Sunday, November 27, 2011

Visitors? What visitors?

Day 2 of the big shopping weekend has passed right by Afton Station. Today, I sold exactly $1 less than I sold yesterday, and that means $0. Don't get me wrong. I'm not there to sell things. But it's fun to wonder whether people are really out there shopping. According to the radio news I heard while driving home just now, there were plenty of folks out spending lots of money, just not at Afton Station.

The bigger disappointment is that of having so few visitors. Today, we greeted one man from Cape Canaveral, Florida, who had been visiting family in the area, and four little kids from Afton who were getting bored toward the end of their Thanksgiving vacation. Betty also stopped in for a while, and Ron M. was with me all day. We got a little cleaning done, did some reading, did some crossword puzzles, and Ron grabbed my camera and took a few photos.

Robin has made a number of the squashed penny bracelets in three sizes. She has also made a charm bracelet which isn't in this picture. I've been wearing my bracelet continuously and I love it.

We got out our meager Christmas decorations, and no sooner did we get Rudolph out of the box than he jumped on the cash register and went after the turtle who lives there. No worries. We kept him from making a meal of Turtle so a catastrophe was averted. Yes, we were quite bored today. At least the sun was out most of the day. Happy Winter!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday in Afton: The Results

Well, apparently the news of Small Business Saturday didn't make it to Afton, OK. On this day, I sold exactly one dollar's worth of merchandise, a postcard. Oh well, nice try. LOL! The weather was ghastly today -- cold, pouring rain most of the day, and a dark sky that made me feel like it was almost bedtime all day. I really can't blame folks for not taking to the road for a pleasant jaunt on a day like this.

Nevertheless, we did have three intrepid couples who chose today to do some Route 66ing. They were from Neosho MO, Oklahoma City OK, and Aiken IL. All of them seemed to be mainly unaffected by the weather and enjoying their time on the Mother Road. Here are the folks from Oklahoma City.We also had most of our "regulars" drop in and stay a while, so we had time to socialize with Ron M., Marly, Betty, Phil, Robin, and Michael Scruggs.

There is a group promoting the painting of murals on the sides of buildings along Route 66 across all of Oklahoma. I took a couple of photos of a very visible wall of a building in Afton which we think would be a perfect spot for a colorful mural. The bare rock wall faces Route 66 and it's unlikely that anything will be built in the vacant lot in front of it. Since this is just the beginning of an idea, however, we're not sure that the town of Afton could ever come up with the needed funds to support such an endeavor. Afton could sure use a facelift, though!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Small Business Saturday

On the way to dialysis this morning at 5 a.m. I felt compelled to drive past a part of town that includes a number of big chain stores because I'm always intrigued by the concept of Black Friday. I took the above photo outside of Sears. Later, as I sat in the dialysis chair and the nurse was inserting, rather painfully, two needles into my sensitive arm, what crossed my mind was that I'd rather endure those needles than stand in line outside a big store at 5 a.m. But that's just me. I'm not a shopper, I'm not a line stander, and I can think of better things to compete for than the latest half price gadget.

On the other hand, tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, and I'm assuming I'll arrive at Afton Station to find a long line of folks getting ready to break down the door in order to be first to get to my key chains, sweatshirts, Route 66 guidebooks, and postcards.

Hah! That'll be the day!

My point, if you haven't figured it out yet, is that I fully and enthusiastically support the concept of Small Business Saturday. How happy I'd be to see lines forming outside of any mom 'n pop business tomorrow or any day. I know it won't happen, but I do encourage all of you to think about patronizing just one small local store this weekend.

T-Day at My House

Are we having fun yet? We really did have a good time, although this photo must have caught these two guests at a "thoughtful" moment. Thanksgiving is over, I have a champagne hangover, and am off to dialysis to get my blood cleansed. Today, it really needs it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I take it back, at least a little of it. . .

I guess I should apologize, partially, for my unkind "harrumph" yesterday when it came to coverage of the monument ceremony by our Afton hometown newspaper. This week's edition has one more small picture, but at least this time there is one member of the Route 66 community in it -- Marilyn Emde, Executive Director of the OK Route 66 Association. The other three in the photo are Afton citizens who actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the monument. I think this is what happens when a photographer is sent by a newspaper to cover an event without properly being told who are the important elements. Maybe it's my fault for not taking the time to point out that the president and vice president of the Association were also in attendance, as well as a couple of people such as Marly who was responsible for transporting the monument 350 miles and maintaining the site. Oh well, at least folks in town know the dedication actually took place. Now, back to being thankful. . .

Early Rising

There are many advantages to being an early riser. For one thing, there are the sunrises. Those who read my blog regularly know of my affinity for a great dawn. But there are other advantages as well. This morning, as I was fussing in the kitchen at 4 a.m., I was also watching a rerun of one of last week's Jay Leno shows, and thus was introduced to Vince Gill's new hit song, "That Old Lucky Diamond Motel". Wow, what a truly great Route 66 song. Check it out at

Another advantage of jumping out of bed before sunrise is that on occasion you will find a friend who is also awake and alert at an early hour. This morning I got a very early email from Rick Thompson, who was also up and cooking. Attached to the email were a couple of great photos. Here's one that Rick took of the Waldmire mural that hangs in Afton Station. I think it's the first close-up of the map all in one shot. Very nice!

He also sent this absolutely fantastic black-and-white shot he inherited from his uncle. It was taken somewhere on Route 66 in eastern OK or possibly western MO in the '50s, when apparently people shot out electrical insulators as some kind of sport. What a hoot!

Now, back to the kitchen for more Thanksgiving preparations. Once again, I hope everyone is enjoying wonderful food among dear friends and family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep

I drove up to Grove today to claim my annual fried turkey from David. This arrangement has been happening ever since he ended up with the turkey frying equipment after our divorce. Good thing we're friends, because he fries a mean turkey! This year, Ron M. drove up with me and on the way home we stopped at Afton Station to check on things. It happened that Marley was there too, and let me know that we've had a pretty good number of visitors on the days when I've been absent while he's been there working on cars, etc. This is great news.

Marly also brought us a copy of the Grove newspaper from the week prior to the monument dedication which I'd never seen before . Here's a rather poor photo of the excellent page which is almost entirely devoted to promoting the dedication. It's a whole lot better than the tiny 2" by 3" mislabeled photo on the back page of the Afton newspaper! Harrumph!
The other day on the way home from Afton, Ron M. and I took a little side trip to explore a little-known Route 66 alignment near Vinita. Phil told us that he was told by the owners of the property (just behind the pecan place north of the city) that it was a real alignment at one time. I want to find out more about this. If anyone knows anything about the validity of this alignment, please let me know. (Yoo hoo.... Jim R. or Jerry M., are you there?)
I was cruising around Tulsa on 11th St. (Route 66) the other day and drove into the parking lot of the restored Hotel Campbell. I was amazed by the plainness of the building and its main entrance. The "Ramada Inn" look of the exterior belies the exquisite rooms and overall elegance of the property. I hope that people can see past the outside and pay this exciting restoration an overnight visit!
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I guess I'm ready. After returning from Grove with the turkey, I put finishing touches on a few other dishes. It will just be four of us this year, so no need to overdo it. A casual Thanksgiving can be relaxing and fun. I give thanks for all of you, and hope your holiday is full of warmth, friends, and family.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday in Tulsa

So this is what Tulsa looks like on Sunday! It's been so long since I've been home on Sunday that it just feels weird. Because of a one-time change in my dialysis schedule, I had to go there this morning, and now I'm home and making a big pot of turkey soup. That may sound odd just a few days before Thanksgiving, but in order to make gravy for the big day, I had to roast a bunch of turkey legs and thighs and render the juice. Now, I have a fridge full of turkey meat! Meanwhile, Robin is holding the reins at Afton Station today. I hope she has lots of visitors!

Today is also the day of the running of the Route 66 Marathon here in Tulsa. There are a lot of streets blocked off, so it took some creativity to traverse the one mile from the hospital to my house. In 2008, our Studebaker was chosen to lead off the runners at the start, and that was really fun. Sadly, we haven't been asked back, but the Marathon has become very much larger over the years. Although I don't see much connection to Route 66 other than the name, I guess it's a good way to spread the word that Route 66 goes through Tulsa. Sometimes it's the locals who are less likely than visitors to recognize the importance of the Mother Road's presence in a city.
Here's one of the photos sent to me by Rick Thompson. It shows my ex, David, and his son Patrick checking out the Ribbon Road monument last weekend.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


We witnessed a sweet reunion at Afton Station today. Velida Palmer and her husband drove up from Tulsa to visit us and, more importantly, to visit Tripper! Velida is the artist who took a lump of fiberglass about 8 years ago and turned it into our beloved Route 66 penguin. Tripper has been photographed by thousands of tourists from all over the world since I bought him from the zoo all those many years ago. He's lived at Afton Station for several years, and before that he spent some time "on loan" to Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Tulsa. Since Velida last saw him, he's acquired a wheeled platform which allows him to be moved around from place to place. Velida was happy to see Tripper, and I know Tripper was thrilled by the visit. So was I. More of Velida's beautiful artwork can be seen at Check it out!
Robin, Afton Station's own Jewelry-Artist-In-Residence, has created some lovely bracelets made from our Afton Station pressed pennies. She has them in three sizes: Small for $6, Medium for $7, and Large for $8. They're available immediately at Afton Station. Come 'n get 'em!

The picture isn't the greatest, but the bracelets are nice!

Other visitors came in today, making it not nearly as boring a day as Ron M. and I had expected when we drove to Afton on a gloomy and very windy day. We had visits from 7 folks, from Joplin MO, Wagoner OK, Tulsa OK, and Bentonville, AR.

I received some nice photos of last weekend's monument dedication from photographer Rick Thompson. Tomorrow, I'll sort them out and publish a few here. Thanks, Rick!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Place Filler

I can't get used to NOT writing a blog post on a Thursday. But seriously, I don't have much to say, since I'm not in Afton today. So, as a filler, here's a photo of the beautiful color on the trees at the end of my street.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome to my first day of "vacation"!

It's my first "day off" from my regular Afton Station summer schedule. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I ran errands and spent an inordinate amount of time in Target. It's been so long since I've been there -- years! -- that it felt like I was exploring a new universe. A pretty boring universe, actually. A Made in China universe. I'd rather be on Route 66.

Here are some more of the photos Ron M. took at the Monument Dedication on Saturday.

Brad begins his speech. Since the wind was so strong, he needed to use a megaphone.

Brad being interviewed by Rick Thompson of Cimarron Photo.
Long-time Afton citizens Melvin Berks and his wife chat with others.
Oklahoma Route 66 Association President Mike Hickey (right) speaks to OK Assoc. member Rick Schmigle.

Folks sign the guest book as I look on.
Marilyn Emde, OK Route 66 Association and Carolyn and Mike Pendleton of the KS Route 66 Association.
Betty Wheatley and her sister Marlene serve beverages.

Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones chats with Glenda Pike of the MO Route 66 Association.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Video of Dedication

Two quick things to add to the post I just finished. . .

I just received this video from KOAM TV7 in Joplin, MO showing the monument dedication, and an interview with Brad Nickson, Eastern VP of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association. There's another story on the video, but it's just the first one that concerns the dedication..

Video - KOAM TV 7 Joplin and Pittsburg

Also, my blog layout magically corrected itself again. Sigh. . .

Listen here, Blog!

Just another glorious Oklahoma sunrise

Hey, Blog! You've picked a fine time to go wacko on me! Every now and then, Blogger chooses to completely mess up the layout of my blog. Now, I'll admit that it could be operator error, however it seems to happen without my input. The unfortunate thing is that I'm not HTML-literate enough to fix it myself, so in trying to do so I often make it worse. Anyway, please excuse how "Ramblings. . ." looks right now. I'm working on a fix.

Meanwhile, we had an extremely slow day today. Ron M., Tattoo Man and I mostly sat around and read Christmas catalogues, if you want the truth. We also did some remaining cleanup from yesterday's festivities and ate up some of the leftovers, so the day wasn't excruciatingly slow. The guests we did have -- a father and son from Grove, OK and a couple from Tulsa, OK -- were great! The Tulsa couple consisted of transplants from New York State and Germany. Very nice people. Here they are:

I expect to have some more photos from the monument dedication ready to put on the blog tomorrow, and perhaps even a video. And now, check out this photo I snapped coming home tonight. It's Turkey Mountain in Tulsa. Fall color has finally arrived here!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wow... Great Day!!!

As we had hoped it would be, today was glorious. The weather cooperated (except for a strong wind that didn't really bother anyone except those, like me, who were wearing skirts). The crowd was bigger than even I anticipated, about 70 for the monument dedication, maybe 40-45 who came back to Afton Station for the reception, then while many were still there, the group of 24 from the Eastern OK Mercedes Benz Club arrived in their neat old cars. It was party, party, party all day!

There were a few glitches -- an exploding 2 litre Coke bottle sprayed Coke all over, and I do mean ALL over, the room where we were setting up the refreshments. An iced cake landed upside down. One of the other cakes came out of the pan in crumbs. No sweat, though. All disasters were taken care of in no time.

We had Route 66 folks from Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri attend. Quite a few local citizens came too, including the Mayor of Afton. Brad Nickson, our OK Route 66 Association's Eastern VP, gave a great speech telling a bit of the history of the Ribbon Road and the monument program and thanking all the appropriate people.

There were also 11 other "drop in" travelers who came for a visit. They were from Wichita KS, Modesto CA, Riverton KS, Yukon OK, and Nottingham England.

Ron M. took many, many photos, but I don't have the time or energy to sort through them tonight. Over the next few days I'll get them in order and post more here. Meanwhile, here are a few.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Preparations for the Weekend

Shortly after we arrived at Afton Station, Ron M. and I left and drove down to the Monument so I could stencil the posts. They turned out pretty good, not perfect, not even close to perfect, but they'll do. I didn't really have the right equipment and the wind was a bit uncooperative. Nevertheless, they're done. Marly watched the Station for the half hour that we were gone.

We also got everything else ready for Saturday's big event. We've received word that folks representing both the KS and MO Route 66 Associations will be attending, along with the Oklahoma contingent, of course. I hope that a number of Afton residents will come, too. The event will also be photographed by some professional photographers. Should be fun.

We only had five visitors today. A man from Oklahoma City dropped in, as did a couple from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. They were in the area on their way to Texas and decided to do as much as possible on Route 66. Then, this stunningly attractive young couple from Genoa, Italy visited us on their very first trip to the U.S. They're exploring Route 66 as far as Las Vegas, then due to commitments back home they will not be able to finish the rest of the Route. Lovely people with a great attitude and appreciation of everything they've seen so far.

We had the pleasure of having Betty W. and Marly around for most of the day, too.

That's about all for today, but once again I want to mention that if you're anywhere near Afton on Saturday, please consider attending the monument dedication at 1 p.m. and the reception at Afton Station immediately thereafter. I'd love to see you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

That Lemonade Thing

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is probably the most overused adage in the world today. It's not that I don't believe it and agree with it, but I'd just like to change the wording to, "When life gives you a gloomy, damp stormy morning after being rousted out of bed by yet another earthquake and you couldn't go back to sleep so you end up at the grocery store at 3:45 a.m. and then drive to Afton in the dark, gusty winds, and heavy rain, only to sit all day in a chilly room with only two visitors. . . make lemonade!" Or, to put it another way, enjoy autumn and use the free time to do some creative tasks!

That's what I did today, during the L-O-N-G time alone between Visitor #1 (a gentleman from Dayton, Iowa) in the morning and Visitor #2 (a gentleman from Deer Creek, Oklahoma) who arrived just as I was packing up to leave. No offense to the visitors. Both were really great guys. But I have to say I enjoyed the down time, too.

I made a stencil which I hope to use to decorate the four iron poles with which surround the Ribbon Road monument. Although I'm extremely experienced in stencil making, I didn't have any of the right equipment with me (a sharp x-acto knife, stencil paper, a pane of glass on which to cut), so it turned out pretty primitive, but it's not horrible. It won't be blue on the posts. It's just that blue is the color I happened to have at the Station.

Then I made about 40 magnets and badges. Two of the designs are just for Saturday's monument dedication. I hope to sell a few that day to defray the cost of food and paper products.
Oh, about that earthquake. . . Yes, we had another one last night, and it jolted me awake again. I really don't hate the feeling, but I'm aware that folks in the small towns closer to the epicenter are pretty freaked out. So far, there have been no injuries, but people are losing their chimneys , the brick facing on their homes, and the crockery on their shelves. Here, about 50 miles from the center, we feel shaking but it's not violent although it lasts quite a long time.

I used the drive home from Afton on Route 66 to appreciate the foliage. It was still dark and gloomy and spitting a bit of rain, but that's just how autumn tends to behave. The leaves were showing more color as a result of the moisture on them. By the time I got home, I'd made lemonade out of those lemons.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Earth-Shaking Day

Having been awakened from a sound sleep last night by a 5.6 earthquake, I figured the day couldn't get much more exciting after that. Wrong! It was my first earthquake. It fascinated me and didn't frighten me, and I now realize that the state of Oklahoma has got to be the epicenter of every single weird climatological and geological phenomenon on earth. LOL!

But anyway. . . I arrived at Afton Station 45 minutes early, and there were already four people waiting at the door. Good start! They never stopped arriving, creating a full house all day. By the end of the day, I'd greeted 27 travelers, and most of them were on extended Route 66 trips. But more about that later. . .

We also had a visit from 17 members of a Japanese filming team which is traveling across Route 66 producing a travelogue for Japanese TV. They were mostly there to interview Tattoo Man, but they spent about two hours at the Station and filmed it from every angle, too.

While they were there, a gentleman representing the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association arrived to shoot a video that will be distributed to new RV buyers. He remained for a long time too, and was especially interested in the 1917 RV in our showroom. I'm so pleased that the word about Route 66 and Afton Station is getting around to all corners of the world.

This family from El Reno, OK came to visit because Mom has been a loyal reader of my blog. That always makes me smile! Although it seems odd that perfect strangers know so much about it, I have to say that my blog is apparently attracting only the nicest people. This family was no exception.
The rest of the visitors came from Flower Mound TX, Prosper TX, Wahaunic IN, Orangevale CA, Bristol CT, Virginia Beach VA, Frederickburg TX, Broken Arrow OK, Vincennes IN, Nowata OK, Berkeley CA,, Tucson AZ, and Grove, OK.

This past summer, we had a visit from a lovely young couple from Italy. Yesterday, I received this nice photo from them, along with a few more. It was so nice to hear that they had a great Route 66 trip.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Did you ever throw a Clean-Up Day. . .

. . . and nobody came? Unlike the last Afton Clean-Up Day, which was quite well-attended, this one was pretty much of a fizzle. The chairman, D'Ann, showed up, as did a couple of other people, but only enough to form one team to go out and clean up one property. I had a 30-cup coffeemaker filled up and ready to go, but most of it went down the drain. Perhaps the cooler weather had something to do with it, or maybe it was the large number of local football games. But as you can see, D'Ann and one volunteer, Mike, are still smiling despite the disappointment.
Getting to the Station at 7:30 this morning (yes, Ron M. and I had to leave Tulsa before 6!), meant that we had a rare opportunity to photograph in the dark. Ron took these really nice pics.

Once we dismantled the cleanup paraphernalia we had some down time, but shortly thereafter the travelers started to arrive. By the end of the day, not counting the Aftonites who did show up for the cleanup, we had hosted visits by 14 folks. They originated from Washington IN, Cedaredge CO, Grove and Miami OK, and Stockholm, Sweden. Marly and Tattoo Man were both around for a while, too.

Tomorrow might turn out to be very interesting, so stay tuned. . .

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Page One, Above the Fold

Ok, so it's not the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, but we did make the front page of the Miami (OK) News-Record yesterday! The article announcing our upcoming Monument Dedication (Nov. 12) might boost attendance at the event. Now, let's see if the other local newspapers will come forward and give us some free publicity.
It was a slow day with only 7 visitors, but they were a good bunch. Two gentlemen from Tulsa drove up on a "fact finding mission" as they plan to organize a very large bicycle tour of Route 66. Although they intend to start small, with perhaps only a couple of hundred miles the first year, they hope to eventually extend the distance and grow the roster of participants until it becomes something like RAGBRAI, the famous ride across Iowa which often has tens of thousands of entrants. How cool it would be to have something like that come through Afton on Route 66. Start training!

A local lady named Clarissa came in to introduce herself. Although a recent resident of Afton, she has fond memories of the town from her childhood. She is attempting to start up a photo business in which she would offer to take photos of travelers in front of their cars (or our cars, or our building) and then imprint them upon mugs and other items. Sounds promising and we said we'd help her in any way we can.

Our other visitors came from Tulsa, Grove, and Salina, OK. One gentleman was especially interested in and knowledgable about Packards. All visits were pleasant and much appreciated. Even so, each day I see a reduction of visitors. Yesterday, Robin greeted 12 folks, but all were relatively local except for a party from Toronto, Canada.

Joe Sonderman was kind enough to allow me to use his image of the Buffalo Dill's sign. Buffalo Dill's was an Indian trading post back in the heyday of Route 66. It was located 9 miles east of Vinita, which would make it 6 miles west of Afton. That would put it at the bend known as Dead Man's Corner. I plan to find out more about it from locals. Interesting!