The legendary US Route 66 is a historical transport artery, an engine of social transformation, a landmark, and a symbolic spot for many artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Historically, the road spanned nearly 2,500 miles, snaking from Windy City to City of Inspiration. Before the route became a remnant of America’s past, it was dotted with glowing motels, quaint roadside points of interest, and colorful desert terrains. The highway gained unprecedented popularity at the speed of light due to the active promotion of the U.S 66 Highway Association as the shortest and most scenic road from Illinois through St. Louis to Los Angeles.
Later the US Congress recognized Route 66 as a symbol of the American nation’s heritage of travel and created the program for preservation of the road. Certain sections of the Will Rogers Highway became scenic roads of state and national importance. Businesses along the road began to operate again providing services to tourists who went in search of the legendary Mother Road.
Exploring US-66 By Car
Driving through the very heart of America, enjoying the spirit of freedom and a touch of Route 66 history is the quintessential road adventure for both the locals and tourists. Amarillo is the live city in TX where the old US-66 survives as the main business strip. With Amarillo Airport rental car, you will plunge into the Highway life story. Whether you are traveling alone, with a partner, or with family, 14CARS will offer you plenty of car rental options for you to choose from. If you are searching for rental cars near Amarillo, the airport could be a perfect alternative for you. So, fill up your car, turn up the music, step on the gas, and go in search of the best illustrations of the highway’s pop culture!
Musical Era of Iconic Highway
Inspired musicians created hundreds of compositions describing the splendor of the Main Street of America. One of the most popular and famed road tunes ever written, and a prime force behind the international popularity of Route 66, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” is truly considered one of the most popular and famed road tunes ever written. It was created by jazz musician Bobby Troup during his driving from Pennsylvania to California in the forties.
Among the immense music hits imbued with the vibe of driving along Will Rogers Highway one can mention:
- “Route 66” sung by one of the most distinguished pioneers of rock and roll Chuck Berry
- “Small Town Saturday Night” which sounds like nostalgia for abandoned places on the legendary highway
- “Life is a Highway”, a track from the Pixar animated film and an amazing driving tune.
Best Labors of Inspiration
With a huge wagon of inspiration, it is no wonder that hundreds of filmmakers have used the iconic highway as a backdrop for their Route 66 movies. One of the paramount scenes of the legendary Academy Award-winning “Rain Man” happens at Big 8 Motel in the Sooner State. In the list of the most popular movies whose scenes were filmed on the side of Mother Road, you can also find:
Bagdad Cafe (1987)
The action happens in a remote truck-stop bar in the small city of Bagdad, El Dorado. This town located on the highway was razed after the building of I-40 in the seventies of the last century.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
The plot follows the hilarious antics of a family who pile into a yellow bus and move to Redondo Beach, El Dorado. Some scenes of this big journey were filmed in the US-66 town of Flagstaff.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
A box-office hit, a funny comedy starring inimitable Chevy Chase takes place in the central district of Flagstaff, Arizona, and other locations close to the famous American highway.
Art Gems Roadside
The colorfulness and rich historical past of the highway also did not leave artists and craftsmen indifferent. Among other extraordinary things on Route 66 you can see:
- The iconic art installation of the ten colorful vehicles nose-driven into the soil of the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. Every traveler can tag the car to leave their own mark of visiting.
- The Totem Pole Park with an eye-catching attraction of the highest woody totem in the world situated near Chelsea, Oklahoma.
Shoe Trees with branches hung with the most diverse pairs of shoes left by travelers.