Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Day Without Pictures is. . .

. . . a day without pictures.  The camera lady was not on the ball.  That's me.  I thought for sure I took a picture of that nice father and son from Dresden, Germany, but when I got home and unloaded the card, nope, no photo.  It was a slow day, so maybe I was in some sort of trance.  At any rate, we did have some photogenic visitors today but you'll just have to imagine how they looked.

They came from Dallas TX, Miller MO, Las Vegas NV, Tulsa OK, and the aforementioned Dresden, Germany.   The Missouri visitor was Charlie Johnson, the generous gentleman who gave us the cash register we treasure so much. It was very nice to visit with him.  Here's a picture of our treasured register which I took right after he gave it to us.  We've use it every day for 5 years, and despite it being over 100 years old, it hasn't given us a moment's trouble.   Thank you, Charlie!  (I should have taken your picture!)
On the way into Afton this morning Ron M. and I saw the sign at the end of a street that pointed toward "The House of Torment".   The sign  had been there for about a week, and so we thought it was time to find out what it was all about.
It turns out that said house is a Halloween haunted house set up by one of the girls' sports teams at the high school.  Here it is.  Looks pretty elaborate with the tents and all.
Tickets are $5, so I assume it's a fund raiser.  Good idea, girls!  If we were ever  here at night, we'd check out the Torment.  
Halloween is fun, and I hope all my readers have a scary, spooky, frightful, candy-filled day tomorrow.  See you on Saturday! (Hmm... I wonder if a goblin stole that picture of the Germans. . .)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good Morning, Miss Dazey

Ron M. and I sat twiddling our thumbs all morning.  Not a single visitor to Afton Station on this lovely, cool, sunny day on Route 66.   Where was everybody?   It was depressing enough for me to post a little complaint on Facebook which had several of my friends give possible reasons for our dearth of visitors but none made me feel much better about the situation.

Then, just after we watched a couple of people stop and take pictures of the exterior but not come in (something else that always contributes to my bad mood), there were a couple of familiar faces at the door!  My Facebook friend Linda Crim (Miss Dazey) and her husband Mr. Bruce!  I can't think of people who could cheer me up more.  They're from Springfield, Missouri and were on their way to spend a nice day and evening at a local casino.
They were also apparently the catalyst for a veritable flood of other visitors, and at last, the day had begun!  We enjoyed a nice long visit with the Crims before the Station started filling up with an array of other travelers.

Betty had visited with us in the morning, and had just left when her friend Rhonda from Gardener, Kansas drove in on a golf cart  (Well, that's a first!) and along with her were two of her friends also from Gardener.  They were disappointed to have missed Betty but I'm hoping they caught up with each other later in the day.  Rhonda and her friend are opening a restaurant/bakery in Gardener next week and we wished them the best in what will certainly be a major endeavor.
Other visitors included two members of the Oldies 'n Goodies Car Club of Bartlesville, OK who hope to bring the whole club for a visit next summer, repeat visitors from Fontana, CA, four friends from New Zealand, and couples from Kansas City, Missouri and Monett, Missouri.

Leaving Tulsa on our way to Afton early this morning, Ron M. and I stopped to take pictures of a very interesting example of repurposing.   We feel that restoration and reuse of old buildings along Route 66 is of utmost importance, and certainly a far better solution than doing tear-downs.   In this case, a motor court made up of a ring of small cottages has been turned into... well, we're not sure... but although the siding wouldn't have been my first choice, the little buildings certainly look a lot better than they did when they were crumbling in place, and now will be able to be used in a number of ways -- housing, offices, storage, etc.  
The buildings can be seen at the corner of 11th St. (Route 66) and 133rd E. Avenue.  Check them out!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fun Runners

Well, the Fun Runners weren't running, but they were fun!  That's the group from Lake of the Ozarks who visited us at Afton Station today.   Indeed, their mode of transportation was far more impressive than running shoes, so we were very excited when their parade of nice vintage cars appeared cruising down Route 66 and coming to a stop in front of the Station.
Check out some of their pretty rides.

Some of the guys admired our '34 12-cylinder Packard, while others shopped.

 Ron M. was with me as usual today, and our very special guest was our friend from Tulsa, Joe Meeks.  I like his visits because he is enthusiastic about meeting all the folks who come to visit.  Of course, there are always quiet moments, and this pic catches Joe in one of these.   After checking out the menu from  "Nowhere on 66", the great BBQ place down the street, he treated us to lunch, delicious pulled pork sandwiches on ciabata bread.  
Betty came in for a while and helped out as she always does.  And of course we had other visitors, too.  They came from St. Louis MO, Bartlesville OK, Bernice OK, Kansas City MO, Wichita KS, Springfield MO, Athens GA, and Grove OK.  Our first visitors of the day were these two fine folks from St. Louis.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Bad Day? Never!!

Sue worked at Afton Station on Tuesday, and at day's end she texted me ". . . Only 7 people, but really good people.  I've enjoyed the conversations."   I have to say that her comment is just about perfect for today as well.  Although we had more visitors (13), all of them were good people who engaged us in interesting conversation.  It's just about impossible to have a bad day at Afton Station on Route 66.

Today, they came from Wilmington NC, Wakarusa KS, Rochester MN, Melbourne Australia, Marshall IL, and Bernice and Tulsa, OK.
Suzy (right) and Nancy from Tulsa were visitors once before, on the fateful day that Michael Wallis brought them along with a bus full of tourists to Afton Station, the same day that my back experienced it's mysterious ailment that landed me in the hospital that very night.   Suzy remembered the incident well and how miserable I was, and also remembered that I'd broken my favorite mug that day, so today she returned to bring me a brand new "smiley" mug and the news that since she met me that day in May she has read every word of the seven years of blog entries I've posted since the very beginning.  The ladies are on their way to Branson for a vacation weekend and I hope they have an absolutely sensational time there.
This supremely snazzy 1961 Ferrari Spyder belongs to visitors from Wilmington, North Caroline who are traveling Route 66 taking advantage of a home-sharing club for folks over 50 who open their homes to travelers.  They, in turn, open their own home to folks wanting to vacation in the Wilmington area.  They have stayed with a number of families on this trip and said they have met the nicest people by doing so.
Spirit is a gorgeous rescue Samoyed owned by the truck driver (right) who adopted him 6 years ago and rides in the cab of his semi every single day with him as he crosses the country.  Spirit also sings a mean song when inspired by the howling of humans.  Here, he is meeting a couple from Wakarusa, Kansas who are also doing a little Mother Road exploration.
Our only foreign visitors today were this couple from Geelong, Australia.  Like nearly all of our Aussie visitors, they are enjoying the trip of a lifetime and getting the full Route 66 experience.

Ron M. was with me today and Betty also came for a few hours.  The drenching rain of the morning didn't really hamper any of our guests, and the sun was just starting to peek out by mid-afternoon.  See you on Saturday!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hall of Fame Weekend

Except for some very unwanted trips to the hospital, I haven't been anywhere overnight for a couple of years. I decided the time had come, and although a trip just 200 miles from home isn't exactly an exotic adventure, I really wanted to attend the Oklahoma Route Association's 25th Birthday Party, being held in conjunction with our Hall of Fame inductions and a dinner meeting of the Board of Directors.  So, off I went for two days to Clinton, OK with Ron M., who is an angel for accompanying me, hauling around my wheelchair, and acting as Chief Navigator as I drove down Route 66.

I snapped a few photos at a few spots along the way, but those will come later.  First, I must comment that the Hall of Fame induction, held at the fabulous Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, was wonderful.  President Brad Nickson gave a short speech that reminded us of the 25 years we've been together celebrating Route 66.  He introduced those in attendance who were charter members, those who were past presidents, and those on the current board.

Every other  year, two persons are inducted into the Hall of Fame, one alive and one deceased.  The deceased honoree  this year was J. M. Davis of the famous J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum in Claremore.  Although he passed away many  years ago, his influence on Claremore and on Route 66 remains.  He once owned the hotel in Claremore that opened its doors to Route 66 travelers long before Route 66 travel was popular.  He also had the world's largest gun collection which resides now in his museum along with other of his collected artifacts -- historical memorabilia of all types.  (See my blog post of 7/14/14 for more). Accepting the award for Mr. Davis was Mr. Wayne McCombs, Executive Director of the museum.  Here he is signing autographs.
My dear friend Marian Clark was the living inductee this year, and she is uniquely deserving of the honor.  She has spent countless volunteer hours on Route 66 projects over the years and has written or co-written four  Route 66 cookbooks.  She is a charter member of the Association as well.   When she mentioned me in her acceptance speech it brought tears to my eyes.  I've done so little compared to the work she's done to promote the Mother Road.  Here she is being introduced by Brad.
After the awards were given, Ron M. and I took a quick tour of the museum.  I hadn't been there in several years and during those years some major changes have been made.  It is an impressive museum and should be a "must see" for all Route 66 travelers.

We stayed at the brand new La Quinta hotel, which was lovely except for a few small problems.  I ended up sleeping in a chair all night since, in what seems to be the newest fashion, the mattress on the bed was so thick and so high that I couldn't get on it!  Being short legged and lame, I'm past the years when I could have taken a running leap and scaled the heights, but I can't do that any more.  I must say, however, that there was a perfectly comfortable chair in the room and I slept just fine in it.  I just wonder if I should get some money back for non-use of the bed??   Apparently the long-legged Ron M. did just fine with it in his room, as I'm sure most guests do.  Sigh....

On the way to and from Clinton, we stayed on old Route 66 most of the time.  That we got lost a couple of times is proof of how long it's been since I've traversed those roads in Western Oklahoma.  We did stop for a few snapshots, however.
The famous Lucille's Roadhouse in Hydro, probably one of the most photographed sites on Route 66.  I know I have dozens of the shots myself, yet still couldn't resist just one more.
Jerry McClanahan's gallery and studio in Chandler, OK.  It has a new, fancy paint job since I visited it last!
The Glancy Motel in Clinton always fascinates me.  The design, including the sign, has remained untouched and is still a great representation of "googie" architecture on Route 66, and yet the motel itself seems to have fallen into just enough disrepair to make it seem a little scary.  I truthfully can't tell if it's still open or completely abandoned.
We are always looking for nice "Welcome to..." signs, and Davenport, OK has one of the nicest.  Davenport also has a number of sturdy old buildings still standing.  Here's one that's been adorned with a mural.

On a wonderfully quiet stretch along old Route 66 near Bridgeport, OK lies the "pony  bridge" over the Canadian River.   Today, its 38 arches (19 on each side) crossed a nearly dry riverbed.  The drought in western Oklahoma certainly became a reality to me when I saw the condition of the river.  
A good deal of what we drove on today was paved long ago with Portland cement which included curbs, as we motored up and down gentle hills to the to "click, click, click" sound of tires rolling over expansion joints.  It's music to the ears of Route 66 lovers.

Finally, one of my favorite vistas on all of Route 66... a lone ancient windmill still propelled by wind despite that the farm it once served is long gone.   In Western Oklahoma, where many of the rural views are dominated by the sight of enormous wind farms that go on for miles and miles. it's just nice to see it done the old-fashioned way -- not as efficient, not as high tech,  but clearly far more beautiful and peaceful.  

It was a fine weekend.  And, kudos to Robin, who handled a very large group of Afton Station travelers on Saturday all by herself.   She said she really enjoyed it.  I guess it was a practically perfect weekend for all of us. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wine Corks, A Train Spotter, and the Usual Happenings at the Station

I love days like this.  They are interesting.  I get to meet a lot of fascinating people with interests far enough from mine to intrigue me.   Today Ron M. and I  had 17 visitors who came from Whistler British Columbia, Queensland Australia,  Denver Colorado, Miami OK, Fayetteville AR, Howard's Grove WI, Norman OK, Puerto Allegro Brazil, and Mooresville, IN.

These friends were doing Route 66 together, and a very diverse group they were.  They came from  (left to right) Great Britain, India, Canada, and Latvia!  All had been friends for many years.
The gentleman from England has several interesting and rare Packards.   We established that we were both invited to display our cars at the 100th Anniversary of Packard in the late 90s.   Here's the photo he showed me of his Packard woody.
From Fayetteville, Arkansas came this train spotter.   He stopped in to see the museum, then asked if he could come back to Afton Station throughout the day to use the bathroom, etc. as he planned to make his temporary headquarters down at  the railroad tracks so he could photograph and video each train that came through Afton.  It's his hobby, along with his large model train layout.  He said he does this all the time in different small towns.  Now, that's a true hobbyist!
Route 66 friend Dean Kennedy from Indiana stopped by on his way to a Cuba, MO festival.  He  has a brand new enterprise, selling these clever wooden Route 66 wine corks.  I bought some to sell at the Station and I am counting on them selling very well.  They are laser etched wood with the Route 66 shield and one of the Route 66 states on each.   Stop by and check them out.  It was nice to chat with Dean for a while.
Although the Station will be open as usual this weekend and under the expert care of Robin and Sue, Ron M. and I will be attending the 25th Anniversary of the OK Route 66 Association celebration in Clinton, OK.  We are looking forward  to the short weekend getaway.  In my case, I haven't been away from home for   a few years.  The highlight will be when our dear friend Marian Clark is inducted into the OK Route 66 Hall of Fame.  Way to go, Marian!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Feast or Famine?

That 's a rather harsh term for our weekend at Afton Station.  "Feast" seems like somewhat of an unkind way to describe the incredible crowds that electrified the Station with their presence on Saturday.   And "famine", although accurately describing the paucity of visitors, disregards that each and every one of them was most welcome.  Nevertheless, the fact remains -- we had over 110 visitors on Saturday and 7 on Sunday.   Sometimes it just happens that way, and it certainly makes working at Afton Station a challenge!

Our 7 visitors came from Langley OK, Rogers AR, Lees Summit MO, Quebec Canada, and Minneapolis, MN.
Our Minnesota visitors took a number of photos with the cars, including the '34 that has been residing in the work room since returning from parade duty last weekend in Grove.  It will soon be moved into it's proper place of  honor in one of the showrooms.
 This lady from Rogers, AR did some penny pinching and -- much to my joy -- spent a lot of time through our vintage postcards and emerged thinking that she might just become a postcard collector herself!  As  a postcard collector myself, I'm always happy to convert a civilian to the hobby.  She asked for information about nearby postcard shows and sales, and even chose a few subjects she might decide to collect.
 The gentleman from Quebec came in alone while his family waited in the motor home outside feeling a bit under the weather.  He, his wife, and their two young children are taking a full year off to travel around the USA (starting with Route 66) and then South America.  They are home schooling their children during the year and he is maintaining his business via online communication and phone.  Very exciting!  We wish them well on such an ambitious undertaking.

We have a problem here at Afton Station, and what a happy problem it is!  We have run out of space for wall-signing!  Never did we imagine that so many folks would sign the walls of our work room, but now it's getting a bit out of hand, with people standing on chairs to sign close to the ceiling and covering the electric box and door jambs with writing, too.  The problem is that we have some nice vintage signs in that room and we'd like to make sure no one signs those!   So, we've decided to move all the signs and other memorabilia into one of the showrooms and give over the entire work room to autographs.  Some have suggested we just paint over some of the signatures to make room for more, but I just can't accept that solution.  I want to keep them all.   So, hopefully by next week we will have freed up enough wall space for another year or so to collect the wonderful names of the wonderful visitors who have passed through our building.

(Click on these photos to enlarge them so you can get a better idea of how things look now.)
Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving, and we want to wish all  our neighbors to the north a great  holiday.  In celebration, check out this Manitoba license plate left for us by a friendly Canadian, Dave Werstiuk, who visited recently.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Wish Me Luck

It was a HUGE day at Afton Station today.  I got home 2 hours late, and I implore my old, broken down computer to hang in there and not give me any trouble this evening because I'd like to tell you all about this amazing day on Route 66 without a balky machine getting in my way.

Would you believe. . . we had well over 100 visitors today!  I officially counted 111, but Ron M. reminded me that they were coming in the door so fast that I probably missed a handful.   The breakdown goes something like this:

** At least 25 bikers here for the H.O.G. state rally in Claremore.  With nasty (cold and rainy) weather today, we considered that a pretty good  number, especially since we had visits from 24 more of them yesterday and there's one more day to go (with better weather, we're told).

**  24 members of Jim Conkle's "Just You" tour, a bus tour of Route 66 for singles from the British Isles.

**  14 folks on Craig Parish's tour of Route 66 -- folks driving their own vehicles and making their own decisions where to stop but getting guidance from Parish, who is a veteran Route 66 traveler.

The rest of the 111 (or so) was made up on folks traveling on their own.  They came from Neosho MO, San Antonio TX, Woodstock IL, Frankfort KY, Springfield MO, Traverse City MI, Hot Springs AR, Versailles KY, Tulsa OK, Mol Belgium, Chandler OK, LaPeer MI, and Achuca Victoria Australia.

Here are some photos. . .
Wet bikers begin to arrive from the H.O.G. Rally.   It was pouring so hard in the morning that the planned cruises had to be either cancelled altogether or delayed a few hours.  Here are a handful who chose to defy the dampness and make their way to Afton Station.
Once inside, they dried off, perused some of our books, and shopped.  We are truly grateful for these intrepid Road Warriors, considering that some parts of our region had record rainfall levels in the past 24 hours.
Here's our dear friend and tour director Jim Conkle (right) with some of his group members in the background.
This cxouple had a Packard connection.  His father worked at the old Packard plant in Detroit!  He and his wife are from Travers City, Michigan.
This is Craig Parish, leader of the National Route 66 Motor Tour.   He led over 100 tourists on this trip.
One member of his tour collects old Cushman scooters.  This '64 model is the one he drove on this Route 66  trip.  As I recall, he said he had about two dozen vintage Cushmans!
You may recognize this couple.  They stopped at Afton Station on Sept, 25 and I mentioned on this blog how impressed I was with their advance planning for their trip and the choices they'd made about where they wanted to stay, etc.  Well, on their return trip east to their home in Woodstock, IL they decided to stop again because we'd really hit it off on our first meeting.  I'm so glad they did!   She is an absolute sweetheart, the kind of person I wish lived closer because I know we could become good friends.  I can only hope that they find their way back to Oklahoma soon.
More independent travelers near the end of the day were this happy couple from Achuca in Victoria, Australia.  I was glad we  had some time to talk while the crowds were dispersing, because you know my motto -- A day without Aussies is a day without sunshine!

More of this insanity tomorrow, I hope.  But first, thanks to Ron M., Betty, and Tattoo Man for lending a hand today.  I couldn't have done it alone.