Route 66 — The Mother Road

Here’s a brief history–Oklahoma has the second longest stretch of Route 66 starting in Miami, OK, (pronounced My-am-uh), and ending in Erick, on the western Oklahoma/Texas border. Route 66 is a 2,448-mile route and is also called the Will Rogers Memorial Highway. Route 66 was dreamed up on November 11, 1926 by Cyrus Avery of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I could write so much about Route 66 just here in Oklahoma so I decided to condense it down some, sooo…

Here are the top 20 must see places whether you are driving or riding, starting east to west.
Some have been mentioned in prior blogs, but if you drive Route 66 here goes…

  1. Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum in Miami. Hubby and I have visited there, it is a nice museum and has a great collection of vintage motorcycles, including some from Evel Knievel & Steve McQueen!
  2. Totem Pole Park is a National Park in Foyil and has the world’s largest totem pole at 90 feet tall. All the totem poles are featured by folk artist Ed Galloway.
  3. JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore. It contains the country’s largest private arms collection, including those of famous outlaws. They also have Native American artifacts and musical instruments. It’s been many years since I’ve been here, but I enjoyed going through the museum. It is a must see if you enjoy this type of museum!
  4. Blue Whale in Catoosa. The Blue Whale is an iconic sight on Route 66. It was built in the early 70’s for an anniversary gift for his wife. The Blue Whale became a popular swimming hole, because the whale has slides on it. I finally got to visit in April when I was coming back from a HamFest in the area!
  5. The Golden Driller in Tulsa stands 75 feet tall and weighs 43,500 pounds and is the largest free-standing statue in the world. It was installed in 1966 as an iconic piece for the International Oil Exposition, which was held yearly in Tulsa for many years. Tulsa, Oklahoma was once one of the largest oil drilling areas in America. Known as the “Oil Capital of the World” Tulsa was the headquarters for many of the nation’s largest petroleum corporations for decades.
  6. Rock Cafe in Stroud was built in 1936 out of sandstone. It survived the 1999 tornado, then was damaged in a bad fire in 2008, and then restored in 1999 to its current glory. The Rock Cafe was visited by the directors of the Pixar film “Cars” in 2001. The current owner served as the inspiration for the character Sally in the movie. We have been there before, a fun place to visit and yummy food!
  7. Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum in Warwick was a former filling station built in 1921 and it houses over 100 vintage motorcycles dating from 1909 to present. They also have antiques and souvenirs. We have visited this museum on one of our mini trips and it’s a nice little museum.
  8. Round Barn in Arcadia was originally built in 1898 and is the only round wooden barn in Oklahoma. It is a neat visit. It is also used for special events and you can rent the upstairs area for your event. I have visited the barn multiple times, it is a must visit for sure. There are a lot of antiques and pictures from the early 1900’s inside that are interesting to check out.
  9. POPS just east of the Round Barn in Arcadia is another fun place to go. It is a gas station, restaurant, and gift shop that has a collection of over 8,000 soda pop bottles from all over. There is a world famous sixty-six-foot-tall LED soda (aka “pop”) bottle icon out front. It’s a popular stop for motorcyclists riding down Rt 66. Expect to wait if you want to visit the restaurant due to the popularity of this iconic stop.
  10. Metro OKC sites along Rt. 66 that are near each other include the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Science Museum Oklahoma, OKC Zoo (next door), and the Oklahoma History Center, which is near the Oklahoma State Capitol. Next, you’ll come near the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, and the Bricktown Entertainment District. We’ve written a separate blog about most of these earlier! A little further out is the Route 66 Park near Lake Overholser.
  11. Historic Fort Reno in El Reno is a military post established in 1874 to provide security for the Cheyenne & Arapaho lands. At times it was also home to the Buffalo Soldiers. You’ll find they now have interesting exhibits, structures and on-site activities throughout the year.
  12. Robert’s Grill & Sid’s Diner are two fun restaurants to visit in El Reno. They have the 1920’s & 1950’s nostalgic look and menus.
  13. Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton is known for the red rock walls. Oklahoma is known for the red dirt in much of the state. There are trails and picnic areas and it’s such a beautiful sight!
  14. Lucille’s Service Station in Hydro was built in 1929 and run by Rt. 66 icon Lucille Hamon, aka “Mother” of the Mother Road. It is one of the only two out-thrust porch & live-over-style stations left.
  15. Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford chronicles the career or astronaut and Weatherford native Thomas P Stafford. They have some very cool displays of rockets, a NASA control panel, satellites, airplanes, and many more air/space related history.
  16. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton is a very cool museum that I have visited. They were also visited by Pixar for the “Cars” movie. I do believe Fillmore is in there, he he! They have a movie about the beginning of Route 66. I really enjoyed that museum. Again, another must see.
  17. Washita National Wildlife Refuge in Butler is home to more than 250 species of wildlife and two endangered species, including the Bald Eagle. They have one of the largest waterfowl concentrations in Oklahoma. Nice nature trails also!
  18. National Route 66 & Transportation Museum in Elk City encompasses all eight states in the route. This museum offers an Old Town Complex. The Old Town Museum is in a 2 story Victorian House. It also has an Old Town Farm & Ranch Museum and a Blacksmith Museum. It has antique cars, old farm equipment, the life of early settlers, and their history wrapped up in one place.
  19. Washita Battlefield National Historic Site in Cheyenne features the history of Lt. Col. George Custer’s 1868 attack on the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle. It is in the Black Kettle Grasslands, which is administered by the US Forest Service.
  20. Roger Miller Museum in Erick is a tribute to songwriter/singer Roger Miller. He is not an Oklahoman native, but made Erick, Oklahoma his home as a kid. After serving in the Army, he went to Nashville to write songs. He was considered a country singer, but he had his own style.
  21. I hope this gives you some ideas if you come to visit Oklahoma by vehicle. Try to drive at least a part of “The Mother Road–Route 66” and enjoy as much as you can!Leah W3LEO