Saturday, August 31, 2013

Brave Heat Warriors

Route 66 Road Warriors had to be Heat Warriors as well today, ssince we experienced the hottest day of the summer so far.   Yes, the last day of August proved to be a scorcher, with the thermometer reading 104 when I left Afton Station.

I had quite a busy day, perhaps because it's a holiday weekend.  I was working alone today since Ron M. is still recovering from some surgery and needs some rest days.  He's doing very well.  I'm not sure I was so fine when I left the Station today, though.  I've had a muscle problem in my lower back for a while and today it seemed to travel to my neck.  Oh, the aches and pains of getting old!

Nevertheless, I soldiered on alone, with brief visits from Betty, Robin, Marly, and Crazy Legs Walker.  There were 32 visitors too, and they came from Sioux Falls SD, Fayetteville AR, Little Rock AR, Dallas TX, Niagara Falls Ontario Canada, Leon Spain, Bedfordshire England, and Sapulpa, Big Cabin, Tulsa, and Tishamingo, OK.

Without Ron with me, the quality of photos sinks a bit.   I'm always so busy I forget to take photos, and then when I do, they're not particularly of great quality.  But here they are. . .
These congenial friends came from Big Cabin, OK (him) and Tishamingo OK (her).   He's opening his wallet to buy Jim Ross's great guide to Oklahoma Route 66.  I think they'll be doing a lot more Route 66 travel soon!
This happy little lady came with her family from Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Mom and daughter from Leon, Spain sign the guest book while Dad and their other daughter spend some time with the antique vehicles.
 And finally, these two couples came to visit near the end of the day.  They're from Niagara Falls (the Canadian side), and are traveling in a very lovely and large motor home.   They, too, showed a lot of interest in the Packards.  

It's supposed to cool off a bit tomorrow, and we'll all welcome that.  Come visit.  My air conditioner is working just fine!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Short one today. . .

I didn't get home until just now, Blogger is acting up, and I forgot to bring my Afton Station notes home with me.  All this is to say that I'm going to make this short and sweet.  I think I had about 15 visitors at last count, and I remember that I had overseas travelers from Norway and Italy.  Here is the couple from Italy.
 In the afternoon, I was excited to have a visit from my friends Mike and Sharon Ward from Mesa, AZ.  They were coming back from his 50th high school reunion in Marion, Illinois.   I just saw them a few weeks ago at the Joplin Festival, but this time we were actually able to sit and talk for over an hour.   Great people, lots to talk about!
And that's all for now, Folks. . .   See you on Saturday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Roger's Ride for the Relay Redux

I'm honored to say that Roger Fox and his very well-organized and popular "Ride for the Relay" motorcycle  cruise has chosen to come to Afton Station for several years in a row.   That happened today, and I'm always so excited when I see the bikes roar into Afton.  The 38 bikers come from all over the country.  Fortunately, Marly stopped in and agreed to stay for several hours to help out, as it would have been hard to deal with all the folks all by myself.   The Ride is made each year in honor of friends and family who have died from cancer, and donations are collected all the way along the Route 66 which are given to cancer charities.   Since Marly and I were kept busy with the visitors, I asked my friend Ken "Landrunner" Turmel, who was traveling with them, to snap a few photos for me.  Here they are.

Here are Roger and Ken, cooling their heels (and other body parts, I'm sure.... it was HOT today!)

Love this painting on the back of one of the bike trailers.   Very nice!  There are many unique vehicles participating each year.

There were a few other visitors today, too.  They came from Fairdealing MO, Albuquerque NM, Joplin MO, and Miami, OK.  Betty stopped by for a while too, and since she hasn't been around much lately, it was great to get to chat a bit.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Tulsa

You all know that Afton Station (logically!) is in Afton, but newer readers might not know that I live in Tulsa.  It's 85 miles, door-to-door from my home to Afton.   When I first moved to Tulsa, I was just short of appalled by the city's disinterest in Route 66 and many of its residents who were ignorant of the fact that not only does Route 66 roll right through the center of town, but that Cyrus Avery, called "The Father of Route 66" once lived there!  Things have vastly improved since then, and now I'm proud to say that Tulsa has become a true, 1st class Route 66 town.   This is due, for the most part, to the slow-but-steady awareness of the Mother Road by folks in city government as well as those of us who call ourselves "roadies" and continue to push for improvements in signage and recognition of many  of the important Route 66 landmarks in the city.

Now, here's where this little essay may turn to a case of patting myself on the back, and I do so with little or no apology.  In 2002, a group of Route 66 enthusiasts, including myself, invited David Knudson, head of the National Historic Route 66 Federation, to travel to Tulsa from California, look around, and consider the city as a potential site for the 2004 International Route 66 Festival.   He came, he was impressed, and we were impressed by his enthusiasm.  By the time he left to go home, he was sold on Tulsa.  After that, there was never any other city considered for  the 2004 Festival.

So our little band of Route 66ers started to have weekly meetings (almost every week for two  years!), and hired a PR firm which already loved Route 66 so much that they worked for a pittance, to give us guidance on how to pull this off. And, in June of 2004 we managed to present a large and amazing Festival attended by thousands.  I was chairman of the whole thing, although that was almost an honorary title since there were many -- probably hundreds -- of folks who did far more than I did to make it a success.

On the last night of the Festival, we arranged to have "66" light up on the largest building in town.  I'll never forget that moment.  I stood there and cried and cried tears of pride.  I was so proud of Tulsa, and I think at that moment I felt that I was finally a true citizen of this wonderful city.  Unfortunately, I was carrying a cheap camera at the time, so this is my only photo of one of the proudest moments of my life.  But to this day, I continue to feel that our Festival was the spark that ignited Tulsa's pride in being a true Route 66 city!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chat Time Abounds

During a few spare moments this morning I wrote a whole little essay about Tulsa Route 66, but I got home from Afton Station so late and with more pressing tasks to perform, that I've decided to post it tomorrow instead of this evening.   Now, I'll just tell you in just a few words about my day at the Station.

The morning started, as usual, with a sunrise.  This one was particularly pretty as I drove across the farmland outside of Chelsea.
I was alone today at Afton Station for the first time on a weekend in months.  I was a little worried about being overwhelmed by visitors, but although there were plenty, I had enough time to chat with all of them individually.   

They came from Winnsboro TX,  Kansas City MO, Ketchum OK, Milwaukee WI, Upine (near Venice) Italy, Great Bend KS, Grove OK, and Aukland, New Zealand.
My first visitor was an old Route 66 friend, Larry Kinsey.   Heading back to Kansas after a lengthy trip, he was accompanied by his kitty Genghis on this visit.  Genghis is a very big and very lovable cat.  Larry is the guy who got me interested in playing the Indian flute, something I still enjoy even thought I can't even play one song all the way through.  We had a nice visit.
I enjoyed this family who was taking a little weekend drive from their home in nearby Ketchum.  Little Stella is a beautiful child and as sweet as can be!
This couple lives near one of my very favorite cities, Venice Italy.  They are having a great Route 66 vacation, even though in this photo they have a giant penguin looking over their shoulders!  Yikes!
A local fellow from Grove (on right) arrived just before this family from Aukland, New Zealand came in.  The couple from Aukland and their daughter had some questions about American Indians, and since Randall, the local man, is a Native American himself, they were afforded some good information and will definitely be visiting some Indian reservations as they move further west on Route 66.  They bought a 5th-wheel RV and a pickup truck when they got to the U.S. and got a buy-back agreement from the dealership so they could sell it before return to N.Z. in a few months.  But now they're thinking of just storing it for another trip next year.  I hope they come back!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Few Visitors, Many Stories

Business was slow on Route 66 this morning, but picked up nicely in the afternoon.  Most of the morning was spent catching up with the doings of Marly and Robin, who stopped in to chat.  Ron M. was with us, too.  Once Robin left, followed shortly by Marly, more people started to come in, but I'm not... repeat NOT.... insinuating any cause-and-effect here!  :-)

Our first visitors were from Medicine Lodge, Kansas, a couple with their grandson who is a big car restoration fan.  Once they got their fill of our Packards, etc., I sent them down the road to Daryl Starbird's museum, which I think the young man will really appreciate since he loves hot rods and customs.   While the folks were viewing the showrooms, I took the time to look up Medicine Lodge, KS because I thought it was such an interesting name.  Turns out it's where firebrand Carrie Nation started her campaign to break up taverns with her ax at the beginning of the Temperance era.   Interesting, but of course none of that has anything to do with the Medicine Lodge name, which was given by Native Americans many years prior.
 This young couple came from Brussels, Belgium and Barcelona, Spain, although both now live in his home town of Brussels.   They are on a one-year odyssey in which they will drive throughout the United States and then head for Mexico, Central America, and South America.
This is their vehicle.  It's a fully fitted-out Toyota which they had shipped over from Belgium and picked up in NYC.  After their one year on the road, they will have it shipped back home from Buenos Aires, Argentina.   By the way, the Toyota has NO air conditioning!

I've decided to reveal my secret for communicating (at least a little bit) with visitors from all nations.  Ron M. was kind enough to look up the words "Thank You" in the languages most spoken by Afton Station visitors, along with the phonetic pronunciations.  I printed it out, taped it to the back of the tip jar and. . .voila!. . . I can at least make a feeble attempt to express my appreciation for their visits and their donations!  So far, not too  many of them have laughed at my attempts. 

We also had visitors today from Verdigris, Oklahoma and Joliet, Illinois.  The fellow from Joliet was on a motorcycle and is heading home from a long ride through the Southern U.S.A. and now Route 66.  More tomorrow, so see you then!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


This was a day for groups at Afton Station, but we also had some interesting visitors who were traveling on their own.   Two groups arrived at once in the morning, one expected and one a surprise.   We  are always charmed by Dale Butel's groups of Aussies who visit Route 66 two or three times a year.   This morning his tour group, traveling west to east this time, consisted of 36 of the nicest, happiest, and buying-est (!) folks we see all  year.  As I've said many times before, I love our Aussies!   They came by both motorcycle and car, depending on what they chose when they flew into L.A.

 Here's smiling Dale himself.  I take a photo of him every time he comes to visit, and he gets cuter every time.  :-)
 There was a lot of t-shirt buying done. . .
. . . and signing of the wall (which used to be the signing of the door, but we've outgrown the door and started on adjoining walls). 
By coincidence, both well-known Route 66 "tattoo men" were together at Afton Station today.  Ron Jones was there to help out as he often is, when who should roll in with Dale's group but Jim Bush from this country who is traveling with the Australians.  Perfect photo op!

At the exact moment that the Australian group rolled in, so did a group from the Looking Glass Corvette Association of Colorado.  Their 15 members came from various towns in the general vicinity of Denver, and they, too, were a fun and happy group.   They're doing a full Route 66 trip in this lineup of pretty cars. 
 Once the crush of people moved on to enjoy other wonderful Route 66 sites, some individual travelers arrived.   This couple from Kingsland, TX was seriously interested in the possibility of purchasing the old Palmer Hotel across the street, and nothing would make me happier.   However, after quite a bit of maneuvering to find the owner, then over an hour of looking at the place and talking to said owner, it appears that the deal won't go down.  The building has been priced ridiculously high, and although I didn't speak to either party afterwards, I'm going to take a guess that the stubborn owner isn't interested in negotiating.  We shall see.
 The day ended with a small group of senior citizens from the local Grovewood Assisted Living Center.   Because of a bus breakdown, only a small number of folks could join the tour.  Here are Ruby (the Recreation Director), "Wild Thing" Hazel, Cal, and Gus.   They enjoyed the old cars very much and did plenty of reminiscing.
We also had another couple from Australia, traveling independently, as well as couple from Houston, Texas.  Another very satisfying day!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lazy Summer Day

My friend LaSandra Nickson from Tulsa wanted to come to Afton Station with me today, and I'm so glad she did.  We had lots of time to chat on a relatively slow day on Route 66.   Furthermore, she brought along a number of the beautiful hand-crafted Route 66 notebooks which she makes and sells.  And now I sell them, too!  You can see some of her creations at  All of the notebooks I'll be selling have a Route 66 theme and the workmanship is superb.
 Visitors came from Lebanon TN, Grove OK, Neosho MO, Lusby MD, McPherson KS, and Richmond, VA.   These five below are having a great time.  The folks from nearby Grove are escorting their visiting friends from Maryland on a little exploration of local places of interest.  I'm so glad Afton Station was on the list.
Sorry this is short, but I'm tired and need some time to do some "at home" stuff.  I'll be back on Thursday, when we're anticipating visits from two rather large groups, one from Australia.   Robin had a group of Aussies yesterday, too.   Love the Aussies!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Afton Station TV

My friend PJ, who recorded the whole Road Crew concert on Aug. 4, has set up a YouTube page called Afton Station TV.  He has added quite a few of the songs the Crew performed, and I feel sure he'll find more events worth videoing eventually as well.

Check it out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Beautiful Day for a Road Trip

In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this.  You should be out on the road enjoying this glorious day.  I wish I was!  But I get the next best thing. . . being able to visit with lots of neat people from all over the world.  Today was just such a day.  Cool enough to not be a typical August-in-Oklahoma day, which means it was infinitely tolerable and didn't broil any travelers alive.

Bikers were out in force today.  Some came in and some just cruised right past with blissful looks on their sunburned faces.  Several members of the Claremore chapter of Southern Cruisers came in for a look around and they liked it.  We liked them, too.

There were also bikers from Joplin MO, Weatherford, OK and Bartlesville, OK.   Those who visited via by auto seemed equally as pleased with the nice cruising weather.  They came from Ottawa KS, Chelsea OK, New Haven CT, Woodland MI, and Chelsea, OK.

We made a decision to move Robin's mile marker sign to a more visible place.  Here are "the boys" doing the work with a very handy concrete drill.  The sign wasn't up in the new location for an hour before we noted that 3 visitors were photographing it.  A smart move, we think.  Good job, Marly and Ron M.!

Chaos Ain't So Bad

I had an unsettled feeling all day at Afton Station.  I can't entirely attribute this feeling to anything special.  Perhaps because it didn't "flow" as well as some days do, I didn't get much done.  I did, however, meet and greet a whole lot of really great Route 66 travelers, so it was far from a lost day.

We started the day organizing the boxes and boxes of brochures I've been saving for lack of a place to put them.  I'm talking about brochures advertising other exciting spots on Route 66, something I feel is very important to the vitality of the Road, and which I'm happy to provide to those who visit the Station.  Thanks to Michael Scruggs, we now have a third brochure rack, and we freely invite our visitors to take all they want.  We're all in this together on the Mother Road, and if anyone who is reading this and has a business/tourist spot is reading this, feel free to send me your advertising material for our display rack.

Visitors today included folks from Madison WI, Queensland Australia, Stockholm Sweden, Emporia KS, Fargo ND, Montreal Quebec, Carl's Junction MO, and Miami, OK.
These two Kansans were an absolute delight!  When people come in armed with a big ring binder filled with "homework" they've done before their Route 66 trip, the seriousness of their enthusiasm flows to everyone around.  These folks not only had a big notebook with copious notes, but they are consistently updating it as they move along the Road.  They take a trip each year around their anniversary and this year is no exception.  I think they said it's their 14th or 15th this year, but I'm afraid I can't remember exactly.  Notes for each place they intend to stop into includes the names of the proprietors, the anticipated amount of time to spend at the site, and perfect directions and notes on what they're going to see there.  I'm impressed!  I can't wait to  have these two come back for a further visit because there was so much for us to chat about.  They also showed me photos of a room in their house which is entirely devoted to road trip and vintage memorabilia.  Cool folks!
A group of very cute and polite kids from Afton rode up on their bikes and became instantly enchanted by the pressed penny machine.  They had previously been down at the railroad tracks making pressed coins in a much more dangerous manner, so I was pleased to have them in the safety of the Station.  They were accompanied by two dogs and a couple of other kids who aren't in the picture.  Oh, and by the way, they also loved the old cars!
 These Swedish couples are clearly having the trip of a lifetime, and we were so pleased that they made Afton Station part of their tour.

Betty, Tattoo, Crazy Legs, and Scott also stopped by, making it a very full day.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mannerly Methodists

We were greeted this morning at Afton Station by two couples, one from Diamondhead, Mississippi and the other from Iberia, Missouri who arrived even before Ron M. and I rolled in.   This was just fine because we had to spring quickly into action anyway as we were expecting two busloads of tourists from Methodist Manor  Community in  Tulsa.  So, it was a quick opening.  The Mississippians were in a neat Element travel trailer and are veterans of much travel in the U.S.
The Methodist Manor group of 38 senior citizens arrived exactly on time.
Their two buses were full and gentlemen and women seemed happy to be on a day's outing where, when they left Afton, were to have lunch on the lake in Grove and then take a ride on the Cherokee Queen, the paddle wheeler on Grand Lake. At Afton Station, you will see from the next picture that the line forming suggests that the bathroom was equally as interesting to the group as the vintage cars themselves.   What a nice, happy group.

The group enjoyed some cookies I provided, and they certainly enjoyed sharing stories related to the "good old days", with our car collection eliciting memories of drives with their fathers in similar era automobiles.

Later in the day we had more visitors, and they came to us from Dallas TX, Mankato MN, Sand Springs OK, Gotheberg, Sweden and several towns in Norway.  Here are the Scandinavian visitors, headed for California.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Few Photos From the Weekend

I'm starting to sort out the photos people have given me from the Road Crew concert on the 4th.   Here are some of them. . .

 Shellee Graham
 The Road Crew
 More Road Crew
 Melba Rigg rocking out
 Don King
 Drummer Jason Harmon
 Bob and Kitty Harmon watching
 Jim Ross
Roz and Ron Jones, Robin in background

Photos taken by Mike Ward, Shellee Graham, and Jerry McClanahan