Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lemons to Lemonade... again

I seem to keep forgetting that often the old platitude about turning lemons into lemonade is absolutely true.  This morning I had that lesson pounded home to me again.  I decided to  oversleep just for about a half hour and then, instead of going to breakfast at a cafe before heading for Afton, I'd grab a donut and newspaper when I stopped for gas and I'd find a place to park to enjoy a quiet morning in the semi-outdoors.

So, I drove to Vinita and pulled into the WalMart parking lot, not the most picturesque place to enjoy nature, but I couldn't find a public park in Vinita.   It was fine.  I finished the paper and the donut and turned the ignition key.  Nothing!  Again.  Nothing!   I found it hard to imagine that a 19-month-old battery would be failing me, but after ruling out all other possibilities, I called AAA and invited them to come and rescue me.  I called Phil and told him I'd be late getting to Afton, and he had no problem staying until I got there.  Forty-five minutes later the AAA guy came, established that it was indeed the battery, and jump started me.  I drove to a small car repair place recommended by him, and that's when the lemons started turning to lemonade. 

I can't say enough good things about a man named Tom Flock of Flock's Auto Repair in Vinita.  He procured a battery and had it in the car in about 20 minutes.  We also had some time to chat, at which time he told me that he has had the business for 35 years and his son has worked for him for 32 years.  What a nice guy!  He didn't even charge me for labor!   I want to recommend anyone who has a problem in the Vinita, OK area to keep Mr. Flock in mind.    I was only about 90 minutes late getting to Afton Station, and what could have been a rotten day turned out to be quite pleasant.

Guests at Afton Station today included folks from Amarillo TX, Forest WI, Collinsville OK, Miami OK, St. Theresa Montreal Canada, Minneapolis MN, and Broken Arrow OK.

This family just moved to Amarillo TX, but were already quite familiar with Route 66, both in Texas and other states, having traveled it a number of times.  They said that they're enjoying Amarillo and have already met "Croc" Lyle and other Texas Route 66 personalities.
 I enjoyed my visit with this gentleman from Montreal, Canada.  He's traveling Route 66 on a Harley from west to east, having shipped his bike to Las Vegas where he picked it up and did some exploration of the west before heading east.  He had a funny story about telling someone along the way that he came from Montreal and the person exclaimed, "Oh, you've come from Europe!"   He found it necessary to educate that person on "that big piece of land just north of the U.S.A."   Ha ha....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


There is always much to do around Afton Station, things that could be done on days like today when I barely have visitors and no volunteers to gab with, either.  It's almost lonely here,  a rare occurrence indeed.  I'm awaiting a very large motorcycle group, but it's after 1 p.m. and there's no word from them yet.  Phil took Robin to lunch in Tulsa for her birthday.  Betty dropped in for a while but then had to leave to meet her sister.  I almost always enjoy being alone, that is, right up until I start to feel guilty about just sitting here doing nothing. But today I feel exactly like doing nothing.  I don't have a speck of energy, nor do I feel the slightest bit creative.  I started a crossword puzzle, but Tuesday's crosswords are ridiculously easy and not challenging at all.  I considered doing some creative writing but this is the best I could come up with.  Dusting?  Washing windows?  No, thanks.  I rearranged a few things and took a little inventory.  I yawned a lot.  I drank an Orange Crush, and I don't even like soda pop.  I conversed with a nice lady who tried to sell me a $6000 ad in USA Today.  It took me a while to stop laughing at that.  After that, I daydreamed about being able to afford a $6000 in USA Today.
It's time to go home now.  I've had a total of 4 visitors, and none of them even got as far as the auto showrooms.  Two were lost.  The other two, from Bismark, N.Dakota, had no time to dawdle.  What became of the big motorcycle group?  I'm beginning to doubt the accuracy of my appointment calendar.  Oh my, the day is over and I'm going home.  Rotten day.  Rotten to the core.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

What's that wet stuff?

Gloomy?  Damp?  Wait!  Is that rain I see falling from the sky?  Yes... yes, I think it is!  I had the extreme pleasure of waking up to thunder and lightning this morning, doing my grocery shopping at 4 a.m. in the rain, and then driving through occasionally blinding rain all the way to Afton.  Did I mind?  Not in the slightest!  We've been having such a significant and troubling drought in our part of the world that the precipitation was very welcome!   More!  More!
The sun came out later, making most of the day very pleasant and borderline cool.  I didn't turn on the a/c all day, which was probably a mistake since I started feeling rather uncomfortable by afternoon.  But I stuck it out until the end, even though the day was slow.

Betty W. was able to spend most of the day with me, which was such a treat.  Visitors included folks from Midwest City OK, Florence Italy, Wylie TX, Frisco TX, Oklahoma City OK, and LaCrosse WI.  Here are the Texans who are doing some Route 66 exploration while spending a few days at Grand Lake.  They were on the search for Route 66 souvenir items, and I was most happy to help them with their needs.  
It rained on me again on the way home, but now the sun is out.  Strange day.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fuzzy Norway

I don't know why this photo of a very handsome group from Norway came out fuzzy.  I think perhaps I moved.  At any rate, I'm sad about it because these were lovely people, both inside and out and, in real life, I don't believe a single one of them is fuzzy.  They were part of an unexpected visit from a tour group made up of folks from all over Norway.  A very nice surprise!
It was a busy day at the Station today. Betty came for a while and we had a great visit.   Phil opened and closed for me again, but for the most part I was there alone.   This fellow is Christopher, a professional photographer from Lee's Summit, MO who was the first one in the door this morning and the last one out prior to closing.  He spent hours photographing the cars, then we sat and talked for another hour.  He's an interesting man who enjoys a range of activities,  including rock climbing.  I definitely enjoyed his company.
 Other visitors came from Calgary Ontario, Dayton OH, New Delhi India, Texarkana TX, and Muskogee, Vinita, and Sand Springs, OK.  There were 26 in all.

Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones lost his father yesterday, so he probably won't be around for several days.  Our condolences go out to Tattoo and his family.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I took Sarah to the airport this morning at 5 a.m..  I'm incredibly tired.  Clearly, I've been having too much fun in the past few days when I still have this lingering respiratory thing going on.   I wouldn't have changed anything, but now I need a couple of good night's sleep.   In fact, when Phil came back to Afton Station to help me close at the end of the day, he found me asleep with my head down on the table.  This is not good, but at least it was Phil who caught me and not a traveler!  How embarrassing that would have been! 

It wasn't a particularly busy day, with only 15 visitors coming through the door.   One of those was Dean "Crazy Legs" Walker, who came to tell me with great excitement about his upcoming trip to California and Cars Land at Disneyland with fellow roadies Brenda St. Clair and Lynn "Lulu" Bagdon.  I'm sure this trio will have a great time, and I'm just as sure that Disneyland won't forget their visit.  The park may need some time to recover after they leave!
 Our other visitors came from White City KS, Carmel CA, Shawnee KS, and Miami, Fairland, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City, OK.   As  you can see, the majority of travelers were from not too far away, and for the first time in a long time, there were no foreign visitors.  Not true for the previous three days when Phil and Robin were minding the store.  They had far busier days and visited with folks from England, Japan, Spain, Australia, and India, among others.  They also had a visit from  Trond Moburg and his motorcycle tour group from Norway.  Wish I'd been there for that!
I was having so much fun with Sarah that I forgot to take her photo, except for this not very good one, during a moment of relaxation.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slightly off the beaten path....

Sarah, my daughter who is visiting from Chicago, and I took a little trip yesterday and today, so there will  be no news from Afton Station, I'm afraid.  But I thought you might want to hear about this hidden gem we stumbled upon while driving in northwest Arkansas this afternoon.  Sarah and I love, love, love drive-through wildlife parks, but this is one we'd never heard of.  After being disgusted by traffic, miles of strip malls, and way too much Walmart influence in Springdale and Bentonville (home of Walmart), we veered off onto a less traveled road in the town of Gentry, where we saw this sign....

Naturally, we followed the directions, expecting a little unimpressive collection of potentially mistreated animals.  How very wrong we were!   This was without a doubt one of the best we've visited.   Many acres of wildness, over 4 miles of dirt roads, and hundreds and hundreds of animals and birds.  Check it out at:

Here are a few photos.  The first one was taken seconds before the camel charged the car.  No, I'm not kidding.   I put the pedal to the metal just in time and we got away from him.  
 There was a rhino, a hippo, bears, at least three tigers, a lion, a herd of zebras, and much, much more.  All the animals seemed to be extremely well taken care of and had large amounts of acreage in which to roam.  Well, all except the monkey types, who were caged. . . except a couple who managed to escape.  We had a great time!
 We also drove through Eureka Springs, an amazing town, and checked out the new and allegedly incredible Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville, but by the time we got through the traffic in the town, it was only 20 minutes from closing.  Oh well, all these attractions are less than 3 hours from Tulsa, so they can always be done in the future.

What a great 1 1/2 days on the road with my daughter!  This would be a nice side trip for Route 66 travelers, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Big Day, Small Time

Rushing this evening, but here are a few words about today.   I was alone most of the day and was swamped with visitors.  This blended family of mom, dad, and four little girls from Muskogee, OK were the first to visit.
 Following them were folks from Grove OK, Gig Harbor WA, Bernice OK, andTulsa OK.

Then, one of my fellow members of the Route 66 EGroup, Karen (aka khicks) and her husband came in. They're from Martin, TN and are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on Route 66.  What could be better?  It's always fun to meet someone in person who previously you've only known by an online "handle". Thanks for the visit, Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, and Congratulations!
 T hey were followed by a couple from Beggs, OK   She had family in Afton way back when, and during their visit Betty stopped in and, naturally, remembered all those family members.  I'm convinced that Betty knows everyone who has ever lived in this town! Then came visitors from Buffalo NY, Wichita KS, Venice Italy and Grove, OK.

These two young men from Hiroshima, Japan, in their whimsical hats, had a good look around and took a ton of pictures.   They were cheerful and seemed to be having a great time.
The day finished with visitors from Pittsburg KS, Portugal, Jenks OK, and E. Liverpool, OH.   And now, tired but happy, I'm going to hang out with my daughter.  I won't be in Afton on Tuesday because she and I are taking a little road trip, but I hope to blog about that later in the week.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Sometimes, it just takes a village."

After a hearty breakfast at Clanton's in Vinita, Sarah and I arrived at Afton Station to find that Robin, Phil, and Marly had opened up for us.  Thanks, guys!   Actually, the breakfast at Clanton's could have been better.  I had a massive coughing fit, and meanwhile Sarah had a troubling cell phone call from the store she manages in Chicago concerning an employee problem.  But we did have good food, albeit eaten while somewhat distracted.

Sarah stayed at Afton Station until about noon, when she left to go to her dad's house and help him celebrate his birthday with a party this evening.   She'll be back at the Station tomorrow and will return with me to 
Tulsa for the remainder of her visit.  Here she is with Marly.
We saw a quite beautiful display of people spontaneously helping strangers when two travelers from Slovakia came in with a bit of panic in their eyes.   A tire on their rental car was losing air quickly from a nail hole.  There's no place in Afton to have tire work done, but fortunately a wonderful woman from nearby Vinita who was visiting with her two grandsons from Utah joined in the conversation because she knew a tire place in Vinita that would fix it.  So, she got on her cell phone and ascertained that the tire store, which ordinarily closes at noon on Saturday, would stay open until the Slovakians got there.  I was impressed by this example of folks helping strangers.   The Slovakian guys were so appreciative and off they went feeling much less stressed.  As the woman from Vinita said, "Sometimes it just takes a village".  Here she is, with her two grandsons.  
In the afternoon, this family from Israel came in.  They aren't doing a full Route 66 trip, but instead exploring a bit of it now and then while they're temporarily living in Tulsa so the wife can complete her medical residency.  The small child was so beautiful that I just had to comment on "her" eyes and hair, at which point the father corrected me and said that the baby was in fact a "he".  Oops!   I don't care what he is.... I just know that he's going to grow up to be a stunner!
 The rest of our guests came from Miami OK,  Baldwin City KS, MacAlester OK, Mesa AZ, and Tulsa OK.  Yesterday, Robin dealt with 50 visitors!  It was an amazing day, with people coming from Japan, Spain , Scotland, France, and 11 cities in the U.S.  Wow!   Sorry I couldn't have been there for that!

I'm feeling considerably better, so I should be back in decent form for another day of Afton Station fun tomorrow.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


My nose is running, I have no voice, my head hurts, my body aches, my ears are ringing.  Otherwise, I'm fine!  LOL!   It's just a rotten cold, but I don't want it, not with my daughter arriving tomorrow for a week.  However, I will survive.  Today, though, I dragged myself to Afton and was greeted by an immediate onslaught of visitors.  I croaked my way through the day,  up until 1 p.m. when Robin came in and told me to go home.  So, I did.  After some  hot spiced tea, I'm feeling a tad better.  

These fine folks who rode in on two motorcycles from Mocksville, N. Carolina offered me a shot of whiskey.  I should have taken it, but it's been so long since I had any hard liquor that I was afraid it might not have worn off by the time I had to drive home.  Nice people, and a tempting offer.  
A couple of guys from Copenhagen, Denmark were early morning visitors, as were a husband and wife from Western Australia (near Ayres Rock, they said).  Our domestic visitors came from Siloam Springs AR, Grove OK, Houston TX, and Bella Vista AR.   I've  heard so much about Ayres Rock from our Aussie visitors lately that I Googled a photo of it.  Wow, what a lovely part of the country!   It's right in the center of the continent, along the main east/west route.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Here Comes The Rain!

It looks for all the world like we're about to get some rain!  It's dark and windy and all the signs point to it.  Furthermore, it's supposed to rain several times in the next couple of days, meaning that perhaps we won't have to anticipate another 1930s-style Dust Bowl after all.   It's too late for the corn farmers, but the soybean crops seem to be surviving.   And, it's MUCH cooler, too.  I'm very excited about the prediction of rain, glorious rain!

Today at Afton Station was nothing short of wonderful!  The majority of our visitors were from foreign countries, and each and every one of them was filled with enthusiasm and the kind of joy that only Route 66 seems to engender.

The two guys with Betty W. in this photo are Oskar and Esteban from Donostia and Bermeo-Bizkaia (respectively), Spain.  They're traveling Route 66 filming interviews with shopkeepers, etc. for eventual use in a film which will be made in Spain, explaining the mystique of Route 66 to the Spanish people.  They interviewed me, and then when Betty came in they were fortunate enough to be able to take some time with her in order to learn about what owning a drive-in on the Mother Road was like in years past.   Oskar and Esteban were absolutely charming and after over an hour we wished they didn't have to leave!

More lovely people!  This family from Sydney, Australia was displaying typical Aussie friendliness and happiness.   Love those Aussies!   Their little girl, Sara, was sweet and charming and she seemed so pleased when I gave her a souvenir magnet that I just had to snap one more picture of her.   The family stayed for quite a while and we enjoyed some good conversation.  
But that's far from all.  Here is a couple from Boussens, Switzerland who also found their way to the Station on their way to California.  I love her dress!

Other visitors came from Vitoria, Spain (Basque country), Geneva, Switzerland (our only motorbike visitors today), Paris France, Montpelier France, Porto Alegre Brazil, Nixa MO, Elyria OH, Baxter Springs KS, and Vinita OK.

My enthusiasm for today may belie the fact that I'm a bit sick.  Just a cold, I think, but after all the vigorous talking today I have almost no voice left, and I'm aching all over.  I must get better before my daughter Sarah arrives on Friday... so I WILL!

Note:   This sign went up a few days ago at the old abandoned convenience store about 1/8 mile down the road from Afton Station.  We shall see if it actually materializes.  It would be grand to have a good BBQ place in Afton, but as yet I can't see much movement toward completion of the restoration of the building.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sign Language

Today's Afton Station visitors were exactly half American and half European.  They say that there is an international language, and that is the language of friendship.  True, up to a point.  But dealing daily with folks hailing from other countries has made me wish that we could take communication a bit further than just a smile and a  handshake.  I so much wanted to find out more about the Italian, Spanish,  and German speakers who came through Afton Station's doors today.  Four years of French language study in school really got me nowhere.  The only thing I remember from those classes is how to say "By the way, who are you taking to the Senior Prom?" in perfectly accented French.  I probably won't be needing that any time soon.  In most cases, the visitors know more English than I know of their language.  But today, nobody could understand anybody.  It was still fun, but it could have been more so.  As long as the Route 66 travelers are having fun, I won't worry over it too much.  I'll  just mourn the thoughts we could have shared if we were on the same language wavelength.

There were these very cute guys from Turin Italy, causing me to think that I might be turning into quite the cougar.  Shame on me: I'm old enough to be their grandmother.  But I was taken by their enthusiasm, especially for the postcards I sell.   
 They also posed with Tripper for a few shots.
 They weren't the only visitors from Turin, however.  Late in the day, a young couple from that same town visited.

This couple came from Spain, he from Malaga and she from Melilla, a portion of Spain which is actually on the north coast of Africa, in Morocco.  (I'm learning a good bit of geography from my guests lately!)
 Other visitors came from Bonn Germany, Milan Italy, Springfield MO, Miami OK, and Lansing Michigan.  There were still people at the Station when I left Robin and Phil to mind the store, so depending on how long they stayed, I'm guessing that a good number of folks dropped in after I left.

Tonya and Glenda Pike, important members of the Missouri Route 66 Association, drove down from Springfield, MO to pick up a couple of bundles of the Oklahoma Route 66 Trip Guides to hand out at the Rail Haven Motel there where Tonya works.  All of us in Oklahoma are so pleased that Tonya does so much to help out from afar with Oklahoma tourism!

There was also an enchanting sunrise today, so of course I snapped a picture.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Couple of Extraordinary Days

It happened yesterday for Phil and Robin, and it happened again today!   Two amazing days in a row!  Lots of visitors, lots of sales, lots of laughs, lots of friendly conversation.   Between the two days, we had over 100 visitors!

Yesterday, Robin reported receiving visitors from Spain, Australia, S. Africa, Italy, England, and 8 various states.  Today we began the day with a group of  17 bikers from Spain, led by my Route 66 friend Ken "Landrunner" Turmel from Oklahoma City.  They roared in shortly after we opened and didn't roar out for nearly an hour, heading for the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, MO.  I sent Robin out to take this photo because I had to deal with several issues inside.  The man in the white shirt is Ken, caught as he led the group away from the Station
We all got to Afton early (8 a.m.) this morning to get the '65 Chevy Convertible ready to represent us at a big Hot Wheels and Die Cast Exhibit in Jay, OK.  Our car was to be featured at the show and also in a program by the Discovery Channel to be filmed at the show.  Other cars were invited to arrive at 3 p.m. for a big car show and cruise, but ours was to be the sole feature during the morning hours.

Our other visitors today hailed from Bari Italy, Lincoln NE, Green Valley AZ, Houston TX, Cedar Rapids IA, Port Byron IL, Afton, Peoria, Miami, and Tulsa OK, and a mysterious location which took me quite a bit of time to figure out, but which now I believe I've pinpointed.  Two young people who spoke almost no English described where they lived as "Spain, but not Spain".  They indicated in the guest book that "Jesus Aramburu Euskal Herria" was their home.  It took a bit of time on Google and some Wikipedia research when I got home to establish that (I think) they're residents of the Basque Country, which is indeed a part of Spain although most Basque residents like to think of themselves as a people apart.  

I can't wait until Ron M. is well enough to come back to Afton Station.  We all miss him and hope that he'll agree to ride with me as soon as he's feeling well enough and gets the thumbs up from  his doctors.  Meanwhile, he's doing very well at home, I'm pleased to report.

My heart is in Victorville, CA this weekend.  So many of our Route 66 friends have gone there for the annual International Route 66 Festival.  I almost always attend myself, but this  year it just didn't work out for me schedule-wise.  I know they're having fun and look forward to seeing some photos of the event very soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ladies of Spain. . .

Four ladies from Valencia, Spain were early risers today and arrived at Afton Station before we were even officially open.  They were very nice but spoke almost no English. They were in buying moods, so I can't complain!

And this beautiful woman, traveling solo from Clayton, NY (in the beautiful Thousand Islands area of upstate New York), was enjoying a partial Route 66 trip, and although she claimed to be in a hurry, Phil and I managed to entice her into a half hour visit.  We really enjoyed her cheerful attitude!
 Tom and Pat Wanko from St. Louis, MO also came by with gifts given posthumously from dear Bob Waldmire.   They were given, by Bob before his death, the job of distributing his ashes to 10 places on Route 66, and since Bob was my good friend, Afton Station was one of them selected by Bob.  I am honored to have this memory of Bob, and intend to find an appropriate place to memorialize him.

And now, I'm so tired I can barely lift my fingers to type, so I'm stopping.  I will try to find the time to expand on this post tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Town Folk

We have our share of town folk who stop at Afton Station, many on a daily basis.  Some of them are outpatients at the mental health facility behind the Station.   We have "Sticker Man" who comes in every day to buy one sticker.  We have "Arm and Hammer", the name we gave to a colorfully-dressed couple that never walk without his arm in a loving hammerlock around her neck as if he's afraid she'll blow away.  We also have the "Old Man", a delightful gentleman who comes in daily to look at what he calls "his" car, the green '55 Packard convertible.  Wishful thinking at its best.  He's a Navy veteran who's been all over the world with great stories to tell.  Here he is, imparting some of his knowledge to one of our visitors from Finland.
The visitors from Finland are this very attractive couple from Mikkeli, Finland who are enjoying a Route 66 honeymoon, having been married just two weeks.
 These four folks from Cannes, France, all decked out in Gary Turner's Gay Parita t-shirts, came on their motorcycles.
 Only yesterday, Phil greeted and photographed another French foursome who had also just visited Gary Turner at his Missouri Sinclair station.   It's unanimous... everyone adores Gary, and they should.  He's one of the premier ambassadors of Route 66.

We also  had visitors from Nixa MO, Lebanon PA, Denver CO, and Willunga S. Australia.

Yesterday, Phil and Robin had a very good day at the Station.   Besides the French quartet above, their visitors hailed from England, France, Texas, California, Louisiana, Ohio, Florida, N. Carolina, Arizona, and Oklahoma!   Phil also took this very attractive photo of Robin, hard at work at my messy desk.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

All Clear

The sky, that is.   The fires between Tulsa and Oklahoma City have been brought under control, but not until countless homes, buildings, woodlands, and farmlands were devastated.  I'm not sure if there were injuries or loss of life, but the last I heard, everyone was safe.  The news of these huge fires was covered on almost all of the national news outlets.  It was a big deal.   Here in Tulsa, we had a very nice thunderstorm last night, so there's been a little relief from the heat and our plants got a decent dousing, although the drought is ongoing.   As I've said many times before, there's never a dull moment in Oklahoma.

As I write this, Ron M. is on his way home from the hospital.  Since I just got home from Afton, our friends from Salt Lake City are taking him home.  I'll go see him tomorrow morning. Things are looking up all the way around!

I was alone at Afton Station for most of the day, although Phil helped open and close.  These patriotic brothers were taking a little trip on Route 66 in Oklahoma with their grandparents from Versailles, MO.  
 Other visitors came from Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada, Amarillo TX, Houston TX, Miami OK, and Wrexham, Wales.  Here's the lady from Wales, who is traveling solo, visiting with our friend Michael Scruggs for a bit.
My life seems to be settling down a little now, so I expect to do better with my blogging in the future.  I have to admit that most of the last month's blogs have been written on the fly.  I look forward to having more time to concentrate on telling you about my wonderful and interesting days at Afton Station.  If you are a regular reader of my babble, you deserve only the best.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Yellow Tulsa

Driving into Tulsa from Afton this evening, the skies kept getting more and more yellow with every mile.  There's a huge yellow cloud over the city, blocking out the sun and causing the temperatures to plummet from 112 to 109 [insert sarcastic laugh here].    There have been some very serious fires west of Tulsa on Route 66 in Creek County, which actually closed down both Route 66 and the Interstate at times today.  One of the fires was intentionally set, which makes me so mad I'm spitting nails.   Because of an idiot arsonist, many people lost their homes and livestock.  Even now, they're announcing on the TV news that residents are being advised to evacuate their homes in parts of Creek County.   One hundred and twenty-one homes have been lost so far.  Furthermore, the air is so smoky here in Tulsa that my eyes are burning and I'm feeling sorry for folks with respiratory problems.

(Trevor -- I believe that the fires are centered in your home town, Luther.  I hope that any family and friends you have there are safe.) 

Here's the "yellowness" from my front porch.
At Afton Station we were under sunny, clear skies since we're east of Tulsa and out of the fire area.  That didn't mean we had bunches of visitors. Nearly everyone who visited was close to collapse from the heat.   These folks from Griffith, Australia (halfway between Sydney and Perth, in what they described as the "salad bowl" agricultural area of Australia) were enduring the heat while enjoying the fact that they weren't back home where it's the middle of winter.
These folks from St. Paul, MN were heading home from a partial Route 66 trip.  They were trying to make it to Omaha today, but they spent a lot of time with the vintage cars, so I'm afraid they might not quite make it. They're the inquisitive types, so I doubt they'll want to miss out on the many Route 66 attractions they'll pass on their way.
 Jon Edwards, a good friend of Afton Station, stopped by on his motorcycle and stayed for a nice long time while we caught up on what's going on in our lives.   Jon has been attending a lot of car shows lately and his vintage beauty has won a handful of awards.  Way to go, Jon!

A "full timer" gentleman (one who has lived in his RV for I believe he said 15 years!) came for a visit.  He was a very interesting fellow, with truly fascinating stories of his great-grandfather's trip on foot from Colombia to California with a herd of burros during the Gold Rush.  

Rounding out the guest list was a young couple from Turin, Italy doing Route 66 from California to Chicago.  They appeared to be having the time of their young lives.

Phil and Robin were there to open for me and Phil came back later in the day to help me close.  The best news of the day is that there's a chance that Ron M. will be released from the hospital tomorrow.  Think good thoughts!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Young Love

Perhaps this weather is only tolerable by the young and the fit.   That could be the reason that, uncharacteristically, most of our visitors today were young.   They were also from Europe.  And two couples were on their honeymoons! 
Here's a newlywed couple from Milan, Italy.  Yesterday their travels took them to Gary Turner's Gay Parita at Paris Springs, MO where they bought a t-shirt and he advised them to get autographs on it from all the folks they visit along the way.  Therefore, Phil and I had the opportunity to act like celebrities and sign the shirt!
 This honeymoon couple comes from Kent, England.  When I asked them why they weren't in London at the Olympics, they indicated that they had no interest in facing that mob scene.  I, on the other hand, would have enjoyed a few breaths of London's 60-degree air!
I captured this photo from their online wedding album because I couldn't resist the beautiful Packard that carried them to and from the ceremony.  Wow!
 Three young guys from Besancon, France came next.  They seemed to be  holding up well to the heat and looked fresh and eager to see everything along their way across Route 66 to California.

Other visitors included a father and son team who arrived from St. Cloud, MN in an over-the-road truck.     The father, originally from Bulgaria, was taking his 10-year-old son on one of his routes for a couple of weeks.  Nice folks, but refused to let me take their picture.  That's unusual!   We also had visitors from Nowata OK, Bernice OK, and Sebring FL.

Ron M. is out of the ICU and in a regular room.  Hooray!   He's doing a lot better.  I have much to do tonight and, due to an hour traffic jam on the way home from Afton, I'm late to get started.  Therefore, I'm signing off now and will be back on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Picher, Oklahoma

Betty sent me this outstanding video about the demise of the town of Picher, Oklahoma.  Picher is 1/4 mile off Route 66 east of Afton.  I've written about it several other times on this blog because I'm somewhat obsessed by the sad story of this town which died not because of the opening of the interstate like so many Route 66 towns, but instead as the result of irresponsible lead and zinc mining in the area.  Please watch it.  Thanks.