always strange when a slow day follows a busy one. These two weekend days couldn't have been more different, and yet both were interesting in their own way. As you know, yesterday was a mad rush of people and vehicles and we could barely keep up with the crowds.

Today, not so much. There were only three actual visitors all day, "actual" meaning newcomers on tour. They came from Harrisonville, MO and Rogers, AR. Most of our day was taken up with a photo shoot. Rick and Richard from Cimarron Photo and Design in Oklahoma City, which is producing a film about Oklahoma Route 66, came back for the third time to shoot Afton Station for the film. Today they returned specifically to take still photos of me to run during the interview which I gave a few weeks ago. Well, you know how much I hate having my picture taken. I expected this to be torture, but the guys are so nice and so friendly that they made it fun. Plus, Richard promised to Photoshop the hell out of my photo, so I'm not going to worry about it. He said he'd make me look like Marilyn Monroe. Hey, he's a photographer, not a magician! Anyway, here they are setting up. I don't look happy!Here's Rick making adjustments. . .

. . . and here's Richard in the car showroom getting some more shots. We got to see the photos they'd taken on previous visits, and they're really, really good!

This slow tourist day may signal the end of the busy season. But I'm not giving up just yet. We'll be open 7 days next week, and probably won't reduce hours until several weeks into November. So, see you on Tuesday!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

21 x A = FUN!

Model A Fords to the right of us. . .

Model A Fords to the left of us. . .

Model A Fords all around us. . .
. . . and we were thrilled about it! This gorgeous fleet of 21 Model As from the Tulsa Model A Club paid a late afternoon visit to Afton Station and, as in the past, we welcomed them with open arms. There were approximately 42 people in the group, and their tour leader Ken Brust (shown below with his wife) planned an ambitious 3-day outing for the group, which included visits to the Coleman Theater in Miami, Har-Ber Village in Grove, Darryl Starbird's Museum on Monkey Island, a meal at Waylan's Ku Ku, and of course Afton Station! Thanks so much, folks, for putting us on your schedule. We love it when you visit.
Along with the Model A folks, it was a very, very busy day. We had 37 other visitors (plus a few that slipped past when I was busy), and they came from Joplin MO, Findlay OH, Lawrence KS, Medford OR, Vilonia AR, Columbus OH, Kansas City MO, Long Island NY, and the following towns in Oklahoma -- Ponca City, Stillwater, Jay, Afton, Drumright, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City.

One who slipped away was a guy on a bicycle. He came and went before I could talk to him, but it appears by the flag on his bike in the picture taken by Ron M., that he was from Texas. Sorry to miss hearing his story.
This gentleman from Findlay, OH enjoyed his time behind the wheel of the 1917 motor home. Since we had the big garage door open in that building, there was more light in there in which to admire the older cars and the motor home.

Ron M. was the official photographer today, among all the other help he offers, and Marly was busy down the road removing the gravel from the short stretch of Ribbon Road in front of the new monument. Phil and Robin dropped in, and so did Betty Wheatley. RhondaLee from Kansas City, an old friend of Betty's, came by and I finally got to meet the woman I've talked to on the phone and Facebook but never previously met in person.

Whew, I'm kind of tired. There were more photos taken today, but perhaps I'll have time to post them tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Separated at Birth

We've all heard about siblings separated at birth and then finding each other 40 or more years later, but I never expected to meet anyone to whom this has happened. Today, we were visited by two brothers who found each other recently under just such circumstances. They were traveling together and enjoying each other's company. What a nice story!

Other visitors had nice stories, too, today. It was just Marly and me today, and the morning was absolutely flat. But around noon things turned around and we ended up with 15 visitors, not bad for a Thursday in October. Yesterday, Robin worked and had only 8 people drop in. Today, we hosted folks from Orlando FL, Wilmington NC, New South Wales Australia, and Owasso, Broken Bow, Vinita, Tulsa, Miami, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Looks like Afton Station will be getting another wonderful iconic Route 66 "art object" in the near future. That's all I can say except that some very generous people are donating it to Afton Station. I'm very excited about this acquisition, but can't let the cat out of the bag just yet. Stay tuned.

We are gearing up for what should turn out to be a very big weekend at the Station. Saturday, for example, we are expecting 25 Model A vehicles to visit. Fun!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Super Slooooooow Day

Six visitors today -- just six. It was the first really chilly day of the fall here in eastern Oklahoma, and because I flatly refuse to give up my sandals just yet, my toes remained frozen all day.

The day began with a couple from Manhattan, Kansas arriving a little before our official opening time. That was ok, because Marly, Phil, and I were already there. A bit later, this happy family, the Williamsons from Clarksville, Tennessee came to see us, and we really enjoyed their visit.

Later in the day, a rather sad looking gentleman riding a bicycle and pulling a small trailer containing his sleeping equipment as well as, I speculate, all his other worldly goods. He looked around a bit and warmed up before moving on. He said he was originally from Indianapolis, but was vague about his current lodgings. I felt sorry that the chilly nights will no doubt make his travels less comfortable.

The only diversion of the day was watching Marly, Phil, and David wash David's enormous motorhome in the front driveway. He's taking it to Missouri this weekend and wants it to be clean and in good shape after several months of inactivity.

Saturday, November 12 has been set as the date for the dedication of the Ribbon Road monument marker in Afton. Please try to attend. It will be dedicated at 1:00 p.m., followed by refreshments at Afton Station (just a mile away) immediately thereafter. The Oklahoma Route 66 Association will be represented, as well as local officials and everyone we can entice into coming along for the fun.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Miss Dazey and Snortin' Norton

Memorabilia from the old Campbell 66 Express Co. (which was on Route 66 in Springfield, MO) and their trademark "Snortin' Norton" camel are prized "finds" for every true Route 66 collector. So, you can imagine my surprise and delight when Bruce Crim, a former employee there and a top collector of the memorabilia, came for a visit to Afton Station today. He came with his wife Linda, who until today was only known to me as Miss Dazey on Facebook and Twitter. She has been a faithful reader of this blog for a long time and we've frequently emailed about the blog. They stopped in to meet us in person, and Bruce presented me with a whole bag filled with Campbell 66 goodies! I am thrilled, and I'm already thinking of how I plan to display it in the showroom. Here he is modeling my new Snortin' Norton cap and a piece of advertising memorabilia from the company. There were a lot more goodies in the bag, too. Thank you so much, and it was delightful meeting both of you! Here is Bruce's site explaining the history of the company. Welcome to the New Campbell 66 Express
The first of our 19 visitors today came on this motorcycle which will be on the road for almost 4 months before the couple arrives home to Yacolt, Washington. They're traveling west now on the last leg of their trip, and they plan to do all of Route 66 until they get to California.
We also met this young couple from Bedfordshire, England. They are enjoying their very first Route 66 experience. Here they are chatting with one of our frequent Afton friends.

Others who visited today came from Pontiac IL, Claremore OK, Chelsea OK, Norman OK, Coffeyville KS, and Houston, TX. Friends from Afton, Reuben and Colleen Tipton (also known as the dear folks who give us the most awesome corn every summer) stopped in and they, too, had gifts for me. I now have a neat Route 66 bracelet and a Route 66 magnet which is already at rest on my fridge. Thanks, Tiptons!

I'm putting this picture here despite the fact that I believe I've already done so once or twice. I just want to let you know that the "Welcome to Afton" sign is still broken and the part that says "Afton" is still on the ground. And, we are still wondering when the town is going to take care of this problem. We have been told that it would be "taken care of". We're still waiting, and we're not sure if we'd get in trouble if we took matters into our own hands. Seems to me that a town should be proud to announce itself as people roll in.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Aussies are Back!

Very big day at Afton Station today! We visited with 13 visitors, plus a gigantic group of Australians brought to us once again by our favorite tour guide, Dale Butel. The Aussies came in two groups separated by about a half hour, which was fortunate because there were 72 travelers altogether. Being in two groups kept the crowding down, and Marly, Ron M., Tatoo, and I had a better chance to interact with the folks. As I've said several times in the past, Australians are such fun-loving people that I always look forward to seeing them. This time, Dale's group came in both rented cars and motorcycles. Here are a few random photos taken by Ron M.

Our other 13 visitors came from Catoosa OK, Temecula CA, Cologne Germany, Disney OK, Dallas OR, and Garland TX. This lady from Catoosa brought her two adorable doggies, J.J. and Riley. Or, perhaps they brought her. They certainly were leash tuggers! But they were well-behaved and beautifully groomed pups, and little Riley was one of the most "huggable" dogs I've ever met!
Now, for a little something completely off-topic, I introduce to you possibly the most ridiculous kitchen appliance ever put on the market. And yes, I bought one. Look! It's a microwave s'mores maker! I couldn't resist. It brought back such rich memories of gathering with Girl Scouts around the campfire of my youth. Just had to have one. Ron M. and I tried it out last night, and lo-and-behold, it produces decent s'mores. I know you're all jealous, aren't you?
See you tomorrow, when I'll have s'more to tell you. . .

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Intrepid Pedalers

We looked forward to today's visit from these folks, and they finally arrived around 1 p.m. They're from Maryland Hills, MO and Wilmington, DE and they're biking Route 66 in chunks. This year, they've been pedaling from Texas to Miami, OK, so this is their last day on the road after about two weeks. They're pulling two little trailers to haul their tents, sleeping bags, etc. Tattoo Man came to meet them, as did Marly and Phil. After about a half hour, they rode on to Miami. They are an inspiration!

We had 17 guests today, and the rest of them came from La Crosse, WI, as well as the following towns in Oklahoma -- Grove, Sand Springs, Sallisaw, Claremore, and Quapaw.

We are very excited about having been included in a list which is being posted on the Internet naming "Oklahoma's Top Attractions Along Route 66" by the Oklahoma Department of Tourism. There were a mere 13 sites on the list, so we are quite thrilled. See the list at:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Signs of Progress

For a long time, I've been dragging my feet on an important Afton Station project -- making identifying signs to put in front of the vintage cars in the showrooms. Well, finally (and many thanks to Marly for doing research), I finished the signs last night and Ron M. and I put them in the frames and placed them at the foot of each car today. It's a long-overdue courtesy for our visitors, since I don't always know the answers to questions about what's under the hood of each cars.
However, this extreme vintage car enthusiast (below), with his family, was first through the door after the signs were in place. And of course, he managed to ask me at least a half dozen questions that I still couldn't answer! Sigh. . .

They were nevertheless an absolutely delightful family (mom, dad, adult son) who came to see us on their motorcycles from Manhattan, Kansas. They certainly brightened our morning and reminded me how much I still need to learn about cylinders, horsepower, superchargers, and other matters automotive.

Meanwhile, Ron M. was busy trying out my brand new camera. It's a little red Nikon Coolpix, and so far I love it. He took this interesting shot of one of the old cars out back with the macro feature. Not bad!
Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones was with us for most of the day, and in the afternoon we had a visit from Dave Emerson from Kansas City KS, publisher of the Route 66 Yellow Pages. Mike Wheat from Pryor OK, a frequent visitor, stopped in and brought me a very cool Blue Swallow cap! We had very pleasant visits with all three. Throughout the day, we only saw 10 visitors. Those not already mentioned were from Kansas City MO, Kimberling City MO, and Lewisville, TX.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Beer and Potpourri

I keep forgetting to mention this. Not everyone who comes to Afton Station comes to look around the museum or buy a guidebook. Some come in for other reasons, usually misinformed as to what kind of a place we are. We frequently help lost people seeking directions. Sometimes indigent folks come in asking if they can bum a cigarette or, if they're lucky enough to find a butt in a gutter somewhere, they ask for a light. Occasionally people will pull up to the pumps and come in to ask us to fill 'er up. (Most are kidding, but a surprising number aren't!). We are also often mistaken for a flea market, a used car dealership, or a restaurant. We were also once mistaken for City Hall!

But the strangest request we've ever had occurred a few days ago, when a shabbily dressed gentleman stuck his head in the door and said, "Do you sell beer and potpourri?" Now there's a combination!

Anyway, back to the events of today. I must say, there weren't many. It was a slow day with a mere 10 visitors. They came from Vermillion SD, Noel MO, Oregon IL, Grove OK, and Tulsa OK. The visitor from Tulsa was Don Wagner, author of "Route 66: The Oklahoma Experience" which I sell at the shop. It was nice to visit with Don and his wife again.

We unpacked the new ball caps that Kathy Anderson brought to us yesterday. They're nice. Here's a blurred photo (oops!) of Ron M. modeling one. We have them in both baseball and golf style.

Ron had a sudden transformation moments after he put the hat on his head. If you buy one, I'm pretty sure it won't happen to you.

Here's an unretouched photo of this morning's sky.