Route 66

If you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, mom-and-pop motels in the middle of nowhere, or kitschy Americana, do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Arcadia

About 10 miles east of the I-35 freeway through OKC, the main stop along this idyllic rural cruise is the old highway town of Arcadia (pop. 247), which holds a wonderfully restored, very large, red round barn (405/396-0824). The ground floor of this much-loved landmark, originally built way back in 1898, is now a mini museum and gift shop, selling some highly collectible, original Route 66 memorabilia.

A half mile west of the round barn, Arcadia’s other Route 66 landmark is bright, shiny, and comparatively new: Pops (405/928-7677), a gas station and small café fronted by a giant (66-foot-tall) soda pop bottle-shaped sign (not neon, but multicolored, energy-efficient LEDs). Built by Aubrey McClendon, an Oklahoma-born natural gas billionaire, Pops opened in 2007 and sells over 500 different varieties of soda pop (including around 100 brands of root beer!), as well as the requisite burgers and fuel, plus silky milk shakes. Even if you’re not all that hungry or thirsty, the exuberant, bottle-shaped tower, with its rainbow of colors, makes it worth hanging around till nightfall.

The Arcadia Round Barn (107 Oklahoma 66)
Pops (660 Oklahoma 66)