Apart from occasional college football teams, Oklahoma doesn’t often get to crow about being the best in the country, but as far as Route 66 is concerned, the state is definitely number one. Containing more still-drivable miles of the old highway than any other state, Oklahoma is a Middle American mecca for old-roads fans.
The Dust Bowl exodus of the 1930s uprooted thousands of families who headed west on Route 66, and today many of the towns along the road take bittersweet pride in their The Grapes of Wrath connections.
You can also still see signs that go back farther into the state’s history, just over a century ago, when all of Oklahoma was Indian Territory. It was the last refuge of Kiowa, Apache, Comanche, and other nations before the U.S. government took even this land away from them during “land rushes” in the 1890s. Today, some nations have retained enough legal autonomy to issue license plates and run casinos.