Saturday, May 31, 2014

Czechs on 66

Well, here I am residing (very temporarily) in the rehab wing of a very nice, large establishment which, for lack of a better word, I'll refer to as the old folks' home.  I'm getting some criticism for staying in my room and not "socializing" with the other patients here, but I am really loving having this quiet room at the end of the hall which I've set up with my laptop, my e-reader, and my iPhone so it looks a bit like the bridge on the Star Trek Enterprise and I'm sure would shock most of the very elderly residents here.  Twice a day, for 75 minutes each, I have Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, and they're working on getting those lower back muscles back where they belong.  I feel myself getting stronger every day and, as nice as it is, I can't wait to get out of here!

I am forever grateful to my wonderful volunteers and employees -- Robin, Marly, Betty, and Sue -- for keeping Afton Station open and buzzing in my absence.  It's kind of a horror to think of having to be closed during the busiest time of the year.  I miss it so much!

Thursday was an occasion I'm really sorry I missed... the annual visit from the Czech Route 66 Association.  This year, they're doing a movie about the Mother Road and the travels they've taken on it every year with their intrepid guide, Zdnek.   They came to Afton Station to do some filming there, including a segment about Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones and his collection of body art, and from what I've heard from those who were there to witness it, it was quite a production. Lots of lights, people, vehicles, cameras and ACTION!  Here's a bit that got posted on Facebook.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Ron M. and everything he's done for me during my back ordeal.   He fits perfectly the definition of  the word "friend". He's been handing out Afton Station brochures to every nurse and therapist that comes by my room, so I'm sort of famous here as "the lady with the museum".   His philosophy is that there's no such thing as a bad time to tell people about our beloved Mother Road.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Miss me?

I'm sorry for the many days of blankness (as opposed to blogginess) here lately.  A little back trouble landed me in the hospital,  which is where I am right now. Hopefully, today I'll get a bed in a rehab center where I'll once again learn to walk.  Otherwise, I'm as fine as a frog's hair, as my backwoods college roommate would have said.

Writing this post on my cell phone isn't easy so I'll direct you a website you might enjoy. It is the finished product arising from an interview (of me) done by filmmaker/traveler KC Kiefer.   I would have preferred filming the back of my head, but it is what is. In the future it will be combined with other Route 66 interviews to make a larger presentation.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Breathing Space

Another wonderful day at Afton Station, calmer than yesterday and yet filled with interesting folks who were either celebrating Mother's Day by taking a drive in the country or in the midst of a full Route 66 adventure.

Sunday began with a visit from some biking folks from Burleson, Texas and Tishamingo, Oklahoma, shortly after Ron put out the OPEN sign.

As the day progressed, there were visits from travelers from Tyler Texas, Joplin Missouri, Huntsville Alabama, Brisbane Australia, Kansas City Missouri, Chelsea Oklahoma, and St. Louis Missouri.

The couple from Tyler, TX and the couple from Brisbane, Australia both arrived at approximately the same time and struck up a conversation about their respective experiences on Route 66.  I love it when travelers hook up to share stories!   Here are the very interesting and congenial Aussies....
. . . and here is Aussie husband exchanging thoughts with Tyler husband.
. . . while Tyler wife does a bit of postcard shopping.
The day concluded with a happy surprise.   Our friend Jane Dippel, intrepid Route 66 traveler and Mother Road advocate from St. Louis paid us an unexpected visit.   Ron M. and I always are so pleased when she drops by on her way to or from this place or that on the Mother Road.  In today's case, she was on her way to El Reno, OK and, if the timing is right, will be back through Afton on Tuesday, so we might get not one but TWO visits with her.  
For Mother's Day, Robin brought me this gorgeous bouquet of irises which grow wild on her property.   So pretty!
Finally, as you know, I had decided to close on Tuesdays so I could take a little break one day a week.  However, I changed my mind (that didn't take long!) and decided to hire Sue to take over for that day.  I can't bear being closed even one day a week during this busy time of year.  So, come along for a visit, 7 days a week now! Between Robin, Sue and myself, we hope not to miss a single one of you as you pass through Afton, Oklahoma!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Chicken Scratchings

Each day, I attempt to keep a list of the Route 66 travelers who come to visit and where they are from.  I also keep a list of everything I sold that day.   Today, my lists look like chicken scratchings.  The visitors came in so fast and furiously that my writing fingers were tripping over each other to keep up.

There were 67 visitors today, and thank goodness for Ron M. who, as usual, was a huge help.  Robin and Tattoo Man also stopped in for a while, and as  usual, Tattoo's trike drew lots of attentions.

Ok, here's where the folks came from, and after this I'll get a little more specific and show some photos, although there wasn't much time for picture taking today.

Carthage MO, Vinita OK, Bloomington MN, Hartform MI, Wichita KS, Shawnee OK, Tulsa OK, Nierstein Germany, Vancouver British Columbia, South Africa, Oologah OK, Perry OK, Pisa Italy, Ponca City OK, Spavinaw OK, Purcell OK, Moragta CA, Adelaide Australia, Topeka KS, Wasilla AK, and Waukegan, MI.

Our largest group was a contingent from the Harley Owners Group (12 people) who were scouting the Route for places to stop during their State gathering in October.  There will be about 1000 of them, so we put our best foot forward and I think they're definitely going to recommend the attendees stop at Afton Station.
This couple is from  Nierstein, Germany.   He just retired (early) after working for German General Motors.  He started there at age 14 and retired after 44  years.  Amazing!  He owns a '69 Opel GT and a '51 NSU motorcycle.
This couple is from Pisa Italy and are enjoying their Route 66 adventure.
Also from overseas, this father and daughter from Adelaide, Australia.  Mom stayed the car.  
Here are folks from Vancouver, British Columbia via South Africa.   (Oh boy, I hope I'm getting all this labeling right. As I said earlier, I can barely make sense of my notes! And at my age, I certainly can't 
rely on my memory!)
While her daughter from Spavinaw OK looks on, this woman from Purcell, OK walks her cute dog as Tattoo Man, in the background, prepares to leave on his trike.

On top of all this we had several people come to get their Route 66 passport stamped, a family from Grove OK whose 13 year old son is absolutely crazy over antique cars, Jess McEntire (the country singer), friends of Sarah Palin from Wasilla Alaska, and more.    Now, may I please stop and relax for a while?  I'll be back in Afton tomorrow hoping lots of mothers decide they want to celebrate their day by seeing some nice old cars. 

Happy Mother's Day to all moms!  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lights, Camera..... Action?

The big event at Afton Station today was the visit from Jason, a producer from RSTV, a public television station here in Oklahoma.  David and I were being interviewed for a show called "Around Grand Lake",  a half hour program which airs on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m.   It was a pretty standard interview despite Jason being there for over an hour.  David got most of the screen time this time, as he took Jason for a ride on the Route 66 9 ft. Highway in the '65 Impala convertible.  Mere moments after they got back to the Station, the sky opened up and we were treated to a major deluge. We need rain so badly now that we were all very pleased to see it.  Our part of the show will be cut, cut, cut until it fits into just about 5 minutes. Can't wait to see it!
 David expounding on a Packard
Jason hard at work.

The world didn't stop just because of the video making.  We had other visitors from Dittmer MO, McKinney TX, Hunenberg See Switzerland, Byron GA, and Kansas City, MO.
Our Swiss visitors were very impressed by Tripper, so they needed to be photographed with him! We all enjoyed these interesting and congenial travelers and hope they will return soon.

The family from McKinney, TX was in the area for the graduation of their daughter (right) from NEO in Miami. She's an equestrian and horse judge and plans to continue her education in that field in Texas. They were a very impressive family.

Betty stopped by and brought me more flowers.  These beauties are Indian Paint Brush.  We did a little research had found out that the flowers are edible if taken from the plants carefully, because the rest of the plant is poisonous.  You learn something new every single day at Afton Station!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Writing on the Wall, Route 66 Style

Ok, it may not exactly be the ancient Caves of Lascaux, but perhaps some day, many millenia in the future, Afton Station will be unearthed by archaeologists who will find THESE ancient examples of wall art there.

We love it when our visitors sign our walls, and even more so when they add a little cartoon to their autographs.   Our "wall easel" is growing and growing.   Some day, perhaps the entire work room will be adorned with remembrances of the folks who come to visit from all over the world.

Oh, and if you're wondering about the ancient cave paintings of Lascaux, here's one.  I like ours better.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Bicycles and Baggage

This Sunday at Afton Station on Route 66 in Afton,Oklahoma began with some intrepid bicycle riders and ended with an interesting old-fashioned way to transport one's luggage on a Route 66 trip.
These three guys from Halifax, Nova Scotia have my undying admiration.  They are bicycling from San Diego, CA to Toronto, Canada.  That's a lot of miles!   I'm thrilled that they decided to ride Route 66 for a good bit of their trek.  They are a father, son, and friend.   Check out thoughts and photos from their trip at their Facebook page:  San Diego to Toronto Cycling Trip 2014.  
At the end of the day, a couple from South Bend, IN heading for Pasadena, CA on Route 66 have brought back an age old way of transporting their luggage... on the back of their Miata!   They haven't tested its waterproof qualities yet, but aren't very optimistic about that.  In the meantime, it's very much increased the available square feet of baggage space.

And in between we had many, many other visitors.
For example, these two gentlemen from Barcelona, Spain who are traveling Route 66 with almost no English at all.  They were somewhat befuddled by the maps they were using, so Ron M. and I attempted to show them how to get across Oklahoma.  I'm not sure if we were successful, but they left having purchased t-shirts and with very big smiles on their faces.
This couple from McAlester, Oklahoma were on a mission to get some pressed pennies for their grandchildren.  The penny machine got a good workout!  They both traveled Route 66 when they were younger and today were reminiscing about former trips.

Other visitors came from Manchester NH, Crossville TN, Loudon TN, Rogers AR, and Detroit MI (got a photo of him, but it came out too blurred to post).  We were very busy and we loved it1

On the way to Afton this morning we passed the site outside of Chelsea where the Country Court Motel greeted visitors for decades.   It closed several years ago, gradually fell into ruins, and the iconic sign remained bright and rust free right up until it disappeared a couple of years ago.   Today we noticed that the site, formerly overrun by weeds and vegetation, is being cleared.  All you can see of the iconic motor court are a few cement pads.  I wonder what will inhabit the site next???

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spaced Out

No, I'm not spaced out (well, at least no more than  usual).   But our visitors at Afton Station were very neatly spaced out today so we were able to chat casually with each and every one of them.   It was a relaxing day on Route 66, and also a beautiful day.  In fact, we sat outside for a bit, although just as we settled in,the visitors started coming, so our sun worshiping was short lived.

I got home, just in time for the Kentucky Derby,  and did my annual ceremonial "Drinking of the Weak Mint Julep and Weeping Through My Old Kentucky Home" ritual.   I miss my years in Kentucky so much on this day every year.  Incidentally, my  horse lost.  What else is new?

Anyway, back to Route 66.   Our visitors came from Brisbane Australia, Navan Ireland, Rogers AR, Riverside CA, Kalispeel MT, Oklahoma City OK, Reno NV, Neosho MO, Tulsa OK, and Hamilton, Ontario.
Here is another couple of delightful Aussies.  They're traveling West to East and have enjoyed Arizona and Oklahoma the best so far.
Our Irish visitors admired the Impala.  We had a long, enjoyable chat with them.
Meanwhile, Tripper got a BIG hug from a young woman from Riverside, California.
And these three guys -- a father, son and uncle -- gave the penny pinching machine a good workout.  We also had a fellow from Hamilton, Ontario  who came in specifically to use the penny pincher but stayed to admire the cars.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Life is Like That

Often when I have the most about which to tell you, I have the least amount of time to post.  Life is just like that, I guess.  Yesterday was a wonderful day for Route 66, both at Afton Station and at the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK in the evening.  I believe I'll reverse things and start with the Blue Whale.

I'm sure nearly all of you are familiar with the great kitchy landmark and one of the most photographed sites on Route 66, the Blue Whale of Catoosa.  I'd give you the whole history of the icon, but it's available online here.  ://   Each year, the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce and the advocacy group called The Fins of the Blue Whale hold a fundraiser called the Blue Tie Affair.  I went this year, as did Ron M., LaSandra and Brad Nickson, Marian and Ken Clark, and Rick and Patty Schmigle.  It's held outdoors under a tent, a band plays, there's a silent auction, and great food is served by the folks at Molly's Landing just down the road.  The filet mignons, cooked outside, were superb, cooked to order, and served with baked potatoes, salad, and bread pudding.  Yum!  Had a great time catching up with friends and enjoying the nice weather.  Here are some photos.

 The band playing in the mouth of the whale!

 The staff from Molly's Landing working hard on food preparation.
 Kids from the National Honor Society at the high school were our servers.  They were GREAT!
 Brad, Rick, and Patty.  Rick was responsible for getting blue bow ties for each of us.  Aren't we cute?

Marian, moi, and Ron.   Because of my own error, Ken and LaSandra didn't get in a picture.

A panorama of the table setup.

For the first time, I got to see the plaque which was mounted above the window of the gift shop which I donated in the name of Friends of Afton Station.

Now about yesterday at the Station. . .

It wasn't a terribly busy day, but we had some interesting visitors among the eight who came to see  us. This young gentleman is an architectural historian from Sacramento, California who is measuring, photographing,  and assessing all the bridges along Route 66 for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.  This is to be sure every historic bridge is catalogued and if repairs need to be made, they can be made in the exact image of the old bridges.  Sounds like a very good project to me.

Here's a couple from Cambridge, England.  He's here as a freelance motoring writer and she has accompanied him on this Route 66 trip.  Obviously, he was most interested in our car showrooms, and had a lot of interesting information about English automobiles.
And now for a couple from Pisarzocoise (I think...), Poland.  We don't have many Polish visitors, so this fine couple was a treat!  He spoke perfect English, too!
A couple from Tampa, Florida and a local gentleman named Melvin Birks rounded out the day.  Melvin is about to turn 90 years old, but is still going strong.  He's a Model T collector and he came to tell us about a Model T group from Arkansas who will be visiting Afton Station in July.  

Yesterday was a long but great day!  See you this weekend at Afton Station.