Afton’s Eagle (DX) Service Station
12 SE 1st St
Opened in the 30s, the Eagle service station was open for almost 60 years. Today it is a Route 66 visitor center, thanks to the preservation efforts of Laurel and David Kane. It houses a showroom, 14 vintage Packards and a collection of Route 66 memorabilia, including items from the now-demolished Buffalo Ranch Trading Post.
“I knew I wanted a property on Route 66 — that was one of the reasons for living here. We kept driving through Afton to get here and there. There were about three vintage stations still standing… We really liked (this one) because it was in (better) condition than the others, and it had room for the cars.” — Laurel Kane
This was a stop on the 2002 Route 66 Caravan, a 66-day road trip led by preservationist and historian, Jim Conkle. He lead the The Route 66 Caravan from “pier to pier,” Santa Monica to Chicago to raise the awareness of Route 66 and the need to preserve it. He posted more than 50 Hampton “Save a Landmark” signs along the route.
Ron “Tattoo 66 Man” Jones
A good friend of Lauren Kane is Ron “Tattoo 66 Man” Jones, with over 100 tattoos dedicated to Route 66. If you are lucky, you can catch him hanging out at the Afton station.
How did this all happen? Ron was visiting a Tulsa classic car show back in the late 1990s, when he fell head-over-heels in love with Route 66. The was walking around and noticed a lot of Route 66 memorabilia , including a 66 shield with a highway running through it.
Next thing you know, that shield was inked on his calf and this proud 62 year old Vietnam vet to decide to start dedicating some serious skin to the most popular icons along 66. Ten years later, he was named the 2009 “Person of the Year” by the Route 66 Alliance. Just this year he was immortalized on the label of Jones Soda.
Look closely and you will find muffler men, bridges, neon signs, diners and gift shops, with towns noted, in all ink glory. There’s the logo for the infamous biker bar in Devil’s Elbow, MO just where you would expect it, on his elbow! And the large VW van on his right side immortalizes Bob Waldmire, artist, hippie, inspiration for the movie “Cars” and whose father was the inventor of the Corn Dog in Springfield, IL. (and that one was the most painful, taking a grueling 3 days to complete.) You’ll find 3 tattoos to honor the Home of Ugly Pies – Midpoint Cafe in Adrian, TX.
And for the curious – what was his 66th for 66? “Rootie,” the character created by noted 66 artist and author, Jerry McClanahan.
OK – one, non-66 tatt snuck in the mix – Eskimo Joe’s, a Stillwater watering hole. And what was number 100 for Route 66? Emma Jean’s Holland Burger Cafe in Victorsville, CA, a 1940s cafe that serves up good old-fashioned home cooking and was also featured in the Uma Thurmon classic, “Kill Bill.”
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(Photos © copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)