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Arcadia

Approaching Greater Oklahoma City, you reach the former boundary line once separating the two sections of land making up the Oklahoma territory. Today, the line doesn’t separate much, but it does feature the Boundary Café, where you can get a bite or beverage and imagine the rush of people who, sooner or later, raced to get themselves a piece of Oklahoma land.

In the central OK city of Arcadia, you’ll cross several miles of farmland before happening upon an interesting place on the north side of the road. Not marked with anything in particular, it nevertheless stands out because it's a house, garage, and sprawling piece of property loaded with Route 66-type memorabilia. Turns out it's called the Oklahoma County 66 Auto Trim & Mini-Museum, although it's very informal.

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Rounding a corner and really getting into Arcadia, you reach a Route 66 icon: the Round Bar. Built in 1898 and serving as a working barn and a host of many barn dances, this wonderfully crafted specimen is 60 feet in diameter with two floors. You can walk into the round barn, climb up to the loft on the second floor, examine the craftsmanship, and browse the knick-knacks in the gift shop.

You know, you're used to older buildings and artifacts throughout the Oklahoma countryside, and suddenly, there's Pop's, a futuristic beacon rising from the grassland, fronted by a 66-foot high sculpture with a Coke bottle shape that lights up with crazy colors at night. How does one describe Pop's? It's an ultramodern gas station and diner, with a 100-foot sweeping canopy outside to cover gas-pumping patrons and glass walls adorned with thousands of soda bottles – all real and filled – on the inside. Over 500 varieties of sodas are available at a given moment. It's kind of like a post-modern take on the traditional American diner and gas station, and definitely worth checking out.

From Arcadia, Route 66 makes a beeline west and crosses Interstate 35, the north-south backbone of Oklahoma. At this point, you're firmly in the Oklahoma City suburbs, and the first town is a big one.

 
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