Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Great Find

Route 66 friend Josh Friedrich took this photo of artist Bob Waldmire in Illinois putting some finishing touches on the UHaul which now sits in our parking lot.  I'm so pleased that Josh let me use it here.  He took the photo in 2007, shortly before Bob died in 2009.   We are so honored to be the custodian of Bob's UHaul, complete with a great example of his artwork on the side.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Fun Day Sunday

I got home at a more normal time tonight so I'm less exhausted.  Route 66 can sure wear a person out!  But as time goes on, I'll acclimate myself to the schedule and the pace, and today was a good start.  I'm certain, however, that this will be another year of progressively more and more visitors to Afton Station.  That number has increased each year, and because of that I am terribly grateful for my wonderful volunteers, especially Ron M., who is by my side just about every day at Afton.  I'm also grateful for my paid employee Robin, who just yesterday got back from her 5 weeks in California, thank goodness!  I've missed her.
Robin went to California as an Okie and came home a surfer girl!   Check out the tan, the blonde hair, and the tie dye!  Tomorrow she will be back at the Station each Mon., Wed., and Fri.

We had twelve visitors, not including visits from friends Phil, Robin, and Crazy Legs Walker.   Our travelers came from Bloomington IN, Orlando FL, Rockland ME, Kingfield ME, Mars Hill NC, Southport Lancastershire England, and Melbourne Australia.
Here's Ken from England, traveling solo on Route 66, having traveled to America dozens of times before!  His wife decided to forego this particular trip because she doesn't enjoy the Plains!  Ken is a reader of this blog and I was so happy to meet him and chat rather extensively with him today.  Hi Ken!!!
This couple from Mars Hill, NC (near Asheville) are the proprietors of  a lube place housed in an old gas station in Asheville!    The station is outlined in neon and has old pumps and old cars out front.  What a great idea.   If I lived in the area, I'd definitely have my oil changed in such a neat venue. Check out the picture here.   www.retrolube.com
The Aussies du jour were this good looking couple from Melbourne.  They're doing the full trip and enjoying it very much.

We also greeted old high school friends, one from Florida and one from Indiana, who decided to run the Route together now that they've retired.    Two couples from Maine visited as well.  It was another great day for those of us lucky enough to get to spend time on Route 66.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Just the facts, Ma'am. . .

Nothing quiet about today at Afton Station on Route 66!   When we weren't greeting visitors, we had plenty of reading matter to keep us busy.  However, most of the time we were greeting visitors!   We had 27 of them today, and they included. . .

. . . three pretty sisters from Cushing, Oklahoma who are doing a "sister trip" down a portion of Route 66.

. . . this family from Grand Prairie, Texas, along with adorable 10-month-old son Jacob.  They are just starting to learn about Route 66.  We armed them with plenty of literature and enthusiasm, so I hope they'll continue to explore the Mother Road.

. . . this couple from Jay, Oklahoma.  She is the brand new Afton Postmaster (Postmistress?).  Welcome to Afton, Rebecca!

 . . . several members of the Tulsa Wheels Car Club in Tulsa, OK, out for an afternoon drive which will end at the car show in Miami, OK in the evening.   A lovely '34 Ford and a sleek '84 Pontiac Firebird were part of the group,

There were also visitors from Joplin MO, Grove OK, Claremore OK, Lincoln NE, and Queensland, Australia.

That's about all I can write tonight.   Still getting used to all the visitors and long hours.  I'll be in Afton bright and early tomorrow for more adventures, and I hope you'll join us there if you can, or join me tomorrow evening right here on the blog.

Worth the Trip

It's usually a little difficult for me to drive up to Afton Station after my dialysis treatments, but sometimes I  just have a hunch that it will be worth the trip.   Today was one of those days.  I had been contacted by a gentleman named KC Keefer indicating that he wanted to interview me, and after seeing some of his other interviews on YouTube, I knew I wanted to meet him.  He and  his beautiful partner Nancy Barlow, a couple of the most enthusiasm-infused people we've met, are traveling Route 66 and talking to the people who live and work (and sometimes also those who travel) on the Mother Road.

So, Ron M. and I drove up to Afton, arriving around 1:30, and shortly thereafter KC, Nancy, and their cute and very well-behaved dog "Spence" came into our lives.  What was supposed to be a quick, half hour photo shoot turned into two hours of chat, exchanging news and views, and making a couple of new friends.
If you're traveling 66 and see this bumper sticker on an SUV, stop and get to know KC and Nancy.  They're great!   The video he took of me won't be edited and posted for a while because KC is admittedly a bit behind on the project, and of course they're still on the road and still gathering interviews, but check out his website, GenuineRoute66Life.com to see some of the interviews already posted.  I am going to be honored to be among the fabulous people he's chosen to meet on his Route 66 travels.

Nancy is an interesting person, too.  She has an advertising and design company in Denver, and she is responsible for that great new logo on Blue Swallow Motel shirts and mugs.  I think I want to hire her to design a new logo for Afton Station, too.  barlowadvertising.com

Well, back to Afton today and Sunday.  With some apparently severe weather in the forecast, it might turn into a very interesting weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dale's Gang

A certainty at Afton Station is that Dale Butel and his group of Route 66 tourists will visit us at least three times a  year.   Our favorite Aussie tour guide never fails to bring with him a great group of folks who really seem to appreciate Route 66 and our little museum.  Today, Dale and 39 fine Australian citizens arrived in the usual big number of rented Mustangs plus several other cars and one motorcycle.  They swarmed all over, signed our wall, bought lots of items (particularly t-shirts and flags) and were smiling and cordial as usual.   Clearly, Dale gives a great tour because those who travel with him always seem so happy and contented.

Betty came and helped out at the counter.
And here I am with Dale.
Of course as usual Ron M. was a big help, and the reason he doesn't appear in any of these photos is because he took them!

We had other visitors too, on this off-and-on rainy, gloomy day.  These two men met at the Station having only seen each other once since high school in 1962.   Spencer, on the right, had a 1955 Packard as his first car, so he was especially interested in our collection.  When they left the Station they headed off to spend the day together at Bill's (on left) house on Grand Lake.  What a nice reunion!
This couple came from Bartlesville, Oklahoma and were accompanied by adorable siblings Ike and Lola.  How cute.  
Others came from Benson MO, Wichita KS, Web City MO, Mound City KS, and Sydney, Australia.  I will be driving back up to Afton tomorrow afternoon to meet with a gentleman who is traveling Route 66 and interviewing business owners.   It's turning into a very busy week!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Got Milk? How About Eggs?

These folks who live along Route 66 between Vinita and Afton do!  Their chickens appear to live along the road - literally.  Although they're dangerously close to traffic out there every day, so far I've only seen one dead hen in the road.  Do you suppose they're trained to look both ways before crossing?   And while we're on the subject, why DO chickens cross the road?  These must go somewhere to lay the eggs that the folks are selling because I've never seen any eggs in the grass.  Just a little touch of casual farming on old Route 66.  
(Photo courtesy of Mike Rose, the nice man who visited us last week on his cross-country bike ride.  You can see other photos he took of Afton and Afton Station at:  www.travelsoframblingroses.blogspot.com)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter "HOP"penings

A very Happy Easter to all.  At Afton Station, we celebrated by being open, something that many of our visitors told us was not true of most other places along Route 66.  I'm a strong believer that everyone should take time off for family and other important occasions, so I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with taking a holiday Sunday off.  Other than coloring a few eggs (this year, after cooking and removing the shells), I don't do much for Easter, so I'm more than happy to remain open to visit with those who are away from home over the weekend.

Ron M. and I thought it was only right that we dress for the occasion, and so we dug through the big box of costuming stuff in the back room and this is the best we could come up with.  (One of Ron's bunny ears is broken and flopping!)  Aren't we adorable?  No wonder we had no crowds today!
Our 15 visitors came from Omaha NE, Sydney Australia, Bentonville AR, Canton MS, and Miami and Grove, OK.   Here are our Aussie visitors du jour, a very nice couple from Sydney.
The Easter flowers given to me by Betty are still going strong.  So pretty!   Betty stopped by today after church and had a chance to taste that awesome blackberry pie that Ron brought yesterday.  Marly also stopped in for a while and took the last piece.  Boo hoo!
We met this very orange gentleman on the way to Afton this morning.  He was guarding the highway maintenance yard in Claremore.   With the number of orange cones and cans on the roads of Oklahoma, he must feel very at home.  The other day, someone described orange cones as "the state flower of Oklahoma".

Saturday, April 19, 2014


You learn something new every day.   Today, Ron M. and I learned the meaning of "mollydooker" when a group of Aussie men came to visit Afton Station and one of them, while signing the Guest Book, described himself as such.   "Huh?", I said stupidly.   "A lefty... a left handed person", he replied.  Oh, really!  On the way home, Ron and I used my phone to inquire of Siri exactly how it's spelled and a precise definition (just in case he was pulling our leg and it really meant something nasty... ha ha).  Well, now we know what to call all those poor souls who struggle with my Guest Book with three rings on the "wrong" side for mollydookers!
Here are those selfsame gentlemen from Melbourne, Australia.   The one with crossed arms is the mollydooker.  They are two fathers and two sons and, incidentally, all very, very handsome!  They're doing a full Route 66 trip.
Here's a couple from Vancouver, British Columbia, also doing the full Route, well armed with guidebooks and having done prior homework.  We had lots of time to chat with them about what and who they'd seen thus far and who and what they should see as they move west.
The gentleman in this photo is a blacksmith!  I'm pretty sure  he's our first visiting blacksmith, and he used to work as such in a historic reenactment venue near Wichita, KS.  Now, they are residing in Eucha, Oklahoma.

At the very end of the day we heard the roar of motorcycles and what should appear but 14 bikes carrying 14 women from Tulsa.  They stopped primarily to have their Route 66 passports stamped, but those who hadn't visited previously also lingered long enough to check out the cars in the showrooms and buy a few items.
The remainder of our 27 guests came from Adair, OK, and Denton, TX.

Another star of the day was this amazing, gorgeous, and supremely tasty blackberry pie made by a neighbor of Ron's and enjoyed by Ron, me, and Tattoo Man, who was with us for part of the day.  I must say, that woman has a way with pies!  Flaky crust, yummy berry filling, sugar crystals atop.   I was in heaven!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I never had the pleasure

Among all the places I've lived in my long life, I've never had the pleasure of residing in a very small town and making it my own.  Having Afton Station in tiny Afton on Route 66 is probably as close as I'll ever come to experiencing what it's like to know everybody in town and every move that my fellow citizens make.   Although, as a relative newcomer to Afton, I'll never be a part of the closeness of Afton citizens, I do get to observe it close up.  Today was a perfect example of that, when two brothers who were born and raised in Afton  came in for a visit from their respective homes in Bixby and Grove, OK.  Although they've never been that far away, this was their first visit to the Station.  They were senior citizens, so they had a treasure trove of great stories about the "old days" of Afton, and I was absolutely mesmerized by listening to them.  It got even better when Betty stopped by while they were there and joined in the reminiscing.  The older brother left Afton years ago when he opened a theater in Branson, MO where he and his siblings were "The Gospel Singing Collins Family" from 1978 to 1985.  Their father owned the other D-X station in Afton down by the Horse Creek Bridge.   The family lived on a farm about 5 miles out of town, and the gentleman told us about some of their boyhood stunts on the streets of the town.   I enjoyed every minute of this exchange and wished I was able to record it for posterity.

Another interesting visitor today was a fellow from Wheeling, West Virginia who is bicycling across the country. . . so far, 14,000 miles in 1 1/2 years . . . as his retirement "relaxation".    Wow!  His wife is following along in a motor home in which they sleep each night.   This is quite a feat, and is responsible for his strong physique.  He was a very nice guy with more stories for us to enjoy.  You can read the very interesting blog about his trip and see a map of it at www.travelsoframblingroses.blogspot.com.
Ron M. was with me today, and our other visitors came from Spokane WA, Palm Springs CA, Evast MI, and Tulsa OK.

I made a treat for Ron, Betty, and me... a silly project that turned out pretty good.  I dyed some Easter eggs after they were shelled, then made them into deviled eggs.  They actually looked better in person than in this photo.
And Betty brought me these beautiful Easter flowers!
One more.   Here's today's sunrise over beautiful (?) Interstate 44, before picking up Ron and leaving for Afton this morning.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


On my day off from Afton Station, I took a walk (ok, a drive) through the park near my neighborhood and was blown away, as I am every year, by the colorful displays of tulips planted there.  Since so many folks are suffering from unseasonable and unwelcome snow today, I thought I'd post this just to show that spring really IS here and your tulips should be popping their heads up through the snow any time now.  

So far, I haven't been hit with the the huge urge to go back to Afton Station on Tuesdays.  I'm still experimenting with taking a day off, and so far I'm enjoying it and getting a lot done around the house that wouldn't otherwise get done until December when I close the Station's doors for the winter.  (I'm also binge-watching Breaking Bad, which I've wanted to see for a long time.)  You never know, however.  I keep thinking about people who may be traveling through Afton today and are met with a CLOSED sign on the door, and I feel terrible about missing them.  In my heart, I much prefer to be open 7 days a week, so we shall see....

Sunday, April 13, 2014


This clever writing on our autograph wall, right next to the faucet, seems appropriate for this post since I've writing it in the midst of a pretty heavy thunderstorm.  The sky is black, I can hear and feel small  hail against my windows, and it's pouring.  Just got home from Afton in time to miss it while in the car.  We need a lot of rain, but this might be overkill.  I do enjoy thunderstorms,  however.  

Today was very much different from yesterday at Afton Station.  I guess Route 66 travelers are hunkering down in anticipation of the long line of storms.   We had only 10 visitors and none were from overseas.  They came to us from Houston TX, Derby KS, Bad Axe MI, Maryville TN, Hume MO, and good ol' Afton, OK.
The handsome gentleman in this picture was born and raised in Afton.  Coincidentally Betty, who was visiting with us today, had just mentioned his parents and the house they used to live in right here in town.  And then, voila!  He walked through the door!  Betty hadn't seen him for years.  He now lives in Derby, KS as does his friend who was accompanying him.  
When we hosted the 2004 Tulsa International Route 66  Festival, we gathered a number of pieces of the iconic Cyrus Avery Bridge in Tulsa (we didn't tear the bridge apart -- work was being done on it and we picked up the scraps) and sold them to make money for the Festival.  I now have custody of all the remaining rocks, along with their authentication papers, which I'm now selling for $3 each, benefit of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.   Stop in if you want one, a nice addition to  your Route 66 collection.

Well, how about that!  The storm went by so quickly that it has already mostly moved on in the time it took me to write this short post.   The TV/radio meteorologists, whom a local newspaper columnist recently called "the Doomsday Crew" have managed to rile up the populace for what turns out to be not much.  TV stations are on full-time weather reports even though there's not much happening any more.   Just another day in Oklahoma.....

Saturday, April 12, 2014

66 on 66

A picture is still worth a thousand words (I hope) because I have a lot of great pictures from today but I'm tired to the point of not wanting to type too much.  I'll do the best I can, but I guess I haven't "toughened up" enough this early in the season to cope with the crowds that came in today.

We had 66 visitors, and they came from Cairns Australia, Wellington New Zealand, Aspelare Belgium, Safpsborg Norway, Madison WI, Birmingham AL, Big Cabin OK, West Fargo ND, Wichita KS, Kansas City MO, Claremore OK, Vinita OK, and Tulsa OK.

A group of 29 from Gilligan's Tours arrived, all but two of whom were from New Zealand.  Their arrival turned Afton into a busy little town for a while!
They mingled with other visitors, including folks from Australia and a family from Madison, Wisconsin as they examined the exhibits and made plenty of purchases.  The Images books were a hot item today.
The family of five from Madison designed wonderful t-shirts for their trip.
Here they are, a colorful group to say the least.   I love seeing family enthusiasm like these folks have for their trip.
Here's Harley, a cute pup who came to visit with his friend from West Fargo, North Dakota.  His friend is celebrating his 40th birthday by taking a long-awaited Route 66 jaunt.

Here are two sweet little girls who came with their parents to take a look at Afton Station on their way to a livestock show at which the older girl is showing her two goats, Penny and Jasmine.  They're from Claremore, OK.
This couple drove over to Afton after spending the night in Eureka Springs, Arkansas at the supposedly haunted Crescent Hotel there.   The lady took a sheet from their bed, put it over her head, and roamed the halls of the hotel.   I love it!!!!   These folks are into having a good time, and I sure enjoyed visiting with them!
Tattoo Man stopped in and showed off his newly restored and painted car to some of our visitors.   Ron M. was with me again today, thank goodness, because there's no way I could have handled the crowds on a day like this.   Sixty-six visitors this early in the season.  Lookin' good!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pretty Cars, Pretty People

Route 66 should be proud of itself for attracting the kinds of people it attracts, especially those who visit Afton Station.   Although yesterday's visitor roster included only one couple (from Slovakia!), today we had a house full of beautiful people, both friends and travelers.

It started with two gorgeous restored cars pulling in, containing four gorgeous people   The two couples from the Lake of the Ozarks region of Missouri were touring Route 66 on their way to a car show in Oklahoma City.
 1931 Ford
 1940 Pontiac
And here are the folks who came in them.   Lovely couples with all kinds of enthusiasm for vintage cars and Route 66.   We sent them off with a map of the cool things to see in Tulsa and directions for getting to Jerry McClanahan's art gallery, as they're anxious to meet him.  Before they left, the Pontiac gentleman left this on our signing wall. Love it!

These two gentlemen from Oslo, Norway cruised in with their newly acquired '50 Ford.  They purchased it upon arrival in Massachusetts and are driving it across Route 66, after which they'll ship it home from L.A.  The owner (right) dresses in '50s garb (slicked back hair, sideburns, etc.) so he's really living the dream.

This very attractive young couple is having the full Mother Road experience.  He is from the Netherlands and she is from Antwerp, Belgium but is now living with him in the Netherlands.  He was very helpful telling us about various finger signs that are accepted (or NOT) in various European countries.  I never knew that one could totally insult someone in certain countries by making finger gestures that are perfectly acceptable here.  For instance, a V for victory in the U.S. turned backwards, is about the worst gesture you can make in some other countries.  So beware, travelers to foreign lands!
From London, England came this family of five -- mom, dad, daughter, son-in-law, and grandaughter.  They, too are adventuring on Route 66.

Other travelers came from Buncombe IL, Jonesboro IL, Pensacola FL, and Claremore, OK.

We also had friends drop in today -- Historians Frederea and Loretta, Videographer P.J., Scott from Afton, Crazy Legs Walker, and Betty, who finally was able to stay for several hours.  Ron M. was, of course, with me and is responsible for all the outdoor photos.