Friday, December 30, 2011

Year-End Random Photos

Since it's the end of the year, I'm cleaning off my camera's memory card.   Therefore, I'm going to post these with minimal explanation and no fanfare whatsoever.   

First, here's a wooden bridge (4 tons limit) in the Bruner Hill area of Tulsa.  Ron M. and I drove over it during a tour of the neighborhood brought on by an interesting article in the Tulsa World.  It's nowhere near Route 66, but it's a very intriguing little part of the city, and its citizens are worried that it is fading into history. 
 I thought Afton was the only town on Oklahoma Route 66 with an abandoned bathtub out in the open for all to see.
I was wrong.  There's one out behind the Rock Cafe in Stroud, and it's a much classier one than the Afton Pink Tub!
 Interesting building on Route 66 in Bristow, OK
 Reportedly  haunted, the Belvidere Mansion in Claremore, OK is a neat structure.
 I took this one morning a week or two ago.  Sunrise in Tulsa.  Yes, another one.
My most cherished Christmas present.  Sarah had my favorite photo of her enlarged and printed on canvas. In it, she is celebrating the joy of vacation in the Black Hills.
And that's probably all for 2011.  I can scarcely believe it's passed so quickly.  I wish each one of you a 2012 filled with joy, prosperity, and good  health.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shoes in Trees and Spaetzle with Cheese

Upon reading my poetic title, Oklahoma Route 66 fans should be able to figure out where my wanderlust took me today.  As a cure for the boredom I rattled on about yesterday, I decided to get off my butt (then get back on my butt only this time behind the wheel of my car) and head west.  Well, I didn't exactly make it all the way out to Cowboy-and-Indian country, but I did get as far as Stroud.  That's just 50 miles away, but it's a nice 50-mile ride on old Route 66.  

I had no real destination in mind, except to take advantage of this gorgeous, sunny, almost springlike day.  This route is quite familiar to me, but I particularly wanted to check out the status of the Shoe Tree just east of Stroud.   When the former Shoe Tree died and fell a couple of years ago, a new one was started nearby.  Starting a shoe tree consists choosing a tree and then throwing a shoe or two up into its branches, in hopes that others will follow suit.  The last time I saw the new Shoe Tree, it only  had a handful of shoes in it.  Today, I found two Shoe Trees side by side, and both had a healthy crop of footwear clinging to their branches.  

This seems a good sign to me, an indication of the large number of tourists who passed by here during the last couple of summers.   It took the old Shoe Tree years and years to accumulate as many shoes as now swing from the new ones.  There are also some shoes which have fallen to the ground -- a red high heel, a flip flop, a like-new running shoe among others -- but they lie there unmolested.  

 I stopped to take a quick photo of one of my favorite old, abandoned stretches of Route 66 also near Stroud.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself directly in front of Stroud's Rock Cafe at exactly noon, so I took it as a sign that I should go there for lunch.  The parking lot wasn't full, so that was an even stronger sign.  The Rock is such a warm and welcoming place, and the food is very good.  As I dined on my plate of Spaetzle with Cheese, one of Dawn's specialties, Dawn herself emerged from the kitchen and sat with me for a little while so we could chat.  The dish was delicious, and even though listed under appetizers, I couldn't even finish it.  Also, guilt about eating cheese (a total no-no for kidney patients!), made me push aside (reluctantly) the last few forkfuls.  Yum!  It was nice to see Dawn, although briefly, too.

I'm happy to report that I no longer feel bored.  My little trip, plus the fact that my dishwasher started working again this morning after I thought it had kicked the bucket, has cheered me and energized me!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Feeling Boring

I've heard it said that people are never bored unless they are boring themselves.  I've often been plagued by boredom, so I guess I'm not the most exciting banana in the bunch myself.  Peak boredom time for me is the week between Christmas and New Years.  At this time, I'm right on the edge.  If I don't keep myself busy, even with the most prosaic of tasks, my boredom could spill over into the realm of depression, and that, for me, is an absolute no-no.

It's not that I don't have a lot to do.  I'm hosting a fairly large gathering in the near future, but everything for that is either finished or is something I'm not in the mood to do today.  Whether the mood strikes me to do those things tomorrow is up in the air this moment.  I'm reading a very good book, but 4  hours of reading it this morning at dialysis has about done my eyes in.  I have a number of projects I could launch, but I just don't feel like starting something new.   I could go to Afton, but sitting alone in a cold room doesn't sound like much of a cure for boredom.  And I don't much feel like seeing other people, either.

So, I must face the fact that, if you should happen to run into me today, I will be boring. Not surprising since my high school newspaper "Senior Predictions", named me "Most Likely To Be Bored".  Does that mean I was boring back then, too?  Probably.  Or was it a self-fulfilling prophecy?   As an only child, I was always able to amuse myself with no effort.  Now, it takes more effort.   I'm going to engage that effort right now. . .

I just came back from a drive in my Subaru.   I cruised three alignments of Route 66 in Tulsa and found nothing that 1) I haven't already photographed or 2) isn't worth photographing.  I'd better not be running out of material for this blog.   I implore  my readers to hang in there with me for a couple of weeks when posts will be sparse and, face it, probably boring.  After a week or two, I predict that the film will fall away from my eyes and things will start to look new again.

Meanwhile, just writing this little essay has helped.

I've decided that I need a picture on this post, and what could fit the theme of "boring" more than this shot of the cupboard in which I keep my plastic containers.   Yesterday Ron M. gave me a big box of nice new Rubbermaid ones in many sizes, so last night (as only a boring person would do on Christmas night), I cleaned out the cupboard, threw away all the old containers which had no lids or vice versa, and now when I open the cabinet door they no longer rain down upon me like big, unmatched square rubber hailstones.  Thanks, Ron!


Friday, December 23, 2011



If you're traveling by car for the holidays, 
I hope you can take the slow road.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Kindness

My blog readers are such great people!   For example, these incredible Route 66 Christmas ornaments arrived in the mail yesterday from Susan Y., one of my faithful readers whom I've only met once in person.  On the basis of that one visit this fall, I feel we've been friends for a long time.   She made these clever ornaments herself out of Route 66 fabrics.  Needless to say, I love them!

A gift of another kind came today as well.   Paul Fogg, who sent me the cool collage I posted yesterday, has just sent this slide show of some of the cars he photographed on his last Route 66 jaunt.  Most of them are from Afton Station, in fact.  Car nuts, take note!  These are some VERY nice images!  Vintage Online

I can't stop thinking about the Route 66 travelers who may have been trapped in the snowstorm out in New Mexico and the panhandle of Texas the last few days.  I do hope everyone is safe and continuing on their way to more adventures in less daunting climates!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Neat Collage

From time to time, a visitor will take a really great photo that I post here.  In this case, a gentleman named Paul Fogg, who visited this weekend, sent me this collage he created.   The Packard was inside, but he put it outside, and he added the Packard sign which is in an entirely different place!  Very creative!  You may see more of his work at Grand Lake Web Designs.

It's very rainy in Tulsa today, but we seem to have dodged the bullet of the big snows they're anticipating in New Mexico, Arizona, and even the panhandle of Oklahoma.  I'll take the rain, thank you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


It wasn't a busy day at Afton Station today, but it went quite quickly.  As I was leaving, I realized that unless I get a special request, this will be the last time I'm there until after the New Year.  I don't foresee having enough time to drive up there in the next two weeks, unless the urge is just too great for me to resist (or if someone politely begs...LOL).   

Marly (who is back from a 4-day trip to N. Carolina), Betty (recovered from pneumonia) and Phil were all present at various times today.  Ron M., due to severe back problems, wasn't.  There were only three guests today, but I was so pleased with all of them.  Early this morning, a cute young couple from Oxford, England arrived in their rented RV.   The lucky Brits have six whole weeks to tour the U.S.  They've already been to Florida and NYC, and are now heading across Route 66.  Along the way, they plan to visit the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, then finish Route 66 and drive up the coast to San Francisco.  On these locally drab and cold days, that sounds like paradise to me!

Later in the day, when just Betty and I were sitting and chatting, the Amazing Blackford entered the Station! I do believe he's our first magician, and Betty and I weren't shy about asking him to perform a few tricks.  He did a rope trick, a couple of card tricks, and an illusion involving a string of colored lights that had both of us amazed indeed!  Amazing Blackford is now living in Grove, OK but as his business card advises, he once lived and performed in Hawaii.   

 I'll continue to blog as I find interesting things to babble about, even though I won't be at Afton Station.  So please don't give up on me!  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who'da Thunk It!

We were all most pleasantly surprised by how this cold day in December turned out to be one of the more interesting days we've had at Afton Station. Ron M., Phil, Robin, Tattoo Man and I were expecting a typical quiet winter experience, but that didn't happen.  We knew it was going to be a good day when the first car to drive up was this beautiful replica of a '37 Auburn Boattail Speedster!   The gentleman (from Vinita, OK) has only owned it for one day, and we were quite honored that we got to admire it on his first day of ownership.  He and his friend were very nice guests, too.

Next, famous car customizer Darryl Starbird walked through the door.  He was looking for a good background for magazine photos of some of his cars and liked the looks of our building and pumps.  He was also lured in by the aforementioned Auburn which was still sitting in our parking lot.  He was with his visiting grandson from Placentia, CA  and they both enjoyed touring our new showroom, which wasn't built the last time Darryl came to visit.  He also gave me an autographed copy of his amazing, huge coffee table book.  Here he is talking to the Auburn fellows.

 More folks came, and they kept on coming.  All were local, but all were interesting.  They came from Joplin MO, and Bernice, Tulsa, and Grove OK.   And then these two guys showed up.  They were such fun!  Dwight (right) is from Dayton, OR and has an extensive collection of very intriguing vintage cars, many of which his father pulled from hay fields during his job of mowing hay.  Pat (left) is from Kansas City.  We certainly enjoyed visiting and laughing with them (and they both bought sweatshirts.  Yippee!)          
 Since yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of artist and friend Bob Waldmire's death, Ron, Phil, Robin, and I toasted him beneath the mural which he painted and which we are honored to own.   Bob was one incredible fellow, and although Robin and Phil never met him, they feel they know him simply from his reputation.  He is missed by everyone who calls himself or herself a true roadie.    (We toasted with a bottle of champagne.  No wonder it was such a good day!)
But we're not done yet!   At the very end of the day we had an anticipated visit from the Millers.  Travis is a filmmaker who had communicated with me about the possibility of using some of our cars in one of his movies.  We said "sure" so he and his wife came to look over the fleet.  They found some they'd be interested in, and they also showed a great interest in using the town of Afton as a potential backdrop for films in the future.  Nice people, and I look forward to working with them.  

A brief visit from Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker rounded out the day with a grand total of 15 visitors, quite a departure from the typical lonely December weekend.  It was a beautiful day. I wonder if Bob Waldmire had anything to do with that??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Unexpected Trip

Today was supposed to be a fairly uneventful day for me, right up until I opened my wallet at the restaurant where I stopped for breakfast and found that one of my credit cards was missing!  That sinking feeling (I'm sure you've all felt it) rendered my breakfast almost immediately undigestible.  Thus began the thought process.  Where did I use the card last?  Should I dash right home and call to have it deactivated?  How could I be so stupid?  Fortunately, it didn't take me long to remember where I must have left it, and that place happened to be in Claremore.  A call to them was like an early Christmas present for me because they assured me that indeed they had it and were taking good care of it for me!  Whew!  I told them I'd be there to fetch it in a couple of hours.

I'm never opposed to a ride on Route 66 at any time, so I wasn't at all bothered by the idea of this unexpected trip.  After I picked up my wayward credit card and thanked them profusely, I decided to drive around a bit.  Those of you who are slightly older will remember a singer named Patti Page.  I vaguely remember my parents listening to her music, and I understand that she's still very much alive.   Well, she was born in Claremore, and apparently Claremore is proud of that, because there is a road named after her.  But, there's also a tiny strip mall named for her, and all that's in the mall are a loan company and a bail bond place.  Just doesn't seem right, for someone of such stature.  I'm just sayin. . .

From there, I headed to Catoosa, home of the famous Blue Whale.  I've been there so many times and taken so many photos of it that I barely stopped, just long enough to make sure it was still there and being well taken care of. Blaine Davis has gone south for the winter, but the town of Catoosa has taken an interest in the property and it looks great.

Also in Catoosa is an  historic Route 66 bridge that was recently removed because it was deemed unsafe.  There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth when this happened, but fortunately all of our unhappiness was assuaged when the wonderful Molly's Landing Restaurant, which sits right next to the former site of the bridge, took the entire huge thing and had it moved to their property!   This has got to be one of the coolest things that ever happened on Route 66!  The bridge now acts as part of the long driveway that leads up to the restaurant, thus it has not been lost to history.

Just beyond Molly's Landing is a little-known section of old concrete Route 66 that winds through a most unexpected place, a rather upscale housing area.  I always get a kick out of driving this section and attempting to imagine what it looked like when it wasn't lined with good sized houses and brick-encrusted mailboxes. Even the entrance to the housing development feels discordant, with an Historic Route 66 sign implanted in a brick pillar surrounded by little ionic columns.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Random Sunday in December Thoughts

Here I am, back in this lonely room with no visitors.  It's much better today, however.  Marly and Phil are working in the back and taking turns coming in to replenish coffee and chat for a while.  Phil was here early and turned on the heat, so I walked into a cozy room for a change. 

First, let me apologize for my blog looking or acting funny for a while.  I'm in the learning stages of Google Chrome and when it comes to things computer-related, I have a very long learning curve. Yesterday's entry looked fine to me, but others emailed to say that it looked weird to them.  I'd appreciate y'all telling me if you see any weirdness in the future, and thanks to those who have offered help.

I drove to Afton this morning pre-dawn, stopped for breakfast in Claremore, then did a quick run through Chelsea because by that time there was a little mist that I thought might add a some interest to any photos I might take.  Here's the one that turned out pretty good.  I especially like the full moon.

No visitors so far today, but it's still early and I'm optimistic. I hope no one is put off by my winter babble which tends to occur when I have no visitors to talk to or about.  

Phil had a great idea.  Since next weekend is the 2nd anniversary of the death of our dear friend Bob Waldmire, we're going to toast him with a bottle of champagne!  Bob never drank a drop, of course, but what fun would it be to toast him with wheat germ or zucchini?  And other mind-altering substances would probably be unwise, too. 

I'm home now, and able to report that we did have a few visitors after all.  A young man from Gore, OK who has quite a car collection himself came by to be impressed by our collection.  A Native American gentleman from Kenwood, KS stopped to ask the whereabouts of Afton Spring.  Unfortunately, we didn't have the answer.   I wrote about the Spring a while back, in case anyone is interested in exploring the topic. (See November 2, 2010).  A woman from Miami, OK came in to sell a 1957 Tennessee license plate.  It was nice, particularly the unique shape, but it was entirely covered with rust, so I had to decline. Finally, a man from Afton came in to talk to Marly.  Not altogether an auspicious group insofar as their interest in Route 66, but they were interesting folks and we were glad to have them.

On the way out of town, I spotted this pretty little horse in the back yard of one of the houses on a back street in Afton.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I guess the moon looked ever so slightly un-round this morning, but as eclipses go, this one was a bummer.  But then, the last 24  hours have been somewhat of a bummer too, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  Yesterday Blogger, who runs this blog site, decided to tell me, without warning, that it no longer supports my browser.  Surprise!  I could read my blog but couldn't write on it.  No explanation given.  After massive grumbling, hyperventilating, stomping around, and using some S-words and F-words not appropriate for my ordinarily reserved demeanor, I apparently pushed some magic button that told me I could regain custody of my blog if I joined Google Chrome.  With no choice in the matter, I did.  Very clever recruiting device, Google!  The feeling of not being able to continue blogging was akin to turning the key on a cold morning and the car not starting.  That, at least, didn't happen to me yesterday.

I drove to Afton this morning in a scrim of fog so thick that I'm surprised I didn't end up in Albuquerque.   Actually, I kind of wish I had.  I'm here at Afton Station now, freezing my knees off, and reading the note from Robin, who had only two visitors and zero sales yesterday.  Why do we even bother in the winter?
I guess we bother because I refuse to have a "closed for the winter" kind of business as long as I have the strength, gas in the car, and money to pay Robin on Fridays. Besides, I like it here, despite the shivering and blue toes.  And those two travelers who did show up yesterday deserved not to be met with a locked door.That is unacceptable!  Route 66 is a 365-days-a-year treat, even for those silly enough to travel in December.
The fog, and my spirits, finally lifted.  As I sat reading an article in the latest issue of Cowboys and Indians Magazine about the 100th birthday of Roy Rogers, people appeared at the door.  First it was Robin and Phil, who decided to stay and keep  me company all day (hooray!), followed by seven visitors!  They came from  Valley Center KS, Grove OK, and Almont MI.   None were specifically taking Route 66 trips, but all were most interested in what we have to offer at Afton Station.   As it turned out, it was a fine day after all, and I drove home on a clear, sunny, crisp 45-degree day, ready to go back tomorrow and hope for more visitors.  

Friday, December 9, 2011


This is a test.  Blogger is doing weird things tonight, and I'm not sure if I can still access it to make new posts.  Just ignore me, please.  :-)

The Incredible Shrinking Town

When I first moved to Tulsa, it seemed like such a big town. There were so many nooks and crannies to explore, and so many roads to drive. But after a year or two, I started to feel the city limits closing in. Now, six years later, I've been down every road in the city, and many of them I believe I could drive blindfolded.

Or so I thought. Just a couple of hours ago, my friend Denny Gibson from Ohio emailed to wish me a Happy Anniversary. Anniversary? But of course! Doesn't everyone know that today is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Chusto-Talasah, also known as the Battle of Caving Banks? Huh? Never heard of it myself. So, I wondered: Who? What? Where? When? Why?

Lets start with Where: The battle was fought right here in Tulsa County.

Who? Creek and Seminole Indians for the Union vs the Confederate States Indian Department. What? An all-out battle, from what I can tell, engaging over four thousand troops. Why? Like the rest of the nation, Indian Territory was divided during the Civil War.

Where? On the very north end of Tulsa County, a place which (for the purposes of this blog) will be referred to as "the boonies".

My father was a dyed-in-the-wool Civil War afficionado, and yet I doubt he ever heard of this battle. And frankly, I still don't have an entirely good handle on exactly how the battle was waged. And yet, of the Confederate troops, 15 were killed and 37 wounded. The Union had 500 men killed or wounded. Those numbers are not to be ignored, particularly on the 150th anniversary of the bloody confrontation.

So, I decided to drive out there and find a monument to the battle that was called to my attention by Denny. The instructions on the website he gave me (Battle of Chusto-Talasah December 9, 1861) were slightly vague, but I decided to drop everything and try to find it. There would probably have been a more convenient time for me to do this, but it seemed that it would mean more if I paid my respects on the anniversary date. So, off I went.

I wasn't expecting to find much, and I wasn't disappointed. But, on a lonely road far from the skyscrapers and traffic of the city, I found the monument. It sits in the front yard of a tiny nondescript rundown house amid sad farmland, occasional cattle, working oil wells, and dry creek beds. I stopped to take a photo (in fact, I took three), but apparently the ghosts of those lost in the battle were hell bent on preventing me from getting a good image. All three are blurred. Therefore, the photo here is from the website mentioned above. The inscription reads:

"The Battle of Caving Banks was fought on December 9, 1861 between 1500 Texas and Indian calvarymen under Confederate Col. D.H. Cooper and 2500 loyal Creeks and Cherokees enroute to Kansas with Chief Opothle Yahola. The struggle centered around a log house near the tip of the horseshoe bend in Bird Creek west of this point. Fifteen Confederate dead are buried on this battlefield. Many others lie in unknown graves.


Marked by the Tulsa Historical Society of Central High School and the Tulsa Indian Women's Club. April 15, 1045."

And to make a long story slightly shorter, that's how I found a corner of Tulsa I've never known before. Thanks, Denny.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Brown Car!

Happy Birthday to my brown car. You're one year old today, and you've given me almost 41,000 smooth and trouble-free miles, mostly on Route 66. You got me through the nasty weather of last winter, and I expect you to do the same this year. I drive the hell out of you, and you don't seem to mind a bit. And much to my surprise, people don't think you're ugly!Another thing that can go either way in the ugliness department is an oil refinery. I drove up a hill early this morning to look out at the refinery area of Tulsa just before sunrise. I don't think it's ugly. The hill from which this photo is taken also overlooks the old Avery Bridge, and on this hill some day will stand the headquarters of the Route 66 Alliance. I like that it will overlook the refinery area, an important part of Tulsa's history.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Dusty Tree and a Mystery Man

Not much to say about today at Afton Station. Ron M., Betty, Tattoo Man, and I were all there to greet guests, but not very many appeared on our doorstep. We almost outnumbered the guests, but we did have six: a man from Barnsdall, OK with his friend who was visiting from Oregon, a couple from Grove, OK doing a little weekend touring, and a woman and her young son from Afton who ended up here on a quest for a someone who could add some air to a deflating tire. It really looks like the long-distance Route 66 travelers, as well as most of the international travelers, are staying at home and waiting for spring before they get back to the Mother Road. That's ok. We'll be waiting for them.

Our little sad (and dusty, according to Ron M.) Christmas tree is now living atop the postcard rack. I'm also handing out candy canes to visitors. Otherwise, I'm afraid we haven't given much attention to holiday decor around here.
When my latest copy of Sexy Beast Magazine arrived yesterday, I thought I recognized the cover model. Geez, he looks SO familiar. . . .it's something about the face, I think. Hmmm..... but it seems that there's something missing. Help me! What could it be? Who is this mystery man?

Oh wait, I think I know! Scroll down to find the answer......

May 1969, Camp Evans, Viet Nam. A young man who later would gain international fame as "The Route 66 Tattoo Man", pauses for a snapshot, his body not yet a canvas filled with body art. Yes, this is our dear Ron Jones, pre-Route 66 obsession. (Sorry, Tattoo. I couldn't resist making a magazine cover out of you. Tee hee!)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Mysterious Floating Earrings

Ok, they're not floating above Route 66! But they are a pair of really cool earrings fashioned by Robin, who is creating quite a nice collection of jewelry made out of the pressed pennies from our machine. The "floating earring" image occurred when I was careless about posing them on the cover of the new "Route 66 Sightings" book by Jim Ross, Shellee Graham, and Jerry McClanahan. So hey, it becomes an advertisement for both the earrings AND the book! (Earrings are $5 at the Station.)
Today was actually much better than I had expected it would be at Afton Station. Cold rain fell for most of the day, and although the first hour afforded a bit of sunshine, it quickly turned to gray gloom for the rest of the day. Nevertheless, we had 7 visitors, all from Oklahoma. They came from Chelsea, Tahlequah, and Bernice. Below are the Sikorskis from Bernice. Kathi is active around Grand Lake, and her website, is a great clearinghouse for events and attractions in the area, both on and off Route 66. Besides being a great ambassador for the Lake area, she also has a sign and graphic design business. And if that's not enough, she and her husband also own and run Grand Country Lakeside RV Park. I'll be receiving more information about this later, but you can see their site at

Speaking of signs, both Marly and Robin have been working on a big, almost-billboard-size sign, one of three that will eventually be erected on Route 66 both north and south of Afton Station. They're doing a great job, but work has been delayed while another project (the fixing of one of David's trailers) has usurped the sign-making space in the work room. However, by the time spring arrives, the signs should be ready to be unveiled. Meanwhile, here's a preview of the partially finished sign.

I'll be in Afton again tomorrow, barring any surprise snow storms. See you then!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Begin Route 66

My daughter who lives in Chicago snapped this photo with her iPhone as she was coming home from the symphony last night. I just thought it had a nice vibe -- lots of atmosphere. That's all for today.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Sixty-Six Fix

Three days away from Route 66 was too much to bear, so after a pretty sunrise in the park and a good breakfast at Jimmy's Egg, I needed to feel the tires on a lumpy road. I didn't want to drive east again, however. Four or five days a week for most of the year is quite enough of that stretch. I needed something different. Having not much choice, I pointed the car to the west.

I stopped at the new little Route 66 park in Red Fork, just west of Tulsa, and took a couple of photos of those amazing, huge, majestic train cars parked there. I'm not sure if I've posted photos of the caboose and the tanker car, so here they are.
The restorers have done a fantastic job of bringing these behemoths of transportation back to life. We "car people" often forget the importance the railroad played in the development of Route 66.

The countryside never looks quite as ugly as it does at this time of year. The leaves are gone, the fields are brown, and even under a bright, sunny sky I get a slightly foreboding feeling. Driving west out of Tulsa at this time of year doesn't do much to dispel this feeling, and yet I tend to be drawn to this stretch of Route 66 in the winter as if by magnet. No offense to any who may disagree, but the miles between Red Fork and Sapulpa are some of the ugliest on Route 66. There's not much other than a few small manufacturing facilities, rundown houses and trailers, several abandoned gas stations, and crowned by the unfortunate hulk of what used to be Frankoma Pottery, until recently one of the premier stops along the Route. Try as hard as I can, I still can't picture this stretch in the heyday of Route 66. The train tracks run along one side of the road and the sounds of the Interstate can be heard from the south. It just seems so forsaken.

Sapulpa is a great little town, but today I drove through it quickly. I decided that it had been over 10 years since I drove the Tank Farm Road, a small alignment of old 66 between Kellyville and Bristow, so that's where I headed. This loop isn't the most exciting when it comes to scenery, but it contains a stretch of original concrete pavement and some of the old, rusted oil tanks for which it is named.

After bumping along on the Tank Farm Road, I turned back toward Tulsa, refreshed. It was still only 10 a.m. But aahhh, now I feel much better!