Though largely battered and beaten, the historic Route 66 still holds mystique for travelers from all over the world. Driving from east to west, Oklahoma is the fifth state that a Route 66 roadtripper will pass through, and there is plenty there to see and to do.
Many of the attractions along the road were built specifically to market towards those drivers who were taking advantage of the enormous east-west highway for the sixty years after it was initially established in November of 1926. As a result, the main features of its primary landmarks tend to be of a style much different than what we would expect today. In keeping with the history of the "Mother Road," many of the attractions maintain their neon signs, obscure attractions, and dated decorations.
When passing through Oklahoma there are a few places you just can't miss. One of them is the Round Barn. Nearly 120 years old, the Round Barn in Arcadia is the only circular barn remaining in the whole state of Oklahoma. In use even before the highway was built, the Round Barn has a long history as a town center, where dances were regularly held. It is now home to a Route 66 museum and gift shop.
Another great destination is the Blue Whale of Catoosa. One of the quintessential roadside novelties, the blue whale is a large cement structure adorning a formerly popular swimming hole. Visitors today come for a photograph and a chuckle, and usually enjoy lunch before they leave.
Speaking of lunch, there are some great eateries on the route. POPS, in Arcadia, the same town as the Round Barn, is famous for its endless supply of soda pop. There is a collection of over 12,000 soda bottles and over 650 purchasable sodas from which to choose. If you're looking for food, Waylan's Ku-Ku Burger is a must-stop. Waylan's is the only remaining outlet of a former fast food chain by the same name. A great short order grill, Waylan's is known particularly for its big fiberglass cuckoo bird and neon sign. Whether it is burgers, shakes, or fries you're after, you can't afford to drive through Miami, Oklahoma, without stopping at Waylan's.
If you'll be bedding down for the night and want to stay near the "Main Street of America," you'll have plenty of options. Two popular choices are the Skyliner in Stroud and Desert Hills Motels in Tulsa.
Each of these motels proudly hangs their original neon signs, offers comfortable beds, and is steeped in nostalgia. Both of the motels are situated near good places to eat and are right on Route 66, in case you're in a hurry to get moving the next day.
Though the route was officially removed from the U.S. Highway System in 1985, it is still a fascinating road to drive, and Oklahoma is as good a state as any to drive it. It takes a little work sometimes to follow the old route (because it's been replaced by newer interstates), but from the northeast corner by Baxter Springs, Kansas, to the western side of the state near Shamrock, Texas, there's plenty of things to do, plenty of sights to see, and plenty of road to drive!