Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Bit of Old Afton

Two great images have come across my desk just today, both of Afton around the turn of the century.  Both appear to be of the Dawson Hotel, which was once one of the largest buildings in the town.  In the top   photo, we see a parade passing by and some handsomely dressed young ladies riding in a horse cart decorated with flowers.

How different things are now here in Afton and Route 66.  And how much I wish I could be back there for just one day to see what Afton was like when it was such a busy and celebratory place.  .  

Images are from "Forgotten Oklahoma".  

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Kiwis Rule The Day

Of our 46 visitors today, 34 of them were in a tour group out of New Zealand.  Led by our friend Croc Lyle from Amarillo, TX and Sam Murray, our new friend from New Zealand, the group seemed to be having a ball as they cruise across America.  It was hard to get them all together for a photo (herding Kiwis is about as difficult as herding Yankees) , but I managed a couple of pics featuring almost half of them.

And here, their fearless leaders -- Croc Lyle on the left and Sam Murray on the right.  Croc has a wonderful art gallery on 6th Ave. in Amarillo (old Route 66) featuring his own great Route 66 creations plus those of others.  He also sings with a well-known men's choral group and now, his newest undertaking, leads Mother Road tour groups with Gilligan's Wild West Tours.
It's shouldn't surprise anyone that the Kiwis in the group preferred Mustangs for their rented vehicles.  Here are a few of them adorning First St. across from the Station.
One couple, however, chose to buy a vintage car when they reached Chicago and will ship it back to New Zealand at the end of their trip in California.   Check out this nice looking ride!  (It's a Ford Fairlane, I believe, but don't hold me to that because I forgot to make a notation of details.)
Anyone interested in following the exploits of the NZ tour group can follow them on Facebook at "Gilligan's Wild West."

But it wasn't 100% Kiwi at the Station today.  We also had visitors from Stott City MO, Buckinghamshire England, Higginsville MO, and Alva, Grove, and Woodland Shores, OK.  We are now officially over the top -- surpassing all months in the history of Afton Station in both number of visitors and amount of merchandise sold.  We are very happy, to say the least.  May it continue for many  years to come.  Long live the growing popularity of Route 66!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Satisfaction

It was a beautiful day at Afton Station on Route 66 in Oklahoma -- beautiful weather and many beautiful visitors -- 36 of them to be exact.

Remember those doggie bandanas that I told you about on Thursday, the gift from a lady who was pleased by our hospitality toward dogs?   Well, we were able to give away two of them today!  A couple of guys from Cape Girardeau, MO came to look at out vintage cars but their pup wasn't interested in coming in.  He was happy and comfortable in the car for the short time his owner was visiting with us.  Ron M. went out and tried to snap a photo of him but it was a difficult shot.   And even though the dog didn't want to visit with us, we gave his owner one of the bandanas.
Shortly thereafter, our friends and frequent visitors Judy and Michael Wheat brought their sweet little pup Gidget in for a visit and she, too, got a bandana which she modeled in this photo.
My, how Gidget has grown since her last visit with us in March!
But it wasn't all about canines at Afton Station today.  We had a visitor from Nuel in Brittany, France. . .
. . . and a couple from Rochester, Minnesota brought their yellow and black '65 Chrysler, a nice pairing with our own '65 yellow and black Chevy.
Other visitors came from Claremore OK, Grove OK, Seattle WA,  Stillwater OK, Bristol England, Watts OK, Mexico MO, Swansea Wales, Tulsa OK and Grove OK.

Two of our cars were away making an appearance at the Pelican Festival in Grove.  The '34 12-cylinder Packard led the parade and transported the Chief of the Cherokee tribe in the rumble seat.  The TC Maserati also participated.   Both cars should be back by tomorrow morning.

We got some nice publicity in a front page article in the Miami (OK) Active Times.  I'll try to find it online so I can show it off here in the near future.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Short and Sweet

That Ron M. and I had a very slow day today is in no way an indication of how things are going on Route 66 in general.  In fact, both Robin and Sue had great, busy and profitable days at Afton Station earlier in the week.  I feel pretty sure today was a fluke, and actually it isn't like it was entirely devoid of visitors after all.  We had eleven, and we were thoroughly entertained and charmed by all of them.
 Our first visitors of the morning were were this husband and wife from Woodstock, Illinois who were so devoted to their Route 66 trip that they did tons of pre-preparation, had a notebook full of maps and descriptions of where they wanted to go, and even bought this slick Corvette for the trip!
We had a long chat with these interesting folks and gave them a few tips for where to stay and eat as they move west on the Mother Road.

Our other visitors came from Spavinaw OK, Bella Vista AR, Grove OK, Sulphur OK and Euddhoven, Netherlands.

I had a surprise in the mail today.  A recent visitor, Susan Hill from Kansas, was so impressed by our policy of inviting dogs and other pets into our museum that she sent me a gift -- 22 of these cute "doggie bandanas" she made from a new Route 66 fabric that features dogs and cats having fun on the Road.  Perfect!  She asked that I give them to any folks who bring their pets into the building, and I'll be happy to do that.  What a nice gesture, Susan!   Thank you so very much!  (I'll be sending you a separate note later.)
That pretty much sums up our day.  We look forward to a big weekend to finish up a record-breaking September.   While the weather is still nice, how about coming out and paying us a visit.  We'd love to see 'ya!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Teddy, Daisy, and Others

Where but Route 66 can one be entertained, educated, and enchanted, all in one day??  Only Route 66 pays host daily to a parade of interesting people from all over the world.  I feel so privileged to be able to meet these great folks every day at Afton Station.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  (Ouch!)
Let us begin with  these four handsome gentlemen from Bilbao, Spain, in the Basque country, enjoying their trip from Chicago to L.A.  
And how about a little bit of cute?  Teddy and Daisy, a pair of sweet Shih Tzus from Vermillion, Ohio  brought their family for a visit.  
Friends came to call, too.  Ed Klein (left) from Arizona and Richard Talley (right) from Tucumcari, New Mexico are in the area working on Ed's new project -- the restoration and rehab of a building in Galena, Kansas.  Richard is the proprietor of the well-known Safari Motel in Tucumcari.  They were on their way back to the west after a big week of work and stopped by to say hello.  Tattoo Man met them at the Station to say hi, too.  

Our other visitors came from Washington MO, Cushing OK, Pryor OK, Decatur IL, and Cape Girardeau  MO, twenty-two in all.  Ron M. was with me all day as  usual, and Betty also stopped in for a while.  Always good to see her, especially since she's recuperating from pneumonia.  There's not much that will keep our Betty down!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Slow and steady wins the race". . .

. . . said the Tortoise to the Hare.   I've always liked that quote from my childhood, and today at Afton Station proved it to be quite true.  With the "traveling season" winding down, I am ok with the idea that we won't be seeing the record numbers of visitors that we've been greeting all summer.  There are still plenty of people out there on Route 66, however.   Today we had our first genuine slow day of the season, with a total of only 13 folks coming to visit.  We won the race,  however, because those who did visit were an interesting and friendly bunch. For example. . .
 . . . this young couple from Amiens, France. . . (And there's Tripper, photo bombing again!). . .
 . . . and a couple from Hamlet, Indiana with an adorable 6-month-old pup named Max.
Two couples, brothers and sisters-in-law were traveling together from Traverse City, Michigan and Eucha, Oklahoma.  Others came from Joplin MO, and  Pittsburgh KS.

Robin dropped in and stayed for a while, as did Scott.   Ron M. and I had plenty of time to catch up with reading and, in my case, a little bookkeeping.  As much as I hope Sunday is much busier, I can't complain about our breather of a Saturday.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Variety was the word of the day at Afton Station today!   There was a lot going on, making the day go very fast.    LaSandra Nickson rode along with Ron M. and me so that we could work on some badges for the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, so she got to be part of the chaos.
 Meanwhile, David and Marly were around most of the day, moving cars around. . . .

. . . and working on the 1917 Packard Motor Home. . .
. . . while a gentleman named Mark Rogers of the Miami News-Record arrived to interview me for an article in next week's edition. 
Of course, we  had a parade of visitors as well.   Eleven of them came while we were still there, but I just got a message from Marly, who was staying to work a bit longer, that another 12 arrived after we left!   The early arrivers came from Pensacola FL, Shell Knob MO, Plattsmouth NE, Strongsville OH, Einriedeln Switzerland, and Manchester England.  Later, Marly greeted folks from Brazil, Spain, the UK, and Illinois.
The couple from Manchester, England had a rather traumatic start to their Route 66 trek.  On the very first day out, they were sideswiped by a pickup truck on the interstate and ended up in a ditch with a totaled rental car.  They came out of it unscathed (except for his bruised thumb), but what was left of the car had to be hauled back to St. Louis and they rode along in the tow truck.  With a brand new rental, they started out again this morning, and so far, so good.  We wished them well on their continuation down the Mother Road.
Robin took this photo yesterday.   Look who came to visit. . . Thelma and Louise themselves. .  or so they claimed.  Hmm.... could be that these two are imposters.    (Ha ha...)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Apples and Roses

My day off from Afton Station turned into a wonderful one.   This morning, Ron M. followed me to the very fancy car detailing place where I left it (and a pile of money) to have three years worth of crud removed from interior and exterior.  Then Ron and I proceeded to the AT&T store, where I relieved myself of another pile of money and bought an iPad!   Yes, I really did it!  With all the trimmings!
Four hours later when we went back to pick up my car, I barely recognized it.  Beautiful job!  And on the way out, I was presented with a half dozen perfectly gorgeous roses!  I don't know why, nor do I know if everyone gets them.  I just know that it was a lovely touch.  Each rose was in it's own little vial of water and fresh as a daisy.... or, a rose!  
With many thanks to Ron for hauling me all over the place today, I'll close now and see if I can figure out how to operate this new contraption called an iPad.  Since I already have an iPhone, the guy in the store said it would be easy to transition to the iPad.  Yeah, right.....

Sunday, September 14, 2014


That's a heavy sigh, indicating a slightly quieter day today at Afton Station.  Not that quiet, -- but at least we had a few minutes between guests to catch our breaths.  That hasn't happened all week.  Actually, a day like today a few years ago would have been considered crazy busy. Lately, however, if we have five minutes to collect our thoughts between onslaughts of Route 66 travelers, we call it relaxing.

There were 39 visitors today.  Twelve of them came all at once, a group of bikers from the Southern Cruisers, all from Tulsa or the nearby towns of Skiatook, Broken Arrow, and Locust Grove.  They lined up their bikes for some formal photos in front of the Station after visiting our showrooms.  A nice looking display of iron, indeed!

Other visitors came from Waterloo, IA, Birmingham England, San Diego CA, Chicago IL, Gaylord MI, Tahlequah OK, Barron WI, E. Sussex England, Catoosa OK, Germany, Owasso OK, and Bernice OK.
Although we have no photos of him, one interesting guest was a middle-aged man from Germany who was bicycling Route 66, end to end, without a word of English.  That can't be easy!  He asked for a Pepsi (using hand motions), looked around a little, then uttered the only thing he said in English... "thank you" ...as he pedaled off down the road.
Another interesting couple came early in the morning and stayed quite a while because Ron M. and I were full of questions about their lifestyle.  They are motor home "full timers" and haven't had a permanent  home for the last 10 years.  It's always interesting to hear details about the mechanics of being constantly on the road.  How do they get mail?  In what state are they considered citizens for the purpose of voting, etc.?  Do they work while on the road?  All answers were given cheerfully by this affable couple.  Sounds like fun to me!
This nicely restored '68 Plymouth was driven to Afton Station all the way from San Diego by two gentlemen who are driving Route 66 from start to finish.  I'm sure they're getting many appreciative glances at every stop.  Nice car!
This is one of two couples who visited us from England today.  They are from Birmingham and the others were from E. Sussex.

Before the day was over, we also visited with a family of 5 on motorcycles from Owasso, OK and some interesting folks from Waterloo, IA and Gaylord MI. too.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Don't Even Know Where To Begin!

It was a crazy day, a continuation of the record-breaking week we've been having at Afton Station.  It's almost hard to believe that each day brings more visitors than ever before.  I hope the same is true for all of Route 66 because, if it is, there's even more certainty that the Mother Road is gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds.

Today, the bulk of our visitors came from three different sources.   An unannounced group of classic car owners rolled in from Claremore, OK just up the road, a Poker Run was using Afton Station as one of its required stops, and a tour bus filled with folks from the United Kingdom, guided by Route 66 friend Jim Conkle, arrived for a visit.   On top of all that, we were having a birthday party  for Betty, Tattoo Man, and Robin, and of course other visitors stopped in as well.   The weather was cool and sunny so the door remained open all day, the air filled with the sounds of roaring Harleys and what seemed like an inordinate number of trains passing through and blowing their whistles.  It was a very noisy day!

I think we had 86 visitors altogether, but in the chaos I may have missed a few.  Besides the three groups I mentioned above, our guests came from Arkansas City KS, Heidelberg Germany, Manford OK, Rush City MN, Galena KS, Kansas City MO, Fribourg Switzerland, Leavenworth KS, Esslinger Germany, Hamburg IA, Seattle WA, Adair OK, Langley OK and Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
Here are the folks from Heidelberg, Germany.
And here is the young couple from Fribourg, Switzerland.

 Some of the cars in the group cruise from Claremore.
This is Jim Conkle, our dear friend from California who leads guided bus tours of Route 66.  This time he was escorting a group of 20 citizens from the British Isles.  It's always so great to see Jim, and the last few times he was here, I wasn't.  I'm glad we finally found each other this time around.
The Poker Run drew 25 people to Afton Station.  It was a fundraiser for the Veteran's Cemetery in Commerce, OK.  Two gentlemen representing the Cemetery Association spent the day with  us.  We were very  happy to help out this very worthy cause.

Meanwhile, we celebrated the birthdays of Tattoo and Betty, who share a birthday next week, and Robin, whose birthday was a couple of weeks ago.   It was a little  hard to do a proper celebration with the crowds coming through all day, but where there's a will, there's a way. And when there are sweets to be consumed, we will always answer the call.  The birthday celebrants were joined by Marly, Sue, Ron M., Marlene, and me.

I feel I've forgotten something, but there's always tomorrow.  We'll be at the Station again tomorrow and hope so have as spectacular a day then as we've had each day this week.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Spectacular September

It is not lost on us that today is the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.   It isn't something that will ever leave the hearts and minds of those who were alive at that terrible time.  Then again, it is testimony to the resilience of the American people that life goes on, good things and bad things happen, we have a new set of problems to work out, and yet we maintain our optimism for
the future.

Meanwhile, at Afton Station, we also move on, and we have had an absolutely wonderful summer which is culminating in a better September than ever before.   We've had day after day of increased numbers of visitors, and those visitors are buying more and more merchandise, asking more and more interesting questions, and clearly are having more fun and interesting experiences on Route 66 than ever before.

Today was no exception.  We had visitors from Belmont NC, Church Hill TN, Stockholm Sweden, Menifee CA, Torino Italy, Temple TX, Austin TX, Raleigh NC, Boston MA, Anniston AL, Chimacum WA, Bristol United Kingdom, Portland OR, and Miami, OK.  What a nice array of folks from all over the map!
This couple from Stockholm, Sweden wasn't on their first trip to America, but were on their first trip to the land between the coasts.  She spoke English with not a hint of accent, something I always find amazing.
Here are some folks from Boston, Massachusetts.  He tried to talk me into thinking they were from elsewhere, but I know a Boston accent when I hear one!  I caught him in his deception and we had a good laugh over that.  And although he's a Boston Red Sox fan, I allowed him to stay and look around anyway.  Ha ha....
This is Kay Stout, a delightful lady from Miami, OK who came to visit with her friend Terry Brewster Thompson from Afton.  Kay is the Director of  PAAS (Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter), an organization which is in the process of building and opening a new animal shelter in the area with an adjoining gift shop.  She wants to put a Route 66 slant on the shop and came to find out what we thought needed to be done to attract travelers to her facility once it is opened.  I hope we gave her some good tips, and of course we wish her well with such a worthwhile endeavor.  http://paasvinita.com/

Ron M. was with me as usual today, and we were very happy to have Betty stop in, as she has been laid low by pneumonia for several weeks.  She's looking good and is as feisty as usual, I'm pleased to report.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ride for the Relay

Ron M. and I drove up to Afton Station for a few hours this morning even though it's our day off in order meet Rodger Fox and his "Ride for the Relay", a group that visits every year as it traverses (on motorcycles) Route 66 soliciting funds for various cancer charities.  It's the 8th year that they've come to Afton Station and it's always so much fun to see them.  I'm sure that Sue, whose regular day is Tuesday, could have handled the group herself, but I couldn't resist seeing Rodger and his gang.  This year, there were approximately 60 riders on 40 or so bikes.  When they leave Afton Station, they traditionally head for Tulsa where they have lunch at the Cancer Treatment Center of America.  It's a great group made up of many folks who have done the ride repeatedly over the years.  Here are some photos. . .
That's me with group leader and organizer Rodger Fox.  He's put his heart and soul into this endeavor for more than 10 years.
Here's Rodger's rig... a great trike with the cutest matching trailer ever!
 Although I was only there for a couple of hours, several other folks dropped in.  
 Some cross-country bicyclists from Manchester, England. . .
. . . and this couple from the Netherlands.

On the way to Afton, we were passed by Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones, driving like a bat out of Hell on his Stallion.  We managed to catch this photo after he passed us and continued to pass another car and then a semi.  I do wish he'd slow down!   We'd like to keep him around for a while. He said he was going over 100 mph when he passed us.