Sunday, March 29, 2015


Sometimes, especially on early spring days when we haven't quite hit our stride with travelers arriving every moment of the day, we  have some down time.  Do I spend that time dusting the display cabinets, scrubbing the filthy floor, buffing the cars?   Of course not, Silly!    What do I  and others do as we sit around waiting for guests?   Magazines!

Magazines!   Sometimes Afton Station looks like a physician's waiting room -- except that our magazines are kept up to date.  Between Ron, Betty, me, and others we amass quite a collection of reading material each week, and it's an eclectic collection to say the least.    Martha Stewart Living,  Entertainment, Cowboys and Indians, The Atlantic,  The New Yorker,  Prevention......   not to mention catalogs ..... seed catalogs, houseware catalogs, cruise catalogs, and one of my favorites, that catalog that features stuff for the elderly -- walkers, walk-in bathtubs, things in which to wrap your swollen legs, etc..   Also, there are the periodicals that actually belong at Afton Station -- the Packard Cormorant, Hemmings Motor News, the monthly publications of all of the state Route 66 Associations. . .  it goes on and on forever.  Believe me, we are never without appropriate literary stimulation!

We had scant little time for reading today, although we weren't completely inundated with visitors.  Those who did come came from Lancaster CA, Claremore OK, Ripon WI, and Rockford IL.   This foursome from California arrived in a sleek new motor home which they are delivering to a dealer in California.  They picked it up where it was manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana and are getting a "free ride" (plus gas money) to see that it arrives intact.  What a cool, inexpensive way to travel Route 66.  They are enjoying it immensely, too.   One of the gentlemen is a collector of VW buses, so he was particularly interested in our 1917 motor home.

The lady from Claremore OK is in the process of opening a shop in that town and was interested in seeing what kinds of Route 66 merchandise we sell.  We were happy to help her with some suggestions.  With Claremore being so close, I suppose we could consider her a business rival, but there are no rivals on Route 66.   We all believe in helping one another.  The other visitors were legitimately traveling Route 66 and enjoying the sights along the way.

Well, I'll sign off now.  Maybe there's time to read a magazine before bedtime.   :-)

Saturday, March 28, 2015


Sometimes I like to just sit back and observe the drift of humanity down Route 66.   They come for their very specific motivations, and no two motivations are ever exactly alike.  They stretch from people who have impressively well-planned itineraries and insist on militantly following them to those who just start out to take a little spring drive and find themselves on Route 66 with no particular knowledge or plan for their free  hours.  There's no bad way to cruise Route 66.

We had some of each today.  The day had a slow lilt to it -- no stress, no strain, quiet, enjoyable.  Fourteen visitors came through our doors,  including a short visit from Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones and his wife Roz.  Tattoo had a trike accident recently and he was just getting his bike back from the fixer today.  He has also recovered from the bruises and bumps he received from the crash.  We are very happy about that.

Here are the visitors from far and near. . .
 This couple came from Broken Arrow, OK.  He's a "car guy" who has visited Afton Station previously and just wanted another look.
Four jolly Brits from London who are drifting each day with no special  plan for their lodging each night.  I like that!  Our foreign visitors have usually planned ahead carefully and thus are on schedules which can't be broken.   These folks just drive as far as they please and then stop for the evening.  They have three weeks to drift and plan to get to Santa Monica, the Grand Canyon, and San Francisco.
They did allow plenty of time to admire our car collection, and were particularly enchanted by our Citroen.  I'm sure they see plenty of them in Europe, but perhaps coming across one in the U.S. was the charm.
Just out for a day trip was this couple from Tulsa.
And this interesting pair arrived shortly before closing time.   They both grew up in Afton and knew one another in high school.  Then, just a month ago, they  reacquainted via Facebook's Afton OK Fan Page and began what seems to be a lovely relationship.  Today, they came back to Afton to see what's left of their childhood.   It's unfortunate that we weren't able to give them better news, since Afton is crumbling all around  us.  When they left the Station, they planned to cruise around town and share some old memories. 

Other "drifters" came from Pittsburg KS and Shawnee OK.    Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Did 'ya ever. . .

. . . have nothing to say?  That's me today.  Having survived last night's exciting (and frighteningly close) tornado action, by comparison today was oh, so very "ho hum".  We had two legitimate visitors to Afton Station today, a couple from Russellville, Arkansas, and that's about it.  Oh, my insurance agent -- and friend -- dropped in, too.  Ron M. was there as  usual, and Betty and Scott stopped by as well.  Thus endeth my exciting post for the day.  

I guarantee that the weekend will be far more interesting.  Meanwhile, forgive this one.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Driving Into Morning

                                        March 24, Sunrise on Route 66, Tulsa, OK

Monday, March 23, 2015

Something Different -- Kit Houses

Marian Clark, veteran Route 66 fan, author, and historian invited some of us to go along with her when she practiced a tour which she will be giving in the near future.   The subject of the tour is "Tulsa Kit Houses".   If you're not familiar with kit houses, they are better known as Sears houses, although Sears Roebuck wasn't the only producer of them.  A kit house is a house that was, in the early part of the 1900s, delivered as a pile of "parts", everything (seriously, everything!) needed to build your own house - all wood, concrete, paint, nails, bathroom fixtures, full kitchens, heating, ductwork, etc.   They were usually delivered by train and were dropped off next to the tracks, whereby the person who ordered them had to find a way to haul the massive pile to a pre-selected site.

They are surprisingly large homes, and some are quite elaborate.  Research that has been done for the city of Tulsa has found about 20 of them in the city thus far.  The price of purchase at the time was usually between $1500 and $3500.   Yes, that's for the entire house!!  Most have been modified, either extensively or slightly in the intervening years.  Today, we set off to find and admire about 10 of them.  Here are a few. . .

One of them is on the 2nd St. alignment of Route 66!
We also came across Tulsa's oldest house still standing, built in 1885 in what is now Owen Park,  . .
. . . and this monument to writer Washington Irving which was erected by one of Tulsa's early private citizens.  
If you  want more information about kit houses, let me know.  I can help you with your research, and the Tulsa Historical Society has lots of information, too.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Music Coming to Afton Staton Again Soon

Two days in a row of getting home very late doesn't make for a very well-thought-out blog post, so forgive me if I just spew it all out right here with no frills or fluff.  It was a big day and I guess I'm not used to it yet.  I'm tired, but it's a good tired.

Here's Cool Breeze, a local band that came today to ask if they might take some publicity photos among our old cars.  The answer was "of course!", and we've even started preliminary plans to allow them play this spring at the Station, as soon as the weather becomes more predictable.   So, look for announcement of a free concert soon.
These Kansas City folks are hitting the road head-on, as they travel parts of Route 66 with a ton of enthusiasm and pre-study.
Five awfully cute guys from Portugal stopped in, too.  I took the opportunity to photograph several of them.
"Like my new do rag?"

 "I think I'll just stand here and look gorgeous."
Ron M. gave one of the Portugese guys some much-appreciated advice about traversing Oklahoma on Route 66.
This shiny red '66 Chrysler 300 was driven by a couple from Chelsea, OK.  It sure looked good in front of the Station!

There were 29 visitors in all today.  Others came from Miami OK, Hutchinson KS, Kenosha WI, Seneca MO, Oklahoma City OK, and Houston TX.

Have you seen the latest travel information guide published by the State of Oklahoma? The cover is a work of art....tooled leather reproduced very realistically on embossed cover board.    These books are free from  the Oklahoma Department of Tourism.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

From Very Near and Not Too Far

Winter is over.  The buds on all the flowering trees are finally adding color to the landscape.   And our visitors, as usual, are adding color to our days at Afton Station.   They aren't coming from all over the world just yet, but they're coming in comfortable numbers.  Of the 24 visitors on this Saturday, the four from furthest away were these two couples from  Bolton, Ontario, Canada.   (My camera is being cranky again, so excuse the fuzz.)
These two folks (below) will have an interesting job this weekend.  They are official judges for the state of Oklahoma's Barbecue Competition which is being held at Buffalo Run Casino today and tomorrow.    They patiently answered all of our curious questions about what it's like to judge barbecue, and they observed that they weren't much in the mood for dinner on the nights after tasting hundreds of morsels of meat.  This is a gigantic production with over 100 teams, and is open to the public if anyone is looking for a fun activity for tomorrow.  These folks travel all over to do their judging, but they live in Omaha, Nebraska.  The grand prize is $10,000, so I'm thinking it might be time for me to work on my sauce recipe for the future!
A couple from Springfield, MO arrived in their 10th Anniversary '79 Trans Am, a rare car with only 1817 having been built.   It's a beauty and looks like it would be great fun to drive!
Our other visitors came from Bartlesville OK, Pryor OK, Claremore OK, Tulsa OK, Choctaw OK, and Broken Arrow, OK.   It was definitely a day for Okies to get on the road.  Ron M. was with me as usual, and our friend Joe Meeks came along for the fun today
I believe I mentioned before that our dear Phil has returned from California after almost 2 years caring for his aging mother there.  He'll be home for at least another week, and as you can see, Robin is very happy to have him back for a while.  We all look forward to the time when he can return permanently.
Afton now has a walk-in clinic and we're thrilled that they've named it the "Route 66 Health Clinic".   The more things with the Route 66 brand the better, and Afton citizens can really use  a nearby facility that can take care of their ailments.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Short Day

My morning mission completed (more about that another day), Ron M. and I arrived at Afton Station around noon to relieve Sue who had kindly agreed to "spell" us for a few hours.   When we got there, she had visited with 7 people, and by the time we left later in the afternoon we had greeted 9 more travelers.  They came from Kansas, Canada, Webb City MO, Alvin TX, and Afton.  I really have very little to report today -- just the usual, very lovely people who came for the usual array of reasons, from pressing pennies to looking for a specific guide book for their Route 66 tour.
This family from Alvin, TX did some shopping.
Scott, our local friend, came in as he does most days, just to say hello and chat for a while.  Justin, one of our junior volunteers who is on Spring Break this week, also stopped by for a while.  All in all, a short but fine day.  I feel sure that this weekend will be livelier.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Person With Too Much Time on Her Hands Checks Out People With Even More Time on Their Hands

I'm fascinated by unusual behavior.    With the afternoon off, I felt the need to drive to Broken Arrow (suburb of Tulsa) to check out a phenomenon described in this morning's news.  Another Chick-fil-A has been built in town, and the usual culprits were pitching their tents in the parking lot, in the rain, awaiting tomorrow's grand opening, at which time the first 100 people in line are awarded 52 free meals, one per week for a year.   I do not patronize Chick-Fil-A myself, as I strongly disagree with some of the attitudes and prejudices of their management, but even on my slowest day it wouldn't occur to me to camp out for chicken sandwiches.

If I had observed tattered tents and lean-tos which might have belonged to some of our homeless and  hungry population, my feelings about this campsite would have been different, but these were expensive, large, and for the most part new tents, and their owners were mostly young people, possibly college kids on spring break.

I'm sorry.  I really try not to be judgmental, but this scene made me laugh.... or wince... or maybe even frown.   And since it has nothing to do with Route 66, I apologize.

Here is this morning's news report on KRMG, a local radio station, with further details:

"The promise of free meals for a year drew a crowd to the Tulsa area’s newest Chick-Fil-A restaurant.It’s at 71st and Lynn Lane in Broken Arrow. The crowd started gathering as early as 4 a.m. Wednesday for the opening Thursday morning.
The first 100 customers who show up get 52 free meals from Chick-Fil-A.
KRMG found out people travel the country to take part in these openings.
“This is my fourth one.” A camper from Chicago said.
There were people in line who traveled from Texas and even Minnesota.
“This is all they do is travel around the country. They’ve been to 140 or something outrageous.” He added.
Broken Arrow’s new Chick-Fil-A opens Thursday at 6 a.m."

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015

    Flying High Over Route 66

    Sometimes a girl needs to do something different.  A spring day does that to me.   And since Sue is working at Afton Station on Tuesdays now, I have a virtually free day to do what I like.  I turned on the news when I arose this morning just in time to hear the new young anchor woman tell me about an event that was to take place in just a few hours.

    First, you must understand that I neither know a single thing about nor do I particularly care about World War II airplanes.  Nevertheless, on Route 66 in the small town of Bristow (45 miles west of Tulsa), at approximately 9 a.m., an old WWII aircraft was to take off and apparently that was an important and interesting enough event to pique my interest.  So, off I went.
     I got lost on the way to the tiny airport and so arrived too late to get a decent parking place, thus the unremarkable quality of the photos I shot.   The plane is "Round Trip", a C-47 which was coming back to life after 10 years of restoration work by Pilot Erik Aarvik.  The plane has an interesting history about which which you can read and see a video at .   It's kind of beat up looking, since many coats of paint were removed to bring it down to bare metal, but after what it had been through in the war, including losing part of one wing over Normandy, it seemed to be proud and happy.  It is being flown to California by a private company which recently bought it for display purposes.
    Round Trip finally took off, not a half hour later than its scheduled 9 a.m. departure.  My little point-and-shoot camera, coupled with my lousy vantage point, resulted in just one photo of it actually in flight, but I have to admit that the roar of the engine and the sight of the rotating props against the pink morning sky managed to raise a pretty good crop of goose bumps on my skin.  
    The plane will be landing in Shawnee, OK and El Paso, TX before reaching its final resting place in California.  And along with about 200 other curious folks this morning, I wished it a smooth and safe flight.

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

    Start With a Beautiful Sunrise. . .

    . . . and a beautiful day will follow.
    How true!  The sun rose on a beautiful day at Afton Station today, a day full of friends and strangers -- although once a person steps foot in Afton Station they are no longer strangers.  We had 23 visitors today, an eclectic mix of old and new friends.
    This couple from Muskogee, OK, for example.  They have traveled Route 66 in pieces and were exploring the northeast corner of OK today.
    And these folks from Wakarusa, KS.   Here are the mom and one daughter.   Dad and the other daughter were busy signing our workroom walls at the time.   The pup is Haswell, named for the town closest to the spot in the desert southwest where they found her, abandoned and hurt by the side of the road.  Two years later, Haswell is the luckiest pup around, with a beautiful family who loves her a lot.
    Ah, there's the other daughter, who actually found a place to sign on the wall.   They are few and far between these days.  Perhaps Haswell helped her find it.

    Other visitors came from Olatha KS, Stillwater OK, Tulsa OK, Hillsboro KS, and Collinsville, OK.  And now for the friends.. . Michael Scruggs dropped by early in the day.  Later, the always welcome Brad and LaSandra Nickson appeared at the door and stayed until closing time.   And just as we were contemplating closing, in walked Ed Klein from Arizona and Richard Talley from Tucumcari, NM.  The two guys were coming back from the weekend festivities in Missouri.  So good to see them.   Ed is restoring an old garage in Galena, KS and Richard is the proprietor of the Safari Motel in Tucumcari.   I managed to get this shot which I'll call "The Men of 66". . . with Ed. Brad. Ron M., and Richard.  What a handsome crew!!!!!!
     Time for me to rest.  Getting back in the swing of a busy Station is taking its toll on me.  It will take me some time to get used to the pace.  Meanwhile, Robin and Sue will mind the store several days this coming week.

    Saturday, March 14, 2015

    Bring it on!

    Although I wish I could have gone to the Gasconade Bridge rally in Missouri (because I'm definitely in favor of restoring, not replacing the historic span) and to Gary Turner's Memorial Celebration (Gary deserves a magnificent celebration!), at the last minute I thought it was important to keep Afton Station open during this weekend which I felt would prove to be a busy one.  After today, I know I made the right decision.

    Ron M., Betty, and Robin were in attendance for all or some of our open hours.  We had a wonderful and diverse group of visitors, 19 in all.
    These folks stopped in on their way to Gary's service in Paris Springs, MO.   They're Robyn, James, and Baby Diane Pring from Rye Brook, NY.  They were great friends of Gary and Robyn has made a magnificent scrapbook of memories for Gary's family.  Ron and I were privileged to sign a page, and two full pages were copies of my "Gary" essay here on the blog right after he passed away.   Robyn is an extraordinarily enthusiastic Route 66 fan, and her husband, who hails from England, isn't far behind.  They were accompanied by Robyn's father Sam, who didn't make it into the photo.   Diane is a 5-month-old cutie!
    This gentleman is a truck driver from near Dayton, Ohio.   He has passed the Station numerous times but this time he was determined to come in and check us out.  He was a cool, talkative fellow whose visit we enjoyed very much.
    Representing foreign travelers today was this couple from Norway.  The best I could do "interpreting" the name of their specific town from what they wrote in the guest book was Gjgur.  Not sure if that's accurate but later I'll check my resources and make a correction if necessary.  They are enjoying a full Chicago-to-LA Route 66 adventure.
    This couple, the last in the door for the day, are traveling from near Duluth, Minnesota.  They loaded up on guide books and maps to be used for future Route 66 trips, so we hope to see them again soon.   Our other visitors came from Erie KS, Independence KS, Denver CO, Tulsa OK, and Duck Creek OK.   It was a very special day and Ron M. and I both agree that we're back in the swing of things.  We're hoping some of our friends who will be traveling home from the Missouri gatherings will stop by tomorrow. Bring on the crowds... we're ready!

    Sunday, March 8, 2015

    Our Garage "Garage Sale"

    What better place for a garage sale than a garage?   And what better way to offer to the public some of the many Route 66-related items that we have accumulated over the years, many of them duplicates?    Since we really weren't expecting a lot of visitors today, this seemed like the perfect time to make it happen.  So we did!
    Ron M. and I spent the morning sorting, cleaning, and pricing the "stuff" on this table.  It's cheap and in most cases unused.   We have Route 66 games, magnets, mugs, models, pictures, and various miscellaneous goodies.   Come and take advantage before it's all gone!

    As predicted, it wasn't a huge day today.  Although the weather was still fairly warm, it was cloudy and windy most of the day and Sunday mornings never are busy anyway.   But we did have some visitors, and they were from afar.  This young couple from the Canary Islands, Spain are traveling all of Route 66.   (Extra credit if you can tell me how the Canary Islands got their name.  It's a bit surprising.)
    And this couple, traveling from South Bend, Indiana, was most interested in the cars, particularly Studebakers.  The gentleman worked for Studebaker for years, owned many Studes, and even now volunteers at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend.
    Our only other visitors were friend PJ and his wife Judy.   PJ is our "official" videographer and came from his home in Tulsa to check if we had a good winter.  We were pleased to say we had.

    And thus our quiet but productive day came to an end.  Just remember, we're open full time now, so please consider a visit.

    Saturday, March 7, 2015

    Hail, Hail! The Gang's All Here!

    Afton Station celebrated the start of March in a big way, with a full house of visitors almost every minute.   What fun it was!   We had about an equal number of travelers and regulars, 19 in all.   Our travelers came from Oklahoma City OK, Dallas TX, Milwaukee WI, Catoosa OK, Chelsea OK, LaCrosse WI, and Neosho MO.  

    First in the door was this family (mom, grandmom, and cousins) from Oklahoma City and Dallas, and what a great way to start.  The whole family is extremely enthusiastic about Route 66, have done a good bit of travel on the Mother Road in the past, and always stay in mom 'n pop motels.   It's so great to witness such enthusiasm, especially after a long, lonely winter.
    From LaCrosse, Wisconsin came this couple, also happy Route 66 travelers on their way home from a trip.
    Lots of friends dropped in, too, to celebrate the Grand ReOpening.    Betty, Tattoo Man, Crazy Legs Walker, Robin and Phil, Marly and Sue, and our young volunteers from the Afton school all stopped by.  As usual, Ron M. was with me all day and I don't know how I get along without him.  Also, David came by with six friends from Anderson, MO and took them for rides in some of the old cars.   It got a little crazy at times, but I'm not complaining. 

    I forgot how tired a full day at the Station can make me, so I'm going to stop here because tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully, I will be more articulate after a good night's sleep.   See you in Afton tomorrow!

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Check This Out.... This is Afton Station

    Ron M. has made this short video to celebrate our reopening in 2015.   Beautiful work, Ron!

    Thursday, March 5, 2015

    Let's Go!

    Let's go!   Let's get this show on the road!  Unsavory weather is supposed to move out in a few days, which to me signals time to spring into action at Afton Station.  We will be open this weekend and if it seems favorable, we will continue to be open for regular spring/summer hours thereafter.  Robin and Sue are chomping at the bit to get back to work, and so am I.  Ron M., too.  Take advantage of a beautiful weekend and jump into the car or on the motorcycle and do a little Route 66 cruising.  I recommend it highly!

    There will be a few changes at the Station this season.   For one thing, I plan to set up a "Garage Sale" table which will contain Route 66 items of all sorts.  Memorabilia or souvenirs, new or  used, these are items I unearthed as I cleaned and organized my home closets this winter.  I had no idea how many duplicate items I'd amassed, mostly kind gifts from friends or, in some cases, obtained on Ebay.  The price of the stuff on this table will be "Cheap". 

    I also now have the most incredibly wonderful tote bags for sale.  I've owned one for two years, used it every single day, beat the heck out of it, and it's still nearly perfect.   Hand made by a master crafter, every stitch of these Route 66-themed bags is perfect.  They're made from Route 66 fabric and have one outer pocket, six inner pockets, and a reinforced bottom.  They won't be cheap, but they shouldn't be.  I now have only two available, one large and one small, but am able to take orders for more.  
     Phil is back temporarily from his six months in California tending to his aging mother, and he's eager to spend some time at the Station during the month  he is home.  

    Tentative plans are forming for a "Monument Clean Up" day, which will be co-sponsored by Afton Station and the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.  The land around the Ribbon Road monument which we erected 4 years ago is beginning to look a little shabby.  Further info will be forthcoming, but for now I can just say it will include some painting, raking, mowing, planting and cleaning (and refreshments too, of course!)  More on this later.

    See you Saturday.  We'll  heat up the popcorn machine!