Oklahoma City was the halfway point on our Route 66 adventure through Oklahoma, although we didn’t stop there. We have spent a lot of time in Oklahoma City over the years and decided to skip it for the sake of saving time. Though for anyone who has not visited Oklahoma’s capital, we highly recommend spending a few days checking out everything this wonderful destination has to offer.
Trivia: The world’s first parking meter was installed in downtown Oklahoma City in 1935. Additionally, shopping carts, bread twist ties, and aerosol cans were all invented in Oklahoma.
Now, back to the route…
Inside the city limits of Edmond, Oklahoma lies the one square mile town of Arcadia. The tiny town is home to two favorite Route 66 stops: Arcadia Round Barn and Pops.
Arcadia Round Barn
The unique round barn was built in 1898 by William Odor. The reason he went to the trouble to build a round barn: he thought if it was hit by a tornado, the tornado would go around it instead of through it. By the 1970s the structure had almost collapsed, but volunteers in and around Arcadia came together to restore the old barn. Restoration efforts were completed in 1992 and the round barn has been a beloved Route 66 landmark ever since. Admission to the barn, which also features a gift shop, is free.
Pops is a convenience store, restaurant, and gas station located just around a curve from the round barn. Its claims to fame are its thousands of bottles of soda pop in hundreds of varieties and its landmark pop bottle sign.
Having only been open since 2007, Pops isn’t one of the vintage Route 66 stops, but it has become a very popular one. While there, we opted for a grape soda and a root beer. We don’t usually drink sugary sodas, but when in Rome… Would you try a spaghetti or blue cheese dressing soda?
One of the Route 66 nicknames is the Will Rogers Highway. Oklahomans are passionate about the label because Will Rogers was, and probably still is, their favorite native son. Will Rogers was born a citizen of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory (about half of Oklahoma before it became a state) in 1879 to parents of mixed heritages. In his lifetime, Rogers wore many hats: cowboy and rodeo star, humorist, world traveler, and actor. He even took a brief turn as Mayor of Hollywood, California. Rogers was best known for his acting career which found him first in vaudeville shows then in Hollywood where he appeared in seventy-one movies. He also wrote a humorous political column that was syndicated in over 4,000 newspapers. Rogers, along with fellow Oklahoman and aviator Wylie Post, died in 1935 when Post’s plane crashed in Alaska Territory.
As we made our way along Route 66 in Oklahoma, we found impressive granite “Will Rogers Highway” wayside markers at many of the landmarks. The one above outlines the history of Lucille’s Filling Station near Hydro, Oklahoma.
Our only stop in Clinton was at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum which should not be confused with the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma.
We found this museum to be exceptional as it truly does tell the story of the route through Oklahoma. Carefully curated displays take visitors through the decades of the Route 66 era complete with vintage vehicles, multimedia presentations, and plenty of other sights and sounds. Click on any image below for full views.
We spent about an hour and a half here, though we could have stayed longer. The Oklahoma Historical Society has done an outstanding job with this museum, and we believe it is a stop that any traveler would enjoy.
Traveling on, we skipped Elk City and Sayer because we had visited those cities on a previous trip.
Continuing on the route, we arrived in Erick just after noon on a Saturday. Erick is a neat little town surrounded by ranch land and farms. Sadly, its main street and downtown appeared to be completely deserted when we were there. Erick is the hometown of singer-songwriter, Roger Miller, of “King of the Road” fame. The town once had a museum dedicated to Miller, but it is now closed. We found the mural below featuring Miller on an empty building that may have once been the museum.
Erick’s other claim to fame is that it is also the hometown of singer and actor, Sheb Wooley. Wooley’s hit song “The Purple People Eater” hit number one on the Billboard pop charts in 1958. He also co-starred as Pete Nolan on the TV series “Rawhide”, among other acting roles. We didn’t find a mural of Wooley in Erick, however, we did find the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, another source of inspiration for Disney Pixar’s movie “Cars”.
Trivia: Sheb Wooley recorded the Wilhelm Scream sound effect that has been used in hundreds of movies and TV shows since 1951 and is still being used today. Check it out here: Wilhelm Scream.
Route 66 between Sayre and Erick was a divided highway and one of the nicest parts of the Mother Road that we experienced on our trip. The four-lane road continued to Texola, Oklahoma (a ghost town) and went back to two lanes just past the Texas border.
Thanks so much for cruising Oklahoma’s Route 66 with us! One more post covering our Mother Road stops in the eastern half of Texas is coming soon.
If you love American road trips as much as we do, check out these other cool places:
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Antietam National Battlefield
Abilene, Texas Road Trip: Things to Do
Safe travels, y’all. We’ll see you on the road!
Mike & Kellye
As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.