Nope! We’re in O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A, OKLAHOMA!!! (Makes me want to break into song!) We’ll be here for a total of 5 days and we’re focusing on three major areas of interest. First, we want to visit several Route 66 icons – did you know that the longest stretch of the famous highway is through Oklahoma? Next, there are a few places in Tulsa that we want to see, and then of course Oklahoma City, which is where we are staying.
This post will focus on the Route 66 historic tourist attractions still found along the route as well as some current day sites. So before we start our little tour, first a few words about Route 66!
Route 66 opened in 1926, stretching from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA. Also known as the Mother Road it was one of the nations main thoroughfares for nearly half a century. It was the first highway to be completely paved in 1938. Many migrated from the midwest to California as farm workers in the 1930’s, California opportunities brought workers during WWII, and vacationers in the 1950’s. Traffic on Route 66 caused the opening of many mom and pop businesses including restaurants, motels and gas stations. The many sights and roadside attractions became important to the tourism experience, allowing many to “get their kicks on Route 66”. Construction of the Interstate Highway System resulted in the decline of Route 66 leading to the official decommissioning in 1985.
Our first stop was on the north side of Oklahoma City where we found “Pops”. This is a fun diner with a vintage flair that boasts quite an inventory of old time soda pops as well as some never heard of before. In the pictures below, you will find flavors like Spaghetti, Marshmallow, Waffles and Syrup, Dirt Soda, Black Olive, Peanut Butter and Buffalo Wings. We bought a six pack with our choices of Green River, Banana Nut, Peach, O-So Cherry, Carmel Apple and BACON! We haven’t tried them yet, but we’ll let you know what we think.
Our next stop was at the Arcadia Round Barn. On the main level is a gift and antique shop but it was the second story that blew us away. This is the “loft” that was used for dances. In the middle is an elevated stage with the dance floor circling around. But it was the ceiling that was the star of the show in our opinion! A VERY cool place!
Our first stop took us to Historical Village where we began our Route 66 tour. Here we saw trains and a vintage gas station.
Our day trip east to Tulsa, revealed still more famous landmarks. Our next stop was at “East Meets West”. This memorial salutes Tulsa’s hometown hero, Cyrus Avery who in the mid 1920’s lobbied Congress to make route 66 a national highway, routing the Mother Road through Tulsa. He personally chose the number 66 because he liked it!
We found ourselves standing at “The Center of the Universe”, a mysterious spot where you stand on a circle and noises you make are echoed back to you more loudly. Did it work….????? This place is found downtown Tulsa in the historic Blue Dome District, anchored by the Blue Dome Building built in 1924. This area is known for its active night life and numerous restaurants.
The Golden Driller is truly iconic and stands at 75 feet and weighs 43,500 pounds. He is Oklahoma’s state monument and is the 6th largest statue in the USA. Inscribed in his base is “dedicated to the men of the petroleum industry who by their vision and daring have created from God’s abundance a better life for mankind.”
Then, of course is the Blue Whale, one of the most recognizable attractions on old Route 66! This used to be a true hot spot as people could play on the whale and slide into the swimming lake on the chutes coming off either side of the whale. You can climb into the top for a birds eye view out the portholes (note the big kid poking his head out!) Adjacent was an ARK, Animal Reptile Kingdom, where alligators roamed freely and you could view a pit of poisonous snakes!
Back in Oklahoma City we saw the Milk Bottle Grocery, constructed in 1930. The triangular building is 350 square feet and it’s flat roof sports a towering milk bottle.
So this concludes our short ride along Oklahoma’s Route 66. If you have a hunger to learn more of this iconic part of our nation’s history, this book was recommended by one of the guides at The Historic Village in Tulsa. It appears to be a fantastic resource!
If you find yourself traveling along Route 66, we wish you HAPPY TRAILS!!!