Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's all the key's fault!

I drove up to Afton Station this morning with the idea in mind of staying for a while, doing some cleaning, checking phone messages, etc. It wasn't going to be an all day thing, but I was restless and feeling nervous about not having been there for over two weeks. Since nobody else has been around, I was a little uneasy about frozen pipes, etc.

So, I arrived in Afton and stuck my key in the door as I have a million times before. . . and it wouldn't budge! Geesh! Figuring that someone set the slide lock from inside and exited from another door, I didn't want to go in a rear entrance and risk making it back to the front door in time to deactivate the alarm. So, I did the logical thing and drove to Miami for breakfast and to ponder the quandry. Full of gravy-soaked biscuit, I drove back to Afton and tried again. Duhhhh! This time I realized that the little neon "glow-in-the-dark" rubber thingy I had put on my key so that I could see it at night was inhibiting its ability to slide all the way into the lock. I'm an idiot.

Sheepishly, I removed the offending thingy from the key and got right in. The place was immaculate, with a note left by Robin saying she'd been there twice to scrub everything, wax the floor, dust, etc. Nice! I had three inconsequential phone messages and absolutely nothing else to do. So instead of bothering to turn up the heat, I decided to leave and do some driving. Any lame excuse will propel me to my car and onto some old rugged roads, you know.

Today I went north to Kansas. I only took a few pictures, and here they are.
The old road north of Galena, leading into Joplin. The bridge had been closed for a while but is now reopened.
The old sign for the Spring River Inn. The Inn itself has been gone for quite some time, but my friend Marian Clark, author of "The Route 66 Cookbook", once told me it was one of her very favorite restaurants on all of Route 66. I'm sorry I missed it.

I'll bet you can't guess what this is! It's the exact stanchion that once held my very prized, beloved, and valuable Route 66 sign! I know this because I have the authentication papers from Kansas DOT which describe where the sign once stood. It's the rectangle in the center of the picture, at the spot where Route 66 turns the corner in the middle of Galena. Pretty neat! I hope they never remove that stanchion! I like to visit it whenever I'm up there.

On the way home, I took a tiny detour into the now deserted Picher, OK. The chat piles are stil there looming over the wreckage of the town, and this D&D Drive In sign is one of the last remaining vestiges of a once-vital city.

Well, that was a nice way to kill a day. Eight hours after leaving this morning, I'm home having accomplished absolutely nothing!


Beth said...

You accomplished a lot. Went exploring and saw some cool things! :)

Love the Spring River Inn sign. Does the neon still work? I'm guessing not.

Trevor Hilton said...

I have never been through Pitcher before. I should go there sometime before it's gone.

Have you ever visited Lawton? There's much to see and do there; Medicine Park, the Wichita Mountains, Mount Scott, the Holy City of the Wichitas, Meers Resturant, and Geronimo and Quanah Parker are buried at Fort Sill.

Laurel said...

Beth - The neon is pretty badly broken and I can't imagine that it still lights. I can't say with authority, however, since I've never seen it at night.

Trevor - I've been to Lawton twice in the past 15 years. Wish it wasn't so far away, so that I could make a day trip there! Ate at Meers Store and drove up Mount Scott the last time.

Ken Riches said...

At least you had a great breakfast. Happy New Year to you.