On a bright, tropically hot and humid day in July I took off with my photographer friend Caroline for a road trip in a sleek, charcoal Limited Dodge Dart. But this wasn’t any ordinary road trip, this was a drive through the central part of Oklahoma down historic Route 66, the Mother Road!
But first let me share my first impressions of the Dodge Dart. I’d seen a few of these guys around town, and they had most definitely caught my eye. I wasn’t around for the first incarnation of the Dart, but from what I knew this design blew it out of the water. I was immediately impressed by the overall look, interior space, and sleek dash. And the brilliance of hiding the CD slot in the console between the two front seats blew me away!
Our first stop was the only true round barn (most are actually octagonal or hexagonal) and one of the most photographed landmarks on Route 66. It’s been standing since 1898 and is two stories high and 60′ in diameter, the second floor used to be used for community dances – that must have been amazing with its beautiful loft space and wooden ceiling.
We popped in for lunch just down the road at the next unmistakable landmark. The 60′ high sculptural soda bottle that lights up the night sky once the sun goes down is quite the showstopper as you’re cruising down the road. The location boasts the largest selection of soda anywhere, as in over 600 varieties! The light sculpture, plus the soda selection, plus the beautifully designed modern building make it a must-see.
Route 66 winds its way right past Oklahoma’s state capitol building, so we’d be remiss not to make a stop, and we got quite a few longing glances and compliments when we parked the Dart out front. Oklahoma’s capital is the only one in the country to have an oil derrick in its front yard, it’s literally right behind us in this photo.
A lot of Route 66 – and Oklahoma in general – looks like this. Flat prairie land and blue skies as far as the eye can see. The mileage on the Dart was incredible as we made our way across the central part of the state, I didn’t even have to refuel until the very end of our trip.
We tuned in to the Willie’s Roadhouse channel, on the available Uconnect system with Sirius Satellite Radio, for most of our trip, nothing could be more fitting! It was the icing on the cake that was our day.
Our favorite unexpected stop of the day was at a fireworks stand. It was closed for the season, but we couldn’t resist photographing the Dart out front with what looks to be a rocket strapped to its back.
A little further down Route 66 you’ll find Fort Reno, a military camp during the Indian Wars Era of the 1800s. Two of my friends were actually married in this little chapel on site a few years ago! I love the sleek, modern design of the Dart against the rural, stucco design of the building. There were a few dirt roads involved to get all the way back to the fort complex, but this car handled them like a champ.
A few hours later we were back in the city! We took the highway on our return trip and it was awesome to open up the engine a little on the open road. During my week with the Dart the most common comment from onlookers was that they remembered the earlier design as being short and stubby and not at all this attractive. My favorite features were the little things: the doors unlocking as soon as I touched them, courtesy of the available Keyless Enter n’Go feature on the Limited, the exterior button on the trunk, and the well thought out steering wheel. This car is definitely on the short list for when it comes time to purchase a new set of wheels!
Written by: Kelly Beall