Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
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
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!
Thursday, August 26, 2010
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
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.
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
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.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
I will not scream... I will not scream....
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. . .
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
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
Sunday, August 15, 2010
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
Friday, August 13, 2010
Two, Two, Two Days in One!
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!