Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Interesting Hodgepodge

Today was a bit crazy, but also one of the better days we've had at Afton Station for a while. For one thing, if you make future trips to Afton on Wednesdays and some Fridays, you will see a new face behind the counter. Meet Robin Phelps, whom I have hired to work the Station on some of the days I can't be there. Marly will still be working there certain days, but since his days need to be irregular for a while, Robin will be filling in. Robin is a native of Afton, lives only 2 miles away, and worked at Bassett's Grocery across the street for 15 years prior to it's closing. So she knows her stuff, knows Afton, and is quickly learning about Route 66. She was "in training" all day today, and caught on really fast! After she got all the basics down, she proceeded to clean windows, bathroom, showcases, etc. while I visited with guests, all without being asked. No complaints from me!!!

Bill McKibbon, a regular reader of this blog, and his friend Karen, came for a visit today. They're from the nearly unpronouncable town of Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada. These lucky folks have two months each summer to wander the byways and back roads of America, and they do just that. The last time they passed by Afton Station a couple of years ago we were closed, but I was able to make arrangements to meet them there today. They're on their way home from a tour of most of the National Parks of the west. Great folks!Bill and Karen

In the late afternoon, the Australian tour group led by John Cartwright arrived. There were 22 folks this time, in about 12 leased Mustangs (those Aussies do love their Mustangs!) and what a congenial group they were! Clearly, John was showing them a good time. I also didn't complain about the line at the counter caused by the copiousness of their purchases! This also gave Robin a good chance to see how we handle large groups. Robin jumped right in, led folks to the showroom, helped with purchases, took some photos, and made herself very useful.

John Cartwright, group leader

Aussies buying things!

A few of the Mustangs

Other guests were plentiful today, too. They came from Lake Ozark MO, Pleasant Hill MO, Perryton TX, Centralia OK, Ketchum OK, and Mio MI. It was very nice to have Betty W. be able to spend some time with us this morning, and Betty B. dropped in, too.

Yesterday, photographer Gordo Radford came for a visit to my home on his way to another trip out west on Route 66 to distribute more of his postcards and other works. We went to dinner at a very decent Thai Buffet (Gordo was in the mood for Thai, and I never object to that!), then a little ride around Tulsa just before sunset so he could take some photos. I just took this one, but it didn't turn out too bad. It's the main spire of Tulsa's art deco gem, the Boston Ave. Methodist Church.

Tomorrow, Marly and Tattoo will be handling another big crowd, Trond Moburg's 47-member motorcycle group from Norway. Oh, I sure wish I could be there for that one! Boo hoo!

And guess what! There was another sunrise this morning. . . and I "caught" it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Serene Sunday

For today's sunrise photos, I tried to catch it behind a Historic Route 66 sign. Bad idea. Oh well, the sun did rise, and that's all that matters.

Both Betty W. and Betty B. stopped in briefly today, but for the majority of the day I was alone at Afton Station. Although it was busy, it wasn't crazy busy. In fact, it was a very enjoyable day.

Our 19 visitors hailed from Claremore OK, Dallas TX, Bath PA, Ferrell TX, Owasso OK, Joplin MO, Dennard AR, Adelaide Australia, Berlin Germany, Port Credit Ontario, and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Four of my foreign visitors arrived at the same time, so I coerced them into posing for this international photo. Here's the lady from Ontario, the gentleman from the British Virgin Islands, and the couple from Berlin, Germany. It turns out that they are all on somewhat the same travel schedule and have met up at several other spots along the Route. Dean Walker up in Kansas was the one responsible for making sure they'd all stop at Afton Station. Thank you, Dean. It was an exceptionally enjoyable visit.
Here's the magnet display that took a header onto the floor yesterday. Several magnets were sold today, but the rest are back in line, awaiting the next person who dumps them. :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Visit from an Icon

Tattoo Man and I both knew the man looked familiar, but I couldn't place the face. Finally, Tattoo said "You look just like Roy Clark", and that's when I glanced down at the signature in the Guest Book and realized it WAS! For those who are too young or who aren't up on their country music lore, Roy is best known for being the host of "Hee Haw" from 1969 to 1992, having his own theater in Branson, MO, introducing lots of familiar songs, including "Yesterday When I Was Young", being a frequent guest host on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. I knew he had a house on the lake here (two houses down from David, actually), but never thought he'd come to Afton Station. It turns out that he's a car collector, too. He stayed for quite a while and we talked mostly about his health problems. At age 78, he's got problems with his hips and back, and recently had a device implanted in his back that may cause problems the next time he tries to go through security at the airport. He still does stage shows,though, all over the country.He was a really nice, totally regular guy. He and his friend arrived on a pair of awesome trikes, too. Roy Clark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

That was the highlight of the day. The low light was when a visitor accidentally knocked over the big magnet display with her purse and about 150 magnets went scattering all over the place. No big deal, but a VERY big crash!

In between, we visited with folks from Leawood KS, Ardmore OK, Oklahoma City OK, Neosho MO, Joplin MO, Miami OK, and Grove OK. There weren't many long-distance travelers today, mostly just local folks enjoying a pretty day or heading for the Calf Fry Festival in Vinita. Around here, we affectionately call it the "Testicle Festival", so you get the idea. Big plates of deep-fried calf nuts! I happen to enjoy them, but I don't know any men who will get near them. Vinita is known as the Calf Fry Capital of the World.

This guy was probably heading for the Calf Fry thing in his horse-drawn buggy. I passed him on Route 66 near Vinita.
"My" corn field has been mowed. Thus the end of this saga of my agricultural voyeurism, from seed to feed.
And of course there was a sunrise.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fritos, etc.

Believe it or not, now and then I just don't feel like writing. This is one such day. I'm at Afton Station with about 2 hours to go, and so far I've only had four visitors -- a couple on motorcycles from Monroe, Michigan and two solo local men, one from Vinita and one from Claremore. The Michigan folks were doing Route 66 on their way home from the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Across the street, things just appear and disappear. There's a desk chair over there now, on the sidewalk, and I can't imagine how or why it got there. Just another of the great mysteries of Afton, Oklahoma.

I took Ron M. to the airport today. He'll be on vacation for two weeks. Tattoo Man is out of the hospital but isn't sure when he'll be back in Afton. Marly is working on another project for the next week or so. Betty W. is getting her kitchen and bedroom painted. So, I'll be on my own here for a while, I guess.

Observation: Lightly Salted Fritos are a million times tastier than the regular Fritos. Why didn't they cut the sodium in half years ago? I'm making this observation because I didn't bring any "real" food here today, so I'm reduced to snacking. I don't really even like Fritos much, either the salty or low salt ones. I'd rather have a peach.

For the first time in months, I've not had to turn on the a/c today! I love it, and my checkbook loves it!


By the end of the day, several other visitors came to call. There was a gentleman from Noel, MO and a couple from Ponca City, OK. Also, Marly stopped by briefly and helped me close up. He was at the Station yesterday and visited with a group from Australia and some folks from France. Today, there were no foreign travelers at all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Titirangi, Jaszbereny, and Other Exotic Names

Uh oh! My imagination is kicking in this morning. That can be a dangerous thing. I'm in Afton, of course, and I've already had two visitors, a young woman from Santa Rosa, CA who is a tour director for Intrepid Suntrek (Intrepid Suntrek: Active Travel and Adventure Tours in Small Groups - Home), and her lone passenger on this Route 66 tour, a lady from Titirangi, New Zealand. (The places from which my visitors are originating are getting more and more obscure!). The two seemed to be having a great time together.

But now I'm alone and have been for a little while, and that's when I start imagining. I try to imagine this street filled with bustling humanity, quite the opposite of the sole shuffling man who has paced back and forth on this block for the last hour, maybe 20 times so far. Afton suffers from a woeful lack of people these days. Afton Station is the excitement hub of the town, but being the main attraction in a ghost town ain't sayin' much! Therefore, I must use my imagination. An open grocery store. . . dry goods store. . .drug store. . . cafe. . .cars parked nose-in up and down First Street. . .a waiting line to get to the pumps at the filling station. . .kids on the street happily sipping limeades from Betty's place down at Buffalo Ranch. . . folks walking dogs and stopping to chat with neighbors. . .trucks waiting to be loaded at the feed mill. . . families checking out and putting luggage in their cars at all of the many motels along Route 66.

It was all here once, and it's still here, clearly, vividly -- in my imagination. I wasn't here when any of these things really happened, of course. But I know they once did. The ghosts told me.
These four gentlemen from Jaszbereny, Hungary just arrived on loaded motorcycles and sporting matching vests with Route 66 patches, made especially for their trip. Meet Attila, Robi, Szlard, and Lati. Szlard spoke a bit of English so we could communicate to some degree. They rented their bikes in NYC and plan to drop them off on the West Coast.
A 1927 Model T rolled in around noon. He's a "T" collector from Stella, MO, traveling with his wife.

Next came a couple from Windermere, FL. I knew that Windermere was the home of Tiger Woods, and since the folks live right around the corner from him, she had some very interesting stories about the period in which the neighborhood was jammed with news vans and helicopters buzzed continually overhead.

Have you noticed that I like sunrises? Well, this morning's was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I'm going to post two pictures taken about 10 minutes apart. It was quite spectacular!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Norse Surprise

We were excited at Afton Station today when halfway through the morning, a large group of motorcycles roared up and parked on the road across from the Station. We weren't sure who they were until the chase vehicle appeared. It was a group from Norway, on one of the manyRoute 66 tours hosted by this tour company --[ Route 66 USA - Guttedrømmen blir virkelig ] (Sorry, it's all in Norwegian, but you'll get the idea.)
The group stayed for quite a while due to a flat tire on the chase vehicle. Charlie F., who was hanging out with us this morning, offered to go home and get his tire repair kit and air compressor because ours was missing a piece. Turns out his was missing a piece too, but between the two compressors, they finally got the tire repaired. I didn't mind a bit because I had a chance to visit with the folks for a while. Thanks to Charlie for pitching in and helping fellow bikers.
One member of the group, who sat with me for a while so we could chat, is from the archipelago of Svalbard. My first visitor from north of the Arctic Circle! Yes, really! The island is halfway between the northern part of Norway and the North Pole. Wow! He showed me some photos of the "island" on a glacier, a small village where he lives, and the polar bears who walk around town. I was mesmerized. There are about 2,500 residents in the summer but only about 40 (including him) in the winter. He's the tower-keeper at the small airport that's the entry point for the island. Svalbard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fascinating stuff!The man from Svalbard

The rest of the group shopped, breathed some cool air, grabbed some cold water, and waited for the tire to be repaired. Nice folks having fun on their trek from Chicago to L.A. in the blistering heat. Ron M., who was with me today, took these photos.

Of course we had other visitors, too. There were 33 in all. They came from Barcelona, Spain, Ft. Worth TX, Sand Springs OK, Cleora OK, Lakeside CA, Spring TX, Dallas TX, and Madrid, Spain. We started the day with a lovely couple from Barcelona and ended it with two guys from Madrid. In between, it was Americans who were mostly out for a Sunday drive.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I will not scream... I will not scream....

. . . but I'd like to! It was actually a nice Saturday at Afton Station. . . until the end of the day. I'll talk about that first and get it off my chest.

I try to close around 3 p.m., but I'm negotiable. Today, the last visitors left around 3:15, so I locked up, brought in the flags and cart, put away the money, turned off all the lights, etc., etc., activated the security system, walked to my hot car, and started to drive out of the driveway. At that moment, a 5th wheel trailer from NY pulled in, so I stopped to tell them I was sorry but I was closed. The woman whined a bit and said that since they were from so far away, they sure wished they could come in for just a peek. "No problem", I said, "I'll open up for you", because I really hate to turn travelers away. They said they'd go and park the trailer while I reopened. So, I parked the car, deactivated the burglar alarm, turned on all the lights, opened the showroom, etc., etc., etc. Then, I emerged from the back room. . . just in time to see their trailer heading off down the road! Apparently they changed their minds. Grrrr. . .

Ok, enough of that. Now for the rest of the day, all of which was great! There were 28 wonderful, happy, and considerate visitors traveling Route 66 today. An inordinate number of them were coming from Tulsa, OK, just out for a day on the Mother Road or returning to their homes from a big concert that was held last night in downtown Tulsa. Other visitors came from Anderson MO, Liberal MO, Arvada CO, Derby KS, Afton, Miami, and Vinita OK, and Milano Italy.

This family -- mom and dad from Vinita, two grown daughters visiting from Colorado -- had some great ideas for family photos. They were having fun looking at the cars and all the neat items Betty B. has made.

Mom and daughter getting their kicks

My friends Perry Knight and Marylee stopped by and brought some friends from Kansas along with them. It's always so nice to visit with Perry. He reminded me that as a boy he used to work at Bassett's Grocery, so I sent him across the street to see the devastation that occurred there when the roof fell in.

Charlie, my new friend from Afton who's selling his Harley from our driveway stopped in too, as did Michael Scruggs, the photographer from Miami, OK, who has some new ideas for interesting shots of Afton Station.

I took this photo on the way home. It's just a field outside of Afton, but stopping for a few moments by the side of the road helped me calm down before the long drive to Tulsa.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kind of a crazy day. . .

. . . but first, there was another gorgeous sunrise this morning amid the fog. It's hard to take a bad photo of a sunrise, even with my mediocre camera and very little patience.There were 19 visitors to Afton Station today. Marly and Kenny were working in the back yard, and Betty W. stopped in briefly, but for the most part I was alone. Ron "Tattoo Man" has been hospitalized for an infection and will be there for a while getting IV antibiotics. If any of my blog readers want his address or phone number, let me know. He would love some phone calls because he says he's already bored.

Ron M. has also been ill but is recovering. I gave him a break by not forcing him to ride up to Afton with me today. LOL!

My first visitors were Mike Wallace from Pataskala, OH and his friend from Columbus, OH who were on their motorcycles heading home from a partial Route 66 trip. They stayed for a good bit of the morning while we caught up with news.

Next came a couple from French Creek, WV who were returning from a canoe gathering in Oregon. He is an Indian (I didn't catch the tribe) and his tribe was involved in the organization of the gathering. They were traveling without maps, but I gave them some pointers so they won't get too lost.

Dave and Brad Emerson from the "Mother Road Yellow Pages" dropped in. They're from Kansas City, but are heading westward on a full Route 66 trip during which they will check on sales of their very nice guidebook. I've sold quite a few, so they left happy. They are also asking businesses to make any changes in their advertising prior to publication of the 2011 edition. I enjoy visits from the Emersons.

Two gentlemen from Texas brought some neat customized vehicles on the road and we were lucky enough to have them stop in at the Station. I couldn't resist these photos of their rides.

Mike Hickey, president of the OK Route 66 Association stopped in with two engineers from Oklahoma City. They are touring OK Route 66 looking at the status of historic bridges. We discussed the impending Ribbon Road Monument installation. Still not sure when that will be happening.

These two ladies from Kansas walked through the door near the end of the day and one of them (on right) said, "Laurel, I read your blog every day!" It always astounds me when a stranger knows my name and keeps up with what I'm doing most days. It's a weird feeling, but I love knowing this blog is being read, and this traveler told me that some of the trip was inspired by what she's read here. They may have arrived as strangers, but they left as my friends.

Other visitors today came from Sandy UT, Sloansville NY, Springtown TX, and Carlton TX.

An intersection in Vinita (where Route 66 makes a 90-degree turn in the center of town), is being excavated to take care of an underground water source that has been problematic and causing flooding for years. The excavators dug down to a layer that they believe is an original segment of brick 66! I'm not sure if this is true (more research needed, in my opinion), but the city of Vinita is giving away the bricks, and the folks who rent the building next to Afton Station as a workshop for their boat cover business were thoughtful enough to gather about 8 or 10 of them for Afton Station. The bricks are definitely old, but I don't know enough about bricks to date them. This one is from the Coffeyville (KS) Shale Co. Anyone have a clue??There was a nice article on the front page of the Miami (OK) newspaper yesterday, about the visit to Afton Station by the Micro Car group. After I get it copied, I'll try to post it here. Nice pictures, and great publicity for Afton Station.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Day of Much Silence

Well, 960 miles later, I've made it through my 6-day stretch at Afton Station. Maybe I'm just delirious after all that driving, talking, and smiling I've done this week, but I'm almost sure that the first guy in the door of the Station this morning, when asked where he was from, answered "the lock-up". Disconcerting? Um, yeah, especially since I was here all by myself. He turned out to be a nice old codger and he bought a Route 66 pin for his beat-up hat, so I relaxed a little. He said they threw him in jail for calling 911 just because he had a headache, but he was out now and was going to walk home. Where is home? Sayre, Oklahoma. . . over 300 miles away! It takes all kinds, I guess.

Add to the spookiness of the encounter the fact that this is the first gloomy, sunless day we've had for weeks. I'm hoping for a good dousing of much-needed rain later. The sun did come up this morning though, as evidenced by the above photo and this one of Sunny Oaks Ranch near Claremore on my way to Afton. As I often do, I took a short drift away from the Mother Road on a country lane just to look around, kill some time, and chill out from the last few frenetic days when I came upon this pretty sunrise scene.

Now, I'm sitting here with no visitors and no helpers, and today that's ok with me. A girl needs some quiet time now and then. Afton is weird when it's dark, and I started to think about those ghosts across the street in the abandoned buildings. The local folks who come to visit tell me bits and pieces of recollections or stories they've heard about who used to live up in those rooms of broken windows and tattered curtains, but no one seems to have the whole story. When this was a train town with a roundhouse and a large, active depot, the railroad workers would rent the rooms for extended stays when they came here to work. I also know that at least one family with kids lived up there in the early '40s. In my own fantasies, the old Palmer Hotel was a house of ill repute, athough nobody has ever told me that and I'm sure it's not true. Nevertheless, I can't shake the image of pretty ladies in Victorian corsets hanging over the balcony and calling to the gentlemen going into the saloon below. I think I watched too many wild west movies in my youth!

The passing cars are now using their wipers. Rain, glorious rain! Still no more visitors other than a repeat visitor who stopped in to tell me about a Cadillac limo from the early '50s which is for sale in Colorado. It carried Elvis several times, he said, and he thought we might be interested. My neighbor Alex and friend Mike Pennington also dropped in briefly.


Two hours and three N.Y. Times Sunday Crosswords later, a soft-spoken couple from Roanoke, VA in a hot red Corvette convertible just stopped in. These folks are traveling without a guidebook, and therein lies the makings of a conundrum for me. When I asked them what they've enjoyed so far on their Route 66 trip, they admitted they haven't seen much. They hadn't met any of the fine folks on the road, and they had driven the Ribbon Road without even knowing what it was. I gave them copies of the two free Oklahoma Route 66 guides, but when I showed them the EZ66 Guide and suggested they use it for the remainder of their trip, I felt like a huckster who was only trying to make some money, whereas my real objective was to enhance their experience on the Road. I feel this way every time I try to encourage people to buy a guidebook. It's a tough thing for me overcome this feeling. In this case, whatever I said didn't work. They didn't buy a book, so I wished them well and they went on their way.

Later visitors included five folks from Bimidji, Minnesota who were also far from chatty. This was definitely the quietest day I've ever had on Route 66

I promised you some photos by Michael Scruggs. Here are two. The first one is a "donut chaser" hood ornament from one of our Packards. The second one is very Ansel Adams-esque, I think.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Ron M. and I drove up to Afton after my dialysis specifically to meet and greet the intrepid Micro Car group that was due there in the late afternoon. Betty W., her sister Marlene, Tattoo Man, David, Marly, and Michael Wheat and his wife from Pryor, OK were all gathered in anticipation of their arrival.

They were a bit late, but it was well worth the wait. These were very tiny cars that made our Citroen 2cv look like a luxury car! These brave folks have been driving their cute vehicles across Route 66 from Santa Monica to Chicago and enduring intense heat, no air conditioning, and precious little room to stretch out the legs. Nevertheless, they were a very upbeat group, and it was obvious they were having fun. (This has to be true because the "Fun Meter" badges they were wearing had little dials and all of them pointed to "Extremely Fun". LOL) The folks were from many states and several countries. The convoy was followed by a large truck holding two of the vehicles which had experienced some mechanical problems (or perhaps just road weariness) along the way. I found it amazing that the group is on schedule despite a couple of breakdowns. They average a mere 40 mph! Tonight they're in Joplin, MO.

We also had a few other visitors today, all from the U.S., but since it's getting late and because we all know that a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm just going to post some photos here so you can see the Micros for yourself. I'm sorry I can't identify each car by make and model, but more info can be found at: Facebook (38) Micros On Route 66

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Yes, Sunday. . . and another wonderful day at Afton Station. (In the event that you think I'm one of those people who loves what she does SO much that she can't stop enthusing about it, you're right.) The only less-than-great part of today was the middle, when Tattoo Man and I sat there for over an hour with no visitors. But both ends of the day were outstanding.

For one thing, as I drove to Afton this morning at sunrise, there was definite rain in the clouds over Route 66. Rain! Finally! Unfortunately, there were only a few drops where I was driving, but I did hear later that it had rained a bit in Tulsa this morning and quite a lot in the Afton area last night. We need it so badly, so seeing the dark clouds cheered me up!
We had visits from 25 folks, and among them were some interesting travelers. For example, there were 7 guys from France on motorcycles who stopped in to say "Bonjour!" They were from a whole array of French cities and towns, and one was even from Ile de Reunion. If you're not familiar with it, it's a tiny island next to the island of Mauritia, which is next to the island of Madagasgar, which is off the coast of Mozambique, Africa. (Look it up!) I feel fairly certain that he will be the one and only Ile de Reunion citizen to visit Afton Station this year... or perhaps ever! They almost got away before I had a chance to snap this photo as they were saddling up to leave.

We also had two foreign women come to visit, each taking solo trips on Route 66. One was from Rothenberg, Germany and one was from London, England. The German young lady spoke near perfect English because she's an English teacher back in her native land. I think it takes courage to travel an unfamilair country, so I have to hand it to both young ladies for striking out on their own.

Two Australian men also stopped in on their trek westward on Route 66, as well as more localized folks from Mungerville TN, and Morris, Tulsa, Vinita, and Miami OK.

Charlie, the nice guy who has his motorcycle for sale in front of Afton Station, stopped in to talk this morning and helped me open the Station. And then, he came back later to give me a truly great protective cover for my new iPod. He said he had an extra and didn't want it. I'm so appreciative of this new friend!

Another friend, photographer Michael Scruggs stopped in and this time brought his wife. He he showed me some of his most recent work, and as usual it's beautiful. I'm hoping to sell some of his prints after the new showroom is built and I'll have some wall space. Meanwhile, I'll scan some of his work and post it here tomorrow if I have the time. Tonight, I don't.

Two fellows who grew up in Afton arrived around closing time, and talking to them about Afton's history was worth postponing my closing for about 40 minutes. Interesting stuff! You know how much I like to hear stories of old Afton. Marly arrived just in time to help me close up after those gentlemen left.

The Micro Car group will be visiting Afton Station tomorrow afternoon, so I'll drive up there right after dialysis. I should have some awesome photos of these tiny cars tomorrow. See you then.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Two Down, Four to Go

Happy Saturday! This is the 2nd day of my six-day stretch at Afton Station, and so far I'm none the worse for wear. Believe me, it's not the time at the Station that tires me. That's the fun part. It's not the long 160-mile round trip either. I love to drive on Route 66. What tires me is the combination of both. My time at home is short, thus my blogging time is equally short, and as you may have noticed if you read yesterday's entry, my composition, grammar, spelling, and typing skills suffer. In other words, I apologize for yesterday's error-filled contribution. I'll try to do better today.

Ron M. was my right-hand man today, and we had another really satisfying day, with 28 diverse and interesting folks coming to call. Our first visitors were these very attractive and very cheerful folks from Bucharest, Romania! I'm not sure if we've ever had Romanian visitors, but I was thrilled to meet this couple. They're doing the whole Route 66 trip but only have two weeks so they're a bit concerned about seeing everything they hope to see. If any museum/shopkeepers west of Afton Station happen to meet them, I know you'll really enjoy their visit. A family from Woodward, Iowa stopped by with their totally adorable little 15-month-old son Noah. Noah had a remarkable alertness and ability to seem interested in everything that was being said or done during the visit. I predict he will grow up to be an amazing adult. Plus, he's darn cute! I hope he remembers his first visit to Route 66! (Oh yeah, he also sported a rad pair of Crocs!)
The Cherokee Cruising Classic Car Club (also known as "The Five Cs") from Tahlequah, OK came for a visit today, too. Their member Jon Edwards is a frequent visitor to Afton Station and led the group here for a nice afternoon visit after lunch at Clanton's in Vinita. Jon is recuperating from a nasty motorcycle accident but is mending nicely. You'll recognize him from previous photos (2nd from left). I also got to meet his wife for the first time (3rd from left.) I enjoyed this visit. Fun folks! A fellow from Afton brought his motorcycle over so we could display it in our driveway with a "For Sale" sign. It's a nice bike! Anybody need a 2003 Harley-Davidson Fatboy 100th Anniversary Edition with pretty low mileage? If so, let me know. He's asking $11,000, negotiable.
Other visitors came from Brownsdale MN, Westerly RI, Osage Beach MO, and Sand Springs, Owasso, Grove, Park Hill, Bunch, Welling, and Tulsa, OK.

We took a slightly different route home tonight in a search for alpacas. There's an alpaca farm close to Afton and Ron had never seen one in person. Unfortunately, no alpacas were grazing at the time we were there, so he didn't get to see how adorable they are. So, here's one for you, Ron!
See you tomorrow after Day 3. . .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two, Two, Two Days in One!

This is my report from the first two days of my first-ever six-days-in-a-row stretch at Afton Station. Compared to today (Friday), yesterday was a walk in the park. But both days were really interesting, and frankly I'm surprised I have the strength to push the keys tonight to write this blog. But, here goes. . .


Thursday was low on visitors but big on fun. Betty B. helped out in the morning and Betty W. helped in the afternoon. Marly was also around getting cars and premises ready for Friday's big crowd. Visitors came from Dallas TX, St. John AZ, Tulsa OK, Springfield MO, and Perugia Italy. Here are the travelers from Perugia.


Well. . . today was certainly packed with people and pandemonium! We had one of our biggest days EVER, with a whopping 76 visitors (or possibly more, since I started to lose count part way through the day). Thank goodness for Marly, Ron M. and Tattoo, who all helped out. Marly was there bright and early, cleaned all the cars, and put some outside in preparation for a big group of Australian tourists who were coming later, complete with a film crew making a 5-part documentary on Route 66 with emphasis on vintage automobiles.

Ron M. mopped floors, cleaned and did myriad much-needed chores around the Station. He is so helpful and such a self-starter. Remember, the temperature was about 104 outdoors, and the air conditioner was barely keeping up. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Prior to the Aussies arrival, we had a parade of other visitors. This interesting woman, Cynthia Fleming from Lenoir City, TN is a professor of history at the University of Tennessee and specializes in Automotive History. She is also a major Packard buff, and has recently built herself a 6-car garage to house her existing vintage cars and those Packards she hopes to acquire in the future. It was wonderful to watch her enthusiassm for our cars. She even showed an interest in buying one of ours.

David came in and brought our old dear friend Jim Griffin from Texas and his wife and stepdaughter who are visiting for the weekend. He also brought the beautiful '55 Packard to display in front of the Station today.

Five gentlemen from the upcoming Mother Road 100 Ultramarathon, for which we have signed up to be a sponsoring way station, came to visit on their way to filming the entire route and setting up some more sponsorships. These were some very enthusiastic guys, and I look forward to working with them in the future. Mother Road 100.3 The 100-mile ultra will be held in November.

We had a great number of foreign visitors today, too. They came froom Barcelona Spain, Paris France, Melbourne Australia, Brisbane Australia, Modena Italy, and Strasbourg France. The domestic Route 66 travelers came from Houma LA, Atlanta GA, Ft. Worth TX, Dallas TX, and Afton, Vinita, Bartlesville, Grove, Nowata, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Finally, the Australian tour arrived. I've met their leader, Dale Butel, before on a previous tour, and I really enjoy him. He had 31 folks with him on this tour, and they'd all rented Mustang Convertibles. Although it was a little hot for tops down, they were still having a jolly good time. Dale is quite the expert on Route 66 and I'm sure he delivers a great tour. I find that Aussies are some of the most fun-loving, happy people who come to visit. This group was no exception.
Group Leader Dale Butel

Part of the Mustang lineup

Traveling with the tour was Mark "Fletch" Fletcher, who has a TV show in Australia that centers on travel and vintage cars. FLETCH Apparently he is quite well-known in Australia, and the documentary he's filming on this trip should prove to be amazing. Fletch interviewed me, and I must say I highly approve of his interview style, because I was less nervous than I've ever been with a microphone in my face. I actually enjoyed it. Here is the interview in progress.

After the interview came the fun part for Fletch, his sound man, and a couple of other people in the group who took a ride in the '55 Packard while video was shot from the car. While this was happening, Tattoo Man took a few folks for a ride in his '56 Chevy. A good time was had by all!

Fletch takes a turn at the wheel

We got home late, but will be on the road early in the morning for another day at Afton Station. I hope it will be as busy and rewarding as this one!