Saturday, October 31, 2015

Eh. . .

I'll admit it wasn't the most spectacular day ever at Afton Station, but none of them are ever terrible.   Today, it was gloomy and drizzly, we greeted only 9 visitors, sold a big $1 worth of merchandise (a postcard) and  I got caught coming home in a big, crazy Halloween parade they have here in Tulsa every year (I should have known better. . .).   The good points were that those visitors we did have at the Station today were great, we got some cool new shelving, and on the way home it was kind of fun sitting in stalled traffic for a half hour watching all the little kids in their costumes parade past.  For everything annoying, there is always something wonderful.  That's how I see the world.

Our visitors came from Newport Beach CA, Hamburg Germany, Bartlesville OK, and Hominy OK.
Our German visitors were here to attend a huge car show in Las Vegas and chose to get there via Route 66.  Good for them!
 And here are a couple of the Bartlesville folks, out for a Saturday drive on the Mother Road.

In other news, David brought over this very neat piece of shelving which works well for our T-shirts and makes us look a little more like a grown-up store.  
I spent some of our copious free time making magnets.  Some are on the magnet board now, and others will go on tomorrow.  We have some new designs now, too.
Yesterday, when Robin was working in my absence, a former visitors dropped off this great homage to the Palmer Hotel across the street.  Love it!  A nightly rate of $2.  Those were the days!
Finally, in honor of Halloween, Robin left "Puss 'n Boots",  her pet kitty skeleton, with us for the day.  This thing not only looks pretty horrifying, but lets out blood-curdling screams when motion activated.  A great touch for the holiday and to scare our poor guests to death!  I'll try to get a better picture of Puss tomorrow.
That's about all for now.  Back tomorrow with further news.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Fabulous Crew

As winter approaches, our hours of operation at Afton Station become shorter.  We're still trying to stay open 7 days a week, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.   I hope we can go on this way until the end of November, after which we will close in December and January.   Because I can't always be at the Station, I have amassed a great group of  folks who are willing to work for me for a few dollars above nothing or, in some cases, for no salary at all.

My Number One volunteer is Ron M., whom by now most regular readers of this blog will be well acquainted.   Ron does everything for me and there is no way I could run Afton Station without him.  He fetches my wheelchair, puts out the flags, opens up the showrooms, cleans, cheerfully greets visitors, and keeps me sane.  He is with me every single day at the Station and often his ideas of  how to display merchandise or publicize the museum are welcome and sensible.
There are three others too, and I feel lucky to have crossed paths with them.  In a small town like Afton, it's amazing that I could find three folks who want to help out with keeping us open seven days a week and all of them are good with visitors.

Robin is a real worker bee!   She is willing to do just about anything I ask of her, including restocking the soda pop and paper products in her free time and working almost every day I request.  In addition, she is now making a line of beautiful jewelry out of the pennies from our squashed penny machine (with added beads and bling) which she sells at the Station.  She has lived in Afton all her life, so she can answer just about every question concerning local directions and other matters.
Sue is Marly's wife, and although she has been away for the last month or two, she will soon be back in town and ready to work a day or two a week.  She is great with tourists. Husband Marly is also a helper around the Station, and he can do all kinds of repairs which are often needed in an old building like ours.
Our newest helper is Rann Lee, who is a long-time friend of Robin's.  He too, is great with customers and he has one asset the rest of us don't have -- deeper knowledge of antique cars and the ability to answer questions about them that might be asked by visitors.  He collects Hot Wheels himself and has done so since he was a kid.  He also holds down two part-time jobs -- Afton Station and a local restaurant.
Betty W. is in a class by herself.   She is always ready to help in any way she can, and she is a self-starter.  She doesn't need to be asked before she springs into action when needed.  She is always smiling and friendly to the visitors. Everyone in town loves Betty since she owned the famous Dairy Ranch for 41 years and served burgers and limeade to every Afton citizen.  Additionally, she brings us some incredible home-baked goodies!

Because of this great bunch of folks, I feel entirely confident that, when I'm not at the Station, visitors will be treated well and questions answered as accurately as possible.  All of them are Route 66 fans, and that helps too, of course.  So, come for a visit soon and meet some of these fine people.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Just In Time For Winter

We have some new merchandise at Afton Station, and we really love it.   Take a look at this nice knit cap and think about how warm it would keep your ears during a motorcycle ride down Route 66, or while sprinting in and out of all the great stopping places along the Mother Road on one of those 5-degree days.   Come and get 'em!
We had an interesting group of visitors today.    This woman from Plymouth, Wisconsin just graduated from farrier school in Oklahoma and is now qualified to shoe horses. She said it is a very sought after occupation these days, as not many people study the art.
This family from Verdigris, Oklahoma was lured here by their little 2nd grade son who has decided he wants to decorate  his bedroom in Route 66 things.  It's so great to know that the Route 66 "bug"  has hit someone so young!  They bought a few items for his room and we made sure he knew how proud we were of his interest in the Road.
Here are three Canadian friends, two from Toronto and one from Prince Edward Island.   I was interested in hearing about the new laws affecting crossing the border to and from the U.S.  It's much harder now than it was back in the 70s when we used to cross frequently.  For one thing, you can't bring Canadian cheese into the U.S.  any more.  What?   We are being deprived of some of the finest cheese in the world!
Two friends from Eau Claire, Wisconsin are traveling together, something they  have been wanting to do for a long time.  They found some space for signing on our wall which is quickly filling up.  When the walls of the work room are full, we're not sure where we'll go from there.  Oh dear!
And there were more old friends traveling together, this time from Wheaton and Oswago, Illinois.  They  said they'd been lost a couple of times in Missouri but we assured them that sometimes getting lost can lead to the most interesting finds.  They agreed!
Other visitors came from Florence KY, Plymouth WI, Nashville TN,  and Fairland, White Oak, and Claremore, OK.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Calm, Cool, and Collected

Afton Station greeted 15 visitors today, but for some reason it seemed like far fewer.  It was fairly relaxing, and toward the end of the day became  rather somber after hearing about the tragic event at the homecoming parade at Oklahoma State University when a car plowed into the crowd. Such bad news.

But we did have some good times with great guests who came from San Francisco CA, London England, Batavia IL, Mounds OK, Weatherford TX, Williamsburg VA, Vinita OK, and Bixby OK.

Four friends from  San Francisco and England were first in the door.   Can't you tell from their smiling faces that they are enjoying their Route 66 visit?
Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones came to visit for a while today and parked his Stallion trike right at the front door.  Later in the day, we looked out and saw a husband and wife eyeing the trike rather closely.  When they finally came in, the gentleman asked who owned the vehicle.  Tattoo Man was on the phone at the time, so I answered that it was "that fellow over there". " Well", the gentleman said, "I was just wondering why he has MY name airbrushed on the back of his bike."  What?  Ha ha... turned out that his name is Ron Jones, too!  So, we had a meeting of the Ron Jones's, and here they are!
It was slightly chilly today, a possible harbinger of the winter weather to come.  It wasn't cold, just a little cool wind that smelled of autumn.  The trees aren't really turning color yet, or maybe not at all this year since things have been so dry around here.  We shall see.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Camera Shy Scout

We had ten human visitors at Afton Station today and one cute dog who simply was not interested in having his picture taken.
His family stopped by to visit the museum on a short Route 66 trip before heading back to Ft. Worth, their home.  Scout had such a cute face that I'm sorry we weren't able to capture it on film.  Maybe next time
Far more photogenic were this mother and son from Paris, France.  Mom spoke great English so communication flowed nicely.  They are going all the way to Santa Monica, a full end-to-end Route 66 adventure.
I especially enjoyed chatting with these folks from Bryan, Ohio when I found out that he used to work at a place where my dad worked from before I was born until I was about 5 years old.  Until a couple of years ago when it closed, the company made air tanks for industry, and it was with that firm that my dad got the honor (?) of being the first American to attempt use of a SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), an occasion I remember well, even though I was a small kid.   It brought back many memories to be sure.

Other visitors came from Alma, Arkansas and Midland, Michigan.  It wasn't a busy day but, as usual, it was a very good one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Signs of the Times

Sapulpa, Oklahoma is becoming an interesting, vital Route 66 must-stop along the road.   It's always been a good city for Route 66 travelers, with Frankoma Pottery, Frank Gierhart's shop, an historic Main Street and a few other places to entice travelers. But recently, with the opening of two more spots, it could advance to the likes of Cuba, MO or Pontiac, IL in its devotion to the Mother Road.

On Sunday, the Oklahoma Route 66 Association held its quarterly meeting at Signs of the Times, and there were plenty of wide-eyed and excited folks as they entered the building and saw it for the first time. I was one such person.  A Sapulpa gentleman has collected and restored an enormous number of old neon signs, as well as gas station memorabilia and other eclectic items and has them on display in a huge room with a high ceiling that seems made to order for such an endeavor.  I must admit to being very jealous of his collection.  At present, it is only open as an event center, by prior appointment, but it would be nice if some day it was open to the public on a daily

 There is a very large collection of Howdy Doody memorabilia. . .
 . . . even some colorful hula hoops. . .
. . . gas cans and signs galore. . .
. . . and this old gentleman to pump some gas.
Amid a riot of signs, neon, and other diversions, the officers of the Association get down to business. . .
. . . although Jerry McClanahan looks like he'd rather chat with the gas station attendant than listen to the minutes from the last meeting.
In the parking lot, an ordinary prefab garden shed has been turned into a faux "garage", with a painted-on car and everything!   Very clever!

We also got news of another project being undertaken by the city of Sapulpa, The Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum.  With luck, by the end of the year it will be opening, this one filled with antique automobiles which, according to the literature, will be constantly changing and evolving.  We can't wait to see that one!
We had heard earlier in the week that one of the two elderly sisters who owned Frankoma Pottery, the iconic ceramics plant that turned out collectible items for decades, had died. We drove past her house, a well-known quirky domicile made out guessed it... Frankoma pottery!   It isn't easy to get a photo of the house up close, but here's a side shot from the street.  The actual pottery plant closed its doors in 2010, a big loss for the city of Sapulpa.  The Frank home was built on a wooded hillside in 1955 and was designed by architect Bruce Goff, a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright.
It was a fine Fall day in Sapulpa on Sunday, and we enjoyed every bit of it.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Another G'Day

It's always a g'day when Dale Butel brings one of his Australian tour groups to Afton Station, and that happens at least three times a  year.  Today was such a day, with some other nice surprises as well.

Dale and his group, riding motorcycles or driving cars, arrived at noon, right on time as usual.  There were 31 in the group today.
Here's Dale (right) sitting with my friend Joe Meeks who also visited for the day..
 The Aussies perused the guide books. . .
 . . . chatted around the penny smashing machine. . .
. . . and lined up to buy souvenirs.
Ron M. took this very cool photo of their bikes, which were lined up outside.

These two lovely and personable ladies are from near Springfield, MO.  Charlotte (left) reads my blog every day!  (Hi Charlotte!)   They are traveling with their husbands, who didn't make it into this photo. They were probably in a showroom ogling the cars.
This couple came all the way from Grass Valley, California in their big Bluebird RV.  They're having a good time on a nice long trip.
Our doggie visitor of the day was Miranda, a sweet puppy belonging to this couple from Evansville, Indiana who were passing through in order to meet someone who is selling them a race car!

Other visitors came from Lafayette IN, Cleveland OH, Neosho MO, Derby England, Melbourne Australia, McPherson KS, and Langley, OK.

We will be closed tomorrow (Sunday) as Ron M. and I will be attending the meeting of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, but will reopen as usual on Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hello Again, Christian!

Christian, a fellow from Germany who has visited Afton Station several times and reads my blog every day, stopped in again today with his friend, the same man he was with the last time.  They are doing a little Route 66-ing again and it was very nice to see them.  Although from Germany, they work in Massachusetts  now.  They were able to stay for a while and chat.   Since we forgot to take another photo of the visitors, I'm repeating the one I took the last time.
Other visitors today came from Portland ME, Gorham ME, Ontario Canada, Pratt KS, Alva OK, Clarksville TN, Tulsa OK, Syracuse NY, and Oklahoma City, OK.
I like to see mothers and daughters traveling together.  Here's mom on the left from Syracuse, New York, and daughter from Oklahoma City, OK.  Hard to tell which is which, isn't it?   A very pretty pair!
We had a doggie visit today.  Shown  here with her devoted parents from Alva, Oklahoma is Pepper.   Pepper and his family are driving a portion of Route 66.

That's about all for today.  Back on Saturday1

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

One of THOSE weekends

Did I keep busy during our 3-day weekend?  Nah, not really.  Just:. . .

** Hosted daughter Sarah and her wonderful boyfriend John for the weekend.
** Officiated at a beautiful wedding at iconic Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa
** Worked Afton Station on Sunday
** Did a little touring of Tulsa
** Dinner at everyone's favorite Tulsa eating place, Villa Ravenna
** Dialysis Monday morning
** Visited the J. M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum on Route 66 in Claremore
** Visited Totem Pole Park in Foyil, OK
** Finally scattered my portion of Bob Waldmire's ashes over his beloved Route 66 in a small ceremony

John had to leave this morning on an early plane.  Sarah leaves late this afternoon.  So, today we are going to continue this fun and do some shopping and errands. But first, here are a few photos from the weekend.
 Sarah and John meet the owner and builder (right) of the incredible "Back to the Future" DeLorean which was parked outside of Cain's Ballroom during the wedding at which I officiated.
This car is amazing, and completely accurate to the one in the movie.
Getting used to the stage, microphone, etc. for the wedding.  Sarah and John meet my friend Susan Yates, a wedding guest.
Presenting. . .  Mr. and Mrs. Rhys Martin!  I got through the ceremony without a stumble.  The nerves I felt when seeing the huge room filled with people melted quickly when I read the beautiful words that Rhys and Sam had written for the ceremony.  They're a great couple, and I'm honored to be the one who joined them together legally.
 They signed the papers. . .
. . . and here they are, all  hitched!
 On Sunday, with the usual help of Ron M., we greeted guests at Afton Station.  These two fellows from Arkansas came to see the Packards.
 A couple from Tulsa with their rescue dog, Taco Bell" also came for a visit.
And of course I took time out to accept a hug from my dear daughter.
I have been acting as guardian of a portion of Bob Waldmire's ashes ever since he passed away and was cremated about 4  years ago.  His ashes were divided between about six of us whom he considered his best Route 66 friends (an honor in itself!) and we were charged with scattering them where we felt would be approved of by Bob himself.  Until now, the inspiration just hadn't hit, but Sunday was such a lovely cool, breezy day that it seemed right.  Sarah was there, and she and Bob always hit it off so well. (Sarah was especially fond of Bob's home made salsa, and she got the very last jar of it which he made before he died.) Anyway, we went out to the front of the Station, into the road next to Roamin' Rich's stencilled sign, and scattered Bob to the wind.  He would want to be on  his beloved Route 66, and the ashes blew in the air and then settled on the Mother Road. We miss you, Bob!

 The newly repainted Ed Galloway Totem Pole looked good, despite being taken over by an uncomfortable swarm of wasps.  Sarah and John didn't stay there very long.
The J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum is always interesting.  It's the largest gun collection in the world, but if you're not a gun fan (that would be me), there is SO much more to see there.  Some extremely interesting exhibits there!   Here, Sarah is contemplating a shoot-out.
Guns, guns, guns. . . 10,000 of them!
Sarah and John visited David at his new place in the country and were introduced to his 4 new miniature donkeys.  So here are a couple of asses (Oh John, you know I love you.  I just couldn't resist. . .)
Since Afton isn't ugly enough as it is,  someone is now having a broken toilet sale on the side of the road.  Sigh.....

That's all for now.  The other hundred photos we took this weekend will  just have to wait.