Traveling Oklahoma's Route 66

Friday, June 21st 2019, 7:29 pm
By: Karl Torp

Route 66, the Mother Road, is a big part of Oklahoma. The stretch of road that crosses through the heart of Oklahoma attracts tourists from all over the world, and that's exactly what state leaders, who are focused on tourism, want.

It was last year in Oklahoma City, when folks hit the motherload on the Mother Road, original Route 66 bricks exposed by road construction.

"People have a souvenir of the original road, you know," said Brent "Slim" Byrd.

The full pickup beds did not surprise now Lt Governor Matt Pinnell.

"It tells me Route 66 is red hot," Pinnell said.

The Lt. Governor met us for a coffee at one of the Route's newer attractions, POPs in Arcadia.

"Our tourism department needs to be taking much more advantage of it and working with all these communities across the state to realize it, and realizing it means making a whole lot of money on it by the way," said Pinnell.

"When I traveled the Route as a kid, that was one of the most exciting things for me was the roadside attractions," said Mary Beth Babbock.

Which is why in Tulsa, Babbock just put up her own 21-foot-tall reason to slow down and stop.

"He's a space cowboy and he's trying to revitalize Route 66," she said.

Babbock owns the Buck Atoms Cosmic Curios inside an old PEMCO Gas Station. She promotes Route 66 with practically everything for sale. We were there when a collector dropped off another attraction, a gas station globe dating back to the 50s.

"This item had to come back to where it was born," said John McClure, a collector.

"I can tell the story even further," said Babbock.

A story that's getting a few new chapters.

"Just looking to America's past, to its present, that's Route 66," Pinnell said.

Which brings us back to the bricks.

"It took me almost year to complete all this," said Byrd.

Byrd re-laid 10,000 of the Route 66 bricks for his labyrinth in Luther. He's been inspired to turn the place into a wedding venue.

"A little tourist attraction for people to come and stop when they are traveling 66," he said.

It's just a small part of the major make-over on America's Main Street.

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