Saturday, June 30, 2012

Veggies and Such

It was Veggie Day at Afton Station.  Oh yes, we had visitors too, but first let me tell you about the veggies.  First, Ron M. and I stopped at the Farmers' Market in Chelsea on the way to Afton and bought 6 quarts of blackberries and some tomatoes and green beans.  Then, on the edge of Afton, we ran across a farmer taking a huge load of corn somewhere (which we later found out was Tulsa) and we asked if he'd sell us some.  He said yes, so we bought 2 dozen (with 4 more thrown in free).   When we got to Afton, Robin gave us more tomatoes, hot peppers, and summer squash from her friend's garden.   And finally, at the very end of the day, Reuben and Colleen came in with another dozen ears of shucked corn, picked from their garden moments before.   It was an embarrassment of riches!   We shared everything with everyone, of course, but I still have a fridge full of wonderful summer fare.  And, I just inhaled three ears of corn!  Yummy!
Now, about our wonderful visitors.   Phil opened up for Ron M. and me, and soon after that Marly and Robin came in.  Somewhat later, Tattoo Man joined us.   Our first visitors were there very early, three folks from Pittsburgh, PA.

Then came this family from Oslo, Norway fortunately not suffering from the extreme heat, at least not yet.  I do feel sorry for those from the cooler Scandinavian countries who are enduring this 100-degree stuff.  Nothing was going to keep these hearty souls from enjoying their first Route 66 journey.
Next came a very good looking couple from Ireland, also not letting anything get in the way of their dream vacation on Route 66.  They'll be diverting to Las Vegas and San Francisco, so they won't be going all the way to Santa Monica on this trip.

Toward the end of the day I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite guests, Dave Eames from Kansas City and his two tall, handsome sons.  They were passing through to visit family.  The first time Dave visited, he brought me the great metal and glass sculpture that still hangs in the front window of the Station.  He's a wonderful and acclaimed artist.  So great to see you, Dave.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quality + Quantity

The fact alone that we greeted 63 visitors on an oppressively hot Thursday is pretty wonderful, but when you add to that the interesting variety of our visitors, it becomes amazing!  There were very few local visitors today.  Most came from far away.

A tour group of 26 folks from Norway started arriving even before our official opening time, and although it was an unexpected visit, we were ready for them.  This was the type of auto tour that is provided with several potential stops each day and individual people can decide which ones they wish to visit and which they choose to skip.  We were thrilled that all of them decided to visit Afton Station, and we certainly enjoyed their presence.  It took about an hour for all of them to arrive, and the last ones in were the two tour directors, Henning and Kjetil.   Both spoke perfect English.  Henning told us that next year he has organized a group of over 100 travelers who will be shipping their vintage cars to the U.S. for a grand tour of the Lincoln Highway on the highway's 100th birthday.  Sounds great, but I sure wish it was going to happen on Route 66!  (Check their site at
I had another thrill when a lovely lady leading a large group walked in and said, "You must be Laurel.  I read your blog every day from Jeddeh, Saudi Arabia!"   She moved there with her family over a year ago, and she was here reuniting with her extended family of 11 while visiting her parents in this country.   The Hunt family consisted of members from Saginaw TX, Weatherford TX, and Paris, France as well as Saudi Arabia.  How fun to have such a big family visit, particularly since they were guided to Afton Station by my blog!   The lady in the green shirt is my reader.   (Hi!) I'm always blown away by the far reach of the Internet.  
 We may have had our all-time youngest visitor today, too!  Here is 5-week-old Tanner, who visited with his parents and grandparents from Colcord, OK.  What a very, very cute little boy!
That's not all, by a long shot.  The rest of our visitors came from Midwest City OK, Lexington TN, Sardis TN, Buffalo NY, Medford NJ, Rockford IL, Skiatook OK, and Hershey PA.    Ron M., Marly, Tattoo Man, Phil, and Robin rounded out this extraordinary day at Afton Station on Route 66.  It kept us all very busy, but we loved it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

World's Only Trained Buffalo

Ron M.  has been doing some surfing on YouTube and found this treasure.  It's a home video taken at Buffalo Ranch, the former famous tourist attraction just two miles down Route 66 from Afton Station.   I happen to own the hat and the crop you see being used in this video.  It's a  home movie taken in the 1950s.   
The hat and crop belonged to LaRue Olsen, the trainer.  Legend has it that the buffalo, named Pat, eventually accidentally killed LaRue by falling upon him.  His hat and crop are on loan to the Route 66 museum at Route 66 Harley Davidson in Tulsa.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hotter'n Hell!

Well, we're officially into the Record Breaking Heat season here in Oklahoma, "on the edge of the prairie", as Garrison Keillor would say.  Our little old Afton Station air conditioner is pumping out cool air as fast as it can, which is fine in some spots and marginal in others.  I feel sorry for travelers, but none of them seem to feel sorry for themselves, which speaks to the magic of Route 66.   The 20 brave souls who ventured out into the air thick with humidity and flirting with 100+ temperatures were from Dallas TX, Fayetteville AR, Norwalk IA, Port Noches TX, Vinita OK, Dortmund Germany, and Schilde Belgium.  

Marly helped out all day, and David, who is finally home from his vacation to Greece and Italy, came in for a while, too.  He leaves for his next month-long vacation on Sunday.  I got him caught up on everything happening at Afton Station in his absence.

Here's the couple from Belgium, looking forward to six weeks on the road.  I know they'll have a magnificent trip!
 This was today's sunrise on Route 66.  I guess I should have put it at the top of the post, but oh well.....
Finally, here's a picture sent to me by recent visitors, the Bachmans.  Very nice... and more to come!
 Short blog this evening, while I do some cooling down.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Quiet.  That's what today was at Afton Station on Route 66 in beautiful (?) Afton, Oklahoma.   I'm assuming the heat (hovering at 100) was keeping folks from doing much sightseeing today.  There weren't very many locals out, and in fact all but two of our visitors were from quite far away.   Ron M. was with me today and Betty stopped in for a nice long visit.

These folks are Ronn and Jennifer Lynn from Nashville TN.   They are musicians (but of course they are... they live in Music City!) and if you'd like to hear Ronn's music, you can access it at  I coaxed Ron M. into posing with the couple because it seems that he's too often behind the camera and in front of it not often enough.
Here's a couple with two interesting stories.  He is a big time collector of Texaco memorabilia and has restored a vintage Texaco station in his home town of Weir, KS.    He also showed us a photo of the drug store soda fountain and counter that he bought and restored at his house.   It is a magnificent marble beauty.  Meanwhile, her story is almost more incredible.  She was living in an apartment building in Joplin, MO last May when the devastating tornado roared through town.  She was spared when her roommate fell on top of her, although the entire building was destroyed and 60+ people in the building lost their lives.  Clearly, she feels very fortunate, even though she lost everything she owned.   These were two very fine folks and we look forward to seeing them again soon.
The remainder of our visitors came from Roseville CA and Fallon NV (two friends taking their "bucket list" trip across the whole of Route 66), Benton KS, and Minot ND (another "bucket list" older man traveling solo across America in his beloved Cadillac).

Our autograph door is filling up fast.  We still need some very short people to fill out the bottom, but the top is just about full.  We are at the point when we need to think about what to do next!  

A Star is (Not) Born

I venture to say that neither President Obama, Angelina Jolie, nor LeBron James have endured such a long interview this week!   OK, I exaggerate, but my time before the camera of Simon Cantlon and his crew of "The Motels of Route 66" seemed endless -- and, I might add, FUN!   The three-guy crew that showed up at Afton Station this afternoon at 3:45 p.m. (early!) were charming, industrious, and obviously committed to making their documentary perfect in every way.  I surely enjoyed spilling my guts to them in a half-hour stint before their camera.   They were interested in everything about my postcard obsession, my commitment to Route 66, the history of Afton Station, and even some unrelated subjects such as my erotic French postcard collection!  Oh my!  

It was a long day in Afton, but very much worth it just to meet Simon and crew.  When Ron M. and I finally left just after 5:30, they were still interrogating (oops, I mean interviewing) Tattoo Man in front of the Station.      I'm sure  he gave a great interview, and I have every reason to believe that "The Motels of Route 66" will be accurate and intriguing.   Loved meeting you, guys!
The rest of the day was exciting, too.   It was punctuated by a visit from the blogger whose blog has fascinated me for a long time , "Everyone Goes To Mick's" (  I strongly suggest you check it out.   Mick (from Iowa Park, TX) has, among many other things, erected the "World's Smallest Drive-In Theater" in his back yard!   This is more than just  a silly notion -- the theater is actually officially certified as the world's smallest!  And wait until you see his  house!   He visited today with his friend Patricia, and I really enjoyed meeting him after reading his blog for several years.
Dear sweet Reuben and Colleen Tipton dropped by with a cooler full of their fresh-from-the-field sweet corn!  Oh, I have been waiting for this moment!   This year, they actually shucked it for us!   Heaven on earth!   I shared it with Ron M. and Tattoo, but kept enough for myself to keep me happy for several days.   Thank you to my candidates for "Favorite Farmers"!    You have no idea what joy you have brought to my palate. Along with the fresh blackberries we picked up at the farmers' market in the morning, I built the most glorious dinner EVER!
 Some charming visitors from afar came to Afton today.  This couple from Lindau, Germany were two of them. . .
 . . . along with this happy couple from Wellington, New Zealand.    Since I had just seen a TV show about Welllington last night, I had much to discuss with them.   It must be such a great country!
To fill out a pretty spectacular day, we were visited by travelers from Excelsior Springs MO, Columbus OH, Springdale AR, Higginsville MO, Franklin OH, Rogers AR, and Lawrence KS.  There were 36 in all, and each and every one made me happy to be on Route 66 on this hot summer day!

ADDITION:   For those who might be interested in the company that interviewed me, here is the information:  "The project is being led by Emmy-nominated Simon Cantlon (Director/Producer) and Ryan Watt (Producer) with Memphis, Tennessee-based production company Paper Moon Films.  Also, Ron M. informed me that my interview took an hour, not a  half hour. No wonder I was so tired!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Late tomorrow afternoon, I'm meeting in Afton with Simon, the gentleman who is producing the book/video titled The Motels of Route 66.   He found me through my website,, because he read about my love for old motels.

However, this meeting with Simon will make me very late getting home after closing Afton Station, so it's doubtful that I'll have time to post anything on this blog.  Meanwhile, go to the Motels of Route 66 website and learn about the project.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Slow and Steady

Slow and steady today.  After battling a driving rain almost all the way to Afton, things settled down and the rain stopped by mid-morning.  We need the rain, so I'm not complaining.  The corn in the fields looks nearly ready for harvesting, and we've already had some excellent corn available in the farmers' markets in Tulsa.  I live for fresh corn on the cob, in case you haven't noticed!

We had a mere 15 visitors today, not including Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker, who has been around enough to go from being a visitor to a "regular".  Once again, he was on his way to a quick draw shooting meet somewhere in western Oklahoma.    Marly and Phil were both around at various times during the day, and Phil helped me open this morning (in the rain) and mopped up the water that made its way into the showrooms. 

I bought some new caps to sell at the Station.  Flames on the bills and two Route 66 shields on each.  They're of extremely good quality and will sell for $10.  Unfortunately, they're made in Viet Nam, which is against my policy of selling only Made in America products.   The middle man lives on Route 66 in Missouri, however, so some of the money returns to the Mother Road.
 Our visitors came to us from Clever MO, St. Charles MO, Rockford OH, Big Rapids MI, Greenwood AR, Hanover Germany, Tulsa OK, and Booneville MO.

My friend Emily Priddy has just taken a new job as the PR person for the newly restored Campbell Hotel on Route 66 in Tulsa.   She and the General Manager, Trina Salazar, were in the area attending a tourism conference so they stopped in on the way home.  It was nice to see Emily (in business clothes!  Whoa!) and to meet Trina (on left).
This lovely German family came from near Hanover.   I was incredibly impressed by their pretty young daughter (right) who spoke absolutely perfect, unaccented English.  She told me that speaking perfect English was her goal prior to making this Route 66 trip with her parents.

That's about all for today, except to announce that Tripper is ready for the Fourth of July!  Tripper is very patriotic.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


We don't get very many visitors from Luxembourg.  That's probably because there aren't that many people IN Luxembourg.  In fact, the population of the European country (506,000) is almost identical to the population of Oklahoma City.   I believe that in one of the early years of Afton Station's existence, we had some visitors from Luxembourg, but it's been a while.   

Today, four Luxembourgers on motorcycles came for a visit.  It was a hot day and they were all decked out in their leathers, but I think they were having a great time nevertheless.  They're heading west to California.  Ron M. caught photos of them coming and going. 

 This was the first quiet day we've had at Afton Station for about a month.   That's both a blessing and a curse.   Although we love to pack the place with travelers, we also know how to make the most of a lazy day.   Today, we decided to have a pizza party.   Phil and Marly went to fetch the pizza while Ron M., Marly's mom Judy, Robin,  Marly's wife Sue and I wait patiently for them to bring back the goods.
I've got to say that the pizzas they obtained at the little convenience store just 2 blocks from Afton Station were by far the best I've had in Oklahoma.  Amazing!   They cook them fresh there, on cracker-thin crust... just the way I like it.  Of course, perhaps the fact that it's the first pizza I've eaten since going on dialysis might have something to do with my appreciation of it.   (Tomato is forbidden to kidney patients, but I can cheat occasionally, and today was occasionally.)

Our other visitors came from Troy WI, Claremore OK, McAllen TX,  Glenwood MN, and Grove, OK.   As we were closing up and getting in the car to go home, Tattoo Man pulled up, fresh from getting yet another tattoo, his 112th.

Finally, here's a picture taken by Phil on Friday when I wasn't at the Station.  You can see that signatures on the door are starting to multiply.   Today, there's barely any room left on the door, except at the very bottom.  I guess we'll have to get some new doors soon!   (I don't know where these fellows are from, but it appears to be a father and son, and they look pleased.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pretty Pictures

Our car collection is very photogenic, as many have discovered.   Yesterday, Michael Scruggs snapped some very nice black and white shots.   A couple of weeks ago, Phil took dozens of photos of just about everything in the museum.   I haven't had time or space until today to display some of the nicest images from each of them.  The first four are from Michael and the last five are from Phil.  Very nice work, guys!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Forgive Me If I Nod Off

These busy weekends make me so tired!   I'm so energized during the time I'm at Afton Station meeting all the interesting people that I threaten to crash as soon as I get home.   But certain things must be done.  My first act upon arriving home is reading my email.  And then, right after that I review my photos and write my daily blog post.   This is not my best work, I assure you.  Sometimes I see errors upon reading a post many days later.  So I ask  your forgiveness and that you remember that I'm often writing at my lowest point of the day.  Today is such a day.

It was another very busy, very exciting day at the Station.   Ron M. was with me, Tattoo sat in for a few hours, and Phil and Robin were busy mowing and trimming the property all around the Station.  I seriously don't know what I'd do without my helpers during this busy time.  

Our first visitors upon arrival were these two jolly guys from Queensland, Australia.  They exemplified the Aussie reputation for being happy, optimistic, talkative, and fun.  When I asked a couple of questions about their land, Peter (BTW, they're both named Peter!) drew me a little map of the country and pointed out where they live.  They also recommended Tasmania as an amazingly beautiful place to vacation.  Hmm....sounds good to me!   Here they are, posing with their souvenir Afton Station toilet paper.
A pretty lady came in asking if we sold coffee.  We told  her we don't, but she was welcome to have a free cup of our arguably excellent brew.  She stayed for quite a while, during which time we had a great chat and found out that she is Becky Hobbs from Nashville, TN, a recording artist and producer of several movies and videos.  She gave us copies of her two CDs, and the one we played on the spot, containing song tributes to her native Cherokee heritage, was beautiful.  Since the photo I took of her turned out to be a blur, Ron M. took a picture of the autographed one she gave us.  I'll have more about her tomorrow after I check out her website.  

 Our other visitors came from Wolfe City TX, Marseilles France, Phelan CA, Wisner LA, St. Louis MO, four more from Queensland Australia, and Tulsa, Centrallia, and Vinita OK.   There were 27 visitors in all.  For much of the afternoon, our photographer friend Michael Scruggs was taking photos, both inside and out, to be used for postcards in the future.  He produced some beautiful shots, which I will be presenting here in the next few days.    But for now, I'm ready to shut down this computer, have a bite to eat, and settle in front of the TV to watch (if I can stay awake) the OKC Thunder kick the hell out of the Miami Heat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

From Wall Cloud to Zonnig Weer

Shortly after Ron M., Phil, Robin, and I arrived at Afton Station this morning, a huge and extremely ominous wall cloud rolled in from the west.   We scrambled to protect the Packard we'd just driven out of the garage, then stood in awe of the sky and wondered what kind of nastiness it would bring.   About 20 minutes later the cloud rolled right past Afton and the sun came out.  The day became, as a later Dutch guest informed me, a zonnig weer, which means "a nice day".  No rain, no hail, no nothing. 

From that moment on, it turned into a typical very busy Saturday.   Robin and Phil left to run errands, and Marly and Betty arrived to spend several hours with us as we greeted guest after guest.   
 This very pretty '36 5-window Ford coupe belonged to a couple from Brazoria, TX who intend to drive it all the way to Santa Monica on Route 66.   I'm sure they'll get stares everywhere they go in that beauty!

A number of our guests were either traveling to or from the big National Ford Shelby meet in Tulsa.this weekend.   Here's a great looking '68 Mustang being driven by a fellow from Siloam Springs, AR.
 Others were treating their dads to a day of touring and gawking at vintage cars.  After this family (dad on right, three siblings on left) are from Jennings, OK but were coming from a tour of the Coleman Theater in Miami.  After Afton Station, they'd be treating Dad to lunch at Clanton's in Vinita.
 Here are the two guys from the Netherlands who taught me how to say "nice day" in Dutch (see above).  They are from the Hague and are, like so many of today's visitors, planning to make it all the way to Santa Monica on Route 66.  
 Hard to believe from the photo, but these two "cowboys" are grandfather and grandson from Dundee, Scotland!   The grandfather was a hoot.  We loved him!  When he expressed an interest in seeing some Mustangs on his trip, we paired him with another gentleman from Missouri who had just come from the Ford Shelby event and he told the Scots exactly how to get to the meet and what to expect.  I love it when strangers meet at Afton Station and find things in common.
 The Red Door Autograph Project is going great guns!  I'm afraid we're going to run out of door space by the end of next week.  Everyone loves to sign the door, but since most of our visitors are normal sized adults, the lower portion of both doors needs more attention.  I told someone that we needed to be visited by a bus load of dwarfs!   Meanwhile, this young man from Baltimore MD, traveling with his dad for Fathers' Day, was caught in the act of defacing one of the doors with his name!
The remainder of our 31 visitors came from Hudson Falls NY, Edmond OK, Claremore OK, Parkville MO, Springfield MO, Australia, Frankfurt Germany, Valpariaso IN, and Austin TX.

Our popular long sleeved white t-shirts have been replenished.  The first batch virtually flew out the door.  And tomorrow we might have another surprise to reveal.   Think Pepsi.   See you tomorrow.