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Just Kicking It On Route 66

Traveling along Route 66, better known as the Mother Road, offers great opportunities for you and your kids to visit fun and quirky stops along this famous stretch of highway. Nothing says road trip like getting your kicks on Route 66.
by Carla Meadows Modified: July 16, 2014 at 6:19 pm •  Published: July 16, 2014

We are well on our 3,500 mile summer road trip journey and we have now hit the motherload of all road trip highways – the legendary Route 66.

Well, technically, we’re following along U.S. Interstate 40 West, but Route 66 just sounds so much more romantic. We headed out of Oklahoma City before dawn on our way toward Amarillo. Once the sun rose, we were amazed how the scenery dramatically transformed from the lush green we saw in hills of Tennessee and Arkansas to the open wilds of the Western terrain. The backdrop was straight out of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western.

The great thing about traveling I-40 West is that it actually parallels the Historic Route 66. And for those parents who recall their Pixar Animation trivia, the development of I-40 was the reason the fictitious town of Radiator Springs fell into disrepair in the 2006 movie “Cars.” That’s because the bustling road traffic through town was diverted to the new super highway. (I still get choked up a bit just thinking about Lightening McQueen, Doc Hudson and Mater).

Today, visitors can relieve the glory days of Route 66 by visiting the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Okla. According to the museum's website, the galleries have recently been redesigned to offer visitors a personal journey through the history of the nation’s most revered highway. You will encounter the iconic ideas, images and myths of the Mother Road.

You and your kids will enjoy learning about the dreams and labor needed to make the road a reality. You’ll also experience the dust bowl as thousands streamed along the road, away from drought and despair and towards the land of promise. Visitors can also listen to the sounds of the Big Band Era, when the roar of the big trucks and the welcome home cries to returning soldiers dominated the road.

Kids will have fun touching the counter and sitting in the booth of the 1950’s diner and feeling the open road as America’s families vacationed along the length of Route 66.

Another fun attraction we enjoyed further down the road is the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Okla. It’s not has high tech as the museum in Clinton, but it’s just as fun with its vintage faux towns. Elk City’s museum is a little folksier and gave us an opportunity to take a journey through each of the eight states Route 66 passes through – from Illinois all the way to California with their quaint city structures. It was a fun way for my daughters to see the unique roadside attractions that lured people to stop.

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by Carla Meadows
NewsOK Contributor
Carla Meadows is a Oklahoma City native, wife and mother of two tweens and a loveable Golden Retriever who blogs about building intentional family moments through the wonders of travel at home and across the U.S.
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