Thursday, October 31, 2013

Nothing Scary at the Station Today!

 Happy Halloween!   I'm kind of rushing this evening, so just a few photos and notes on our day at Afton Station will have to be enough.   No Halloween parties for me tonight, just a quiet night at home with the expectation of no rings of the doorbell.  Feeling very scroogy tonight.

We had our first visitor from Afton, Wyoming today.  This lovely lady from the "other" Afton was in the area visiting her cousin who lives in Chelsea, OK.  She was really excited about being in Afton and she bought a bunch of our souvenirs that bear the name of the town.   Nice folks!
Phyllis, the lady on the right, also from Chelsea, brought her relatives from Albuquerque, New Mexico to see the Station since she's been there before and felt they would enjoy it.  She's also the cousin of our friend Deanna and used to work at Summerside Winery just down Route 66 in Vinita.
These two lovebirds from Ochelata, Oklahoma are celebrating their 25th Anniversary today, and we were honored that they decided to visit Afton Station as a part of that celebration.  Congratulations, you two!
And that's all, folks.  No more visitors and no more observations.   Marly was with us for part of the day and we had brief visits from Crazy Legs Walker, Robin, and Scott, but mainly it was a quiet day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pictures from a Trip

Having returned from the tire store and not needing to leave an arm and a leg there to pay for my new tires, I have to say that those tire guys are some of the nicest business proprietors I've dealt with for a long time.  On a very rainy day, they did quick work and made sure I was sheltered from the rain while going to and from the car.  And it all took place in one short hour!

So, now I'm ready to talk about yesterday's trip.   It was supposed to rain yesterday, but we were spared although we had a mostly cloudy and gloomy day.  I picked up Ron M. and our friend Joe in the morning and we drove to Barnsdall for breakfast at Garrett's, a small cafe/convenience store.  By the looks of the locals when we came in, I'm pretty sure we were the first "strangers" to darken their door for a while.  Good breakfast!
The ruins of an old Gothic stone church was our first point of interest.  One wonders why such a grand church was built in the countryside so far from a town of any size.

I've come to observe that small towns (with the exception, of course, of Afton, which doesn't seem to have much interest) like to put up signs at their borders that brag about their towns.   Ramona is a tiny, tiny town with a BIG overhead sign!
Barnsdall has pride in its two famous citizens.   From what I hear, Gable only lived there for a short time and Bryant, well, use your own judgmment as to whether the woman deserves to be so honored.
Barnsdall once was named Bigheart, after a Chief of the Osage Nation, but later the name was changed to honor of someone in the mineral and oil business.
One of our main trip destinations was to the house, in an even tinier town called Boulanger, where the about-to-be distributed movie "August, Osage County" was made.  The film stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and was produced by George Clooney, so for the better part of 6 months these big names resided in the area. The actual house they used is far out in the middle of nowhere, but thanks to Joe's good directions we found it.  It's a beautiful old plantation-type structure which has fallen on some disrepair but is on the market right now.   The film is being talked about as a potential for a number of Oscars, so perhaps Boulanger will make it on the map some day.

Ron M. took  the opportunity to swing on the same swing that was used in the film.
The tree from which the swing hangs was moved from one side of the front lawn to the other in order to make a better foreground for the house.  I had read that it was one of the largest trees to be transplanted in the memory of the company who did it.  In the background, you can see a bit of the tiny country road that leads to the home.

Meanwhile, this citizen has a somewhat overblown way of telling snoopers like us that, for a while at least, some of the biggest stars in America were hanging around their one-street village. "Movie Capitol of Oklahoma" indeed!
We met our friend Jean at a Mexican restaurant in Pawhuska, and she brought with her a brand new grandson, TJ, and his mother Gretchen.   Here is Ron with TJ and Joe and Grandma Jean with the cute little guy.  He was very well-behaved as we adults chowed down on massive amounts of Taco Salad and other goodies.

After lunch, we drove up to the Tall Grass Prairie Perserve, a place I've written about a number of times in this blog (Search:  Tallgrass).   This visit, however, yielded NO bison sightings whatsoever!   It might have been roundup time, when all the bison are herded into one place for culling and innoculations.  Not sure about that.

You know the rest.   Flat tire.  The middle of nowhere.  Threatening skies.   Etc.    Here's where it occurred.  We were surrounded on all sides by the Drummond Ranch, one of the largest ranches in the country, and home to Ree Drummond, cookbook author, blogger, and TV star.  

From there, it was homeward bound.   Even a flat tire couldn't spoil such a lovely, restful day shared with friends.

Never A Dull Moment

I had a great little road trip yesterday, and I fully intended to blog about it later today, but now I'm not sure I'll have much time.  It seems that, after driving many miles over gravel roads, my road trip culminated in a flat tire "in the middle of nowhere" (literally!), thus necessitating a call to AAA (God bless AAA!) and a quicker-than-expected response by some awfully nice guys who installed the donut, meaning that the last 50 miles back to Tulsa had to be navigated at a snail's pace of 40 mph.  The AAA guys also informed me that I would benefit from getting new tires all around, something I already knew but was pushing to the back of my mind hoping they'd hold out for another 5,000 miles or so.  Anyway, apparently they won't, so today after dialysis I get to spend the afternoon at a tire store, something I do only after kicking and screaming.   In the event that I can finish that chore in a decent time frame  (and that I can prevent choking to death on the price of 5 new tires) I'll be back here with some neat photos and a description of my first "day off" since May.  It really was fun -- interesting places visited in the company of great friends.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Next To Nothing, or Almost

Beautiful Sunday, one I would judge to be perfect for a cruise on Route 66.  Apparently, I was the only one who felt that way.   Other than Betty, who stopped in for a while, and a local lady who came in to ask some questions, only one person darkened our door.  She was a lady from nearby Bernice, OK who also came in to ask a question but stayed to have a look around.

Ron M. and I had more than enough time to read, twiddle our thumbs and, in my case finish both the New York Magazine Sunday crossword and the Tulsa World one.  No visitors equals no photos, so I pulled out a couple of beautiful black-and-whites taken a month or so ago around Afton Station by photographer Michael Scruggs.

I'm taking a "vacation day" on Tuesday, but I'll be back with photos (I hope) of our destination.  Come back then to see where we've been and what we've done.   Robin will mind the store on Tuesday, so come ahead, as she'll be glad to have visitors.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Auspicious Autumn Day

 Autumn has arrived on Route 66 in Afton, Oklahoma.  Well, at least one tree in the park across from the Mental Health Center has burst into color.   Love it!

It was an auspicious day at Afton Station, too!  Our 38 visitors consisted of 14 from the Sapulpa (OK) Draggin Masters Car Club and 24 others from everywhere.  Here are some of the Draggin Masters, just milling around and checking out the "stuff".
Our friends Deanna and Joanne from Tulsa dropped in unexpectedly and we were so happy to see them.  Unfortunately, it was at the same time that many others were there, so there wasn't a lot of time for chatting.  Here's Deanna making the acquaintance of two visiting ladies, one from Grove, OK and one from Valais, Switzerland.
The Draggin Masters came with a few good looking cars!
Folks from Lawton, Oklahoma were visiting Grand Lake and decided to take a day to explore Route 66.
And these little kids from Chelsea, OK seem bewildered by all there is to see and do at Afton Station.  Their parents showed them how to use the penny pinching machine and they were excited to get to make their own souvenirs.
Other visitors came from Neosho MO, Springfield MO, and Taipei Taiwan.

At one point there were so many visitors milling around that we lost track of one man.  Then Ron M. walked over to the rear of the DeSoto, and there he was! But how the heck did he get trapped in there?   (Never fear, he's fine, except for a couple of very sore arms.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

All Day Enthusiasm

As we were leaving Tulsa on the way to Afton this morning, this beautiful, interesting, and somewhat ominous cloud formation appeared as the sun was rising.  Ron M. took the photo out of the front windshield as I drove.  Pretty neat, I think!
Despite having only 11 visitors today at Afton Station, the day flew past.   It must have been because all of our visitors were interesting and most of them stayed around for a while so we could get to know them. My "Route 66 Enthusiasm Award" for the day, however, goes to this woman from Califon, NJ who came with her significant other (shown below) and their nice dog Buck (not pictured).
She virtually bubbled over with excitement about their trip, the Station, the folks they've met along the way, and even the fresh popcorn we gave them.   There is absolutely no doubt that they will have a fun and enlightening cruise.
Three travelers from Japan (Osaka and Nagoya) were next, and they were fascinated by our signing wall.  They added their signatures to the wall which, as you may recall, started out as a signing door, then when the front of both doors were filled, spilled out onto the walls of the work room.  At this point, it's quite impressive.  Here's one from a few weeks ago:
We've gone through a multitude of Sharpies!
More delightful visitors -- two old friends, one from Powell, WY and one from Glens Falls, NY.  They've been soaking up every bit of Route 66 since leaving Chicago and we enjoyed hearing their impressions of some of the people and places they've encountered.   The gentleman on the right, from Glens Falls, is a theater organist and was given the opportunity to play the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Coleman Theater  in Miami, OK yesterday during their tour.  Wow, that's quite exciting!   Trust me, these guys aren't missing a thing.  They even  had the dubious experience of being rather violently chased from the premises of that "tourist trap" in Missouri (which will remain nameless, since I don't want to give them any publicity, even bad publicity) known for their propensity for getting very upset if anyone tries to take a photo of their tepee shaped buildings.  Fortunately, they recognized that that sort of "hospitality" exists only there, and not anywhere else on the Mother Road!

Our other visitors were a nice couple from Fenwick, Michigan and another couple from Tulsa, OK, members of the Mustang Club who have toured with the group to all parts of the country.
Here's a great picture of the interior of Bassett's Grocery across the street from Afton Station in its heyday.  Now it's been closed and crumbling for several years, but it used to be the premier grocery in the town.  It's not beyond help, however, if anyone is interested in purchasing the building.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random Thoughts

I have a serious lack of energy these days.  It's sort of like having spring fever in the autumn!  I don't know what's causing this, but it had better end soon because I have mountains of things to do, both at home and at Afton Station.  The weather is changing, as are the leaves on the trees.  My pansies are all planted, and I love that they stay alive and happy all winter.  A winter without flowers would be so boring!  But do I really have to start thinking about Christmas so soon?  The stores I visit seem to think I do.  Nope.  I'll wait a while and just enjoy the crispness of fall.
Tulsa is finally starting to wake up to the possibility of promoting Route 66, which of course runs right through the center of town.  Various initiatives have been taken in the past 10 years, but in rather a random fashion.  Now, a committee of over 100 people have met in groups to talk about what can be done, and an action plan has been formed.    Afton Station isn't in Tulsa, of course, but I'm still involved because I live in Tulsa and am on the Board of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.   In my opinion, signage is of the utmost importance, since every day I hear travelers complain about certain portions of Route 66 which are hard to navigate, even with a good guidebook.  I haven't heard too much complaining about Tulsa itself, although the fact that there are several alignments in the city makes it complicated and a good map is essential. I would be interested in hearing from anyone reading this who has experience navigating Tulsa Route 66.   Did you have any problems?  If so, where?   Thanks for the help.

To all of our friends who live in and around Sydney, Australia, our thoughts are with you as you fight the raging fires all around the city.

In case you're wondering why I'm babbling away like this instead of telling you about the day at Afton Station it is because so little happened!   This was our first truly SLOW day of the fall, with a mere three visitors, one from Joplin MO, and a couple from Montreal Quebec, Canada.  All of them arrived early in the day, so for the rest of the day Ron M. and I did some cleaning.  (Ok, Ron did most of it.)  But we got a few neglected nooks and crannies all cleaned up, which is more than would have happened if I'd been there alone.  Betty and Rann both stopped in to say hello. I sold nothing and took no photos.  I'm still confident that this slow day is a fluke and that we  still have a good number of busy days ahead of us until we start closing down in December.   This would be a good time to come for a visit.  We'd have lots of time to chat!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Observation

Scientists haven't announced it yet, but surely they're able to discern a slightly unusual tilting of the earth recently brought about by the migration of Australians and New Zealanders from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere, specifically to Route 66.   I'm sure it must be true!  They're everywhere!  And oh, how we love it.  Today was another day of visits from perfectly great folks from Australia.
In the top photo, guys from Ballarat, Australia are becoming enchanted by the pressed penny machine.  Since 1c and 2c coins have been discontinued in Australia, they were especially interested in our pennies, plus the fact that the machine is legal.  In their country there are stiff penalties for defacing currency.  In the second photo, a couple from Ballarat traveling in tandem with the previous two guys, are deciding what to purchase.  They're all part of the 4-car group, some of which visited yesterday, all of whom are spending their time in the U.S. both on Route 66 and at other venues that feature vintage cars.

The third photo shows a couple from  near Sydney, Australia traveling on their own.
A rather rare phenomenon occurred today.   An absolutely great guy from Surprise, Arizona came for a visit while doing some geocaching in the area.   He was a joy to talk to, because younger people are rarely as excited about Route 66 travel are their older counterparts.  But you couldn't have found a fellow as animated and excited as this one.   Then, shortly thereafter a threesome from Durant, Oklahoma arrived, and the  young man with them was equally as bright and enthusiastic.  A breath of fresh air indeed!

The rest of the day, people from the following came for a visit:  Shidler OK, Charleston AR, Monkton New Brunswick Canada, and Sioux Falls, SD.   The gentleman from Arkansas was driving a beautiful '56 Ford pickup and has more oldies at home.  He was in Afton because he has relatives here.  The man from S. Dakota, accompanied by his pup Smoky, was here because he also has relatives in Afton.  The folks from Shidler, OK were in a big '42 ft. travel trailer, returning from an Arkansas vacation.
Our crazy lady tried on one of the t-shirts today.  Now she's even more scary!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"Across the Universe"

The southern hemisphere might not be across the universe, but it's mighty far away,  yet the citizens of Australia and New Zealand continue to visit Route 66 in large numbers.  At Afton Station today, we had visitors from both.
But first things first.   Our Tulsa friend Joe Meeks rode up to Afton with us this morning and spent the day.  I put him to work cutting out designs for the magnets which I make.  As a celebration of his visit, we treated ourselves to the yummy barbecue pork sandwiches on ciabatta bread from Nowhere on Route 66 down the road.Yum!
A solo-traveling visitor from Sydney, Australia (on the right) made instant friends with this couple from Raymore, Missouri.  It was probably because all of them had equal interest in their Mother Road travels.  The Aussie gentleman spends a lot of time in the U.S. on business, but finally he is able to do something he's wanted to do for a long time, cruise the heartland on his newly-purchased Harley. 
.More Aussies,  this time from Ballarat and Sebastopol, near Melbourne.  They are part of a group of several car loving Australians who are seeking out vintage cars along Route 66 and have also visited the Hershey Show in Pennsylvania and the Indianapolis Speedway.
From near Wellington, New Zealand came this couple, also traveling east to west on the Road.
One of my favorite guests, Robert Owle from Muskogee, OK came with his friend from Fontana, California  and has been here several times previously.  This time he brought along his other traveling companion, a tiger whose name I have forgotten but who was wearing  Tow Mater socks and a Snuggie.   He accompanies Robert wherever he goes and gets photographed at each stop.

We also had visitors from Miami OK, Medina OH, Arlington VA, Eufala OK, Oklahoma City OK, and Chickasha, OK.

This license appeared on one of the cars in our parking lot today.  Ron M. took the photo and I'm not sure as to which car sported it, nor do I know if it refers to the car or the persons within, but I like it !!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"A Day in the Life"

For once, I really don't have much to say about today.  It was a good day at Afton Station (but then again, aren't they all?), but it was a bit slow.  To be honest, Ron M. and I rather enjoyed the slowness.  We had 16 visitors, but they came at such a well-spaced pace that it seemed to be almost pre-planned.    Our visitors came from West Hills CA, Grants Pass OR, Lincoln NE, Kansas City MO, Anadarko OK,  Muskogee OK, Lexington KY, and Port Elgin, Ontario Canada.
The couple from West Hills CA were first, and what interesting and motivated folks they were!  Talking to them just briefly assured us that they were doing the Route "right".   They're not missing much and seem to be enjoying what they've seen.

A mom from Kansas City MO arrived with her three grown daughters from Lincoln, NE.   The three girls always take a "sister trip" together, but this year their mother retired so they invited her to go along on Route 66.  A fellow from just up the road in Miami, OK who has visited Afton Station before brought his visiting friend from Grants Pass, OR who happened to be a major collector of vintage Fords and has even built himself a repro Texaco gas station near his home.  Photos he had assured us that his place is pretty darn incredible!

Some folks from Lexington, KY came in and I pounced on them for current info about a place I lived for quite a few years of my early life.  Glad to hear my high school is still standing!   They happen to live very close to where my parents and I lived when I was in high school in the '60s.
My friend and faithful blog reader James Rigler (hi, Jim!) stopped in near the end of the day and brought along his friend Charla.   It was nice to meet Charla and always fun to chat with Jim.  They drove up from Muskogee, OK and were able to stay for a while before we closed up.

Also at the end of the day came the couple from Anadarko, OK and Port Elgin, Ontario.  Lovely people all.
It was a perfectly beautiful day today -- cool, crisp, and sunny.  Wish we could have many more like this before the winter chill sets in.  I also hope we have many more days filled with such nice folks as we greeted today!  ( At the beginning of this post I said I didn't have much to say.  Hmm... .guess I was wrong!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"The Long and Winding Road". . .

For so many people from so many countries, the long and winding road means Route 66.   Particularly this year we've been overflowing with visitors from all continents so we decided it was time to honor those who come so far to see our wonderful country.   We hope this little display of flags will reflect pleasure we get from meeting so many foreign friends.  (If your flag isn't represented here, let us know and we'll try to find one.) 
It was definitely a day for foreign visitors today.
This father and son from Oslo, Norway are enjoying their Route 66 vacation.
So are these two friends from Castellon, Spain.  We also had visitors from Adelaide, Australia but I failed to get a photo of them.
From Denton, TX came this couple.  Today is his 50th birthday, so of course I had to get a photo.  (By the way, today is my daughter Sarah's 40th birthday.  I can hardly believe it.  I was only 5 when she was born.  Yeah, right. . .)
Cindy Nugent and her husband Robert stopped by while in the area, from Spring, TX.   She is the niece of Aleene Albro, the well-known and much-beloved woman who owned and ran Buffalo Ranch for many years.  Cindy and I have exchanged emails over the years but this is the first time I've met her.   Since she spent a good deal of time at Buffalo Ranch every summer, she had stories to tell me about it, and I had a lot of Buffalo Ranch memorabilia to show her.  It was a great visit! They are planning to move to the area some time in the future.

We also had a visitor from San Francisco, CA, an employee of a tour company planning to bring several bus tours to Route 66.  She was checking out some of the places they wanted to visit on the tours.  I hope we passed her inspection!    We also visited with folks from Bowie, TX, and a couple from Conshohocken, OH.  The Ohio folks were on their way to Texas to fetch their son who is returning from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.  We certainly shared their joy at getting their son back safely from his third deployment!

Marly, Ron M., Tattoo and I held down the fort today.   Despite the day being mostly cloudy and gloomy, we know that people are still out there traveling.