Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bye Bye, July!

A much appreciated gentle rain fell on parts of Oklahoma Route 66 this morning.  Ron M. and I drove through it, off and on, but the sun eventually came out for a while once we got to Afton.  We weren't overwhelmed by visitors, but we had enough to put us over the top on numbers of visitors for any months of  July, and second best for all months since we've been open.   It sure feels good to know that our visitor count continues to increase, which of course also indicates that over all,  travel on Route 66 is increasing, too.  Good news for the Mother Road!

Those three handsome Frenchmen who went to the baseball game with us on Tuesday came to visit Afton Station this morning to pick up some souvenirs before heading back to their homeland tomorrow.  Coincidentally, a solo traveler from Evian, France arrived at the same time.   David's wife Sylvie (also French) was there as well, so their native language chatter was mostly beyond my ability to comprehend, but they did thank us on their way out.
Three French guys on the left (with Sylvie's son Patrick), Sylvie and solo Frenchman on right.  Much chatting ensued.
I'm sure that this gentleman is the first player piano builder we've ever hosted.  He has  had a business for many years in which he builds and repairs player pianos and converts regular pianos to players.  Interesting!  He's from Bernice, OK and arrived with a friend.  He is very fond of Packards.

Other visitors came from Chicago IL, Abergavenny Wales, and a local born-and-raised Aftonite who had not been in our building since it was a gas station back in the early '80s.

We now have a very large selection of new postcards, as I now have two big racks of them and acquired more from a business in Claremore which is closing its doors.  We also still have a pretty good selection of older postcards from Route 66, all states, and even some foreign ones. Come and get 'em!
This great image just came to my attention recently.  It's the Delaware Hotel and Afton Eating House. Wish I had more information about it.  I don't know where the hotel was located or when it ceased to exist.  Betty, who knows so much about the history of the town, doesn't know either.  It's such a wonderful photo!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Folks who come through Tulsa on their Route 66 travels should consider themselves lucky if it happens to be the night of a home game of the Tulsa Drillers at Oneok Field, our new and beautiful baseball stadium.  I finally got to a game there for the first time last night and was blown away by the gorgeous stadium and especially the view of Tulsa from there.
I love baseball and haven't been to a game for some time, so I had a most wonderful time on a perfect evening, about 80 degrees with a gentle breeze and no precipitation.  The Drillers lost 3-2, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the game.  
Hornsby, the team mascot, entertained us between innings.  Corny, but fun.  
An added pleasure was the addition of these three young men from France who were part of our party.  They spoke almost no English, had never been to a baseball game, and found the whole thing fascinating.  They even had their first taste of a root beer float, a treat for Americans which earned a D+ from our foreign friends.  Oh, the faces they made!  As we left the stadium at the end of the game, our translator advised that the guys found the evening to be great fun, however the game of baseball was "awfully slow compared to soccer".    Can't argue with that!
As darkness fell, the cityscape became even more lovely.   A good time was had by all.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

66 on 66

Robin worked at Afton Station today, and a friend of hers came in to announce that it was his 66th birthday and wanted to celebrate it on Route 66.   So, although I've never met him....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, STAN WEESE, from the folks at Afton Station!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Variety is the Spice of Life

I can't remember who said that, but it's surely true for a day like today at Afton Station.  But before I get to that, I just have to do a little bragging about my adopted home town, Tulsa.   Even though it was announced today that Tulsa has the lowest gasoline prices in the country, two stations on 11th St. (Route 66) decided it was a good time to have a little gas war on their unleaded.  So, I took advantage of it and filled my tank with $2.99 fuel this morning.  Every little bit helps for a person who drives about 40,000 miles a year!
 Meanwhile, back to the variety of interesting visitors we were lucky enough to meet today at the Station.  Ron M. and I worked all day, and Betty came in for a while, having recuperated from baking all that tasty stuff we consumed yesterday.  Betty is a gem of a person and I'm always cheered up when she walks in the door.

There were 24 visitors today, which was a nice, manageable number and not a crowd scene like yesterday.  The first travelers were six young ladies from Kansas City on a "girl's weekend out".  Here they are -- grandmother, two of her daughters, and three of her granddaughters.  I dare you to figure out which one is the grandma!  Such a pretty and enthusiastic group, doing Oklahoma Route 66 and enjoying it.
Here they are again, giving the pressed penny machine a work over.
Next came a fascinating couple in a motor home.  Their main home is Brazil, but they also spend time in Kissimmee, Florida in the winter.  They are on what they called their "dream trip", and have fashioned a blog to preserve the memories.   Check it out at  (It is in both English and Spanish, and as soon as they catch up with it, some Afton Station photos will be included.)  Their dream trip was by land all the way north from the southmost tip of Argentina to Canada, with many stops along the way.  Here they are:
He is a vintage car lover and collector and was very proud (and rightly so) of his most recent acquisition, this amazing hood ornament from a '51 Chevy.  
I've never seen one like it, and I'd like to have one of those myself!

A nice surprise was a visit from my Tulsa friend Susan Yates who brought with her her sister and three other friends.  They stopped in on their way to see the Osage Ballet at the gorgeous Coleman Theater in Miami.  Susan is a Route 66 fan, but even more so a Disney fan who makes multiple trips to Disneyland and Disney World.  Great to see her today and meet her entourage.

We also had visitors from Barcelona, Spain, Bonaparte IA, Wichita KS, and Disney and Miami, OK.  The Wichita gentleman is a collector and seller of automobilia and also coordinates a 1000-car car show in Wichita each summer.  He owns a '36 Packard, among other cars. 

For those who were curious about the Route 66 Cologne I gave to Ron yesterday for his birthday, here's a photo of it.  I would love to know if anyone else has ever seen this.
It was a fine, relaxing day, and now I'm going to settle back and enjoy the rain that may (or may not) arrive this evening.  We can use it.  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Big Ol' Birthday Bash

Well, Ron M. finally reached the same age as me, so it seemed only right to toss a little party for him today.  An Afton Station party is pretty low key, but is often pleasantly interrupted by travelers dropping in to see the museum.  Today was no exception.   Betty brought an incredibly delicious pineapple upside down cake and a gooseberry pie which was wonderful and unique.   Ron M., Tattoo Man, Joe Meeks, Jim Morton, Marly, Sue, Robin, Marlene and I enjoyed Betty's bounty.  Ron was presented with some funny cards and a bottle of Route 66 men's cologne.  I found it on Amazon where they indicated that it was the last one left.  Nobody had ever seen one before.  I figured it would smell like burning tires or exhaust, but it was actually quite pleasant and came in a very cool metal container with an embossed Route 66 shield.
Tattoo, Jim and Joe sitting around waiting for refreshments to be served.
Betty and Tattoo chatting with some visitors who are from the area and with whom Betty has mutual friends..

Our 41 traveler guests came from Birmingham England, Lakeland FL, Neelyville MO, Benton IL, Orange Park FL, southeastern OH, Gatlinburg TN, Corpus Christi TX, Republic MO, Fresno CA, London England, and Grove, Muskogee, Miami, and Tulsa, OK.
Examining the DeSoto. ( Look!   There's Birthday Boy in the background!)
Kids are always drawn to the squashed penny machine.  Here a young man is being assisted by his grandparents.
Tom and Rajina Gibson dropped in.  They're from Tulsa and we have mutual friends,  Pat and Jennifer Bremer.  Very  nice to see them.
This brave grandma and grandpa from Ohio are taking four of their seven grandchildren on a Route 66 excursion.  The little boys are all hooked... already sporting Route 66 hats and buying other souvenirs.   Grandma has been a fan for years, and she showed me photos of the Route 66 room in her home.  It is absolutely incredible.  I wish I could show you some photos of it here.  
 This young man from Gatlinburg, Tennessee arrived on his new motorcycle sporting his new leather vest. His smile and his enthusiasm bowled me over, I'll admit it.  Oh, to be young again!!!

Something I learned from visitors today:  Arkansas is the #1 rice growing state in the U.S.  I never even knew we grew any here, much less that close to home.   Some visitiors from Neelyville, MO educated us on this, as they are rice farmers themselves.   Missouri is the 4th largest rice growing state in the country.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Calm and Collected, but not so Cool

The weather may be heating up each day, but our day at Afton Station was cool, both temperature wise and visitor wise.  With none of the chaos of last weekend, we were able to kick back and enjoy each and every visitor, and we didn't find the need to turn on the a/c until late in the day.

There were 26 visitors, and they hailed from Colorado Springs CO, Owatonna MN, Grove OK, Jefferson City MO, Jones OK, Hutchinson KS, Joplin MO, Hurst TX,  Phoenix AZ, and Cambridge,England.

I'm in a bit of a hurry this evening, so here are a few photos with little explanation. . .
This wonderfully large family is spending a week at the lake and decided to check out Route 66.  They are from Colorado and Minnesota.  Looks like they're all having a great time with the possible exception of the little guy up front who had no interest in having his photo taken.
 This absolutely beautiful '68 Plymouth GTX belongs to the folks below from Hutchinson, Kansas.  This is their second visit to Afton Station, as they come to the area each year to attend a family reunion.  They said they'd try to drive a different car each year.
That's about it for today, except for something interesting we saw as we (Ron M. and I) drove into town early this morning.   A young Asian man was toting a large cross (with a wheel attached) down the street, his signs indicating that he's making the trek from California to New York.  He was followed by a chase vehicle.  Wow, what a mission he's on!   Good luck to this fellow as he trudges through the heat.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

If You Build It They Will Come

Or in my case, if you restore it they will come.  This weekend, it seems like they ALL came.  Route 66 travelers, that is, from just about everywhere.  Ron M. and I (and Betty for a while) managed the crowds.  Briefly, here's the story. . .

Our 57+ visitors ( the "+" is because I'm pretty sure I missed a few) came from Hayward WI, Corona CA, Lexington NC, Battle Creek MI, Waco TX, Akron OH, Montgomery City MO,  Chicago IL, Aukland New Zealand, Marysville OH, Lexington KY, Hinton OK, Rolling Hills MI, Muldrow OK,  Cleveland OK, Egg Switzerland, Hollywood MD, Nashville TN, Zurich Switzerland, Little Rock AR, Eau Claire WI, Grove OK, Siloam Springs OK, and the south of England.    Whew.....that's A LOT of super nice people in one place on one day!

And now for some photos. . . .
The woman on the right, Maureen Dennis from Little Rock, Arkansas brought some friends from Nashville, Tennessee to check out the Station.   She is the wonderful person who wrote the extremely complimentary letter about Afton Station to Spirit, the onboard magazine of Southwest Airlines.  It was published and highlighted and we were thrilled to get such great publicity and such praise.  I'm forever grateful to this lovely lady. (see post of Feb. 23, 2014 to see letter).

There was an abundance of children who visited with their families today.  They all loved the squashed penny machine, of course.
This couple from Lexington, North Carolina has built a reproduction filling station which is chock full of petrolania memorabilia.  I was privileged to see photos of their place and frankly I'm a little bit jealous!

Also, some fun cars came to visit.

Check out this pretty blue '37 La Salle from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.   You don't see many of those around any more!

A father and son from Corona, California are traveling across Route 66 in this '63 Falcon, and they're proud of both their car and their adventure.

In other Afton news. . . a new church has been established in Afton, a "cowboy church".  I'd never heard this term until I moved to Oklahoma, but I'm told it's simply a church that would appeal to cowboys.  We passed the church on the way into Afton this morning and, sure enough, there was a handful of cowboys sitting on folding chairs outside.  We were early, so I feel sure that more cowboys joined them later.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

WILD day!

Holy Moly, what a day at Afton Station on Route 66!   It was crazy and fun and very, very tiring.   Since I'm still recuperating from my back ailment thus still using a walker to get around, I was actually spared the majority of the chaos.  My dear helpers -- Ron M., Robin (home from vacation), Betty, and Sue did most of the heavy lifting.  Betty's sister Marlene, videographer P.J. and  Marly's mother Judy were also there to lend a hand.

The reason for all the activity was a visit from 30 members of the Arkansas Tin Lizzies Model T club on top of 42 other visitors from here and there, and it felt like they all came at the same time!   There wasn't a moment of tranquility at the Station today.   I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here are some photos:

Beautiful cars all over town!  I especially love the highly polished brass on some of them. The people driving them couldn't have been nicer and were obviously having fun on their 4-day cruise around the area.  We were so pleased that they chose Afton Station as one of their stops.
Robin got a ride with one of the drivers.
And so did Judy.
 The folks signed the walls...

..... and played the penny squashing machine.  
 Meanwhile, other visitors came from as far afield as Geneva, Switzerland. . .
. . . Stoughton, Wisconsin. . .
. . . Fort Sill, Oklahoma (here taking some pics of Tattoo Man's car when Tattoo stopped by briefly on his way to Carthage, Missouri.
 And our other visitors hailed from Chaund de Fonds Switzerland,  Barcelona Spain, Kansas City MO, Jackson Hole WY, Pineville MO, and Commerce, Tulsa, Norman, Vinita and Oklahoma City, OK.  It was a glorious day and we certainly enjoyed meeting all the intriguing people.

And by the way.... the day started out rather interesting as Ron M. and I were driving through heavy fog to get to Afton this morning.   Suddenly, out of the fog came four horses followed by two donkeys followed by a lone cow... all having obviously escaped their fenced in pasture and decided to take a little hike across the road.  We saw them in plenty of time to stop, and I hope they found their way home before any more traffic threatened their existence.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

As The World Turns

Sometimes I just don't feel like writing about a wonderful day at Afton Station, and this is one of those days.  I just got home, and have only moments ago heard about the Malaysian Airline plane apparently shot down this afternoon.  This is such terrible news and  the ramifications of this act of war are even worse.  Why can't we all get along?

Nevertheless, life must go on, and on this rainy, gloomy day we had our share of happy Route 66 travelers.   For example, there were these two guys from Oahu, Hawaii (father and son).
They flew into NYC, then drove to Wisconsin to pick up a gorgeous '54 3/4 ton Ford truck, which they are now driving across Route 66.   We got the feeling that this was a remarkable bonding trip for these two fine guys.  Check out the truck.
Our only other guests from overseas were these four friends from Tasmania, Australia.  Typical of all Aussies who come to visit, they were having a great time and appreciating everything they've seen and experienced thus far.
Our other visitors came from Kansas City KS, Chicago IL, Bartlesville OK, Wichita KS, and Nebraska City, NE. The Nebraska City couple told  us that their town, although tiny, is the official home of Arbor Day, as the first American Arbor Day celebration was held there in 1872.   As I have said so many times before, you learn something new every day at Afton Station.

Betty spent a good part of the day with us, and Reuben Tipton stopped in with fresh-from-his-farm sweet corn for all of us.  He grows the best corn in the world, and he shares it liberally every year.  Thank you, Reuben.  

Sue did a fantastic job of keeping Afton Station going strong during Robin's and my absence.  Thank you, Sue.  She had some very busy days, too, including one day when she was taken by surprise by the arrival of 50 Norwegian visitors.  Everything was so clean and organized this morning when I arrived.

Also, our Afton Station friend artist/photographer Michael Scruggs is in an Oklahoma City hospital at this time where he is receiving treatment for a rare form of leukemia.    All of our thoughts are with him during this ordeal and our hope is that he will be back soon.

See y'all on Saturday!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Have You Ever. . .

. . . visited the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore, OK?  Until yesterday, I had not, even though driving past it many times per week.  I just couldn't get excited about the world's largest gun collection.  Yesterday, the quarterly meeting of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association was held at the museum, and since I'm an officer I  went.   And I was impressed!   If  you like guns, you could stay there for most of  your life.  If you're not so much into pistols, shotguns, rifles, etc., there are a good many historical displays that non-gun fanciers can see and from which they can learn a bit about the history of Claremore and the surrounding area. Among many other items, featured in displays are the weapons of famous outlaws from the Wild West, railroad history, a clock collection, a beer stein collection, and of course much is made of Claremore's most famous citizen, Will Rogers. Mr. Davis was a major league collector/hoarder.  Admission is free.   Now that we've visited the museum,  we can feel confident in recommending the J.M. Davis Museum as an interesting stop for Route 66 visitors headed west..

Mr. Davis and his wife are buried right there in the museum.

And here are the officers of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.  One of them forgot to wear her blue shirt.  Who could that be??