Saturday, November 30, 2013

Back in the Saddle

After almost a week away, I was back at Afton Station today and very glad to be there.   Thanksgiving was nice -- dinner at a ridiculously crowded restaurant and a nice ride in the country afterwards -- but for me it's always nice to get back to routine.  My routine, for the winter, will consist of only driving up to Afton on weekends, but that leaves me more time to tend to my own chores at home.

There was another pretty sunrise today.
I picked Ron M. up and we headed to Afton.  The morning was cold, but by afternoon it was feeling a little bit like spring.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the same.  We had 9 visitors (not counting Robin and Scott, who both dropped in for a while).   Those visitors were mostly local types who were out for a refreshing drive on their holiday weekend.    They came from Kansas City KS, and Jay, Bluejacket, Bartlesville, and Miami, OK.  We really enjoyed this couple from Kansas City, who seemed to be having a ball on their long weekend exploration of Oklahoma Route 66.  Can you tell they're having fun?   :-)
Ron M. and I were actually pretty satisfied with the nine folks who came to visit.  Frankly, I was expecting a lot fewer than that.   However, on the last day of November I spent a little time at the calculator and discovered that we had almost 1/3 more visitors than last November, and they spent almost double what visitors spent at Afton Station in November of last year.  Maybe this "Shop Local" thing is catching on!!

We'll be open again tomorrow, so come for a visit please!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

918 Coffee -- A Plug

I'm back again.  Same day, new post.  But I can't pass up the chance to plug a new venture on Route 66 (11th St.) in Tulsa, and this morning I visited a spot that deserves to be praised.   It's called 918 Coffee, and it's been open for about a month although this is the first morning I've had free to pay a visit.   Housed in an old mechanic's garage called George Tunes, a complete transformation has turned the greasy old building into a sleek spot for sittin' and sippin'.
It's quite large for a coffee house, but it's size doesn't mean it's not cozy, warm, and quiet, which is what many people like in the morning when they just want to sit and be left alone.  I felt like I'd joined the youthful generation as I sat there poking at my new iPhone5, since all the other patrons were deeply mesmerized by their electronic devices, too.

The coffee I chose, a mocha with skim, was delightful, just right in every way, the cranberry muffin was above average, and the nice lady behind the counter was very accommodating and cheerful.  There are both tables and nooks with upholstered furniture, the lighting is restful, and even the parking and access was easy.  This is strictly a local endeavor, so of course I recommend you give it a try before you give up and head for  Starbucks.  I think you'll be as happy as I was!

918 Coffee, 2446 E. 11th St., Tulsa.  Open from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.


I'm awake early this morning even though I don't have to be.  Its 6:30 a.m. and I've already been to the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends.  Those who use Facebook know that many folks have taken part in a meme that suggests you post one thing you're thankful for each day in the month preceding Thanksgiving.  I haven't done that but I've enjoyed reading the daily posts of others.   However, my trip to the grocery store this morning made me assess my own everyday thankfulness for the extreme (and almost too extreme) bounty that is available to those of us who are fortunate enough to live in this nation of plenty.   And then I was reminded to be grateful that I'm one of the fortunate people who can walk through a grocery store, plucking things off shelves here and there, without worrying about whether I have enough food stamps to cover my purchases, or whether my credit card is going to be denied again.  Those of us who are blessed with plenty need to be profoundly thankful for that which we have, and we need to be willing to share the bounty with others less fortunate.
 I doubt this is coming as great news to any of my readers here, but it can't  hurt to be reminded that just about every urban and rural area in America has some sort of Food Bank that takes care of the heavy lifting of getting meals out to low income families.  There are numerous ways to help, from volunteering to deliver food on Thanksgiving Day, to dropping off a turkey,  to sending a check.  All are equally  helpful.  When I sit at what I presume will be a bountiful Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, I hope I can rest assured that I've done my part to provide for others, too.  I am, without question, one of the lucky ones.  I don't want to forget that.  Ever!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Five Moons

I'm at home today after dialysis because it isn't worth driving up to Afton for such a short day.  I put a note on the door of the Station and I hope to be forgiven by anyone who arrived to find the lights out and the door locked.  Today is a pretty ugly day for traveling anyway.  There's been no precipitation here, but the temperature is in the 20s and it's windy and gloomy.  Stay home, and come to Afton again next week when we'll be open and, I hope, thriving!

Although it's a little bit off Route 66, I feel the need to call your attention to one of the most beautiful bronze sculptures I've seen in a long time.  It's on the grounds of the Tulsa Historical Society and it's called "Five Moons".  The Five Moons are five Native American ballerinas from Oklahoma who achieved international prominence during the 20th century. They are Yvonne ChouteauRosella HightowerMoscelyne Larkin, and sisters Maria Tallchief and Marjorie Tallchief.  They are portrayed, individually, in a variety of graceful poses.  It is such an honor to have five world renowned ballerinas from our state! 

The sculpture was installed in 2007, and sometimes I don't think that enough publicity was given to the tremendous work of art, a tribute to Native Americans who have achieved in the Arts.  I daresay that few Route 66 travelers have gone the extra mile off Route 66 to view it, but it is well worth the trip.   It is on S. Peoria Avenue south of 21st St.  

Since the installation consists of five separate statues, it's a bit hard to photograph, but you can get the idea from these.  So, make a note of this for the next time your Route 66 trip brings you through Tulsa.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Not bad at all. . . In fact, very good

I had a major attack of pessimism as Ron M. and I drove to Afton this morning.  It was cold -- very cold -- and damp and dark and not at all the kind of day when one can anticipate a great number of cheerful Route 66 travelers to come for a visit.  As it turned out, there weren't a lot, but they were good ones!
My friend Karen (left) from Owasso, OK, whom I have gotten to know because we're both patients at the same dialysis unit, came for her first visit to Afton Station, and she brought with her husband J.R., her sister-in-law, and their adorable puppy, Cootie.  The pup is less than 3 months old, looks like a child's stuffed animal, and was perfectly well-behaved.  What a nice surprise to see them at the door.
This woman is in the area for the 8th Annual Route 66 Marathon which will be run in Tulsa tomorrow.  She's from New York City and this will be the 43rd state in which she's run a marathon!  I believe she said that altogether she's run in 47 marathons and, although she's not a fast runner, she enjoys looking around, learning about new cities, and taking lots of photos.  The Route 66 Marathon is run near my house every year, and several years ago our '50 Studebaker was the pace car, with David, Ron M., and I having a ball leading the crowd of thousands.
This gentleman from Johannesburg, South Africa stopped in on a partial Route 66 trip while checking out America for the first time.  I think he likes it!    Two other visitors came from Salt Lake City, Utah and Claremore, OK, both first time visitors.

We always have our share of "drive bys" (also known as scoot 'n shooters), people who don't get out of their cars and come in to the Station for a visit but instead take a photo from across the street then drive away.   Nancy Mueller, who owns the famous Blue Swallow Motel on Route 66 in Tucumcari, NM, has begun to snap photos of the drive-bys there and post them on Facebook.  I've decided to start the same practice, and post the photos here.  Today I caught my first scoot 'n shooter with my camera.  Here she is!  If you should happen to see yourself here, just know that we understand you not wanting to get out of the car on such a bitterly cold day, and perhaps you were in a hurry, but we really would have enjoyed meeting you!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vacation, Day 1

How did I celebrate my first day of so-called "vacation" from Afton Station?   By cleaning my office, of course.  Not terribly exciting, but very necessary.   Ron M. came over and helped with some of the heavy lifting.  Now I only have some sorting and filing to do, and then I'll be ready for the window guys to come in and mess it all up again.  I'm getting new windows in nearly all of the house . .  19 windows in all -- all solid wood to go with the covenants of the historic district in which I live.  I predict my own insanity before the job is done.
At least I had this beautiful tree in my front yard to look at all day.  It kept me from being totally depressed about spending my free day with piles of mess all around me.

Do you remember Manu, the French gentleman who visited us a few years ago while crossing the U.S. on stilts?
His photo appeared on Facebook yesterday as he walked through Atlanta, Illinois.  It brought back memories of one of the most interesting, unusual, and friendly visitors we've ever hosted at Afton Station. I hope some day he'll come back and amaze those on Route 66 who weren't able to meet him the first time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bounce Back

Well, well, well.   Talk about bouncing back from a week of having long days nearly devoid of visitors!  Afton Station was really hopping today, and it's good to know that Route 66 is still moving and shaking.  It was a perfect way to celebrate our last day before Winter Hours go into effect.

There were 16 visitors today, plus Robin and Betty both stopped in for a while.  Robin is getting used to her brand new bicycle, which she'll be storing at the Station so she can access it and pedal around town any time she wants.

This couple, from Vancouver, Washington, was on one of the most interesting adventures we've logged yet.  They're traveling no less than1,200 miles for a dental appointment at their dentist's office which happens to be in Mexico!  I guess when you like a certain dentist, you'll follow him just about anywhere!  Anyway, they're traveling Route 66 for some of the trip, so we were happy to greet these charming folks.
This couple drove up from Broken Arrow, OK.  They're pursuing another segment of a Route 66 trip which they are doing in stages.
This beautiful lady from Arkena, Ontario Canada was visiting with her husband, but her hubby spent so much time in the car showrooms that she and I had plenty of time to get acquainted while she waited.  They are also traveling parts of Route 66 on a vacation.
This gentleman visited twice today.  About an hour after he left the first time, he returned with his father and his son.  They are all collectors.  This gentleman collects old signage, and his father said he collects "everything".  He used to come to Afton often when frequent auctions were held there, but hasn't stepped foot in Afton for a while.

Other visitors came from O'Fallon MO, Rose OK, Wichita KS, Augusta KS, Bartlesville OK, and Seneca MO.

I may not be back here until next weekend, although I'm pretty sure I'll find things to babble about between now and then.  So stop back occasionally to see if there's a new post.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Decision Made!

After another very slow day at Afton Station, and after finding out Robin's day yesterday was even slower, I've decided to switch to my Winter Schedule beginning today.  That means that we'll only be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from now thru the winter, with potential openings by appointment on other days.   I'd need a call at least a day in advance if you wish to visit on the other days of the week.  Call 918-382-9465 or 918-284-3829.

We  had a mere four visitors today, a very nice couple from Bella Vista, Arkansas, transplanted from Wisconsin for their retirement years, and this couple from Lunenburg, Massachusetts.  They were doing a bit of Route 66 exploration on their way to his sister's home in Kansas City.
Ron M. and our friend Joe were both with me at the Station today, so we did have some fun and laughs.
But to be honest, the most exciting part of the day was when Joe got his finger caught in a plastic water bottle.  A bit of surgery (on the bottle) and his finger finally worked its way out.  (Joe, I told you I wouldn't let this go unmentioned... ha ha).

We took a different road home, through Big Cabin, Adair, Pryor, and Choteau.  It was nice to see some different scenery for a change, and we stopped at the Amish Cheese House in Choteau so Joe could buy a pie.  Ron got a photo of the giant Indian in Big Cabin, but since it was taken on the run, it didn't come out well.  In all, it was a pretty good day despite the paucity of visitors.   Tomorrow is supposed to be a springlike day, so it would be a great day for a ride on Route 66.  Please come visit!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A True Packard Woman

11:00 a.m. - Alone, with no visitors in sight, I spent the morning thus far sniffling my way through the latest issue of the Cormorant, the monthly publication of the Packard Owners Club.  Sniffling because I realized how much I missed the camaradarie of that group, particularly at our national convention. I haven't been to one in a lot of years. This summer the meet was held in Detroit, so there was a visit to the crumbling Packard plant which always brings tears to my eyes.   Also, the convention was attended by Margaret Dunning, who celebrated her 103rd birthday driving her 1930 Packard, as she does every day, but this time she had the excitement of taking it to the Indy Speedway and driving it at 70 mph.  She has owned the Packard since it was new. While at the convention, she was also allowed to take her turn at  piloting a riverboat down the Detroit River.  Now THAT is a true Packard woman!!

12 noon -   Police cars are speeding through town at about 80 mph, so something must be going on.  Otherwise, there's nothing but the hum of the heater to break the silence. This reminds me of the "old days" when I'd sit here all day with no visitors, looking out the window and counting passing trucks.   I'm cold. I've cleaned my desk and made a few price signs.  I've read two magazines.  I brought sushi for lunch, however, so all is not lost.
 1:00 p.m. -  Finally, some visitors, a wonderful couple from Gothenburg, Sweden.  They're traveling Route 66 during a lull in his business trip.  He works for Volvo in Gothenburg (of course!) and is test driving a 2014 model on this trip.   Good looking car, from what I could see of it.
Shortly thereafter, Betty came for a short visit and we had a good chat.   Two guys from Oklahoma City also came in and took a look at the cars.  One of them had been here before and wanted to show his friend.  After all that, I went back to staring out the window until it was time to head home. 
One thing I can see from the Station is this window in the 2nd floor of the building across the way.   Kind of spooky, don't you think?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Decisions Decisions

The morning sky was blazing red when the sun rose just before I picked up Ron M. for our drive on Route 66 to Afton Station.  It was majestic and beautiful beyond description but, as with all sunrises, it lasted only a few fleeting moments.  
It's time for me to make some decisions about the schedule we'll keep at Afton Station for the winter.  There's no doubt that the number of visitors is decreasing daily, at least on weekdays.   I'm thinking that two more weeks of the Tues. thru Sun. schedule will continue, but just before Thanksgiving we'll go to "weekends only", except when during the week I'll occasionally want, for my own sanity, to drive up to Afton and hang around waiting for travelers who may or may not come.  That means that for anyone planning to come our way, it's pretty important for you to give a call a couple of days ahead, if possible.  918-382-9465 or 918- 257-4044, and leave a message if there's no answer.
My goodness, it was COLD today!   This, apparently, is the beginning of winter, although it's supposed to warm up a bit for the rest of the week.  Eight intrepid travelers came to Afton Station today.  The couple above won today's distance award by a country mile (or several thousand country miles!), since they are traveling Route 66 from Patyah, Victoria, Australia, where they are sheep farmers.  They spent lots of time at the Station, but I'm not sure if they really enjoyed looking at everything or if they were just trying to keep warm!   :-)  We enjoyed their visit very much.

Our other visitors came from Nashville TN, Springfield MO, Vinita OK, and Bartlesville, OK.   Marly was with us all day, too, working on that fence.

For a few years now, I've been asking any of my visitors who have childhood memories of the old Buffalo Ranch down the road (now closed) if they remember having photos taken of themselves riding one of the stuffed animals (actual taxidermied horse and a buffalo) in front of the place.   If they have such a memory and still have the photos, I've asked them for a copy of the picture.  So far, I've accumulated about 9 or 10 photos.  One of these days I'll publish them here.  Meanwhile, if anyone has such a photo, I'd sure love to have a scan of it!   Perhaps, some day, there'll be a book. . .

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Malcolm Moose and Friends

It's always nice when a mascot encourages his family to come in and visit Afton Station.   Today, such was the case when a very handsome and well-educated moose named Malcolm insisted that his folks come in to the Station, thus we were privileged to meet a fascinating couple named the Millers who live full time in. . .
. . . this teeny tiny trailer!   Yes, the intrepid Millers (and Malcolm) have resided without interruption for over 2 1/2 years in the mini RV and in that time have traveled all over the country.   What interesting folks they are!  Ron M. and I thoroughly enjoyed their tales of the road, including almost constant nightly residences in Wal Mart parking lots all over the nation.   When they decided to make this move, they got rid of everything they had owned and kept only those belongings that would fit into the car and the trailer.  I am impressed! What fun they must be having.  They're on their way west to visit a son in Las Vegas and taking Route 66, of course.

I just pulled these pictures off of the Miller's Facebook page, those which they took while visiting Afton Station.
 Debbie signs the wall.
Ron M. and I pose with Malcolm.

In this photo, the lady on the right is from Aukland, New Zealand and is visiting for several weeks with friends (left and second from right) from Owasso, OK and their daughter from Wichita, KS.  I'm so glad they chose to bring their visitor to Route 66, and she seemed very pleased, too.  More extremely nice folks! 
Other visitors came from Porter and Strang, Oklahoma.   Once again, the morning was very quiet but things heated up in the afternoon.    I guess not very many people travel on Veterans Day weekend.    How fortunate we were to meet the fine folks who did visit with us today!

A big salute to our Veterans!   Remember, we won't be open tomorrow but will reopen as usual on Tuesday.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Nonsense

What a strange day it was at Afton Station on this beautiful sunny Saturday.   Ron M. and I had nearly lost hope of anyone coming to visit us when, at around noon, our first visitor appeared.  It was Billy Mack Harrison, the Mayor of Afton!   He's not come around much (only once before) but he stopped in today to give me a face-to-face answer to a question I emailed to him a few days ago.  Nice of  him to take the time!  Shortly after he left, he returned to bring me a couple of Buffalo Ranch souvenirs he found among his personal belongings which I have already put in my Buffalo Ranch showcase collection -- a souvenir plate and spoon.  Thank you,  Mayor Harrison!
Then there was more waiting for visitors.   I decided to fill some of the time by stenciling the numbers on our new mailbox.  Yes, we can now have mail actually delivered right to the Station.  (I'll still want things sent to my home address, however, until we are sure that the mail carrier has us figured out.)
All hell broke loose around 1:30 when every visitor we had all day arrived at exactly the same time.   There was this couple from Enid, OK celebrating their 30th Anniversary on Route 66.
Then there was a fellow who stops in often and always buys a great deal of merchandise and pays in either $2 bills or dollar coins.  Today, he bought two magnets and ten rolls of our souvenir Afton Station toilet paper ( ! ) and gave me 11 of the dollar coins.   He's a unique sort of guy, as illustrated by the silver high heeled shoe that hangs from his trailer hitch.  When asked what he planned to do with the toilet paper, his answer was "I dunno."
The gentle rumble of motorcycles signaled a visit from a Gold Wing group out of Tulsa, OK, nine people on 6 bikes, an unexpected pleasure.   We've had Gold Wing groups before, but this was the first from this chapter, GWRRA Chapter I.    Here they are.
Now remember, all these folks arrived at exactly the same time. And after they all left, not another person stepped foot in the Station all afternoon.  How strange is that?   We're hoping that tomorrow we'll have more visitors and that they come throughout the day.   

Thursday, November 7, 2013


First thing in the door this morning I had a run-in with a loose piece of wood trim and hurt my pinkie finger.  First bloody.  Then blue.  Maybe broken but more likely just bruised.  I'm glad it wasn't a harbinger of things to come, because the rest of my day at Afton Station was just fine.

Slow, but fine, that is.  Although yesterday Robin had visitors from Connecticut, Michigan and Tennessee, today all but one of our 9 visitors came from Oklahoma -- Claremore, Miami, Tulsa, and Bartlesville, all of whom were out for a day's drive on Route 66.   Our final guest was from Kansas City, MO and was a repeat visitor.  And since Ron M. wasn't there to remind me, I forgot to take any photos.

Marly and Robin were working at the Station on David's fence all day, so I was never alone and lonely.  The all day sunshine buoyed my mood, and by the end of the day I had established that my pinkie was merely bruised, not broken.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wow, what a gift!

A very generous guest at Afton Station the other day named Darin Williams created the following virtual tour of the Station, along with appropriate music and a map.  I'm blown away by the time and creativity it took for him to make it.   Now, even if you've never been to the Station, you can get a very good idea of what you'll see when you do get here.  Thank you so  much, Darin!

Autumn has come to my neighborhood.  The rain has stopped, the sun is out, and I'll be in Afton tomorrow to greet many, many (I hope!) travelers!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ebb and Flow

It seems odd that I think of the ebb and flow of tides often since I'm almost 500 miles from the closest tidal waters.  Metaphorically, it best describes the movement of the seasons as they affect the comings and goings of travelers at Afton Station. Every fall it seems as though there is at least one day like this one - dark, chilly, and I'm all alone here musing on my own mortality.  It's normal, I'm sure.  It's the season for people to be doing their own things.  Travel becomes rare and the conviviality of the holiday season hasn't quite hit yet.  Being here alone seems so futile, and yet rarely has a day here at the Station not improved if I just stick it out to the end.

Ron M. wasn't available today and because of the prediction of heavy rains all day I had thought about not coming here myself.  Yet something pulled me toward the car and down to Route 66.  Once I'm on 66, it feels like home to me and manages to cure most of my ills.  At breakfast in Claremore, I listened to the working men at the next table lament the loss of a colleague, their best carpenter.  I thought they meant death but it was merely his resignation. Thank goodness.  I didn't need to hear grim news on a morning like this.

It's almost noon and I've had one visitor so far, a young woman from Joplin, MO who was just passing through and decided to stop after she noticed our interesting exterior.  That brightened my day considerably.  Marly stopped in briefly, too, but couldn't stay.

A brother and sister from Cincinnati, OH winding their way back home from California after a full Route 66 trip came about an hour later.  Their visit further brightened my day, both by their presence and by the substantial purchases they made.  Here they are.
Two guys from Houston, TX, trailering a very nifty and macho motorcycle, stopped by on their way home from buying the bike.   Nice guys who were very appreciative of our car collection.  Here's the cool bike.
I think I'll close up and go home now.  It's only 2:30, but the rain is coming down harder and I want to take my time getting back to Tulsa.   It's very doubtful that others will dodge the drops to come in anyway.  See you on Thursday, which is supposed to be a very nice day.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Citroen Racer, a DX Station Owner, and A Fun Coincidence

No boredom today, with 18 fine guests who came in to Afton Station in a lovely, random way which allowed us to chat with each and every one of them.

They came from Galesburg MI, Battle Creek MI, Perkins OK, Coralville IA, Norman OK, Jefferson City MO, Checotah OK, Vancouver WA, and Leicestershire, England.
 A coincidence occurred when a couple from Michigan arrived about three minutes after another Michigan couple had entered the Station.  And. . . they lived 5 miles from each other!   Here's a photo of them after they learned of the proximity of their homes.  Fun! One couple is doing Route 66 east to west and the other heading west to east. 
This gentleman from England, on honeymoon with his beautiful new wife, revealed that he is a champion Citroen racer, and in fact won the U.K. 24-hour Citroen road race a couple of  years ago.  Who would have thought that those little cars would participate in such grueling competition?  This fellow has even raced internationally!  Obviously, he was surprised and delighted by our ownership of one of the rare Citroens in America.

Meanwhile, the folks from Perkins, OK are members of the Cimarron Starlite Cruisers and have recently acquired a DX gas station from 1960 which they are in the process of restoring and equipping with lots of DX memorabilia.  He was obviously interested in our D-X station.  (Note the difference between D-X and DX.   Our station is older, when the logo still  had the dash between the D and the X.  Later, the dash was removed.)  Here are some photos from their website,

A second visit from a man and his wife from Checotah, OK allowed us to talk about his very, VERY extensive collection of old signage, along with other collections including gas pumps, cars, and toys.  What an interesting fellow, and a collection to die for!

Marly and Robin worked out back today on a fence project for David.  It was cold outside, but they worked tirelessly all day and will do so most of next week as well.
Our autograph wall is growing more and more popular and BIGGER!  Here are a few random signatures from recent visitors.