Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Leaving is harder than arriving!

I had a heck of a time getting out of Afton Station this afternoon and back on Route 66 toward home.  People kept coming in the door, and I just hate to turn them away.   One of my suppliers, Greg Gazak, was there delivering merchandise, and I always enjoy his visits so I kept the place open until he left.  (Greg is one of the most reliable and affable folks I buy from, along with Kathy Anderson and a few others who are always on time and very fair).   Anyway,  Greg and I were trying to settle up when others were coming in to visit.   I finally left about 45 minutes late, but no big deal really.

I was alone today, so not many photos were taken since Ron M. is better about that than I am.  I only got photos of the people who visited from other countries, such as. . .
. . . this family from Koln (Cologne) Germany (mom was there too, but came in later) and. . .
. . . this couple from Kununurra, Australia.    

Others came from  Normal IL, San Jose CA, Canton TX, Pryor OK, Edgerton WI, Salem OR, Grand Junction CO, and Monkey Island, OK.  

The fellow from San Jose, California lived in Afton for a few years in the 70s and just had to come back to have a look at the old stomping grounds.  The Normal, Illinois folks were the only motorcycle riders to visit today.  The couple from Pryor, Oklahoma has traveled 49 states in their 13-foot trailer.  Only Hawaii remains to be visited. The last visitors of the day, from Salem, Oregon, arrived in a beautifully restored '30s era Ford.  I was in such a rush that I didn't get a photo of it.  My bad!

David is back from vacation(s) and we met today to discuss the concert which will be held at the Station on Sunday.   We figured out how to move cars around and make indoor space available.  I'm getting excited about the concert and also about the eGroup annual breakfast that will be held in Joplin on Saturday morning as a part of the International Festival.  Such a great occasion for meeting and greeting old friends, most of whom only get together once a year.  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lots of Kids!

We were pleased to see lots of kids on the road with their parents today.  I truly feel that the average age of Route 66 travelers is quickly falling.  I know that much of that can be attributed to the movie "Cars".  Even though it was in theaters quite a few years ago, it is still a big influence on kids.   Never do children come to Afton Station that aren't in love with 'Mater, and many have just visited 'Mater down the road in Galena.  They also love to push the button on my little 'Mater statue and listen to him talk to them.

Today we had a pretty small number of visitors (approx. 20), but two groups had kids on board, and great kids they were!
This lady, her little boy and her niece stopped in.  They're from Commerce, OK and she is soon to open a children's party planning business there.   The little boy was a bit camera shy, but he sure looked nifty in his cowboy outfit and carrying his orange rifle!  
These folks are returning from a Route 66 trip all the way to California.  They're from New Albany, Indiana and the kids are home schooled so they're getting an amazing hands-on geography lesson.

Other visitors came from Burkburnett TX, Biarritz France, Tulsa OK, Nevada MO, and Rich Hill, MO.

Tattoo Man got his name put on the trunk of his new Stallion.  He came to show us today.   He'll be driving it to the Festival in Joplin next weekend, and he's about to get dual exausts for it, too.   He's turning into a regular 3-wheeled hot rodder!

And speaking of next weekend, don't forget the Road Crew concert at Afton Station next Sunday (Aug.4) at 1 p.m.  Should be a lot of fun, and we already have quite a few folks who plan to come.  It's free and there will be pop and water to wet  your whistle if it's a very hot day.   Bring a chair if you don't like to stand.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Corn. . . and other matters

Just as Ron M. and I were closing Afton Station getting ready to drive home, Reuben Tipton came in with a cooler full of his home-grown corn, the best ever!  This is the third year he's done this. . . and he even shucks it first.  I love Reuben and his corn!

Oh yeah, we did also have visitors today. (Sorry to get carried away with the corn... ha ha).  In fact, it was a very good day at the Station, with travelers arriving in a well-spaced way so that there was time to chat with all of them.  They came from Lockridge IA, Fulton IL, Jenks OK, South Park PA, Langley OK, Goodley TX, Bienne Switzerland, Muskogee OK, Bartlesville OK, and Limoges, France.
Here's the good-looking young couple from Limoges, France (home of the beautiful decorative porcelain) on their first Route 66 trip and his first trip to the States.  They both spoke good English, so I didn't have to drag out my ridiculously inadequate French language knowledge.
And here's the family from Bienne, Switzerland.   They, too, had a fine command of the English language, so I was once again spared from embarrassing myself with my inability to speak any foreign languages adequately. The dad collects antique cars, and among them are several unique American models.  He restores them himself.
This fellow from Fulton, Illinois loved the DeSoto.   He's a true vintage car lover who studied each car lovingly.
From Godley, Texas, this family also appreciates antique cars.  The son was quite taken with the Model A pickup.  His parents said he shouldn't think about it for a while, since it's still several years until he can get his license.  I have a feeling he'll be thinking about it for all those years.  Nice folks!

At the end of the day, a repeat visitor James Rigler from Muskogee, OK dropped in.  He is restoring an old Packard so we always have plenty to talk about.  Another repeat visitor, Eric Gernert from South Park, Pennsylvania, stopped by  on his way out to Tucumcari, after which he will come back to the Festival in Joplin on his way home.  Nice to see him.

Ron M. was with me today, and Tattoo Man and Robin also stopped in .

Captions Later

Here are just a few of the photos of old Afton (late 1970s) that were given to me on Thursday.  I'll talk more about them later.   I love the train tracks!  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Gift

Today is Ron M's birthday, and we had our usual celebration with cake, little gifts, cards, etc., but I was the one who got the real gift today.
A gentleman (in the true sense of the word) came in because he'd been told by his Uncle Reuben Tipton that I had been looking for pictures of old Afton.  Reuben is a friend of Afton Station, one of the solid long-time citizens of the town, and the guy who gave me all that great corn for the past couple of  years.  Anyway, I assured Reuben's nephew Jack that I certainly did want old photos.   He left, and was back in a flash, having put all the photos on a CD for me!!!   And they are great pictures!   I will be putting some of them on the blog in the next day or so.
To add to the pleasure, it turns out that Betty, who was there for Ron's birthday party, has known Jack for 40 years but hasn't seen him for about 5 years, so they had a very sweet reunion.  Jack has lived in Magnolia, Texas since moving from Afton in the late 70s.
Check out the big family who visited this morning -- grandma, grandpa, daughter, son-in-law, and a number of cousins.   The daughter and son-in-law and their kids are visiting from Antwerp, Belgium and the rest of the family lives in Lenore, Kansas.  They were all enjoying a week together at Grand Lake.

Other visitors came from Winnebago IL, Naperville IL, Miami OK, Giddings TX, and Payoze, Hungary.   It was a great day filled with interesting travelers and some extremely yummy lemon cake!  Who could ask for anything more?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Scribbling fast

Time for a quick post, as I have several things I have to get done before bedtime.  However, if you've never noticed, writing a blog post is almost always #1 on my list of things to do when I get home from Afton.  Over the years (all SIX of them!), my blog  has become more and more of a priority in my life.  I've always liked to write, and in previous years I've always kept a personal diary.  This blog is a great way to combine my love of writing with my crazy need to document my life and make it available to the public, for whatever it's worth.  It just makes me feel good to write it.   Tonight, however, it must be brief. . .

The morning was totally devoid of visitors.  Marly, who was at the Station to work on a car, spent a good bit of time with me as we sat and waited for some travelers to walk through the door.  It wasn't until after 12 noon that they started coming in.  And they came from Siloam Springs AR, Dallas TX, DeSoto TX, Houston TX, Boulder CO, Charleston WV, Erie CO, Geneva IL, and Hutchinson, KS.
Our first visitors were these three sisters from Texas and the son of one of them (whom they insisted go to the back of the photo because he's so tall!)   They are doing a little Route 66 exploration before returning home to Dallas, DeSoto, and Houston.  A super nice family!
Our next visit was from Daisy and Clementine (oh yes, and their parents from Charleston, WV.)  Sorry about cutting the heads off the family, but the dogs were so charming that I couldn't take the lens off of them.  Daisy is beagel-ish, and Clementine is bloodhound-ish.

My final visitors of the day were this couple from Hutchinson, KS who arrived in their orange 2011 Challenger that looked mighty sleek in front of our gas pumps.  Unfortunately, the photographer (me) failed to take a decent photo of it.  They bought some guide books and the beautiful "Sightings", a coffee table book, and they certainly made my day financially happy!

And there you have it.  My day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Sad Urban Demise

Readers of this blog whose primary interest is Packards and their history will appreciate this site, but others may, too.

It's no secret that the city of Detroit is in a very difficult financial situation and has recently declared bankruptcy.  But in its heyday it was abuzz with manufacturing, and its financial security relied heavily on automobile manufacturing.   The Packard Motor Car Co. had one of the largest auto plants in Detroit, and in fact, the world.  It was known far and wide for it's size (a mile long) and the luxuriousness of its showroom and executive offices.  Of course, it also produced the most beautiful and prestigious cars of the 20th Century.  

I visited there about 15 years ago and the old factory was already in a terrible state of disrepair, the site of fires and vandalism, and the "home" of quite a few homeless persons.   It has gone downhill since then, and now is being torn down completely. 

Above is a great interactive site showing the crumbling factory, before and after.  Just run your cursor across each photo to see Now and Then.    Very sad.  

Inside the 1917 Motor Home

It has been very difficult for folks to take photos of the inside of the 1917 Packard motor home because of our poor lighting in that showroom.  However, Bill Haynes from Eugene, Oregon who visited on May 18 was able to take some nice ones.  If you haven't visited Afton Station, you will be surprised at how "modern" the interior looks.  It has most everything that a family would need to cross the country almost 100 years ago.  Thank  you so much, Bill!   These photos are quite precious to me!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Day Off

I took the day off from Afton today.  I just needed some time to myself.  I was up late last night because Ron M., another friend, and I attended the Terry Fator show at the Hard Rock Casino.  (Don't ever let anyone tell you that Terry Fator is a 2nd rate entertainer.  He was nothing short of wonderful!)
I was going to take a little road trip today (because I don't drive enough during the week?  LOL) but it was raining cats, dogs, and turtles for the majority of the morning so I just used the day to catch up with a lot of odds and ends at home.  I also made my once-a-year trip to Wal Mart.  I'm of the opinion that once a year is once too often.  Ugh!

I had written to Jim Ross about the problem with the gravel on the 9-foot-highway.  (Read my previous post.)  He has infinite expertise when it comes to Route 66 in Oklahoma, having written several of the most used and trusted state guide books, and he also has a history of working for the Oklahoma state highway department. I asked him what he thought could be done about it, and here is his reply:
What to do about that road has been discussed off and on over the years, including talks with Melvena at the SHPO [State Historic Preservation Office]. The roadbed is on the NRHP [National Register of Historic Places], however that only means it cannot be removed using federal funds. The county (who has jurisdiction there) may or may not use federal funding for some of its projects, but that is another issue. There is nothing that stops them from applying the gravel. Here’s the problem: the road has to be available for the local farmers and landowners who live or work along its right of way. Since it is too narrow to handle two-way traffic, the gravel is used to make it wide enough for vehicles to pass each other. There has not been a practical way found (yet) to divert traffic onto a separate pathway. The gravel on top of the roadway probably does not damage it to any extent; though it can’t be good, either. I agree that it looks bad and ruins the experience of the tourists who want to see it. The only solution I can think of would be to add asphalt shoulders to the roadway to make it wide enough for two vehicles. Not the best solution, and one that would cost the county money they probably don’t have (although gravel ain’t cheap, either). I think it would definitely be worth getting an appointment with Mr. Earls and have a discussion about a long-term solution instead of slowing destroying it with repeated applications of gravel. After all, a lot of folks come through there just to see it, and that means economic impact for the county.
 You are doing a great service to the road by caring enough to get involved. Don’t give up!
If I weren't so shy when it comes to confrontation, I'd storm the county meetings and give them a piece of my mind, but I just don't have it in me to do that.  What I need, I guess, is an advocate.  I don't know how much credibility I'd have, either, since I live 85 miles away from the 9-foot-highway and am considered an "outsider" by most folks in Afton.   Even so, I plan to mull over this problem and try to solve it somehow, probably by sending Mr. Earls a letter.

Decisions, Decisions

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.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Memories of Afton, Part 3

Here's the final installment of Ethel Cunningham's memoir.

~ ~ On Sunday afternoons we young folks would get together at someone's house, make candy and visit.  Sometimes we would get mad at the boys if they decided to race their horses instead of paying attention to us.  These Sunday afternoons were often the only recreation for young people as we had no cars and no time for other forms of recreation.  Also, often our parents would share their "Sunday" dinners and the men and women would visit.

Our church meant a lot to us. My mother, Rosa T. Williams, was a charter member of the First Baptist Church in 1902.  The women worked hard to  help buy things for the church.  I can remember that once a week I baked home-made cinnamon rolls to sell.  Sometimes I needed the money, but I always gave it to the church.  Also, we had a cow and I sold milk and cream.
At the present time, September 1979, my husband and I are still living in Afton close to the school.  We have two daughters, both of whom have taught in the Afton Public Schools and who live close to us.  You may know them -- Mrs. Ione Dry and Mrs. Doris Kirk.

Yes, many changes have been made in Afton and in the world since I was a girl living in Afton in the early 1900s.  Although we had no cars, no television sets, no jet planes, and little money, we learned the value of work and the importance of our country, our God, and our family. ~ ~

Ethel died Feb. 10, 1993, at 95 years of age.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Memories of Afton, Part 2

Here is Part 2 of the interesting memoir of the early days of Afton, Oklahoma as written by Ethel Williams Cunningham in 1979.

~ ~In 1907, Oklahoma became a state and Afton got their first public school just in time for me to start high school in 1911.  There were 5 members who graduated in 1915 --  the first graduating class to have completed 4  years and 16 units in the new building.  The names of the graduating class members were:  Irene Roseborough, Ailene Bowen, Fred Abney, Ralph Dawson, and myself, Ethel Williams.  Some of the subjects I had were English, Latin, Algebra, History, and Geometry.  I would have liked to have gone to college at the Indian Seminary in Tahlequah, but girls did not leave home much in those days, and money was very scarce anyway.

In December after I graduated from high school  I married Wilton Cunningham.  Soon the U.S. was in World War I.  I lived in San Antonio with my Army husband and small daughter, Ione.  After the war, we moved back to Afton and Wilton went back to work for the railroad.  The booming days of the railroad will be remembered by every early residents of Afton, but that is another story.   I will let my husband tell you about that. (That's the ONE thing he knows more about than I.) ha

Then came the days of the depression.  Men could not find work.  The government created the WPA to help.  Men worked 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Wilton made $45 a month on the railroad, and that was a good job then.

Since everyone worked hard and since we had little time for recreation, we probably enjoyed special events more than you young people do today.  For example, on the 4th of July, it was the custom for many years for Afton to have a carnival in the park.  There were many games -- horseshoe pitching, sack races, and hog-calling contests.  I can remember that one year a girl won the hog-calling contest.  I would tell you her name, but she is still living and I'm afraid that she can still yell!   There were also rides -- ferris wheel, marry-go-rounds, the whip, etc.  We were lucky to have 25 cents to spend, and after we spent it, we would usually walk around and watch  the others play bingo.  There was always a parade, a decorated platform and a political speaker.The 4th of July was a big event and we looked forward to it each year almost as much as to Christmas.  (Added later:  The hog caller's name was Minnie Frellick Lynch.) ~ ~

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Our New Sign!

Well, although it's not completely finished, I can't resist posting this photo of our "secret" project at Afton Station.   It was a combination of a lot of people's ideas and talents, but primarily Robin is responsible for all the printing and painting.   Marly put it together today and couldn't wait to install it, even though we have a few finishing touches yet to do.   I don't know what you call it (a mileage sign, perhaps), but it sure will be a great photo op, and I hope it draws people who will then take a peek inside the Station.
It was a dizzying day at Afton Station.  Robin had a similar day yesterday, with the arrival of a group of 40 Norwegians who hadn't told us in advance of their arrival.  No problem... we're always happy to greet anyone, even those unexpected.  

We didn't have any big groups today, but we did have quite a few visitors, including the country singer Jess McEntire and his friend Joe Roark who came by to bring some new CDs Jess has made.  I'll be selling them at Afton Station, but I only have a few copies now.  Joe is connected with an organization that's working for the promotion of Route 66 travel and Jess is doing the same through music. He'll be performing at the Joplin Festival the first weekend in August.
The Route 66 guitar which Jess is holding will be selected via a drawing at the Festival.  It's a beauty, signed by Loretta Lynn!!  To find out how to enter, check out www.motherroadmusic.net.
Four lovely, cordial Norwegians (from Oslo) also came to visit.  We really enjoy our Norwegian visitors, and these were no exception.   Here they are, buying souvenirs of their trip.
In the forefront is a  young man from Dallas, TX  traveling with his dad.  Both can be described as "car nuts", which of course is a big compliment around here.   His dad is in the background on the left and to his right is Joe Roark I told you about before.  Joe's mission can be discovered at:  projectroute66.com.
This little girl and her granddad are from Lucedale, Mississippi.  She was most intrigued by the penny pinching machine.  Five family members were traveling Route 66 together.

Great news for some of our Afton Station friends.  Betty stopped by to show off her hand, which is now cast-free.  Looks pretty good, although it will be a while before she gets full mobility back.  Tattoo Man also stopped by and he found out that his beloved Stallion trike will be completely repaired from it's wreck and ready to drive by the weekend.  He's a happy camper for sure!

One more thing... a confession.   I have become addicted to a little monthly newspaper called "Jailbirds", which is nothing more than mug shots of criminals from all the surrounding counties in NE Oklahoma.   I love to look at the pictures of the less-than-pretty faces.  Betty got me hooked.  Anyway, they're  having a contest.  If one sends in one's photo with the Jailbirds logo in the picture and is chosen at random, he or she (or me!) wins a Jailbirds t-shirt.  And oh yeah, I need one of those!  So, here's my entry.  Ron snapped it.  Ok, I'm nuts.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Memories of Afton, Part 1

I was given this memoir  of Afton written by Ethel Williams Cunningham on September 26, 1979.   Ethel was born in 1897, before Oklahoma was a state, and she was 82 years old when she wrote it.   It's somewhat long, so I plan to post it in three parts.   I found it very interesting, not only as a history of Afton, but also as a reminder of so much of it which holds true for other small towns along Route 66.   

~ ~I have been asked by the school librarian to tell you a little of what I can remember of the early days of Afton.  My name is Ethel Cunningham.   Today is my birthday.  I am 82 years old. I was born here in Afton in Indian Territory days, September 26, 1897.  I was the only child of S. C. Williams and Rosa T. Montgomery Williams.   My great great grandmother traveled the Trail of Tears when she was a little girl.  My grandmother often told me of the hardships and suffering they encountered when they were moved from their nice homes and plantations to Indian Territory.

My father was a carpenter who worked  hard for a living.  The 40-hour week was unheard of then.  When my mother and dad decided to get married they had to wait for several months for "Uncle Jeremiah Hubbard", a missionary preacher among the Indians to make his circuit and get to Afton.  He would then often have several marriages to perform.

Wherever you found early settlements, you would also find that the people would find some way to provide for the education of their children.  Some of my older friends attended an Indian Academy and subscription schools.  One of my earliest remembrances was the Thompson School.  My husband, Wilton Cunningham, also attended this school.

Afton began to grow during Indian Territory days.  When I was a girl in the early 1900s, I can remember that Afton had two banks (Farmers State and Afton State), two drugstores (Afton Drug and Beaty Drug), 2 livery stables, two hotels (Palmer and Dawson), 3 dry goods stores (Livingstons, Abneys, and Reeds), 4 doctors (Harper, Dawson, Rutledge, Troutt), one dentist (Dr. Scott), a milling company which made flour and meal daily, a meat market, an ice wagon whose wagon and horse made daily deliveries, a shoe shop (Barbee's), a second-hand store (Morris'), a restaurant (Bulosky), a newspaper (Afton Climax), a small bakery for a while.  There may have been others that I can't remember.~ ~

So, that's Part 1.   Even those who have never been to Afton but who read this blog know that none of the businesses listed above still exist except one bank.  The milling company is being razed at this very moment.  To the best of my knowledge, there are no doctors or dentists remaining in Afton.  I will continue this story when I have time later in this week or next.  I hope you find it interesting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Sun Also Rises

This morning, I intentionally left the house at 5 a.m. so that I could take my time getting to Afton and thus have a spare hour or more to have a leisurely breakfast at Clanton's and then do a little off-roading.  I don't mean the mud-and-pothole type of off-roading, but off-roading meaning Off-Route 66.  It's been a while since I've had a chance to explore some back roads.  The sunrise was spectacular, the poached eggs with gravy at Clanton's were mouth-watering good, and I found a great little piece of road outside of Vinita that was crying out for exploration.
I know nothing about this little old school building or the "SUPERIOR MODEL" designation, but I plan to do some research and I'll get back to you.
Someone on this little road has a pretty nice collection of longhorn skulls.  

Yesterday Robin had scads of visitors at Afton Station and they came from many countries and states.  Today started out slowly but finally traffic built up a bit.  These fellows from Grove, OK who were returning from business in Tulsa stopped by early and filled my morning with laughter.  They definitely know how to have fun.  Never a dull moment!
The "grandma" in this photo is celebrating her 93rd birthday today!  Her family came from West Chester, Ohio and Brea, California to help with the celebration.  How sweet that they brought her to Afton Station to see the old Packards.

Other visitors came from Columbus OH, Boonville MO, Longview TX, Lubbock TX, and Afton.   The fellows from Boonville, MO are tearing down Afton's old feed mill, which I know is making townies sad.  Fortunately, they're not tearing down the big storage silos, which are Afton's only "skyscraper".  

Sunday, July 14, 2013

This is what it's all about!

What a unique and uplifting day we had at Afton Station today!   Ron M. and I started out having another slow morning, the kind when we wonder why we arrived so early.  But when people started coming in  the door, it made every moment of our bleary-eyed drive to Afton completely worthwhile.

Since I opened Afton Station, I have continued to call it a "visitors' center", despite the fact that most people seem to think of it as a car museum or a location for buying souvenirs and see some interesting memorabilia.  But my real purpose has always been to serve as a place to spread the good word about the charms of traveling Route 66.  Most of my visitors already know much of the history and geography of Route 66, but every  now and then some folks like our first couple today arrive knowing virtually nothing about the Mother Road and go out in a flurry of intense enthusiasm for the Road.  When that happens, I feel as though my job is done and I've fulfilled my purpose.
Enter this first couple from Chicago who stumbled into Afton Station when they accidentally got off the Interstate on their way home after a visit to Tulsa.  They had vaguely heard of Route 66 when they came in, but as Ron M. and I talked to them, we noticed that their smoldering interest was quickly turning to major fire, and by the time they left, they were sold on doing a lot more of the road.   They ended up buying some souvenirs to commemorate their visit and off they went, on -- you guessed it -- Route 66!   We told them they could get all the way to Chicago without going back on the evil Interstate, and I wouldn't be surprised if they took us up on the idea.

Second on our Enthusiasm Rating Scale (ERS) were these two music teachers from Sherman, Texas.  They came in completely energized by being on Route 66 and, frankly, I've rarely witnessed such enthusiasm as came from the gal on the left in this photo.   She was supercharged, and it was contageous.  What a way to brighten our day.   I look forward to more communications with these two!
Among other visitors, all of whom were  unique in their own right, came from Edwardsville KS, Greenfield IN, and a family of four from Moore, OK.  In light of the recent devastation in Moore, we asked if the family had been affected.  Not directly, they said, although the destruction took place less than a half mile from their home, and they are still saddened when they drive through the area where others were less lucky.

My friend in Oregon put up a sign similar to this in her non-profit shop, and since I feel the same about the treatment of pets, I decided to print one up and put it on our front door.  So far, only one flamingo took us up on the offer to host our animal friends. (Click picture to read sign.)
There was a sprinkling of rain today as I was driving in Tulsa to pick Ron up.   It's been a long time since we've had rain, and it came as a bit of a surprise to me.   I stopped long enough to take this sunrise photos.  Sunrises always seem more spectacular when seen through a tiny bit of precipitation.