Today was far more encouraging at Afton Station -- a real "thumbs up" day! Last night I had a short, not-so-sweet dream in which someone was shouting at me because I had closed up Afton Station early and gone home. Until that dream, I had no idea that I was harboring such guilt about my winter hours. Today, things got a little bit better.
I arrived at Afton Station an hour early this morning (fueled by that guilt, perhaps, as well as by the fact that I woke up this morning at 4 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep). I was up so early that I stopped for gas ($1.37 today), went to the grocery store for some stuff I need for tomorrow's cookie project, and also stopped for breakfast at Eggbert's in Claremore. I could barely stay awake while driving, but forced myself to remain alert in order to avoid being blown off Route 66 by the ferocious wind gusts. When I got to Afton, our Packard sign was almost doing 360s, and I only put out the flags for a short time before deciding not to sacrifice them to the wind and bringing them back in again.
My mood was lifted enormously when I had two visitors from Minneapolis within 30 minutes of opening up. Hooray! People ARE traveling! This father and son duo not only showed up, but were a couple of the nicest and most interested guests I've ever had. After much chatting, I sent them off to do both segments of the Sidewalk Highway and other interesting places to the east. And since Ron M. is going to accuse me of lying about having visitors (LOL!), I asked them to pose for this picture.
Here are Ward and Jake, a rare species of Route 66 Winter Traveler.
Later, I had several more visitors. Betty stopped by for a while, and also another one of my "regulars" from Vinita. Then, another local couple stopped in to have a look at the cars.
Betty brought me the most thoughtful Christmas presents -- several pounds of Amish butter and old receipt book from the former Buffalo Ranch Western Store, just down the road. Both are just perfect! The receipt book is already in my display case, but here's a picture. There aren't many places that still use those paper receipts with carbon.
The Western Store was just one part of the old Buffalo Ranch. It sold all sorts of Western clothing, hats, boots, belt buckles, Indian moccasins, and jewelry, according to Betty. In the picture below (from one of my old postcards) you can see the Western Store as well as the Trading Post. To the right, but not visible on this postcard, was Dairy Ranch, Betty's drive-in from which she sold buffalo burgers and awesome limeades, among other things, for 41 years.
It's incredible how a couple of guys from Minneapolis, some butter, and an old receipt book were able to turn my mood around completely. All in all, a very nice day!