Route 66: Amazing Facts You Didn’t Know About the Iconic Highway

Route 66, Hackberry, Arizona. Photo by Arnaud STECKLE on Unsplash

Route 66 isn’t America’s oldest nor longest road, but that didn’t stop it from becoming the most iconic highway in the world. It covered over 2.448 miles in eight different states and remained equally beloved even after being removed from the US highway system in 1985.

First McDonald’s

McDonald’s restaurants can now be found all over the world, but the first one was opened in San Bernardino, California, making Route 66 the birthplace of the fast-food chain.

The Mother Road

Route 66 is often referred to as “the mother road”, but did you know this term originates from John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath, where this highway stood as a symbol of escape and loss.

Popular Culture

Route 66 served as inspiration for several songs, movies and TV shows, including Pixar’s animated classic Cars.

Driving Today

Many people couldn’t imagine a day without taking a drive on Route 66 while it was still active, but only certain parts of this iconic highway are still drivable today.

Picking a Name

It’s hard to imagine Route 66 being called anything else, but entrepreneur Cyrus Avery who’s been called “the father of Route 66” originally proposed number 60 to identify it. He eventually settled on 66, because this number was unassigned at the time.