Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hooray for May!

Early in May, I found myself feeling  a little bit pessimistic about the success of Afton Station based on my customary  comparisons of that month to the same month the previous year.  Funky weather was going to keep the travelers away, I thought.  Well, it didn't happen!  Just before I closed up this afternoon I did a quick total of the books and found that we had greeted considerably more visitors than last May, and furthermore had made more sales than any previous May as well.  Yes, I know that its quality rather than quantity that really counts (and I do have absolute top quality visitors!) but it also feels good to know that the popularity of Route 66 continues to increase.  It's been nothing but up, up, UP ever since I opened my doors 11 years ago, and I'm sure that other Mother Road business owners are finding the same statistics.  So, onward and upward, folks!   There's a great future ahead.

Morning visitors to Afton Station had a special treat today.   That included the 13 folks from the San Antonio (TX) Corvette Club and several others from various places.  David, my ex-husband and my partner in this Afton Station project, was at the Station transacting business with some people, but took about an hour to lead a group of folks who wanted to hear some in-depth information about the cars that only David can impart.   I know Route 66 very well but am not as well versed on what's under the hood of a Packard.  He, on the other hand, is an expert.  His talk to the crowd included many interesting facts about the brand and specific info about our own cars.
It was a special day, too, for a young Afton boy who visits us frequently on his bicycle.  Today, one kind Corvette owner allowed him to sit behind the wheel and take a wonderful imaginary drive around town.
People streamed in the door all day, and I really tried to record where each came from, but I'm not sure of my accuracy.  I was so busy I took no photos after those of the Corvette group, but I did have a great time talking to a lot of interesting and interested folks who came from Lancaster MN, Bristol England, Los Angeles CA, Houston TX, Saratoga NY, Vancouver British Columbia, Cumming GA, Coffeyville KS, Invercargill New Zealand, St. Mary's WV, Cincinnati OH, Neosho MO, and Coweta and Tulsa, OK

So May turned out to be a smashing success, and now onward to June.    Get out there and drive, folks.  You don't have to do the entire Route in one trip, but if you live near enough to 66  or any other of this countries much loved  historic highways, at least go out some day and explore what is closest to you.  You won't be sorry!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Day Flew By

Sometimes I look at the clock and realize it's time to close Afton Station and go home, and it seems like I just got there!  Other than being a bit disorienting, it's the happy sign of a very good day.  Our 31 visitors today made it so.

I'll begin with friends.  Very loyal Ron M. was with me, of course.  Betty came for a while, Marly stopped in and helped out with some mopping (flood, y'know), and Route 66 friend Dean Kennedy used Afton Station as a short break on  his way to his new home in  Albuquerque.   Another Route 66 fan Rhys Martin came for a visit with his fiancee Sam Extance.  They are truly lovely people who will be married on October 10, but more about that later.
.  Eddie the dog visited from his home on Monkey Island (OK).  His "people" rescued him two years ago from a very unpleasant circumstance, and it's obvious to all that Eddie is extremely happy to be in a loving home.  Still acting very much like a puppy, he made our life exciting -- and loud -- for a while this afternoon.
Others came from St. Petersburg FL, Freeman MO, Peoria IL, Reno NV, Grove OK, Chelsea OK, Wichita KS, Chetopah OK, and Sacramento CA.  Although there wasn't a drop of sun all day, the faces of our visitors afforded us with enough sunshine to make it a fine day.

Friday, May 29, 2015


Thursday, May 28, 2015

If you're tired of hearing about our torrential rain, I'm pleased to report that by the end of the weekend it should be over.  Meanwhile, Lake Afton was reactivated this morning. Lake Afton is nothing more than a low spot in the road in front of the Station, but if the rain is heaviest the little pond could stay viable long enough to spawn a nice small school of largemouths..
Today, the water receded by the end of the afternoon so the high school boys in their beat up pickups had to stop racing through it to see  how far it could splash.  None of this stopped our visitors from coming however, some a bit damp.
When this couple from Troy, Ohio arrived on their Harley dressed entirely in bright yellow rain gear I remarked that I was starting to crave French's Mustard.  That rain gear does its job well, and between good protection and a will to continue the riders were just fine, still happily traveling Route 66, and even honored us by spending a bit of time with us as they dried out.  They weren't going to let a giant downpour stop them from having fun.
 A nice lady representing the Cherokee Nation stopped to get some information from us for their business directory and stayed to shoot some great photos of the cars.  Outdoor photos of  the Station would have to wait until drier times, however.
My ears perk up when I see or hear anything from Kentucky, in this case a couple with bluegrass connections and a fine sense of style.  In reality, they no longer live in Kentucky, but their loyalty persists.  They now reside in Lancaster, California.  They asked to take a photo with me, and I actually like the patriotic colorfulness of it.
These two are from Little Rock, Arkansas (she) and Bastrup, Louisiana (he).  More beautiful, shiny smiles on a dreary day.  

Our other visitors came from Fredricksburg Virginia, Forestberg Texas, Columbus Georgia, Liberal Kansas, Kingsville Missouri, and several towns near Kansas City. Two larger family groups who were vacationing at Grand Lake chose to spend the rainy day with us, too.

I was becoming nervous about getting low on some merchandise, but just in the nick of time some orders arrived and now we are virtually loaded up on anything you might want, including t-shirts, EZ66 Guides, beautiful embroidered caps, maps, and Route 66 flags.  One of my favorite new acquisitions are these sparkly t-shirts, which Robin has named "bling shirts".  Initially I only have a few but I plan to order quite a few more soon.  I love them!

Come see us this weekend.  We are warm and dry and we  have popcorn!

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Reasons Why There Will Be No Blog Until Tomorrow:

1)  I just got home.... very late

2)  Lots of photos to edit

3)  Visitors to Afton Station today were far too interesting to deserve a rushed post.

4)   The National Spelling Bee starts in 20 minutes and I don't want to miss a minute of it.   Love those little kid geniuses!

So.... I'll be back tomorrow with all the news from Afton Station.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Water Water Everywhere

You've no doubt already heard about the torrential rains and floods which have come to our part of the country in the last few days.  After years of drought, Mother Nature apparently decided to take care of that problem in just one weekend.   It's a shame that it had to happen on Memorial Day weekend when folks enjoy, among other things, traveling Route 66. It didn't stop the 22 people who came to see us today, however.

There was some road flooding and water levels in all the lakes in the area were up significantly.  We had a bit of our own flood at the Station to clean up this morning when we arrived at Afton Station.  Robin came over and managed to get our shop vac operational so it could suck up some of the puddles on the floor of the showrooms.  By the time we were ready to open, enough rainwater had been eliminated that slippery floors were no longer a hazard to our visitors.  Ron M. did his share of mopping, too.  Thanks to both of you
When the doors opened for visitors, the folks may have been a bit damp but still happy to be vacationing on the Mother Road.   The first came from Graz, Austria (home of Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Later, there were guests from Shaumberg IL, Moline IL, Pittsburgh PA, Humboldt NE, Milwaukee WI, Cushing OK, San Francisco CA, and Nottinghamshire England.
This couple is from the environs of Pittsburgh. . .
. . . and this young traveler is half of a couple from Nottinghamshire, England.

And here is Boy.  Boy has a longer and more complicated name, but apparently has been unwilling to answer to any name except Boy since he was adopted many years ago.  His family came to visit from Cushing, OK and their visit culminated in their buying of one of David's trailers.  

Betty came for a visit today and introduced us to Denver, a young man from her church whom she was giving a ride home.  Denver plays the guitar and perhaps some day he can be urged to play a bit at the Station.  We always welcome musicians!

We will be open tomorrow, so come ahead!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thirty Six - ish

I always try to get an accurate count of how many visitors come to Afton Station each day, but some days its easier to do than others.  Today, the people were in and out so fast that I was lucky to give each one of them my best smile and a hearty greeting.   I tried.  I really did.  Ron M. had his work cut out for him as, in his usual calm way, he continued to take the visitors back to the car showrooms and give them a few words of orientation to get them started looking at the cars.

For one thing, today was Alumni Day at Afton High School so there were people looking around at the town in which they once spent their youth, and most were dismayed by the downward spiral it has taken.  It was a pleasure to listen to a few people share memories of their Afton childhood, and it certainly sounded like it was a great place to grow up back before Route 66 was bypassed by the interstate.We also had our usual helping of visitors from out of the country, and also folks taking advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to take shorter tours.

A tale of two countries. . . . these folks from Toronto, Canada
 . . . and these from Christchurch, New Zealand
 . . .had some observations to share.  Here, the men talk as the women make   purchases.  Perfect!  The New Zealanders spent night last night in the Elvis room at the little motel just east of Afton and enjoyed it.
A couple from Kellyville, OK were in town to go to the grave of his great grandfather, Alfred Henry Roberts, who was the sheriff of Afton back in the late 1800s.
 A couple from Round Rock, Texas was in town for the alumni festivities, and he is the nephew of one of my favorite Aftonites, Ruben Tipton.  Two young couples who came in separately but at nearly the same time, were from Valencia and Seville, Spain.  None of the four spoke more than a few English words.. Brave folks to cross American without language understanding, but it sure didn't seem to make them less excited about being on Route 66.Another young couple from Houston, Texas is in town for Rocklahoma, a huge outdoor rock festival that takes place each year, and this year will be spent almost entirely in the rain and mud.  They didn't seem a bit daunted by this.
 This threesome from Colchester, England was fascinated by my antique condom machine, especially after they learned that since condom packaging had changed over the years the only ones that currently fit are those from England!   I thought I had them talked into sending me some for the machine, but perhaps not. I also learned that their town of Colchester is the oldest city in England, settled in Roman times.

Other visitors came from Beaumont TX, Bowling Green KY, Miami OK, Quapaw OK, Houston TX, and El Reno, OK.  We also talked to a lady who will be opening a health food store in Afton soon.  I hope this happens for her and is a huge success.  More tomorrow. . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Almost Summer

It doesn't quite feel like summer yet.   Hot days are followed by cold days, sunshine followed by clouds.   The traveling public isn't quite at its peak yet, and Memorial Day is still several days away.  I can't exactly explain it, but it's just not time.  On the other hand, a day at Afton Station would tell a different story.  We've had some good numbers, and the people we visit with are certainly in travel mode, meaning they're happily on the road and pretty thrilled with Route 66.

Today began with a couple from Aukland New Zealand now living in Alicante, Spain.  They are traveling Route 66, but that's not all. After their road trip, they plan to end up in Las Vegas precisely 15 years to the day from the day they first met, and they're going to celebrate the anniversary by getting married!   By an Elvis impersonator!   Ok, I was too polite to ask why it took them this long to tie the knot, but I did offer my services since I have by brand new marriage credentials which I've yet to be able to use.  I offered them a free, legal wedding right there in Afton Station but they chose Elvis instead.  Oh well, I tried.   Here they are, a lovely, fun duo..
Oh, and I forgot to mention that this is their ride.  Yes, across the country in 8 weeks on their motorcycle, culminating in marriage.   Love these people!
Our other visitors came from Oviedo Corlanda FL, Seneca MO, Napa City CA, Morud Denmark, Bella Vista AR, Souisburg MO, and Bentonville AR.

This couple is from Morud, Denmark, the home of Hans Christian Anderson.  This is not their first Route 66 trip, and they know their way around the USA.  
This pretty lady didn't want her photo taken because she didn't have her makeup on.  Really?  She looks gorgeous to me, as is!   They are from Napa, California and are also veteran Route 66 travelers.  

On the three days this week that I wasn't present at the Station, Sue and Robin met with lots of interesting folks from five or six countries and a number of states.  Although there have been some disappointments (i.e. cancelled tour groups, etc.) for the most part I am ready to predict that once again, this summer will exceed the previous one for sheer numbers of visitors.  I  hope I'm right!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Intrepid Dusan Denic

People who do extraordinary physical feats such as bicycling across America get my utmost respect, since walking from my office to my kitchen just about finishes me off.  Robin, who worked Afton Station today, was lucky enough to meet and share lunch with a Chicagoan named Dusan Denic, a guy who is taking his time to appreciate every mile of Route 66. He left Chicago two weeks ago and is in no hurry. I wish I'd met him, but at least Robin sent a picture.  They shared a pizza for lunch, so I'm sure there was interesting talk about long distance biking.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First of all....

... Joe came through with all the captions for yesterday's visitors.  How does he have a better memory than mine?  Oh, I know.  Everyone has a better memory than mine!  At any rate, thanks, Joe.  I'll try to do better today.

Today was a madhouse at Afton Station!  Lots of visitors, several dogs, interesting vehicles, and lots of chat time!  The morning started when these three cars rolled up across the street.   All belonging to one family, described to me as a true car family, there was a  '61 Nomad, a Rambler customized from four door to two door, and a '27 Hudson rat rod.   Great family with a kookie taste in rides.
A lady from Oak  Ridge, TN was next, with her 13-year-old dog Dynamo.  At the same time, a young couple from Malaga, Spain wandered in and I managed to catch all three in one photo as they discussed travel plans.
Dynamo wasn't the only dog in town, however.  Later, we had a visit from Flint and his people from St. Louis, MO who were "doing the road".
A fellow from Wasilla, Alaska (who works on the pipelines at Prudhoe Bay.... brrrr!) struck up a conversation with a couple visiting from New Zealand and their conversation carried on all the way to the parking lot.  They planned to meet up again later when their paths crossed.    This is what Route 66 is all about.  They made my day.
Bikers were out today, too, including this couple up from Tulsa just taking advantage of a near perfect day.  The big winds, driving rain, and serious threats of tornadoes last night were all gone as the weather settled into a cool, breezy day, the kind most enjoyed by those on motorcycles.
It looks like traveling season has begun with a bang.  We had 39 visitors today.  Those not mentioned above came from Enid OK, Kansas City KS, Chicago IL, the Bahamas, Bloomington IN, and Champaign IL.

Those interested in old gas stations (and if you read this site on a regular basis, you probably are) might be interested in a cool restoration ongoing in Oolitic, Indiana.  The owners visited with us today and told of their plan to restore the old pumps, etc.  Meanwhile they are living the station, which must be fun.  You might get a hint of the project if you go to Facebook "Bells Exhaust Oolitic."

Get Him To The Church on Time!

Over the years, we've  had a pretty healthy helping of honeymooners come through Afton Station on their "American dream" post-wedding travels.  Today was the first time that I can remember that we greeted a groom just 3 hours before his afternoon nuptuals.    The young groom is in the center of this photo. . .

. . . being calmed by his best man and a friend, cooling their heels until they had to get back to Grove for the ceremony.   We were honored to share a bit of this gentleman's big day, and I'm sure the wedding was beautiful.

Joe Meeks was with Ron M. and me today, and what a well-oiled team we made.  Joe took over photo duties as he wanted to test my little camera to decide if he wants one  himself.  Ron M. did his usual much needed job of heading our guests  in the right direction as they moved into the showrooms and telling them a little about the Station and some of the cars.  I, as  usual, did the lazy job of greeting travelers as they come through the door and, later, take care of sales.  We were fortunate  to have attracted a super array of visitors today which meant that once again there were no dull moments.  Add to that a delicious lunch of pulled pork sandwiches made by Nowhere On Route 66 just down the road and you have a pretty great day!


Uh oh!  I seem to have misplaced the little scrap of paper on which I make notes about the people I meet each day.  Now where can it be??  Probably left back in Afton, I'm sorry to say.  The photos are  here, just not the captions.  So.......  I will post the photos of these smiling faces now and add what I can remember tonight.  Then tomorrow I will fill in with details.  Forgive me!
St. Luis Obispo and Los Osos, California
Fruitland, Florida
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Ayrshire, Scotland
Wichita, Kansas
A very cool truck driven all the way from Britisn Columbia, Canada.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Carl Junction Christian Church Men's Spit and Whittle Club..... and others, too.....

Madness ensued today at Afton Station!    Fun madness, beginning with the above named group that arrived soon after we opened -- eight senior gentlemen in a van, all very excited about having a look at some of our gorgeous restorations.   They were duly impressed, and in turn I was impressed by these lovely fellows.
From here on, there are likely to be badly labeled photos and some seriously unspecific captions, since all 37 visitors arrived at the door at approximately the same time.  I confess to losing track of who came with who, a serious malfunction when one is trying to run a welcome center.   I apologize for anyone who is mislabeled.  Ron M. took lots of great photos, but it's my fault for not taking good notes to accompany them.
I was able to chat for a few minutes with this animated pair, Peter and Alistaire Matheson from Inverness, Scotland.   The father and son are traveling together and are having such a great time.   Would you believe that last year the father traversed the British Isles and other European nations on a Massey Ferguson tractor?  The 8000 mile trek took 5 1/2 months to complete!   See more about this feat at Facebook, "Tractor Bumble 2014".  What an adventure!
 Alistaire found the last remaining space for signing on our work room wall.
We also had unexpected visits from the Illiana Antique Auto Club from Illinois and Indiana, and at the same time from the Mustang Club of Southeast Virginia.   All the folks mingled and a young couple from Saville, Spain also driving a Mustang joined in the conversation.   There is nothing is more rewarding than seeing folks from all over the world meeting and sharing their impressions of Route 66.

Some interesting cars came our way today. . .

These two ladies, sisters from Mustang, OK and Columbus, OH.  stopped in a little later in the afternoon. . . 
. . . plus our friend Dave Emerson, producer of the immense and intricate Route 66 Atlas.  I haven't seen him all year so it was nice to catch  up.

There were also visitors from Los Angeles CA, Traverse City MI, London UK, Kansas City MO,  Tulsa OK, and Dayton OH.   Ron M. and I had a lot of fun with all these folks today, and I'm delighted to be tired but happy tonight.  I can't wait until Saturday!