Route 66 in the News

Route 66 is Here!

2009-03-16 19:58:31

TULSA, Okla. - U.S. Route 66 is one of America’s first highways, established in 1926. It is almost 2,500 miles and stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif. Route 66 runs all the way through Oklahoma, about 375 miles total.

Given that Route 66 is a historical part of Oklahoma, my friend and I set out to see just what a portion of it had to offer: from Miami (about 90 miles northeast of Tulsa) to Arcadia (about 90 miles southwest of Tulsa).

The morning began bright and early. Leaving Tulsa about 8, we arrived in Miami about 9:30. After eating breakfast at a local diner, we headed to downtown Miami to visit the famous Coleman Theatre.

Built in 1928 by wealthy mining tycoon George Coleman, the Coleman Theatre has hosted some of the most famous performers of the ’30s and ’40s, including Will Rogers. As time progressed, the theater began showing films and eventually became a single-screen, “modern movie” theater. Eventually the Coleman family moved to Hollywood, and in the 1980s the theater began falling apart.

Desperate to hang on to the historic piece of their town, Miamians have been restoring the Coleman purely on local manpower and funding ever since. Today the Coleman hosts theater performances, tours and even the occasional silent movie.

As we left Miami and began the trek to Arcadia, there was nothing but farms and landscape as far as the eye could see.

Not long afterwards, we arrived at what is arguably one of the grandest sights in all of Oklahoma: the big blue whale of Catoosa. Directly off the highway is what appears to be an out-of-place picnic site, complete with tables, benches and a small pond. The pier that leads out to the pond is the mouth of a giant, bright blue whale that extends about halfway across the pond.

The whale is great for exploring, or re-enactments of whale-swallowing tales.

After leaving Catoosa and stopping for lunch in Sapulpa, we soon arrived at our final destination, perhaps the most delicious stop on all of Route 66: Pops in Arcadia.

Every day, Pops offers about 500 different kinds of soda. An entire half of the gigantic building is dedicated to coolers filled with drinks separated by every flavor you can imagine, from Key lime to Leninade (“Surprisingly Satisfying Soviet Refreshment!”).

When we arrived, Pops was packed. Nearly 100 people crowded around the sodas, empty sixpack containers waiting to be filled by the drinks of your choice. Needless to say, we stocked up. Fortunately, everything at Pops is relatively inexpensive, with sodas running no more than $2 a bottle.

As we arrived back in Tulsa, we were greeted with traffic and big chain stores — it had been nice to be away from them for a while.

Lucky for us, we were able to meet people kind enough to show us around their small towns and show us just what fun is to be had on Route 66.

~Jillian Land, Tulsa World

 

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