Monday, August 31, 2009
For one thing, virtually all of today’s visitors have smiles on their faces. Not so with the Dust Bowlers of the ‘30s, whose motivation to move westward on Route 66 stemmed from deep poverty and despair engendered by loss of land and income brought about by climatic factors which had turned their once-fertile land into giant sandboxes and rendered their crops as dead as doornails. The Okies and others who moved west were doing so in order to find fertile earth and thus just enough prosperity to feed and clothe their families. They didn’t have much reason to smile. I doubt they had any concept of “kicks” whatsoever. Modern travelers on Route 66 are searching for something else. They want to get back to their visceral roots. They want to recreate the feeling of true joy that happens when one experiences the freedom of the road. There are very few people around these days who vividly remember the Dust Bowl, but there are still those who remember their own childhood, when travel consisted of a succession of small towns as seen from the back window of a Ford or a Studebaker. Every little town was different from the next then, and some of them held true wonders – a tourist trap where there were real live rattlesnakes to see, a store where one could experience the total ambrosia of a pecan log, a spectacular specimen of neon art. Today’s travelers just know that the old Route 66 is out there somewhere, and more and more are becoming determined to find it. Although the end of their road does not include newfound prosperity, it does contain a heaping helping of enlightenment.
The folks I meet and greet every day are a very mixed bag -- old and young, traveling solo or traveling in people-packed minivans, city slickers and ranchers, Americans and foreigners from (thus far to date) 23 countries around the world. The thread that connects them all is that they are filled with the joy of discovering something brand new or the satisfaction of rediscovering the old. While the Dust Bowlers got their kicks at the end of the road when they could finally return to a feeling of security for their families, today’s travelers are getting their kicks all along the way.
The Dust Bowl families sang:
If the day looks kinder gloomy
An’ the chances kinder slim;
If the situation’s puzzlin’,
An’ the prospect awful grim,
An ’perplexities keep pressin’
Til all hope is nearly gone
Just bristle up and grit your teeth,
An’ just keep going on.
Today’s travelers sing:
Travel my way,
Take the highway that’s the best,
Get your kicks on Route 66!
Every day, I feel greatly privileged to meet and greet these people, and perhaps, with luck, add a few kicks to their journeys.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
. . . and this gorgeous cow didn't seem to mind a bit if I interrupted his breakfast by asking him to pose for a picture.
No sooner did I get to Afton that Tattoo Man arrived just behind me. And only moments later we had our first visitors, three couples in three nice cruising vehicles.Those folks were from Milan MI, Grass Lake MI, and Loveland CO and were all traveling together, covering a good portion of Route 66. They all carried their copies of Images of 66 and asked us to provide autographs. That seems to be happening more and more lately. Many travelers are carrying something to be autographed, and I'm always kind of embarrassed to provide my rather insignificant signature. But hey, it ain't easy to be a star. [Very big ha ha]
A very handsome young couple from Italy arrived next. She was from Venice, he from Padua. They spoke very little English by I managed to gesture them around the Station, and I could tell by their permanent smiles that they were satisfied. They even attempted to ask for directions to some sites along the way, and I attempted to provide them. The jury is out as to whether they ever got there.
Later in the day, we greeted visitors from Muskogee, Pryor, Sand Springs, and Tulsa OK, White Salmon WA (love that town name!), and Emmaus, PA. Quite a few of our guests arrived on motorcycles, and I can't blame them. It was another absolutely perfect day for being in the open air.
Amidst all of this, I gave a cursory cleaning to the fridge and the microwave. You can't say I don't have an exciting life!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The folks from Miami OK caught my special attention because the gentleman moved to OK recently from the town in which I was born -- East Cleveland, OH. He was even familiar with the street we lived on when I was born. I always get such a kick out of meeting people who have some connection, however small, with my past.It was a cool, sunny day today, and we were able to sit outside when we weren't dealing with visitors indoors. It remained cool all day, and now there are some clouds in the sky that might mean rain is in our future, although I don't believe it's predicted. The numerous visitors on motorcycles today were all thrilled by the perfect biking day. With luck, tomorrow will be the same, and I'll be in Afton to enjoy it.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Jimmie O'Brien's Modern Camp, Niangua, MO
Lebanon, MO Hotel and Texaco Station
Lee Walker's Resort, Hazelgreen, MO
Central Auto Court, Holbrook AZShell Camp, Vinita OK -- artificially colored sky
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
As one of those '60s teen agers who drove around and around a drive-in in high school (in my case, Jerry's Drive-In in Lexington, KY) I have no trouble relating to this. It's a fun piece of Route 66 history. Boots Drive-In is long gone and there's a Credit Union in it's place.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
When we arrived in Vinita, the Chamber of Commerce reminded us that the Calf Fry Festival is coming up next week, too. I like to refer to it as the Testicle Festival, and it's open to anyone with the balls to eat balls. (I personally like them a lot!)
We got to Afton Station and hadn't been open very long when 48 people on Harleys roared in. It was Trond Moburg, a great Norwegian guy who leads motorcycle tours of Route 66 for hundreds of his fellow Norwegians every summer. He hasn't visited Afton Station recently because the timing hasn't been right, but today the group was there with bells on. I was thrilled to see Trond and the gang, and there was a special added attraction -- our friends Ken and Melissa Turmel from Oklahoma City were riding along with them!For a short time, the town was clogged with motorcycles. . .
. . . and folks were actually lining up to buy things. That's what I like! The Norwegian are such friendly people, and all speak enough English to make me ashamed of my miserable lack of foreign language abilities.
But that was far from the end of things. Ron M. and I had lots more visitors. . . adding up to my favorite number -- 66 ! Betty stopped by, and there were visitors from Cleora, Lawton, and Muskogee OK, Justin TX, New York City NY, Brighton MI, and Yorkshire, England.
The visitors from Justin, TX were Larry Davidson from our Route 66 Yahoo group and his friend, driving Larry's absolutely awesome and very retro 1960 Ford Ranch Wagon. The lines on that boat were just amazing. Love it! The photo doesn't quite bring out the enormity of this station wagon, and it's in top condition.At the end of the day, a handsome Italian gentleman (who's been living in New York City for the last 10 years) arrived on a loaded Harley upon which he's been traveling the whole country, not just Route 66, but everywhere else as well. There were others too, of course. Ladies from Lawton, Gold Wing riders from Muskogee, and a guy from Michigan who used to have an office in the old Packard plant in Detroit, and who was driving a very nifty older model Crown Victoria. Good, good, good day!!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Look! Look! A leg lamp in the window of a flea market in Chelsea! As a huge fan of "A Christmas Story", I want it!
At the Vinita car wash, they use strange colored soap! Only in Oklahoma..... ChinMex cuisine?!
It was a truly great day. Back to Afton tomorrow, but for now.... dinner and sleep!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It wasn't an overly busy day at Afton Station today. Nine visitors came from Colorado Springs, CO, Tulsa OK, Dubuque IA and Paxton, MA. I was particularly thrilled when the Massachusettes couple told me they stopped in because she's been reading this blog and felt she already knew us. That's never happened before, but that's what this blog is all about, so I was excited that my writing had lured these nice people to the Station. And since she plans to continue to read the blog, I insisted on taking their picture so they can see themselves here when they next turn on their computer. Here 'ya go, Debra!
The two women from Oklahoma City were the owner of a travel agency and one of the tour directors at the agency. They were scouting the state for places to include on several bus tours in the future. Since they were quite impressed with Afton Station, they plan to put it on future itineraries. Yippee!
The lone visitor from Colorado Springs, CO was on a motorcycle. He was taking his Route 66 trip in honor of his deceased father, who had always wanted to make the trip himself, but was never able to do so. He was doing well, considering the teeming rain through which he was forced to drive this morning. The Tulsa gentleman was a state worker who had passed the Station many times and finally had time to stop. He had a great interest in preservation.
On the way out of Afton this afternoon, we stopped to take a final photo of the water tower, which is finished. The name AFTON has been returned to the tower, but it sure would have been nicer to see a big Route 66 shield up there! At any rate, it's all spruced up and painted now, and that's a step in the right direction. Now there are TWO things in Afton with paint on them -- the water tower and Afton Station! :-)
P.S. Yesterday, when David was at the Station, he had two visitors from Tokyo! That's always exciting. He had a few others as well.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Photo du jour:
Yes, my prediction of chaos has definitely come true. The work continued to progress on the new building site, with all the accompanying dust and noise. Later, another fellow arrived, hired by David, to reconfigure the wall in the work room to accomodate the new air conditioner. So pounding and sawing has been added to the din. Eventually, Perry Knight (see previous post) and his friend Marilee came to take a ride in the '34 12-cylinder Packard. Both got separate rides, and David even invited Perry to drive the car himself, an offer he gratefully accepted. Although you can barely see him in this photo, that's Mr. Knight behind the wheel.
Of course, other guests came and went all day. I didn't get make notes of them all, but there were about 14, and some came from Spring TX, Oklahoma City OK, and Padua, Italy. (BTW, David tells me he had 4 visitors from Genoa, Italy yesterday when he was here working, so this has definitely been "Italian Week" at Afton Station. ) Apparently Italy is sending all the cute ones over here this year. Here are today's visitors from Padua. Another very attractive couple, and nice, too!
Toward the end of the day, several loads of rock had been delivered and when I left, it was being raked and smoothed. Here's David, the contractor, and Blackjack inspecting the work. I suspect that the pad will be poured tomorrow, and it won't be long before the building is up.