I can't decide if I should begin this post with a rant about something that has personally offended me or should I open with a glowing report on what a wonderful time was had at Afton Station today. Hmm.... Well, in keeping with what I try to maintain as a happy, optimistic piece of writing, I guess I'll go with the good stuff first.
As usual, our great day was a function of the visitors we were privileged to meet. (By "we", I refer to Ron M., Robin, Tattoo Man, and myself). Our 36 visitors came from Jacksonville FL, Fairmont WV, Brook Park OH, Newton IA, Topeka KS, Pittsburg KS, Dallas TX, Cincinnati OH, Springdale AR, Paris France, and Vinita, Tulsa, and Ketchum OK.
Guest of honor was Denny Gibson, who dropped in while returning from a month-long adventure on the Lincoln Highway. He participated in a caravan that drove the entire length of the iconic road to commemorate its 100th anniversary, and he ended up being one of just two cars that finished the whole trip. His trip blog is outstanding and really should be read by anyone who intends to embark on such a trip. Begin the adventure here: http://www.dennygibson.com/lhcc2013/day01/index.htm.
Here's the '63 Valiant Denny took on the Lincoln Highway. It served him well.
Here are Denny and Tattoo exchanging road gossip. The Valiant is in the background and Tat's Stallion (all fixed!) in the foreground.
A family group from OK, OH, and WV spent some time shopping for mementos from their trip.
This gentleman from Ketchum, OK couldn't wait to show off his newly acquired '37 Packard V-12 Touring Sedan to those of us at the Station. He has every right to be proud of this car. It's spectacular!!!!
These bikers from Jacksonville, FL didn't seem bothered by the heat here in Oklahoma. They've been on the road for a long time and intend to finish every square inch of Route 66 before they head for home.
Ok, now for the rant. . . Ron M. and I arrived in Afton about an hour early in the morning in order to take a ride on the 9-foot alignment and confirm that it indeed has been covered with gravel, something we have been hearing from others. Sadly (and angrily!) I must report that those who have been describing it as such are absolutely correct! In the 6 weeks or so since I drove that stretch of road last, more loads of gravel have been dumped on it, and at this moment not a single foot of the historic roadbed is visible to Route 66 travelers! The historic value of that iconic stretch has been completely obliterated! The monument we erected at the beginning of the road now points to nothing. All this after the county commissioner gave me a verbal assurance at the monument dedication that it would never happen. I guess it's time for me to take some sort of action, but today I just cried. (You should be assured that the Miami stretch of the 9-foot highway is in better shape and the old roadbed and curves are still visible, making that a better choice for future visits.)
A photo taken recently by a tour group on the Miami segment of the 9-foot highway.