I, like many of my fellow
66’ers, have traveled the whole length of Historic Route
66 from the corner of Jackson and Michigan in Chicago to
the Santa Monica Pier. I have also traveled many
segments of it numerous times. I really can’t get
enough of it !!
I truly believe in the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: Life
is a journey, not a destination. Isn’t that what all of
us believe who love to travel the road ? Each time we
travel part of Route 66, we forsake speed and efficiency
for the slower-paced time and beauty (sometimes pretty
rustic) of yesteryear.
Having said that, and reflecting on the wonderful places
and people I’ve meet, I have decided to offer my
favorite small segment of America’s Main Street.
Oklahoma – actually only 19.72 miles (per MapQuest) ;
I’m starting in Commerce and heading south and west to
Here are a
few of the points of interest:
This town has one huge thing going for it – the
birth place and childhood home of Mickey Mantle.
His home is at
Quincy St. There is a nice plaque on the
vacant home. The local high school baseball field is
named for his father “Mutt” Mantle.
A sign on Old 66 states that Commerce is going to build
a museum to Pinstripe. I saw that same sign in 2002.
C’mon Commerce – just do it!
raise in Southern Indiana, I am used to seeing piles of
unusable, discarded limestone. Perhaps you’ve noticed
the piles of earthen matter in this area; it is called
Chat is a
term for fragments of waste rejected in the milling
operations that accompanied zinc-lead mining in the
first half of the 20th century. The EPA is working in
the tri-state area to clean up this contamination.
“Only” 100 million tons of chat remain of the estimated
500 million tons left behind. One use of it is as a
material to improve traction on snow covered roads. (I
sure could have used some chat in Indiana in January and
February this year !!).
Home of the Commerce Comet - #7 Hall of Famer –
Don’t mis-pronounce the name of this town or you may get
run out of it. Not really, but they do insist you say
“My-am-uh”. If you’re hungry, stop at Waylan’s Ku-Ku
Burger – note their great 1965 neon sign below. Also,
don’t miss taking a quick browse in the 1929 Spanish
mission-styled Coleman Theatre on Main St. It is still
under restoration and the folks there are doing a
magnificent job on it. Phantom of the Opera is played
here with a live organist twice a year. With incredible
luck (no pre-planning), I hit town on one of those two
days. Wonderful !!!
Waylan’s Hamburgers in Miami, OK is a popular stop
for Route 66 explorers
Spanish mission-styled Coleman Theatre on Main St.
in Miami, OK.
Sidewalk Highway aka The Ribbon Highway
Continuing south, ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a
rare treat !! I have been on this stretch of old, old,
Route 66 three times. It is a slight detour off the
“old R66”, but you will be rewarded. This little
stretch is one of the earliest roadbeds of portland
cement still in existence – poured in 1922 and served as
Route 66 until a newer alignment in 1937. You can still
see the concrete base and the two curbs – only nine feet
apart !! Thus the name – sidewalk or ribbon highway.
The photo below was taken on a section between Afton and
Narcissa. Turn west at the NE Technology Center and
travel about a half mile or so – you’ll be where the
photo below was taken. There are at several other
sections of the Sidewalk Highway in the area, I’ve
explored them all – this is my favorite.
This photo was taken on the 9 foot
ribbon highway on a section between Afton and
Narcissa, OK. The wheelbase of the Mustang is 107
The beautifully restored Afton
Station in Afton, OK is a must-stop. Great
hospitality and great Packards.
Real simple – see the Packard sign
– stop ! Attached to a
beautifully restored Afton
Gas Station, a former D-X station that now serves as a
welcome station for travelers, you'll find a museum with
an impressive collection of about twelve Packards. The
welcome center and Packard Museum are more of a hobby
than a business to the owners, so they may or may not be
there. Go ahead - peek in the windows if they’re not.
there you have it folks - my favorite slice of the
highway. Sorry Chain of Rocks Bridge, Elbow Inn,
Cadillac Ranch, and the neon of Tucumcari; maybe someone
else will choose you as part of their favorite segment
of Historic Route 66.
I hope to see you on the road, look for me – I’m gonna
leave the Mustang at home; I’ll be driving the
Photo - 1955 Studebaker